The Sound of Hollywood (16CD Box Set)
Decca Eloquence
Catalogue No.
The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra breathed new life into the orchestral pops repertoire, told new stories and brought in new audiences when it was revived under the conductor John Mauceri in the 1990s. At the centrepiece of this collection are all of the original HBO albums released by Philips from 1991–96.

From Gershwin to Ligeti, The Firebird to Edward Scissorhands, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra breathed new life into the orchestral ‘pops’ repertoire, told new stories and brought in new audiences when it was revived under the conductor John Mauceri in 1990.

From the start, they played to capacity audiences at the Hollywood Bowl, where the Los Angeles Philharmonic had been giving concerts since 1922. Now reformed as a separate ensemble – ‘the world’s greatest pick-up band’, auditioned by Mauceri and his colleagues from freelancers across the West Coast – the new Hollywood Bowl Orchestra played a huge repertoire of classical, contemporary, film and Broadway, and recorded the highlights for Philips.

The mastermind behind their artistic success and uniquely diverse repertoire was Mauceri, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein, who had long worked with equal success in opera, the symphony and musical theatre. Mauceri made the connections that link Holst and Ravel to John Williams and Hans Zimmer, the Korngold and Schoenberg of Vienna to their later identities in California. He showed in sound as well as word how ‘Golden Age’ Hollywood film scores developed from the world of European late-Romanticism and modernism.

Mauceri and his colleagues dug deep into studio libraries to unearth the best, the most original and complete scores available for pieces such as The King and I and familiar ‘standards’ often heard in much later orchestrations. They worked with great singers from all backgrounds, including (featured in this set) Julia Andrews, Patti LuPone and Sylvia McNair. Each individual HBO album was curated by Mauceri to tell a familiar story – love scenes, nightmares, waltzes, the space age, the passing of a day – from an unexpected angle.

The box also includes Mauceri’s Decca albums of My Fair Lady, starring Kiri Te Kanawa and Jeremy Irons, and ‘Schoenberg in Hollywood’ (part of the label’s Entartete Musik series). A booklet essay by Peter Quantrill traces the genesis of the revived Hollywood Bowl Orchestra through Mauceri’s reflections. Costa Pilavachi, who masterminded many of these recordings for Philips offers his own personal insights. Whichever side of the musical tracks you’re from, ‘The Sound of Hollywood’ will take you on new journeys, to unfamiliar destinations. 

CD 1
The Gershwins in Hollywood
Patti Austin; Gregory Hines
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 2
Rodgers & Hammerstein
Complete Overtures
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 3
Rodgers & Hammerstein
The King and I
Julie Andrews · Ben Kingsley
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 4
Patti LuPone sings Irving Berlin
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 5
The Hollywood Bowl on Broadway
Rodgers · Weill · Arlen · Kern
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 6
Lerner & Lowe
My Fair Lady
Kiri Te Kanawa; Jeremy Irons
Sir John Gielgud; Warren Mitchell
London Symphony Orchestra

CD 7
Prelude to a Kiss
The Duke Ellington Album
Dee Bridgewater
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 8
Songs of the Earth
Twenty-five Hours on our Planet
Ravel · Grieg · Nielsen · Debussy · Waxman · Wagner/Stokowski · Schoenberg
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 9
The Great Waltz
J. Strauss II/Tiomkin · Bennett · R. Strauss · Herrmann · Loewe · Prokofiev · Sondheim · Bernstein · Rózsa · Waxman · Steiner · Korngold · Ravel
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 10
Journey to the Stars
A Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure
Blomdahl · Herrmann · Goldsmith · Barron · Waxman · Corigliano · Ligeti · North · Williams · Elfman · Bliss
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 11
Hollywood Dreams
Schoenberg · Rodgers · Steiner · Stravinsky · Newman · Waxman · Bernstein · Arlen · Prokofiev · Korngold · Gore · Barry · Williams
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 12
Hollywood Nightmares
Savino · Steiner · Stravinsky · Williams · Herrmann · Rózsa · Barry · Waxman · Goldsmith
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 13
Always and Forever
Fain · North · Newman · Goldsmith · Waxman · Puccini · Rózsa · E. Bernstein · Morricone · Barry · Korngold · Herrmann · Bennett · Raksin · Steiner · Friedhofer
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 14
The Sound of Hollywood
Newman · Steiner · Gershwin · Stothart · Arlen · Loewe · Herrmann · Korngold · Rodgers · Williams · Barry
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 15
American Classics
Gershwin · Ellington · Bernstein · Adams
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

CD 16
Schoenberg in Hollywood
Suite in G major · Chamber Symphony No. 2 · Theme and Variations, Op. 43b
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


“Let me at once raise three cheers for this joyous recording that touches the heart as well as bringing laughter into the house … I found [Te Kanawa’s] interpretation as endearing as any I’ve heard … John Mauceri sets all the right tempos … and secures first-rate playing.” Gramophone, November 1987 (My Fair Lady)

“Totally idiomatic, highly accomplished performances … More, please!” Gramophone, September 1991 (Hollywood Dreams)

“This first recording by the newly organised Hollywood Pops Orchestra bodes well for the future of orchestral pops on records … If Mauceri and the new Hollywood Bowl Orchestra can maintain the impressive standard set by most of this album, pops lovers have real cause to cheer.” Stereo Review, October 1991 (Hollywood Dreams)

“The world’s most glamorous pick-up band. The style, the opulence, the swing is totally inbred. It isn’t a question of good imitation, of ‘idiomatic’ – it just is.” Gramophone, May 1992 (The Gershwins in Hollywood)

“This is a blues-chaser with an imperishable guarantee!” Gramophone, December 1992 (The Gershwins in Hollywood)

 “Julie Andrews’ technique is so direct and effective that it deserves study … There is no other singer before the public today who understands better how to interpret Rodgers and Hammerstein … The Hollywood forces under Mauceri play as if their lives depended on it.” Opera, November 1992 (The King and I)

“This easily tops musically and in sound quality the five previous recordings of The King and I that I know. If also offers more of Richard Rodgers’ ingratiating score than any of the others.” Stereo Review, December 1992 (The King and I)

“Melodic sweep, rhythmic snap, and luxuriant sound! … in John Mauceri we finally have the first pops conductor since Arthur Fiedler who has an identifiably individual style – with an emphasis on bright, jaunty, clean-lined, warmly engaging zing and zip.” Stereo Review, October 1992 (Rodgers and Hammerstein: Overtures)

“Gorgeously recorded and spectacularly performed … Mauceri’s take on the suite from Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo actually trumps the composer’s own.” Stereo Review, January 1995 (Hollywood Nightmares)

“Irving Berlin gems served up here by John Mauceri and the crack Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.” Stereo Review, August 1995 (Heatwave)

“Enormously exhilarating. Mauceri certainly has his own ideas about Schoenberg’s music, and they are excellently presented by the two Berlin orchestras and by Decca’s lean sound.” Fanfare, November 1997 (Schoenberg in Hollywood)