Even though it relies heavily on film scorer John Barry's by-now formulaic (if no less effective) methodology of fusing his distinctively luxuriant string arrangements with the music of whatever time or locale the score sets out to evoke (in this case, largely the Hollywood of the 1910s and '20s), the composer triumphed once again, garnering his second Academy Award nomination of the 1990s. Perhaps because of the years he spent dues-paying with English pop and jazz combos, Barry gets inside this period jazz and ragtime with both enthusiasm and, more importantly, taste, recalling similar effective efforts on Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club.
For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This double-disc version showcases all of Phantom's songs, with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs–which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.
The most famous and enduringly successful composer of nineteenth-century light music, Johann Strauss II captivated not only Vienna but the whole of Europe and America with his abundantly tuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and marches. This unique collection brings together for the first time ever his entire orchestral output.
Having recently declared that he's in far better voice than he was in his '70s/'80s heyday, romantic crooner Julio Iglesias gets to put his money where his mouth is on this alternative greatest-hits collection, Vol. 1. His first studio release since 2007's Quelque Chose de France sees Spain's most successful musical export revisit 15 of his most cherished songs from his enduring 40-year career, with tracks spanning from 1973's Un Canto a Galicia (the title track) right up to 2006's Romantic Classics (a Spanish-language version of Elvis' "Always on My Mind"). But other than the inevitable maturity in Iglesias' voice and a slightly glossier production, there's little variation between the originals and the new recordings…
Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels managed to turn Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan's recurring one-joke skit about two clueless clubheads into a major motion picture. That's why they call him an entrepreneur. More importantly, the soundtrack to said film makes a good excuse for a compilation full of surefire club hits whose sights are set squarely on the dancefloor. From the inescapable "What Is Love" (Haddaway) to 3rd Party's revamped version of M's '80s hit "Pop Muzik," A Night at the Roxbury is a nonstop dancefest, full of relentless beats and hooky synth riffs guaranteed to fire up even the most lackluster of parties.