Berlioz was the first Romantic master of the orchestra. His music hasn't been surpassed in terms of sheer brilliance and accuracy of effect. This set includes all of the overtures, the Symphonie fantastique, Harold in Italy, the Royal Hunt and Storm from Les Troyens, orchestral music from The Damnation of Faust and Romeo and Juliet, and the completely insane Grande Symphonie funebre et triumphale. Davis achieved his reputation as a conductor as a Berlioz specialist, and he proves an expert advocate on behalf of this stimulating, bizarre, and totally original genius.
The Lemon Pipers' Golden Classics is a mid-priced collection spotlighting several of the bubblegum band's late-'60 tracks, including "Rice Is Nice," "Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade)," and their number one hit from 1967, "Green Tambourine." This Collectables compilation alongside Buddah's Best of the Lemon Pipers: Green Tambourine are just about equal in sound quality and definitive track listing.
Richard Wagner's reputation rests on his tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the other music dramas he created, including Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal, which revolutionized all aspects of late Romantic music and left their mark on modern music as well. Yet there is a small body of non-operatic works that shows a more relaxed Wagner working on a much smaller scale: his Siegfried Idyll for chamber orchestra, a group of songs, and a collection of pieces for piano. This double CD by Pier Paolo Vincenzi presents Wagner's complete piano music with three sonatas, a large-scale fantasia, and eleven short pieces that show the composer's attempts at finding a more personal and intimate voice.
Forrest Gump (1994) is one of the most successful films ever made, winning Tom Hanks his second successive Best Actor Oscar (he won the previous year for Philadelphia) as well as claiming the Best Picture Oscar and many other awards and nominations, including several for music. A unique fable of American life from the 1950s to the 80s, the film blends comedy, drama, war, romance and groundbreaking special effects into a social and political portrait of the passing years, all seen through the eyes of the intellectually challenged but immensely likeable Forrest Gump. The soundtrack is a double album featuring 31 classic pop tunes plus a suite from Alan Silvestri's rich orchestral music, represented more completely on the companion score album. Opening with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", this is a fine anthology of three decades of American music, taking in everything from Joan Baez's "Blowin' In The Wind" to Aretha Franklin's "Respect", The Mammas and The Papas' "California Dreamin'" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson". Here also is Scott McKenzie with "San Francisco", plus Jefferson Airplane, the Supremes, Lynyrd Skynrd and many more. Like American Graffiti (1973), this is one of the great pop soundtracks, happily at home in just about any music collection.