Max Steiner/Complete 1933 Film Score

King Kong [Marco Polo]

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Review

William J. Stromberg and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra deliver the definitive performance of Max Steiner's 1933 King Kong score. In contrast to some modern orchestra re-recordings, which are too genteel by half, Stromberg and the MSO turn in a kick-ass performance of the first great film score of the sound era. Oscar Levant described King Kong as "a symphony accompanied by a movie," and Stromberg's approach lends itself to this intensity -- the MSO plays this material as though they're sinking their teeth into a rich work of Tchaikovky or Sibelius, playing it all bigger than life, from the rhythmic savagery of the "Jungle Dance" to the ominous horn and string passages, but always with great precision and virtuosity. There have been a few small modifications to the score as performed in the film -- in addition to the restoration of parts that got lost in the final release print, the edits made for reel changes and other mechanical limitations in the film recording are no longer a factor in the music. The digital recording runs circles around all previous versions of this score. The annotation is also very rewarding, going into the technical and musical innovation introduced in this music in rich and delightful detail. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi