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Prince Valiant (1954) is one of Franz Waxman's greatest scores: a stirring knights-and-adventure work in the classic symphonic tradition of The Adventures of Robin Hood and Star Wars. It features a dynamic set of themes and variations: a brash, heroic melody for Prince Valiant (Robert Wagner), swelling love music for Princess Aleta (Janet Leigh), a noble theme for Sir Gawain (Sterling Hayden), malevolent material for Sir Brack (James Mason), and many other motives and melodies for the settings and ideas.
Charles Gerhardt (to whom this album is dedicated) recorded a suite from Prince Valiant to open his Classic Film Scores of Franz Waxman volume in the early 1970s. This CD presents the premiere release of the original soundtrack as conducted by Waxman for the film. It has been remixed in stereo from the original 35mm magnetic film elements and carries forth the crisp, energetic playing of the 20th Century Fox studio orchestra.
Fortunately, almost all of the score has survived in excellent condition, particularly the exciting and action-filled material for the movie's third act, when Valiant is captured and must escape to fight his enemies. Sadly, certain incidental fanfares have been lost, and an eight-minute swath of music was afflicted with noticeable mag wow--this has been included at the end of the disc as a bonus track.
Prince Valiant has long been one of the most requested scores from the Fox archives—at one time Varese Sarabande had announced it, but only temporarily—and finally, here it is! The 16-page booklet features stills from the Fox archives, rare photographs of the composer, and liner notes by Doug Adams.