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Noteworthy CD releases

Reviews of five soundtrack collections, from the stellar 'WALL-E' to the haunting score of the legendary 'Gloomy Sunday.'

By Robert NewtonContributor to The Christian Science Monitor / July 4, 2008



WALL-E: Thomas Newman (Walt Disney Records/Pixar)

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With its subtle and appropriate tributes to "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" marbled throughout, Pixar's best film to date displays the talents of eight-time Oscar bridesmaid Thomas Newman at their best. Two story-essential Michael Crawford tracks from "Hello, Dolly!" are included, as is Louis Armstrong's memorable "La Vie en Rose." The obligatory cut from the big music star (Peter Gabriel), "Down To Earth," is warm and calming, but would be disposable if it were not so critical to the end-credits afterstory. The 100 percent recycled brown-bag packaging makes for a release as nearly perfect as the film. Grade: A

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL: John Williams (Concord Records)

Baton-wielding hero to the "Star Wars" generation, John Williams again manages to mimic a wide range of styles while somehow making every piece his own in his 24th collaboration with director Steven Spielberg. In this third "Raiders" sequel, Williams naturally borrows a fair amount of his own classical thunder, but the familiarity is part of the appeal of this alternately serious and playful mini-résumé of sorts. And no matter how many times we hear the energetic refrain of his immortal "Raiders March," it is still not enough (even if four Indiana Jones movies are). Grade: B+

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN: Harry Gregson-Williams (Walt Disney Records)

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