CD review: The Magical Music of Disney

The Magical Music of Disney by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops is the First of three Disney themed CD’s by conductor Erich, Cincinnati Pops Orchastra and the Indiana University Hooisers the first being Magical Musicals album from 1995 and Disney Spectacular from 1989 with songs from the oldies like Peter, Alice, and Cindy.

Magical Musicals has been in my possession since quite a few years it features songs from The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the king of thieves plus songs from various Disney and Pixar movies like Oliver and Company and Toy Story. It’s rare non-Disney produced albums contain sequel songs. To my knowledge Magic Musicals is the only one.

Four years later Mr. Kunzel and the Orchestra got together again for The Magical Music of Disney featuring songs from Disney feature films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.

Sadly the Aladdin songs are weaker compared to Mermaid and Lion King songs. Most Aladdin are chorus songs with average performance. It is as if the Aladdin arrangement where’d fully developed before recorded. Overall the chorus songs, all but A Whole New World are a let down if compared to the rest of the album. Since this is the only album where Aladdin’s songs are sang in chorus I’ve no material to compare it too.

“So what about A Whole New World? Doesn’t that make up for the quality of the rest. Afterall this beautiful song has been heard in many wonderful arrangements.” You might ask. Yes I’ve rarely heard bad professional arrangements. While this version isn’t ‘bad’ it’s not that ‘good’ either. Just average. It’s a miss.

The real power of an full orchastra and chorus is in the the openings of The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. The first a combi of the amazing “This Land” that always send chills down my spine so epic and bold is it and “Circle of Life”. For Mermaid they played the beautiful “Main Titles” which is a near 100% port from the movie. Just a big grander and bigger. “Prologue” is a shorted version of the movie piece without the dialoge. It’s close to the demo version on “The Music Behind the Magic”. And the musical version as he saw it on stage last year.

So to conclude, yes I recommend every Disney music lover to spend a few bucks on this album. Certainly lovers from the 4 modern smash Disney features The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. But as an Aladdin fanatic and A Whole New World collector is say save this one for a later purchase and invest your money in another CD with a better arrangement like John Tesh’s Pure Movies that will my next review.