Digital Space/Morton Gould

August 17, 2007

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Morton Gould was quite a familiar name to me growing up, my father having several of his RCA long play albums in his collection. The oh so infectious tune “Limehouse Blues” from Blues In The Night, “Slaughter On 10th Ave”, and The Grand Canyon Suite were just some of the ones that I remember. Many of you reading this are not familiar with Morton at all as his original compositions are not household names. Making the top 40 list was not his cup of tea.In 1985 Varese Sarabande was becoming involved with digital technology (thus the name of the album), and this album was a wonderful showcase example for the company using the new soundstream digital recording techniques. And the selection of material was certainly unique with Windjammer, The Red Pony, and Passionate Friends. The title of the album is actually quite misleading given the fact that other than the two Star Wars selections the album doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Digital Space unless you want to consider “wide open spaces” and then we can count Big Country, Windjammer, and The Red Pony. Given the artwork cover and any lack of what is included on the front you could have very easily passed this up as yet another compilation with Horner, Williams, and Goldsmith and their science fiction hits when it was available as a new release. Luckily for this reviewer the Gould name got my attention while shuffling through the long play albums and it was my introduction to some soundtracks I had never listened to before!

This compilation is filled with music from composers that love to tell stories through their writing. You feel like your at sea when you hear Windjammer. You feel the hustle and bustle of life on the ranch in The Red Pony. Spitfire is the plane taking off, soaring, and diving. Close your eyes and you can just visualize any of 30 different things going on at a huge metropolitan airport in the Newman Airport Theme. While Rozsa is still Rozsa his western theme to Tribute To A Badman comes through loud and clear. Things To Come, 49th Parallel, and Passionate Friends, are very British and again seldom played. That Hamilton Woman is before Spellbound but you can hear strains and ideas already forming. In fact the two Star Wars pieces could be the only ones on this compilation that you are familiar with! They, as well as John Williams, need no introduction to any of you.

In conclusion, this is certainly one of the older releases that I would seek out for your collection. The conducting of Morton Gould and the playing of the London Symphony Orchestra are a bonus. Keep in mind that if you do locate the long play it does not include Passionate Friends and the Princess Leia theme. Those are reserved for the CD release. There is a lot of negative discussion about compilation releases. The tempo isn’t right. The orchestration is different. The miking is different. I don’t feel that this release should be included in those discussions. Just enjoy it!!!

Golden Score Rating is (****1/2)

Engineered by Brian B. Culverhouse

Produced by Jerome E. Ruzicka

Varese Sarabande # VCD 47229

 

Track listing1. Main Title (03:00)

WINDJAMMER (Gould) 1958

2. Main Title (03:10)

THE BIG COUNTRY (Moross) 1958

3. Main Title (03:33)

AIRPORT (Newman) 1970

4. Morning On The Ranch (04:27)

THE RED PONY (Copland) 1948

5. Epilogue (03:00)

THINGS TO COME (Bliss) 1936

6. Love Theme (04:47)

THAT HAMILTON WOMAN (Rozsa) 1941

7. Main Title (05:51)

STAR WARS (Williams) 1977

8. Princess Leia Theme (05:32)

STAR WARS (Williams) 1977

9. Suite (04:51)

TRIBUTE TO A BADMAN (Rozsa) 1956

10. Main Title (04:18)

PASSIONATE FRIENDS (Addinsell) 1949

11. Prelude (02:25)

49th PARALLEL (Vaughan Williams) 1940

12. Prelude and Fugue (08:09)

SPITFIRE (Walton) 1942

Total Duration: 00:53:03

 

 

Since the time I reviewed Digital Space Citadel Records (STC 77140) has introduced the same album with the addition of Street Scene (Newman) and Sea Hawk Suite (Korngold) , a total of 15+ minutes of unreleased material.

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