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A musical Journey around the World in fantastic stereophonic Cinerama Sound
Sepia Record's new release "The Best of Cinerama"

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, Germany Date: 24.09.2015
The Sepia Records 2-CD set "The Best of Cinerama" and the vintage Nikreis LP from the 1950s also featuring some musical excerpts of the 5 Cinerama travelogues.

As I am already owning the musical scores of the Cinerama movies "Cinerama Holiday" (USA, 1955), "Seven Wonders of the World" (USA, 1956), "Search for Paradise" (USA, 1957) from Sepia Records, "This is Cinerama" (USA, 1952) and "South Seas Adventure" (USA, 1958) from Label "X" on CDs, I had thought, "most likely only a simple compilation of the scores".

My guess was wrong. This new 2-CD set is really a surprise and a listening pleasure. It contains further new musical highlights of the 5 Cinerama travelogue film scores, all digitally restored from the 35mm magnetic Cinerama films (coats). You can enjoy the music in an impressive sound quality. Now first time on CD produced by Robert Weisgerber! (Thanks to David Strohmaier and Flicker Alley all movies have already been released on Blu-ray discs). On the Cd´s cover is written: "Original Cinerama 7-track recordings mixed and optimized for Dolby Surround Pro Logic II". The website of Sepia Records Label gives following additional information: "The soundtrack here has been mixed in full STEREO from 6 & 7 track Cinerama 35mm full coats and presented in Dolby Surround with music first time on CD. Bonus extras include alternate takes of music from the original 7-track 35mm coats".

CD 1 runs 76 minutes (25 tracks) and CD 2 (15 tracks) 79 minutes – this is in total a musical "Cinerama journey" of 2 hours and 35 minutes. And another treat: CD 2 includes the souvenir "The musical Wonders of Cinerama" (in Mono) from the rare old British Nikreis LP Record (see image at the report´s beginning) which was most likely published with the release of "South Seas Adventure" in the US in 1958 and in the UK in 1959. Of course, this music has also been restored. At the time, there were also sold diverse 7" EP records (45 RPM), also from Nikreis label, featuring musical selections of the previous Cinerama travelogues – even here in Germany: "Die 7 Weltwunder", mit dem Zusatz: "…eine musikalische Erinnerung" / "Seven Wonders of the World", with the addendum: "…a musical reminder".

With this 2-CD edition, Robert C. Weisgerber (the CD's Producer) and John Polito (Digital Restoration and Editorial Engineer) and all the others who worked on this project have done an excellent job – also a thank you to Sepia Records. Now for your CD player at home: The musical highlights of all 5 Cinerama travelogues together – the first ever multi-track discrete stereophonic sound in motion pictures.

Here some interesting information (an excerpt) taken from the CD´s booklet:

"The Best of Cinerama" anthology project took almost a year to put together which resulted in two jam-packed CDs. We decided to incorporate limited introduction narration by Lowell Thomas to help pull together a cohesive flow of the compilation score of the five Cinerama travel – adventure films. Scored by some of the greatest film composers of the time: Max Steiner, Morton Gould, Emil Newton, Jerome Moross, Dimitri Tiomkin and Alex North, to name a few, the music is outstanding. Recorded in 7-channel Cinerama sound most of the films were mixed by the famed Academy Award nominee Dick Vorisek. The sound quality of this 2-CD release, in all respects, is remarkable. Recorded at the famed Cinerama studio in Oyster Bay, Long Island, and also in New York´s Carnegie Hall, the Hazard Reeves Cinerama sound is breathtaking. Also keep in mind that the recordings were made in the fifties before the introduction of stereophonic sound LP technology. (Author´s comment: Hazard Reeves (July, 1906 – December, 1986), sound engineer and pioneer in magnetic sound recording, designed Cinerama´s 7-track stereo magnetic recording and playback system start of the 1950s)
More in 70mm reading:

Remastering the soundtrack of "The Best Of Cinerama"

Re-constructing “The Best of Cinerama”. And a new restoration of “This is Cinerama” from o-negs

in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Cinerama Remaster

Gerhard Witte's in70mm.com Library

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Updated 07-01-23