Home > Greatest Scores of the Twentieth Century, Reviews > THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

adventuresofrobinhood100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

I offer my heartfelt thanks to Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William Stromberg for yet another masterful rerecording of a treasured Golden Age score. Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the sound quality is superb as is conductor Stromberg’s mastery of Korngold’s music. This expert team have once again superbly reconstructed and re-recorded the entire score with outstanding quality. This score is a rousing, rich, multi-thematic effort that offers you the regal splendor and gallantry of Medieval England. The story was Errol Flynn’s vehicle, and his brash, bold, charismatic and fiercely defiant persona animated the film. Korngold music is perfectly attenuated to his heroic persona and expertly captured his irrepressible spirit. From the fanfare of the Main Title, to the lush Love Theme where the Lady Marian succumbs to his charm, to the epic and culminating Duel, this score is a testimony to Korngold’s genius, and mastery of his craft. His countless melodies and fan fares are timeless, peerless, and continue to echo through time.

Viewed in totality, the score contains fourteen themes: The March of the Merry Men Theme offers a classic marcia vivace, which speaks to men’s cheerful and indomitable spirit. Its jaunty major modal colors instantly bonds us with our “good guys”. Richard the Lionheart’s Theme provides a lush major modal violin carried identity, replete with horns solenne, which informs us of his exalted nobility. The Norman Theme is declared with bravado by heraldic horns brillante and speaks to the power of the ruling Norman elite and subjugation of the indigenous Saxons. The Saxon Plight Theme offers a grim repeating eight-note figure carried by upper register strings sofferente with a counter low register horn and bass reply. Replete with harp glissandi and fierce xylophone strikes, this theme perfectly captures the grim fate of the Saxons. Sir Robin Locksley Theme is our hero’s theme, a bright major modal line carried by trumpets brillante and glistening glockenspiel, inform us of our hero! Korngold interpolates his horn fare from “Sursum Corda”, which perfectly captures Robin’s identity as a bold, fearless and noble defender of the poor and powerless. For our villain Sir Guy of Gisbourne’s Theme Korngold provides horns bellicoso, growling bass, replete with fierce drums, which propel his menace and brutality. Much’s Theme offers comic and playful woodwinds, which speak to us of this hapless fellow caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Norman Court Theme features a declaration by solo trumpet royale. Its formal melodic line unfolds in the manner of a processional, which perfectly captures the pomp and circumstance of this medieval court. The Old England Theme features a repeating line of triplets carried by reverential strings, which bathes us in nostalgia. Friar Tuck’s Theme is a woodwind lover’s dream come true and I believe one of the best themes of the score. For it’s A Phrase Korngold uses warm strings and woodwinds pastorale to speak to us of the Friar’s good nature and gentility. Its B Phrase is carried by refulgent strings, bells and gentile woodwinds, which serve to impart a religioso aura. The Waltz Theme reveals Korngold Viennese sensibilities as he offers up this classic waltz, which flows with gentile elegance. The Archery Tournament Theme is perhaps the finest example of heraldic fan fare in film music! In his youth, Korngold created a signature theme for himself, which he named “The Motif of the Cheerful Heart”. Structurally it is based on two interlocking, rising fourths and a rising fifth. First heard in “Marchenbilder” (1910), he reprised it in “Another Dawn” (1937). It is here however, in this film that the motif becomes transcendent, achieving a sublime expression, which causes all subsequent attempts by other composers to pale in comparison. Lady Marian’s Heartsong offers unabashed romanticism of the highest order, and contends as one of film score music’s greatest love themes. Strings, celeste, vibraphone and woodwinds join in a sublime communion, achieving a sumptuous outpouring of ardent love, which culminates in a breath-taking climax!

I believe this score to be Korngold’s Magnum Opus, one of the finest of the Golden Age, and an essential score for your collection. For those of you unfamiliar, I have embedded a YouTube link to a 16 minute suite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDyjPB_AEBU

For a complete review of the score I offer my review at Movie Music UK: https://moviemusicuk.us/2015/07/06/the-adventures-of-robin-hood-erich-wolfgang-korngold/

Buy the Adventures of Robin Hood soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Main Title/Muted Fanfare (1:49)
  • Sir Guy and Robin Hood (1:48)
  • The Meeting (1:10)
  • The Banquet (2:13)
  • Robin Hood Outside/Robin Hood’s Entrance/The Fight/The Chase of Robin Hood/The Victims (6:12)
  • Robin Hood Meets Little John/Robin Hood Fights With Little John/Jolly Friendship (3:55)
  • The Oath and The Black Arrow (1:58)
  • The Fish/Robin Hood Fights With Friar Tuck (3:28)
  • A New Companion (Friar Tuck) (0:55)
  • Robin Hood Attacks Sir Guy’s Party/The Attack (5:11)
  • Flirt/Feast/Poor People’s Feast/Gold (5:58)
  • The Poor People (4:19)
  • The Tournament/Robin Hood’s Appearance at the Archery Field/Preparation for the Archery Contest/Robin Hood Starts to Shoot/Finale of the Archery Contest (6:37)
  • Arrest of Robin Hood (0:47)
  • Tribunal/The Jail (2:26)
  • The Gallows/The Flight of Robin Hood (4:39)
  • Love Scene (6:24)
  • Arrest of Lady Marian (0:45)
  • Much: The Knife Fight (1:10)
  • Richard Meets Robin Hood/Richard The Lion Heart (4:03)
  • The Procession (3:08)
  • Prince John (1:32)
  • The Battle/The Duel/The Victory (5:36)
  • Epilogue (1:33)
  • End Cast (0:35)

Running Time: 78 minutes 11 seconds

Marco Polo 8-225268 (1938/2003)

Music composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Conducted by William Stromberg. Performed by The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Orchestrations by R. H. Bassett, Hugo Friedhofer and Milan Roder. Recorded and mixed by Gennady Papin. Score produced by Leo F. Forbstein and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Album produced by William Stromberg, John Morgan and Anna Bonn.

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