FSM presents the Miklós Rózsa Treasury (1949-1968), a 15CD set celebrating one of the giants of film music. In this single package FSM makes available virtually every surviving, as-yet-unreleased note from the composer’s fertile and productive association with M-G-M.
Carter Burwell's score for Joel & Ethan Coen's cinematic version of Charles Portis' novel True Grit (they consciously decided to ignore the original Oscar-winning film because they considered it a bore) is rooted in the world view of its main character, the outrageously self-righteous Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld). Burwell used classic Protestant hymns as inspirations; in some cases bits from the classic hymns themselves – “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand” (by Franklin L. Eiland), “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (by Charles Converse), “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” (by Elisha A. Hoffman & Anthony J. Showalter), “Talk About Suffering” (Traditional), and “The Glory-Land Way” (by J.S. Torbett) – for his cues. These pieces in particular, from the opening theme, "The Wicked Flee," "A Methodist and a Son of a Bitch," and "I Will Carry You," all begin simply, lyrically, almost reverentially before giving way to grander pieces of music that reflect the land and history.
The soundtrack to Christina Aguilera's silver screen debut Burlesque shines the spotlight on Xtina, who is in full-bore diva mode – a return to the splashy swing of Back to Basics after the robotic R&B of Bionic. Of course, many of her collaborators from Bionic remain on Burlesque: Tricky Stewart is responsible for the glitzy dance, and Sia Furler co-writes the ballads, their contributions slotted between two Cher songs designed to push the narrative forward, two Etta James covers, a slice of heavy camp in the mincing "But I’m a Good Girl", and a Nicole Scherzinger co-written interpolation of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" that provides a bewildering conclusion to this soundtrack. Some of this stuff is quite good, particularly when Christina swings her hips to Etta's lead, bringing to mind the zest of "Ain’t No Other Man".
Cecilia Bartoli recreates the 1828 triumph of the legendary Maria Malibran - original star and dedicatee of Halévy's "tragi-comedy", Clari. Tracing the love of a callow country-girl for a duplicitous Duke, this hugely entertaining and first-ever modern production of Clari proved the overwhelming hit of the Zurich Opera season. Zurich Opera's own period-instrument orchestra, La Scintilla, under Adam Fischer, contribute a thoroughly researched, stylistically and historically well-informed accompaniment, yet without neglecting the liveliness and spirit of Italian opera.