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For many of us, the silver screen is a window into an imaginary life. Entire worlds of fantasy and adventure thrill and excite us, lift us above the everyday, and remain embedded in our hearts and minds long after the final credits roll.
Much of the illusion is conjured by the musical score that accompanies the story. Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra tap into this big-screen magic on their new Telarc release, Great Film Fantasies, a recording that brings together the music from three great cinematic epics of the past few decadesStar Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.
Great Film Fantasies focuses on the music of two of today's greatest movie music composers, John Williams (Star Wars, Harry Potter) and Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings). The journey begins in a galaxy far, far away, and follows director George Lucas' Star Wars saga in the order in which the six-part film series was produced. The sequence opens with Williams' majestic "Main Theme" from Episode IV: A New Hope, followed by "Princess Leia" and the spirited "Cantina Band." "The Imperial March" and "Yoda's Theme," both from Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, range from the menacing to the mystical, while "Luke and Leia," from Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, celebrates the two central heroes of the Star Wars series.
The remaining Star Wars tracks turn back to the genesis of the film saga with "Duel of the Fates" and "Anakin's Theme," both from Episode I: The Phantom Menace, followed by "Across the Stars" (from Episode II: Attack of the Clones) and "Battle of the Heroes" (from Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith).
Author J.K. Rowling has tapped a deep vein of wonder and mystery in her books about the boy wizard Harry Potter and the forces of good and evil. Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops give us a glimpse into that wizardry via three Williams compositions: "Harry's Wondrous World" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "The Chamber of Secrets" from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and "Aunt Marge's Waltz" from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is regarded by many as the finest of all modern literary fantasies. Here Kunzel and the CPO perform pivotal compositions from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: "May it Be" & Themes from The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by "The Hornburg" from The Two Towers and "The Ride of the Rohirrim from The Return of the King.
Like the movies that inspired the recording, the grandeur and excitement of Great Film Fantasies is guaranteed to bring out the wide-eyed child in all of us and help us to appreciate the critical role of the movie music composer in making our dreams and fantasies come alive.