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Silva Film Music and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

09-04-2018 | By Roger S. Gordon | Issue 99

In Positive Feedback Issue 31 (May/June 2007) I reviewed three CDs from Silva Film Music (HERE). Silva Film licenses the rights to film scores and re-records the music using the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. In my review of 2007 I was impressed by the quality of the performances, the excellent recording and mastering that results in the excellent sound quality of the CDs, and the choice of music selected. Since that time I have acquired additional Silva Music/City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra CDs. After eleven years I thought it was time to revisit this label and their City of Prague Philharmonic recordings.

First some background information. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (CPPO) has a long history of recording soundtracks for movies. The CPPO was founded in 1947 as the in-house orchestra for the Barrandov Film Studios which is one of the largest film studios in Europe. The CPPO eventually separated  from the Barrandov Film Studios and was privatized. The new orchestra was known as the Czech Symphony Orchestra. After the Velvet Revolution in 1992 the orchestra's name was changed to the CPPO, primarily to differentiate itself from other local orchestras using similar names. With its long heritage in recording soundtracks and its much lower musician's pay scale compared to other world orchestras, it was natural for small, independent music labels to utilize the CPPO. Experienced, highly trained professional musicians and relatively cheap—what's not to like? Silva Films is just one of numerous small film companies that utilize the services of the CPPO. The CPPO draws it classical musicians primarily from the State Opera and the Czech National Theater. Guest musicians are brought in as needed.

All of the choral work for Silva Film CDs is provided by the 150 member Crouch End Festival Chorus. The Crouch End Festival Chorus is a non-profit volunteer organization. It is one of Britain's major symphonic choruses which provides the chorus for many classical music and other types of performances given in London. It is listed in the credits of over 100 CDs. The Chorus derives it name from Crouch End, which is a location in North London, where the group was initially organized to participate in a local festival.

Shown below as an appendix is a list of the Silva Film/CCPO recordings that I own. The recordings do differ slightly in sound quality. Whether you will like the selection of the music and the performance is up to your personal taste. The five compilations that I discuss below I found to be above the others albums in excitement and enjoyment. Your mileage may differ.

Cinema Choral Classics III: Apocalypse 1 Disc released 2001

In my previous review I covered Cinema Choral Classics I and II. Below is a review of the final album of the trilogy.

For eleven of the eighteen tracks on this album I have the original soundtrack recording. In comparing the Silva re-recordings to the original soundtrack recordings I found that I did not have any real preference between the rerecording and the original for ten of the tracks. They were different, but equally enjoyable. For the Glory, "Charging Fort Wagner" track, I enjoyed both tracks.  However, I prefer the original soundtrack because it has more atmosphere than the rerecording. I assume the atmosphere is artificial and was created during the mastering.

The remaining seven tracks that I could not compare to the original I also enjoyed, but not enough to go out and buy the original soundtrack.

 Disc: 1 of 1

  1. "Charging Fort Wagner," Glory
  2. "Hymn To The Fallen," Saving Private Ryan, 
  3. "The Longest Day," The Longest Day,
  4. "Vide Cor Meum," Hannibal  
  5. "Overture/Agincourt Song," Henry V 
  6. "Vocalise," The Ninth Gate 
  7. Bram Stoker's Dracula
  8. "Allons Gai, Gai, Gai," The Lion In Winter
  9. "Eya, Eya, Nova Gaudia," The Lion In Winter 
  10. "Dry Your Tears Afrika," Amistad 
  11. Dune
  12. "March Of Men Of Harlech," Zulu 
  13. "Ride Of The Valkyries," Apocalypse Now 
  14. The Last Valley
  15. "Waxing Elizabeth," Young Sherlock Holmes
  16. Starman
  17. "The Phantom Menace - Duel Of The Fates," Stars Wars 
  18. "The Sonnenscheins," Sunshine

The Definitive Horror Film Music Collection 4 discs released in 2009

When I bought this collection used from Amazon I wondered if I had made a blunder, as I did not know what I was really buying. However, from the first track on disc one, the 2009 movie Drag Me to Hell, to the last track on disc 4 from the 1922 silent film classic Nosferatu, I was enthralled. I sat and listened to all four discs in one sitting. The tracks are arranged in reverse chronological order based on movie release date. With each successive track you are going backwards in time—an eighty-seven year journey through horror films. What a ride.

As expected, there were a few horror films that I was not at all familiar with.  On the other hand, there was music from films that I would not normally think of as horror films, such as the main theme from Ghostbusters and the "Transylvanian Lullaby" from Young Frankenstein. The track selected from The Shining also took me by surprise—music from Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. The only track I had mixed feelings about was the instrumental "Bad to the Bone," from Christine. The music was well performed but "Bad to the Bone" is just not the same without the vocals of George Thorogood. Despite this one minor quibble, this is a great album. I thoroughly enjoyed all but five of the 60 tracks. This is one of the albums that I would want if stranded on a desert isle.

Disc 1

  1. "End Titles," Drag Me to Hell CPPO
  2. "Edward At Her Bed / Bella's Lullaby," Twilight CPPO
  3. "Let the Right One In (Lat den ratte komma in)" CPPO
  4. "Roar!" Cloverfield CPPO
  5. "Adagio in D Minor," Sunshine CPPO
  6. "Graysmith's Theme," Zodiac CPPO
  7. "Theme," Dexter London Music Works
  8. "The Labyrinth," Pan's Labyrinth CPPO
  9. "King Kong/The Venture Departs/It's Deserted/Central Park/The Empire State Building/Beauty Killed The Beast," King Kong CPPO
  10. "Suite," War Of The Worlds CPPO
  11. "Hello Zep," Saw London Music Works
  12. "In the House - In a Heartbeat," 28 Days Later London Music Works
  13. "This Is Going To Hurt," The Ring CPPO
  14. "Main Theme," The Mummy Returns CPPO
  15. "Vide Cor Meum," Hannibal CPPO


  1. "The Sand Volcano/Love," Theme The Mummy CPPO
  2. "End Titles," Sleepy Hollow CPPO
  3. "The Carousel / End Titles," The Haunting CPPO
  4. "Malcolm Is Dead," The Sixth Sense CPPO
  5. "Theme," Buffy The Vampire Slayer Michigan Music Works
  6. "March of The Children," Village of The Damned Gareth Williams
  7. "The Storm," Bram Stoker's Dracula CPPO
  8. "Prologue and Building the Deathcoaster," Army of Darkness CPPO
  9. "Dance of The Witches," The Witches of Eastwick CPPO
  10. "Suite," Predator CPPO
  11. "Suite," Hellraiser CPPO
  12. "Suite," Hellbound: Hellraiser II CPPO
  13. "Main Theme," They Live Nick Watson
  14. "Prelude/Ripley's Rescue," Aliens CPPO
  15. "Main Theme," Ghostbusters CPPO


  1. "Main Theme," Nightmare On Elm Street Mark Ayres
  2. "Bad To The Bone," Christine Nick Watson
  3. "Main Theme," Poltergeist CPPO
  4. "Main Theme," The Thing Gareth Williams
  5. "Main Theme," Halloween II Gareth Williams
  6. "Main Theme," The Fog Gareth Williams
  7. "The Gallery," Dressed To Kill CPPO
  8. "Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta," The Shining CPPO
  9. "Main Titles & Storm," Dracula CPPO
  10. "Main Theme Phantasm London Music Works
  11. "The Nostromo/End Title," Alien CPPO
  12. "Main Theme," Halloween Gareth Williams
  13. "Main Theme," The Fury CPPO
  14. "Main Theme," Suspiria Mark Ayres
  15. "Regan's Theme," Exorcist II: The Heretic CPPO


  1. "Ave Satani,"The Omen CPPO
  2. "Transylvanian Lullaby,"  Young Frankenstein CPPO
  3. "Tubular Bells," The Exorcist Mark Ayres
  4. "The Cafe / Truck Attack," Duel CPPO
  5. "The Young Lovers/Ride To The Ruined Church," Taste the Blood of Dracula The Philharmonia
  6. "Lullaby," Rosemary's Baby CPPO
  7. "Suite," Twisted Nerve CPPO
  8. "The Power of Evil," The Devil Rides Out CPPO
  9. "Suite," Dracula, Prince of Darkness The Philharmonia
  10. "The History of Hill House," The Haunting Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra
  11. "Main Title & Finale," Dracula The Philharmonia
  12. "Main Theme," Horrors of the Black Museum CPPO
  13. "Main Theme," The Thing From Another World CPPO
  14. "Creation of The Female Monster," Bride of Frankenstein Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra
  15. "Overture," Nosferatu CPPO

European Film Music Collection 4 discs released 2006

This album contains 60 tracks. A few of the tracks are from movies that received widespread release in North America; e.g. Never on Sunday, A Man and a Woman, Zorba the Greek, and Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The remaining tracks are from movies that had a limited release in North America through theaters specializing in "artistic" movies. Thus, most of the music in this collection was new to me. I was delighted to be exposed to new music and new composers. I liked the music on twelve tracks so much that I ended up buying the original soundtrack albums so that I could hear additional music from those movies. 

The music on these four discs ranges from Mahler (Death in Venice) to Vangelis (Opera Sauvage). There are opera arias such as"Eben? Ne Andro Lontano," from La Wally, and electronic music. There is tremendous diversity in the music among the tracks. No matter what your tastes, there will be music that you will enjoy. Some tracks that I really enjoyed were the following:

  • "Amelie" - I am not a fan of accordion music but this is beautiful.  
  • "Betty Blue" - I liked it so much I bought the album on vinyl.
  • "Les Choristes" - a superb boys choir.
  • "Cinema Paradiso" - This love theme captures the essence of the movie.  If you have not watched the director's cut of this movie you really need to.
  • "Diva" - I am not an opera fan.  However, the La Wally track from Diva I must have played over 50 times.
  • "The Double Life of Veronica" - Quiet, mysterious classical music.  The music was used in a number to TV commercials in Europe.
  • "Once Upon a Time in the West" - From one of Ennio Morricone's best film scores.
  • "Mon Oncle/Playtime" - Fun music that invokes the humor of Jacques Tati's films.
  • "Queen Margot" - Wonderful acoustic guitar
  • "Z" - Fast paced bouzouki music

Day for Night, "The Grand Chorale" is used in the final scene in Trauffaut's movie where the entire cast is running around the swimming pool as the camera pulls back into the sky. As the scene is playing a loud piccolo trumpet enters the music. I used this track on my test CD that I took to audio shows in the late 2000s. It was surprising how many expensive DACs and tweeters made rather embarrassing sounds when the piccolo trumpet played its first note. I guess that is why we cannot play our own music in most of the exhibitors' rooms at current audio shows. I have played this track hundreds of times and still love it.  

Disc 1

  1. "Suite," Amarcord
  2. "La Valse D'amelie," Amelie
  3. "L'autre Valse D'amelie," Amelie
  4. "Suite," Atlantis
  5. "Suite," Betty Blue
  6. "Overture," The Big Blue
  7. "Main Theme," Bilitis
  8. "Manha de Carnival," Black Orpheus
  9. "The Banquet," Camille Claudel
  10. "Main Theme," Il Casanova
  11. "Les Choristes," Les Choristes
  12. "In Memoriam," Les Choristes
  13. "Vois Sur Ton Chemin," Les Choristes
  14. "Love Theme," Cinema Paradiso
  15. "Opening and Closing Credits," Cyrano de Bergerac

Disc 2

  1. "Grand Chorale," Day for Night 
  2. "Adagietto from Mahler Sym 5," Death in Venice 
  3. "Eben? Ne Andro Lontano from La Wally" Diva
  4. "Promenade Sentimentale," Diva
  5. "Suite," La Dolce Vita 
  6. "Concerto in e minor," The Double Life of Veronique 
  7. "Otto E Mezzo," 8 ½ 
  8. "Emmanuelle," Emmanuelle
  9. "Theme," Fellini Satyricon 
  10. "Learning Time," La Femme Nikita 
  11. "Theme," Fort Saganne 
  12. "Overture," Guns for San Sebastian 
  13. "Suite," The Hairdresser's Husband 
  14. "The Honeymoon Song," Honeymoon
  15. "Jean de Florette," Jean de Florette

Disc 3

  1. "Main Title/Vacances," Jules et Jim 
  2. "Suite," Juliet of the Spirits 
  3. "The Tango," Last Tango in Paris 
  4. "Main Themes," Life is Beautiful 
  5. "Un Homme et une Femme," A Man and A Woman
  6. "Today It's You," A Man and A Woman
  7. "Jacques Tati Suite," Mon Oncle/Playtime 
  8. "Theme," Never on Sunday 
  9. "Romanza," Novecento (1900) 
  10. "Jill's Theme," Once Upon a Time in The West 
  11. "L'enfant," Opera Sauvage 
  12. "Suite," Phaedra 
  13. "Girl on a Bicycle," Il Postino 
  14. "Chi Mai," Le Professional 
  15. "Valse Crespesculaire," Providence 

 Disc 4

  1. "Lullaby," Queen Margot
  2. "Theme," The Red Tent 
  3. "Main Theme," Fellini's Roma 
  4. "Theme," The Sicilian Clan 
  5. "Theme," State of Siege 
  6. "Suite," La Strada 
  7. "Masquerade," Subway 
  8. "Suite," The Tin Drum 
  9. "Main Theme," Topkapi 
  10. "Theme," Umbrellas of Cherbourg 
  11. "Mathilde's Theme," A Very Long Engagement 
  12. "Theme," I Vitelloni
  13. "Theme," The Young Girls of Rochefort 
  14. "Theme," Z 
  15. "Zorba's Dance," Zorba The Greek

Greatest Cinema Choral Classics 2 discs released 2006

Due to the popularity of its Cinema Choral Classics trilogy, Silva Film Music released this 2 disc follow-on album. Of the 26 tracks on the two discs I have the original soundtrack recording on either vinyl or CD for 21 of the tracks. Obviously, I love the music. Great music performed by a top notch chorus and orchestra which was recorded, mastered, and manufactured with great care. This is on my list of albums I would want if I was stranded on a desert isle. 

Disc 1

  1. "Carmina Burana O Fortuna"
  2. "Platoon," Agnus Dei
  3. "Battle Of The Heroes," Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
  4. "Kyrie for the Magdalene," The Da Vinci Code
  5. "The Riddle Of Steel/Riders Of Doom," Conan The Barbarian
  6. "Conquest Of Paradise," 1492: Conquest Of Paradise
  7. "Concerto In e minor," The Double Life Of Veronique
  8. "The Empire State Building/Beauty, Killed The Beast," King Kong
  9. "On Earth As It Is In Heaven," The Mission
  10. "End Credits," The Abyss
  11. "Dry Your Tears," Afrika Amistad
  12. "Only The Beginning Of The Adventure," The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
  13. "Suite," The Lion In Winter

Disc 2

  1. "Suite," The Omen
  2. "Evenstar," The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
  3. "Main Title/Ice," Dance Edward Scissorhands
  4. "Resurrection," Passion Of The Christ
  5. "Duel Of The Fates," Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
  6. "In Memoriam," Les Choristes
  7. "Main Title/End Title," The Last Valley
  8. "The Mission," The Sum Of All Fears
  9. "Exsultate Justi," Empire of the Sun
  10. "Missa Luba," Sanctus (If..)
  11. "How The West Was Won," How The West Was Won
  12. "Hymn To The Fallen," Saving Private Ryan
  13. "Non Nobis Domine," Henry V

The Magnificent Westerns 4 discs Released 2006

The 56 tracks contained in this collection cover the gamut of the great western movies from the 1950s to the 2000s. Include in the 56 are five tracks from TV shows of yesteryear:  Bonanza, Rawhide, The High Chaparral, The Virginian, and Wagon Train. Curiously, Clint Eastwood was the star in nine of these movies and one of the TV shows.

The tracks are consistent in their being exciting music with excellent performances and excellent sound. There are also some hidden gems. In the movie A Few Dollars More the character played by Lee Van Cleef carries a pocket watch that plays chimes. These chimes play a crucial part in the final shootout. Over the years I have acquired numerous releases of the music from A Few Dollars More trying to find the chime music without any success. On track 12 of Disc 1, the music from A Few Dollars More, the chimes play not once but twice.

The Crouch End Festival Chorus provides the choral work on several tracks: "Hallelejah Trail," "My Name is Nobody," and "Night Passage." They deliver their usual impeccable performance.

Jason Howard provides the male vocals used in Blazing Saddles, Gunfight at O.K. Corral, High Noon, Rawhide, and Rio Bravo. He is not Frankie Lane (Blazing Saddles and Rawhide) nor Tex Ritter (High Noon), but he does have an excellent voice. Unfortunately, he sings with a British accent. While his accent is noticeable, it does not really take that much away from enjoyment of the music.  The exception, however, is his vocals for Rawhide. For some reason his accent appears to intrude more than on the other tracks. Also, he pronounces "get along little doogies" as "get along little doggies." It is hard to stay immersed in the music when you are laughing. If you like western movies or just good music this album is a must have.

Below is a list of the Silva Music/City of Prague recordings that I own. The list includes the name of the CD, how many CDs are included with the title, and the current price in US dollars on Amazon as of September 1, 2018. The prices on Amazon are highly variable. The price of the Tim Burton Film Music album is shown below as $24.99. I bought that album several weeks ago for $4.25. If you want a particular album and the price is too high check back often as the prices swing dramatically. I have bought a number of these CDs from vendors with ratings of 95% or better in Great Britain and Germany and have had excellent experiences.

Also be aware that a track recording can appear on several different albums. Caveat Emptor.

  • 100 Greatest Film Themes, 6 discs New $19.20
  • American Gangsters, Only MP3 available
  • Bernard Herrmann: The Essential Film Music, 2 discs New $11.20
  • Cinema Choral Classics I,  1 disc Used - Very Good $1.46  REVIEWED
  • Cinema Choral Classics II, 1 disc Used - Very Good $3.11 REVIEWED
  • Cinema Choral Classics III, 1 disc Used - Like New $14.99
  • Comic Strip Heroes Music, 1 disc Used - Very Good $5.30
  • Classic Scores: Zulu/Lion in Winter/Robin and Marian/Last Valley/Walkabout, 4 discs New $32.29
  • European Film Music, 4 discs New $23.31
  • Exodus (Special Limited Collector's Edition), 1 disc New $15.82  New Vinyl $19.99
  • Film Music of Danny Elfman, 1 disc $26.00
  • Film Music of Hans Zimmer Vol. 2, 2 discs New $11.21
  • Film Music of Howard Shore ,1 disc Used - Like New $18.24
  • Film Music by Jerry Goldsmith, 1 disc Used - Very Good $6.75
  • Hunger Games, 1 disc New $10.10
  • James Bond: Gold Collection, 2 discs Used - Like New $14.95
  • Music by Alan Silvestri, 1 disc Used - Like New $14.98
  • Music from Pirates of the Caribbean, 1 disc New $9.00
  • Music From the Films of Steven Spielberg, 1 disc New $24.38
  • Music from the Star Wars Saga, 1 disc New $4.00
  • Music of Game of Thrones, 1 disc New $9.00
  • Music of Hans Zimmer: The Definitive Collection, 6 discs New $18.34
  • Primal: Original Video Game Soundtrack, 1 disc New $40.34
  • Reel Chill Vol. 2, 2 discs Used - Very Good $29.99
  • Robin and Marian, 1 disc New $19.76
  • Romeo & Juliet, (Franco Zeffirelli's) 1 disc New $8.97
  • Science Fiction Album, 4 discs New $22.97
  • Scored! Classic Film Music-Battle, 1 disc New $12.99
  • Shakespeare At the Movies, 2 discs Used - Very Good $.01
  • Six Star Wars Films, 1 disc New $29.00
  • Skating for Gold, 1 disc New $3.90
  • Symphonic Celtic Album, 1 disc New $52.24
  • The Complete Harry Potter, 2 discs New $9.20
  • The Definitive Horror Movie Music Collection, 4 discs New $39.98
  • The Essential Elmer Bernstein Film Collection, 2 discs New $12.50 REVIEWED
  • The Essential Ennio Morricone Music Collection, 2 discs New $6.99
  • The Essential Maurice Jarre, 2 discs Used " - Very Good $2.16
  • The Essential Nino Rota Film Music Collection, 2 discs New $13.75
  • The Essential Thomas Newman, 2 discs New $11.40
  • The Godfather Trilogy, 1 disc Used - Very Good $2.74
  • The Greatest Cinema Choral Classics, 2 discs Used - Like New $49.98
  • The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Film Music Collection, 2 discs New $12.62
  • The Longest Day, 4 discs Used - Very Good $19.62
  • The Magnificent Westerns, 4 discs Used—Like New $12.99
  • The Music of James Horner, 2 discs New $12.50
  • The Music of John Barry: The Definitive Collection, 6 discs New $25.85
  • The Music of John Williams: The Definitive Collection, 6 discs New $44.04
  • The Third Man, 2 discs not listed on Amazon
  • Tim Burton Film Music, 1 disc New $24.99
  • True Grit, 1 disc New $5.99
  • Villa Rides!: The Western Film Music of Maurice Jarre, 1 disc New $11.87