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CD Review

King Kong

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by James Newton Howard

Studio Orchestra/James Newton Howard
Decca 476522-4 72m DDD
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I have always had a soft spot for 'King Kong' ever since I saw the original 1931 movie with its fabulous music (available on Marco Polo) so I approached this disc with some apprehension and expectancy.

I can say straight away that I was not disappointed in the least as Newton Howard's music gets to the heart of the story with big boned orchestral passages and a sense of aura and mystery impinged with humanity all way through.

'King Kong's' theme is full of sad foreboding and a sense of mystic beauty that permeates the score throughout. 'It's Deserted' is also very atmospheric but everything comes into its own with 'The Empire State Building' and 'Beauty Killed the Beast' which is split into five parts, ending the tale with almost unbearable sadness. An epic symphonic effort by Newton Howard that surely deserves wide currency, 'King Kong' counts as one of the most satisfying soundtracks I've heard this year.

Decca's packaging is quite sumptuous with a mini poster included and the usual stills from the film. The engineering is absolutely superb and I really do wonder if it is now time to start putting these soundtracks on SACD, the six channel audio setup surely provides for a deeply involving experience.

Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech