Scored!: Classic Film Music: Westerns

Performed By: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Prague Philharmonic &

Crouch End Festival Chorus

Distributed by: Primary Wave Records and BFM Digital, Inc.

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            I recently received a request to check out a new series of compilation albums featuring film music from the classic era.  The Scored! classic film music series features musical scores from classic film compiled by genre.  Having enjoyed Scored!: Crime and Scored!: Battle, I couldn’t wait to check out Scored!: Westerns.

            When I think of classic western films, I think of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Red River, Rio Bravo, The Magnificent Seven, The Outlaw and more.  The film genre featured gunfighters, ranchers, folks trying to eek out a living in uncharted western territories of America, gold seekers, prostitutes, outlaws, sheriffs, and lots of action in the form of gunfights, horse chases, and hand-to-hand combat.  The music of the genre ranged from guitars and banjos to woodwinds and brass, depending upon the plot of the film.

            Scored!: Westerns features music from such classic films as The Long Riders, Red River, The Missouri Breaks, A Few Dollars More, The Scalphunters and more.  The musical scores are performed mainly by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of Prague Philharmonic, with the exception of The Hallelujah Trail Overture on which the City of Prague Philharmonic is accompanied by the vocal stylings of the Crouch End Festival Chorus.

            After such a pleasant run with the Scored! series, I was surprised to find myself disappointed by Scored! Westerns.  Where are the classic musical scores such as Titoli from A Fistful of Dollars with the whip-like cracks and the melancholy whistling found on the theme of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?  Where are the weeping orchestral sounds of Bonanza and The Magnificent Seven?  Where’s the theme from Rawhide?  These are the classical sounds lovers of western film want to hear.

            Although I enjoyed listening to Guns for San Sebastian, Red River and The Long Riders, I felt that some of the greatest musical scores ever created for the western genre went ignored on this album.  Fans of the genre will probably agree, Scored!: Westerns simply doesn’t meet up to expectations.


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