Frankel: The Battle of the Bulge

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: The Battle of the Bulge
PERFORMER: Queensland SO/Werner Andreas Albert
CATALOGUE NO: 999 696-2
Benjamin Frankel was a fine composer of concert music, as CPO has already amply shown in its extensive series of recordings. He was also a fine (and prolific) composer of film scores, but I’m not sure that it’s in his best interest to serve up such a large helping without some sort of editorial intervention. The action scenes work best: the tank battles are clearly the equivalent of some grotesque mechanical ballet, and the music has enough space to get up some steam of its own (though would Frankel really have repeated some bars if it hadn’t been for those few extra frames of film to accommodate?). But all too often, a music cue starts confidently in long-shot, then quietens down, presumably for a bit of dialogue, and peters out – fine in the cinema, but unsatisfying on CD. What someone needs to do is make a suite of those parts of the music which are strong enough to stand on their own. And there are plenty: Frankel’s use of leitmotifs for characters and situations means that the bones of a tighter structure are already in place. It’s just a matter of taking a knife to the flab. Martin Cotton