The 1950s weren't a great decade for Max Steiner
, despite the fact that he closed it out with one of his biggest hits, the "Theme from "A Summer Place"" -- his health declined and his assignments also were diminished, along with the overall ambitions and output of Hollywood. Helen of Troy
was a bright spot, a bold, sweeping drama set against the background of the ancient world, providing a grand canvas for his work. Steiner
rose to the occasion with one of his best scores of the era, a sweeping, richly colorful and memorable body of music that, in its best moments -- such as the love theme for Helen and Paris -- recalls the best work of Wagner
, and even manages to anticipate the "Summer Place" theme in one spot. This CD, mastered from the original tapes for the score recorded in 1954, offers excellent sound and a good account of the movie and its scoring, and is worth tracking down for serious fans of the composer.