Wuthering Heights/Michel Legrand

April 25, 2009

wuthering_heights_lllcd10871

American International Pictures, known for horror, Roger Corman, all night drive-in ’B’ movies, hot rods, rock and roll, and bikini clad girls tried to offer audiences a film of real substance in 1970. I think that Nicholson and Arkoff, founders and producers, hoped to polish the image of the studio AIP by showing it could make an ‘A’ picture. The classic Emily Bronte novel Wuthering Heights was directed by Robert Fuest, starred Anna Calder-Marshall and Timothy Dalton, filmed at Shepperton Studios in England and actually had a modest budget to work with considering it hired Michel Legrand for the score, and the Bergman’s for lyrics to the “I Was Born In Love With You,” the song they hoped would rise to the top of the charts. This was a time in Hollywood when a film hoped to have a #1 song to produce advertising and revenue. While the song performed by the Mike Curb Congregation, for record only, never reached the popularity AIP hoped for it was certainly an asset to the film itself. While I still consider the Oscar nominated Alfred Newman score to the 1939 William Wyler version starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon a classic, this version is certainly worth a look and the “Theme from Wuthering Heights” is certainly as noteworthy as Newman’s. You can’t really compare them but you can certainly enjoy both! Both films are heads above the 1953/54 Luis Bunuel film, shot in Mexico, and featuring the music of Richard Wagner. I can’t comment because I haven’t seen the film but opera from Tristan and Isolde seems like ketchup on vanilla ice cream to me. There are several more versions and as I type there is a 2009 film being done for television. The list of remakes goes on like Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.

https://sdtom.wordpress.com/2006/09/22/wuthering-heightsalfred-newman/Michel Legrand featured his Cathy or “Theme from Wuthering Heights” as the primary one, using it with delicacy for the flutes in the opening title, yearning strings, stately French horns, mixing it with other motifs such as “Rendezvous on the Moors,” “Castle Grounds,” and other instruments throughout the 46+ minute score. “Yorkshire Moors” uses the modern guitar to sound baroque like, an interesting orchestration that is mixed with the “Wuthering Heights” theme, flutes, harpsichord, a dissonant horn, and oboe. “Cathy’s Theme” is a lush romantic version of the “Theme from Wuthering Heights” offering many solos from the London Studio Orchestra members including harp, flute, violin, and oboe. “The Grange,” quite modern sounding like a traffic sequence is mixed with the gloomy harpsichord chords to make for an interesting mixture in this cue. “Hindley” is one of those tracks that is made up of several different smaller cues ranging from trumpet fanfares, lower register brass, “Theme from Wuthering Heights,” and church type music. The mixture works well as a nice underscore track.

While limited to 1200 units this release is still available and well worth exploring. It would make a nice edition to go along with the classic Newman score in your collection.

Maintitles Rating is ***½

CD# is LLLCD 1087

Music is composed and conducted by Michel Legrand and performed by the London Studio Orchestra

Produced by Gerhard and Verboys

Track listing:

1. I Was Born In Love With You (Theme from Wuthering Heights – Instrumental) (02:07)

 

2. Yorkshire Moors (02:38)

 

3. Le Grand Holiday (02:45)

 

4. Castle Grounds (01:18)

 

5. Hindley (03:38)

 

6. The Grange (01:32)

 

7. Rendezvous In The Moors (02:54)

 

8. Cathy’s Theme (04:42)

 

9. Wuthering Heights (02:23)

(Previously unreleased track)

10. Mystical Moors (02:33)

 

11. Reprises for Heathcliff (05:27)

 

12. Ghost of Cathy (01:30)

 

13. Wuthering Heights Dirge (04:08)

 

14. Isabella (04:08)

 

15. Mourning for Cathy (01:37)

 

16. Heathcliff and Cathy (01:41)

 

17. I Was Born In Love With You (Theme from Wuthering Heights) (03:07)

Vocal by The Mike Curb Congregation

Total Time is 46:46

 

 

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