Innocents Abroad and Other Mark Twain Films/Perry

April 29, 2008

Hollywood loves to make films about the stories of Mark Twain and for good reason. At least growing up for me and millions of others, Huckleberry Finn adventures were as well read as Superman comic books! Composers such as Bill Conti, Max Steiner and Jerome Moross have written wonderful scores all with their unique interpretation of Tom, Huck, and life on the Mississippi and now please add to the list William Perry, who in addition to Huckleberry Finn, has written works for (5) other Mark Twain stories.

While it was new to me, all of this material was previously released in the 1980’s on the Premier Recording Label (PRCD1015) entitled “Life on the Mississippi: The Film Music of William Perry”. Naxos, with a much wider distribution, has reintroduced this material and hopefully many more will have the opportunity to enjoy this material.

All of this material was done for television, released through PBS and other major outlets in the world, from 1980 to 1985 and starring the likes of Geraldine Page, Ken Howard, Lillian Gish, Robert Lansing, David Ogden Stiers, and many many others. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn features as you might expect an expansive main theme in “Opening Music, St. Petersburg”, bringing visions of America in its early days. The main theme, which is now known as When Out On The River, is also featured in the “End Credit Music” in a similiar arrangement. “The Raftsmen” features the fine harmonica work of Richard Hayman as well as an abundance of percussion and rhythm in a rollicking foot stomping melody. Don’t look too much for strings on this track as there is very little to be found. Pudd’nhead Wilson has only one selection but it is certainly a good one. Featuring the oboe d’amore and a wordless choir it is a lasting melody that easily puts one in a mood of tranquility. Life On The Mississippi, is a biographical sketch of a young Samuel Clemens and his learning how to pilot a Mississippi riverboat. Perry weaves a good story through his music depicting the splendor of this huge body of water. The (5) tracks range from a tranquil scene to a turn of the century waltz to a little disaster music albiet quite conservative in comparision to what is written today. The Innocents Abroad is a virtual travelog of musical styles that one could liken to Young’s Around The World In 80 Days. Italy, France, America, Greece, and Egypt are all represented in this 9 track suite. The Private History of a Campaign That Failed tells the story of the Civil War in a 4 track suite with a poignant flugelhorn solo in “Lorena”. The Mysterious Stranger, the final film on this CD features a bit of ancient mystic music along with the Vienna Boys Choir.

The majority of this music is written in a rather conservative style with nothing groundbreaking about it at all. Still, it is quite a pleasant listen which has grown on the reviewer with repeated plays. “The Raftsmen” is an exceptional piece and one that should be included in your playlist on your MP3 player. This is a nice CD to add to your collection given the exceptional value that Naxos is in the marketplace. Highly recommended.

Golden Scores Rating is ****

Track listing:

1. Opening Music: St. Petersburg (01:20)

2. Good Time by the River (01:12)

3. Escape from Pap’s Cabin (02:16)

4. Starting Downstream (02:23)

5. The Raftsmen (02:33)

6. Arrival of Royalty (01:05)

7. The Buggy Ride (01:58)

8. Rescuing Jim (01:32)

9. Closing Scene (02:13)

10. End Credit Music (01:50)

Tracks 1-10: Score From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

11. Theme From Pudd’nhead Wilson: Roxy’s Final Walk (02:16)

12. A Pilot on the Mississippi (01:45)

13. The Romance of the River (02:09)

14. Courtship of Emmeline (02:05)

15. Disaster at Night (02:34)

16. The Majestic Mississippi (02:23)

Tracks 11-16: Score From Life on the Mississippi

17. Mark Twain’s Theme (00:39)

18. Paris: The Can – Can (03:32)

19. Gondolas in Venice (01:19)

20. Genoa: The Bathtub Rag (02:59)

21. Julia (01:27)

22. Welcome to Naples (00:57)

23. The Greek Chase (01:37)

24. Egyptian Caravan (00:52)

25. Closing Credits (02:14)

Tracks 17-25: Score From Innocents Abroad

26. Girls Along the Road (01:49)

27. The Games of War/Lorena (03:01)

28. Learning to Ride (01:17)

29. Title Music (01:30)

Tracks 26-29: Score From The Private History of a Campaign That Failed

30. River Scene and Main Titles (03:02)

31. 44 in Fancy Dress (00:51)

32. Fight of the Duplicates (00:39)

33. The Burial of 44 (02:48)

34. Love Scene (02:22)

35. Closing Music (05:21)

Tracks 30-35: Score From The Mysterious Stranger

Total Duration: 01:09:50

Naxos CD# is 8.570200




One Response to “Innocents Abroad and Other Mark Twain Films/Perry”

  1. […] April of 2008 I reviewed another Naxos film release of his music for Mark Twain (Naxos 8.570200).     Were it not for his new release Music For Great Films of the Silent Era and I’d not seen […]

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