Terrific treats

(THE VITTES REPORT) – The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann, Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic, RCA Red Seal (once again a valuable trademark)

     The audiophile, watch your eardrums star of Sony’s seven sonically spectacular reissues of RCA’s classic film score recordings must be this CD devoted to Bernard Herrmann.

     From the beginning of every bar, every phrase, Herrmann’s power blows you away, making the Israel Philharmonic paying Mahler last night at Mouse Hall seem pretty pale.

     The original liner notes by Christopher Palmer, publicity shots, and a gaudy advertising poster inset to the tray that pays testimony to how well that first marriage between Welles and Hollywood actually succeeded.

     Only regret: Herrmann’s beautiful viola d’amore solo (eat your heart out, Vivaldi) from On Dangerous Ground remains unrecorded.

Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of Music, Magic, Art and Arson in the Convents of Italy, By Craig A. Monson, University of Chicago Press, 250 pages

     Washington University’s Monson, wearing dark glasses and a cowboy hat, is regularly seen in the halls of 16th and 17th strongholds where the nunnery gangs hid out.

     One of his incredible true stories concerns a girl of pure soprano voice at 14 who, in Bologna (crazy Bologna! where they dissected cadavers during carnival to widespread delight), enters a particularly liberated convent at 16, and then has a series of adventures that would put Baron Munchhausen to shame, including singing contests against other convents’ young chargers, hoping they sow their wild oats before going without.

     Don’t miss “Spinsters, Silkworms, and a Flight In Flagrante,” or any of the other lurid tales. Beautifully produced, exquisitely designed, mint copies of this are likely to become collectors’ items. Copies signed by the author, even better.

Classic Film Scores for Bette Davis, Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic, RCA Red Seal (once again a valuable trademark)

     Who better to start off Sony’s seven reissues of RCA’s classic film score recordings than the drama queen herself? Music by Steiner, Waxman, Korngold and Newman with spectacular stuff from Now, Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve and others.

     It can be very ordinary then suddenly flame into moments that instantly become iconic and literally inflame. Each CD comes with the original liner notes by the inimitable Tony Thomas, 2 black and white publicity shots (in gorgeous detail) and the original RCA cover.

     Also: A candid color shot for the cover, and a ravishing Technicolor inset to the tray with Davis as ready for love as any woman has ever been.

 Laurence Vittes is a 40-year veteran as a music and performing arts critic, providing his expertise to the Art-to-Art Palette Journal, including the Gramophone, Hollywood Reporter, Strings, HuffPost Arts, Music Web International and Audiophile Audition.  In addition, he co-hosts with Alexey Steele the Classical Underground concerts in Torrance, California, 20 miles south of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Published by on March 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide, Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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