Citizen Kane

Colosseum (4005939580629)
Varèse Sarabande (0030206580624)
Movie | Released: 1999 | Film release: 1941 | Format: CD

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# Track   Duration
4.Manuscript Reading And Snow Picture1:36
5.Mother's Sacrifice0:50
6.Charles Meets Thatcher0:45
9.Second Manuscript0:58
11.Bernstein's Narration0:37
12.Kane's New Office0:48
13.Hornpipe Polka0:45
14.Carter's Exit0:39
15.Chronicle Scherzo1:03
16.Bernstein's Presto0:19
17.Kane's Return0:26
18.Valse Presentation0:55
19.Sunset Narration2:47
20.Theme And Variations3:02
21.Kane And Susan0:28
22.Susan's Room2:14
23.Mother Memory0:31
24.The Trip1:13
25.Getty's Departure0:32
26.Kane Marries0:55
27.Salaambo's Aria4:10
28.Leland's Dismissal0:58
29.New Dawn Music0:47
32.Second Xanadu1:14
33.Kane's Picnic0:35
34.Susan Leaves1:06
35.El Rancho0:30
36.The Glass Ball1:32
Bonus Cuts
38.The Night3:06
39.Xanadu Music2:27
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Citizen Kane - 07/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
There are classic films and there are classic films, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a film on a higher pedistal than Orson Welles' first feature, Citizen Kane. Not only did it introduce the idea of a non-linear story; the film starting with the death of the protagonist and then moving back to his beginnings. It also pioneered new ways of filming as well as certain makeup and other effects that Welles used to achieve everything he wanted in his film. I think it would be difficult to impress on the modern film goer the influence of this film, much in the same way that most teener boppers would appreciate what Bach did for harmony and counterpoint. As a film, Citizen Kane charts the life of Charles Foster Kane and exhibits no uncertain parallels to the life of real life newspaper tycoon Williams Randolf Hurst. It stands as one of the most long lived character studies as he rises from orphan to wealthy tycoon who can have almost anything he wants, to his ultimate self destruction. Welles appeared in the lead role, but almost all of the supporting actors were imported by Welles from his radio broadcasting days and one of these imports was Bernard Herrmann. Unlike the lush and romantic scores of the day, Herrmann's music is eerie, more sparingly used and generally lacking in the romantic grandeur of his peers. Varese have pieced every single cut from the film into chronological order to produce the entire score for the first time.

Varese have approached this recording as though it were just recording each track for the film, every single short and relatively insignificant cue is featured, down to one that only runs for 8 seconds. I wonder if this approach is perhaps verging on a little daft and whether it might have been better to try and join cues together. That having said, the spaces between similar cues is small and so it doesn't seem to stop and start as eratically as might be expected. There are two major styles to Herrmann's music, the very opening is extremely oppressive and gloomy with dense lower register textures that perfectly mirror the nearly deserted Xanadu; the palace that Kane constructs for himself that ultimately becomes an extravagent death bed. After this dark opening, we skip back to Kane's earlier life and his separation from his Mother which even features some brighter, albeit brief,Christmas music. This is then followed by a series of scherzos and galops that are much more familiar if you are used to the concert suites that Herrmann arranged and recorded for his Phase 4 albums. The Theme and Variations is a montage sequence that shows how the relationship with his first wife disintegrates, just by showing shots of them having breakfast through the years. A dramatic high point is reached in Salaambo's Aria which is a fantastic pastiche aria that was supposedly written for Kane's second wife to sing, but was ultimately written to embaress Kane and his wife by composing it too high for her to sing well. The first available recording of this cue was conducted by Charles Gerhardt (whose selections mirrored the tone fo the film more closely than Herrmann's own) and the soprano was performed by Kiri Te Kanawa. In the face of a performance by a performer of that calibre, it is pleasing to note that Janice Watson performs magnificently.

The drama of the aria just highlights how subtle, quiet and complex Herrmann's underscore actually is, especially compared to the bold strokes of other composers at the time. Although the music cannot be faulted in pure terms or in filmic terms, I would suggest that this score makes for a slightly less satisfying listen than some of Herrmann's later scores. Much of the music is slow and bearly breaks above a whisper. The short cues don't help all that much either; this is not to say the score jumps about in style, but rather that ideas don't have quite as much time to develop as they should and some just appear as joins between scenes or short codas to scenes to emphasise a particularly dramatic moment. The performance is typically excellent, although given how slow much of the music is, it probably doesn't rate as one of Herrmann's most difficult to perform scores. The Aria is probably the most complex cue from a performance point of view, but this shines and compares favourably to the superb recording by Gerhardt. As usual, the original score was recorded with very dry and intense sound and so the more expansive sound might frustrate avid fans, but in the quieter moments, differences in recording style are not all that noticeable and the louder sections are clean and crisp. A classic film and score for sure and given a typically royal treatment by Varese, but probably not a Herrmann score I am likely to return to as often as some of his later efforts, although Herrmann fans will probably hate me for saying that, but I apologise. This is a score I can appreciate more than I can enjoy.
Citizen Kane - 08/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
With Bernard Herrmann as one of the best film music composers ever, and his music for one of the best films ever made, Citizen Kane, being one of the greatest, classic scores, I cannot deny that I did look forward to this re-recording by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely, very, very much.

Herrmann's score is mixed bag of different styles, which makes the listening very varied and entertaining. There's the jolly, upbeat and optimistic music in cues like "Galop", "Kane's New Office", "Hornpipe Polka", Chronicles Scherzo" and "Kane Marries". Many of them make wonderful use of muted brass - primarily trumpets - and playfull woodwinds, sometimes a little reminiscent of Tjaykovskij's Nutcracker. There's the grand music in "Valse Presentation" and the beautiful waltz in "Theme and Variations" and the lovely "Susan's Room" with its soft woodwind solos. Further there is a great deal of dark, dramatic music, such as the opening "Prelude", "Xanadu" and "Leland's Dismissal". There's also the beautiful "Salaambo's Aria", performed by soprano Janice Watson. A spot on pastische on Romantic opera.

But everything isn't great with this release. Many of the cues are under one minute in length, some under half a minute, and some even shorter! "Dissolve", for instance, is just 14 seconds, and "Thanks" just eight. I suppose the score has been recorded exactly as Herrmann wrote it, but some, careful, editing would have been nice, and necessary. Also, many of the shorter cues are basically the same theme, but with different orchestrations. And when they come one after another it can get a little annoying. Once again, some editing would probably have made the listening more enjoyable and satisfying.

But apart from that, this re-recording is superb. The peformance, of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is top notch, and the sound is stellar, although I suppose some will dislike the "concert hall sound". The liner notes include a lengthy comment by Christopher Husted, manager Bernard Herrmann Music. They are quite informative, but some kind of analysis of the cues, or the score in general, would have been good.

Bernard Herrmann's score for Citizen Kane is a true classic. And this recording is a worthy representation of a score that belongs in every film music fan's collection.

Other releases of Citizen Kane (1941):

Citizen Kane (2012)
Citizen Kane (1975)
Citizen Kane (1974)
Citizen Kane (1991)
Citizen Kane (1998)
Film Music of Bernard Herrmann, The (2010)
Citizen Kane / The Magnificent Ambersons (2000)
Citizen Kane: The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann (1991)
Citizen Kane - The Essential Bernard Herrmann Collection (1999)
Citizen Kane (2010)
Citizen Kane (1978)
Classic Film Scores Of Bernard Herrmann, The (1974)
Orson Welles and the Music (2015)

Soundtracks from the collection: Re-recordings

North by Northwest (2007)
Mysterious Film World Of Bernard Herrmann, The (1976)
Film Classics : Lalo Schifrin Presents 100 Years Of Cinema (2017)
Trouble with Harry, The (1998)
Casino Royale (1967)
For a Few Dollars More / A Fistful of Dollars (1971)
Star Wars (1989)
Exodus (2009)
Confetti (1958)
Rebecca (2002)

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