The Beast Within/Baxter

September 25, 2010

There have been eight Les Baxter releases in the last eighteen months four of them are already sold out in this age of limited edition material. A few copies of this later work from Les Baxter are still available from Intrada (Special Collection #132). This 1982 film from MGM starring Ronnie Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemons and Don Gordon which the director Philippe Mora called an “encyclopedia of horror movies” makes use of the new shape-shifting art beast special effects. The main character in the movie had a desire for human beings for food, enough said about that.

Les Baxter must have had heart palpitations when he discovered he had a budget over minimum wage and a 60+ piece orchestra to work with. While it was to be his last horror film it was a good one. In fact this reviewer is surprised it has not sold out like so many of his previous releases.

The “Main Title” is a strong melodic theme which is tragic in nature but with a hint of something to come which is what Les wrote for the film. Apparently the melody was too schmaltzy for the producers as parts of “Beastly Transformation” were substituted in its place which definitely has more of a horror sound. As a stand alone track this is one of the better ones from Baxter. The end of the “End Credits” which is very similar to the “Main Title” was also eliminated from the film as not being horrific enough. Go figure because I can’t; but then again I’m certainly not the market they were looking at when the picture was made.

In between there are a good selection of horror cues mixed with tremulous fluttering strings, dissonant chords from brass, strings, piano, and well placed percussion along with weird sounds from the synthesizer where appropriate. This is not the type of the material you’re going to sit back and get lulled to sleep with. In fact with Halloween fast approaching there are some tracks that would lend itself to background music to greet the kids. “Beastly Transformation” is a good example of one that could be used to frighten.

This is yet another score from Baxter that I enjoy and will revisit from time to time. While it has more impact because of budget it merely enhances the film I’m sure and made it much easier for Baxter. This recording was edited and remastered from the two track stereo tape elements thus a true stereo sound. The minor imperfections noted by producer Douglass Fake were barely detectible if at all. I did notice a distorted bass chord at the beginning of the main title but it quickly disappeared. The liner notes from Daniel Schweiger provided ample information about the film as well as a track by track analysis of this 58 minute soundtrack. Take advantage of the fact that there are still copies left and pick one up sooner rather than later.

Intrada Special Collection #132

Track listing:

1. Main Title (02:07)

2. The Beast (01:25)

3. Alone In The Forest (05:32)

4. The Scary Dream (03:22)

5. Horrifying Discovery (00:41)

6. Patient Escapes (04:20)

7. Attack Of The Newspaper Man (01:48)

8. Skeletons Uncovered (04:41)

9. Embalmed Alive (03:36)

10. Crystal Ball (01:18)

11. He Ain’t My Father (00:38)

12. Attack Of The Doctor (01:29)

13. Electrocution Of An Indian (02:28)

14. Bloodthirsty (05:43)

15. Beastly Convulsions (02:14)

16. Beastly Transformation (04:12)

17. Flight Of The Judge (02:35)

18. Beast Destroyed And End Credits (09:20)

Total Duration: 00:57:29

“Hell’s Belles”/Baxter

September 24, 2010

The new releases, (8) of them counting this one from Les Baxter in the last year and a half keep coming out, and this reviewer is happy that he is getting the recognition he deserves. This latest release is a long line of films that Les did for American International with this one having the honor of not being done by Roger Corman. This new release of 1200 copies includes the original release on Sidewalk/Mike Curb ST5919 of 24 minutes plus 17 additional minutes of unreleased material.

Having been relegated to the MGM Midnight Movie series it is coupled with the Peter Fonda/Nancy Sinatra ‘B’ blockbuster Wild Angels, another Corman/AIP picture. Filmed in Arizona the film stars Jeremy Slate, Jocelyn Lane, and Adam Roarke and is a western flavor with motorcycles. Leather mini-skirt woman running around in the desert; draw your own conclusions. Usually I make an effort to watch a film before I review the music but in this case I’m making an exception.

The Baxter score somewhat amazes me. My first listen was a surprise given the small size of the orchestra and I came away with the feeling that this score could have been in any number of different types of films. Given a little more of a budget from American International for some strings, reeds, and larger brass section and you could have a pretty cool sounding orchestral theme that a pops orchestra would play. As it is written for a septet, it really has a unique flavor given the budget, Baxter really did a nice job. He blends the organ, percussion, brass, harmonica and guitar well. Knowing the plot I might have expected a western sound mixed with biker music and rock and roll. It is not really any of the three. The closest you get to western is the harmonica solo! The “Wheels” theme or main title is also featured on “Hogin’ Machine.” Chuck Cowan with a typical sounding voice of the time is featured on “Hells Belles,” “Goin’, Home,” and “Travelin’ Man.” “Take It From Me,” Track 6 and 14 is material that could be included in the top 40 instrumental side of recordings with the brass performing the melody and the piano offering the harmony in the background. “Scooby Doo” is another catchy theme which could be part of an instrumental album. is also repeated on the bonus track “Gang Rides Through the Hills.” “Cathy Reminisces” is as close as you’ll get to any sort of western flavor offering a harmonica tune you might hear sitting around a campfire.

The recording is from a mono mix soundtrack which was remastered at Outland by James Nelson. Liner notes are nicely done by Randall Larson, who provides more information than you’ll ever want to know about the film. In addition he gives a track by track musical analysis of the material.

Baxter fans have another to add to their growing collection of material. The rest of the readers might want to have a listen and enjoy something slightly unique. If you want a bit of controversy with this release it is do you spell it Scooby or Scoobee??

CD# is La-La Land LLLCD1149

Track Listing:

1. Wheels (Main Titles) (02:49)

2. Hell’s Belles (01:52)

3. Soul Groove (02:12)

4. Dan’s Theme (02:28)

5. Hot Wind (01:50)

6. Take It from Me (02:02)

7. Chain Fight (02:25)

8. Travelin’ Man (01:43)

9. Dan Again (01:29)

10. Hogin’ Machine (01:34)

11. Scoobee Doo (01:56)

12. Goin’ Home (00:53)

13. Travelin’ Man (01:57)

14. Take It From Me (Source)/Gila Monster/ Cathy Left Behind/Mongoose Gets Beans (08:05)

15. Gang Rides through the Hills/ Tosses Bike Over Bank/Snake Or Rope (03:30)

16. Cathy Reminisces/ Cathy Reminisces Part 2 (01:57)

17. End Credits (01:57)

Tracks 13-17 – Bonus Tracks

Total Duration: 00:40:39

Before John Barry started a long and illustrious career in the film industry this new soundtrack Silva release (SILCD 1307) Drumbeat, a short-lived 22 week program on the BBC in 1959 that featured Adam Faith, Mary O’Brien,( Dusty Springfield), and the young trumpet player leader of the John Barry Seven as well as conductor of the Johnny Prendy Orchestra. When was the last time you saw groups in white shirts and ties. It is hard for this reviewer to fathom and as I listened to it I pondered what if the group had a huge hit and became wildly successful would we as soundtrack enthusiasts not had Goldfinger, Born Free or any of 100+ scores?

A word of caution! Don’t look at this release as a soundtrack but as an ‘oldie but goodie’ release of nostalgic material that includes John Barry or any other individual you have an interest in. I’m sure that if you look at this material as revisiting your past you’ll be quite comfortable in your purchase. On my first listen the Duane Eddy standard “Rebel Rouser,” performed by the John Barry Seven instantly got my attention as this was something that I enjoyed as a teenager. Being the soundtrack lover I enjoyed Eddy’s rock and roll version of Peter Gunn as well as several other instrumental versions of popular songs of the era. I don’t think that Julie London or Frank Sinatra having anything to worry about as far as Dennis Lotis singing “I’m In The Mood for Love.” Revisiting this material made me realize how silly some of our lyrics were and how much Adam Faith tried to sound like Elvis Presley and how little Dusty Springfield sounded like what she evolved into with her sultry “The Look of Love” and other hits.

The John Barry collector will want this recording to complete his collection. If you enjoy listening to the old time rock and roll you’ll also enjoy this 40 song compilation of material especially if you’re from the baby boomer generation like this reviewer. For any on the picky side I quote from the notes. “These tracks have been mastered from the original vinyl. Although the greatest possible care has been taken during this process, it’s possible that some tracks show slight deterioration in sound quality.” Considering the source material the remastering by Rick Clark is more than acceptable. I can remember our 45’s not sounding all that great and this is a huge improvement. This release is nostalgic and a lot of fun.

Track listing

1. Bees Knees

The John Barry Seven

2. Shame On You, Miss Johnson

The Kingpins & The Millermen

3. I Go Ape

Roy Young and The John Barry Seven

4. Catwalk

Bob Miller and The Millermen

5. Its Late

Vince Eager and The John Barry Seven

6. Easy

Sylvia Sands and The Millermen

7. Little John

The John Barry Seven

8. Say Mama

Adam Faith and The John Barry Seven

9. This Should Go On Forever

Vince Eager and The Millermen

10. Beatnik

Bob Miller and The Millermen

11. Fallin’

Sylvia Sands and The Millermen

12. Italian Style

The Raindrops and The Millermen

13. Get Happy

Dennis Lotis and The Millermen

14. Rockin’ Sandy

Bob Miller and The Millermen

15. Hey! Miss Fannie!

The Raindrops and The Millermen

16. C’Mon Everybody

Adam Faith and The John Barry Seven

17. Oh! Oh! Oh! I’m In Love

Sylvia Sands and The Millermen

18. Rebel Rouser

The John Barry Seven

19. Slippin’ & Slidin’

Roy Young and The John Barry Seven

20. Don’t Leave Me (Like This)

The Kingpins & The Millermen

21. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Vince Eager and The John Barry Seven

22. Compulsion

Bob Miller and The Millermen

23. Believe What You Say

Adam Faith and The John Barry Seven

24. Mad Mab

The John Barry Seven

25. I’m In The Mood For Love

Dennis Lotis and The Millermen

26. Good Rockin’ Tonight

The John Barry Seven, Bob Miller and The Millermen

27. I Vibrate

Adam Faith and The John Barry Seven

28. Buzzin’

Lana Sisters and The Millermen

29. Drumbeat

Bob Miller and The Millermen

30. She Said Yeah

Roy Young and The John Barry Seven

31. Little Dipper

Bob Miller and The Millermen

32. Love Me In The Daytime

Sylvia Sands and The Millermen

33. Tall Paul

The Three Barry Sisters and The Johnny Prendy Orchestra

34. I-Ay ove-lay Oo-Yay

The Three Barry Sisters and The Johnny Prendy Orchestra

35. Jo-Jo The Dog-Faced Boy

The Three Barry Sisters and The Johnny Prendy Orchestra

36. Ah, Poor Little Baby!

Adam Faith

37. Come on Baby

Derry Hart and The Hartbeats

38. Big Blon’ Baby

Larry Page and The Saga Satellites

39. Throw All Your Lovin’ My Way

Larry Page and The Saga Satellites

40. Little Old Fashioned Love

Larry Page and The Saga Satellites

Nantucket Dreaming/Cooman

September 20, 2010

For a twenty eight year man Carson has certainly kept himself busy considering his opus numbers which exceed over 800 as of 2009. This is in addition to writer, reviewer, and musical consultant. Apparently he has learned how to survive without sleep! This new recording on (Naxos 8.559655), which consists of eight different works all inspired by beautiful Nantucket Island, is yet another example of new material to explore on the American Classics series. Having lived in the Boston area for a small part of my life I must confess the title of the work was what got my attention to explore the material further.

Including the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra performing “Miacomet Dreaming” and “Flying Machine,” Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra in “Shawkeno Dreaming,” Chris Gekker on Flueghorn for “Nobadeer Dreaming,” a Bassoon Quintet featuring Roman Mesina, solo piano nocturne with Jeffrey Grossman in “Madaket Dreaming,” a Lyric Trio, and a String Quartet performing “Sankaty Dreaming” you know your in for a varied and unique 70 minutes of listening. Each tells a story and invokes some particular feeling from the listener from sad to happy to pensive or really just shut your eyes and imagine your own landscape or situation. After several listens there seems to be a common thread that somehow bonds all of these pieces together when looking at the track listing of the works it would make no sense at all. Hightlights for this reviewer include the “Flying Machine” which conjures up images of all sorts of soaring experiences. There is a reference to the L. Bernstein song “Maria” from the brass section halfway into the work. “Nobadeer Dreaming” is the first piece that this reviewer has heard written for Flugelhorn, an instrument I always associated with Maynard “Rocky” Ferguson. I was very impressed with the playing ability of Chris Gekker. It made me relive my hours of practice on the trombone trying to achieve that good tone. The “Madaket Dreaming” is a very easy to digest nocturne.

The work is all premiere recordings and is well recorded and mastered. The liner notes are provided by the composer giving further insight to how it came from thoughts to notes and what inspired Carson. While there are some dissonant passages you can still put this work in a lyrical/melodic category that after the first listen is quite easy to become easily comfortable with. This CD or download is well worth investing in.

The recording listed below is also available on Naxos Classics Online or on CD. It will be reviewed separately at a later date.

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic conducted by Kirk Trevor perform Cooman Symphonies 2 and 3, Partita, Violin Sonata, and Piano Concerto (Naxos 8.559329)

Track Listing:

Miacomet Dreaming, Op. 781

1. Miacomet Dreaming, Op. 781 00:06:21

Nobadeer Dreaming, Op. 784

2. Nobadeer Dreaming, Op. 784 00:03:13

Bassoon Quintet, Op. 764

3. Bassoon Quintet, Op. 764 00:13:03

Madaket Dreaming, Op. 774

4. Madaket Dreaming, Op. 774 00:05:04

Shawkemo Dreaming, Op. 811

5. Shawkemo Dreaming, Op. 811 00:05:16

Lyric Trio, Op. 710

6. I. Red Darkness 00:03:49

7. II. The Thousand Candles 00:04:04

8. III. Windswept 00:01:18

9. IV. Whispering Wings 00:03:16

10. V. Towards Light 00:02:02

11. VI. Let Evening Come 00:04:39

String Quartet No. 4, Op. 461, “Sankaty Dreaming”

12. I. Capriccio 00:04:59

13. II. Elegy and Arias 00:06:19

Flying Machine, Op. 775

14. Flying Machine, Op. 775 00:07:55

Total Playing Time: 01:11:18

Naxos CD# 8.559655


September 16, 2010

Giuseppe Tornatore/Ennio Morricone has been a collaboration that began in 1988 with the film Cinema Paradiso and has continued with such films as The Starmaker, Legend of 1900, and Malena. Their latest film Baaria, slang for the town of Bagheria, is an autobiographical account of where Tornatore grew up in Sicily spanning three generations. Tornatore who had not made a film for five years spent 30 million dollars, wrote the screenplay, and features many of the top stars of Italy shot in beautiful locations with breathtaking scenery all the ingredients for a box office blockbuster. To most this film has been a major disappointment as somehow Giuseppe drifted away from his template of success. It was nominated for a Golden Globe and premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival in January 2010 in the United States.

In the 60’s it seemed like Morricone was putting out a score a month. His partnering with Sergio Leone and the spaghetti westerns were classic must have material for any soundtrack collector. However, being in his 80’s now has slowed the maestro down a little bit and it has been nearly five years since he had done a score. Overall, he has shown that he hasn’t lost his touch and has composed a nice 50+ minutes of material that is a charming stand alone listen. I’ve not seen the film so I can’t comment on how it works in the film.

The nearly eleven minute “Sinfonia per Baaria” opens the CD and it is arranged concert style offering many of the themes, moods, tempos, and styles in the film. It is all quite pleasant from the opening majestic romantic strings quickly changing into an eerie spaghetti western theme complete with harmonica followed by chanting and his haunting Saxes, a sound he has used over the years. It is quite touching and moving until the dialogue I assume from the cast is dubbed into the suite. This I found quite disturbing especially given the fact that I don’t understand Italian and really don’t care to listen to birds chirping, roosters crowing, and the sound of the surf and wind in my soundtracks. “Ribellione” and “La Visita” are the same theme with different variations. I like the constant pounding of the timpani in this March style track with a strong brass fanfare. “Baaria,” the main theme, is performed with elegiac organ and strings. It is also appears in “il corpo e la terra,” and a marching band version in “Baaria,” track thirteen. “Verdiano” is a giveaway title for an opening classical sounding overture to the beginning of an opera. The nice thing about listening to this soundtrack is that it is so varied. Morricone makes use of a bagpipe, tenor tuba, oboe, classical guitar, and bassoon which all make for an interesting listening experience of 50 minutes.

This Silva (SILCD 1322) is the same release as the Italian label Image Music 0201482IMA from September of 2009. It is nicely recorded and orchestrated and a welcome addition to any Morricone library or admirer of the film. Good release other than the sound effects and dialogue in the first track.

Silva CD# SILCD 1322

Track listing

1. Sinfonia per Baaria (10:59)

2. Ribellione (03:32)

3. Baaria (02:27)

4. Il corpo e la terra (02:35)

5. Lo zoppo (00:59)

6. Brindisi (03:02)

7. Un gioco sereno (02:16)

8. La visita (02:47)

9. Un fiscaletto (01:28)

10. Racconto di una vita (03:27)

11. La terra (01:51)

12. Verdiano (01:48)

13. Baaria (03:11)

14. Oltre (01:15)

15. Prima e dopo (02:25)

16. I mostri (01:58)

17. L’allegro virtuoso di zampogna (02:23)

18. A passeggio nel corso (02:50)

19. Il vento, il mare, i silenzi (02:23)

Total Duration: 00:53:36

One-eyed Jacks/Friedhofer

September 15, 2010


Originally reviewed in 9-2010 this is an encore edition for those of you who missed this fine release. It is limited to 1000 copies so hurry before it sells out again. The review nor my opinion has changed. I’m including an audio clip of the main title.

Has there ever been a film made that stirred the pot more than the Marlon Brando, Karl Malden film One-eyed Jacks? Other than Cleopatra one doesn’t come to mind. Stanley Kubrick was involved at one point and fired, replaced by Brando. Sam Peckinpah was hired at one point to do the screenplay and he was let go. Louis L’Amour, Rod Serling, and Spencer Tracy have all been mentioned in regards to this film. Brando shot a five hour film used more film than George Stevens which I thought impossible and when Paramount took the film away from him and edited it down to a more manageable time for the viewing audience Brando was unhappy with the final product even though it had some measure of success at the box office. There are more choices of versions of this film than trying to decide which of twenty kinds of Folgers coffee you want. Did Friedhofer write material for a five hour film or not? According to the record producer of this new 1200 limited release 2 CD set, nearly sold out, whatever was written as it was intended to be heard by Friedhofer was made available on this recording. CD1 is the original album with two bonus cues and CD2 is the complete score 70+ minutes which includes 35 minutes of additional material.

The “Main Title” is instantly recognizable as classic Hugo with the brass chords, bongo drums, and then the romance of the string section. This is a theme that deserves to be on any western compilation you’re thinking about making. It is very well done. “The Kiss of a Scoundrel/Pursued by Rurales is a simple effective guitar solo with minimal backing from the string section almost putting you to sleep after a hard day at work, very much the western theme. Suddenly it changes to a bongo backed dissonant flurry from the horns to the end the track. “Toast to Friendship” is a long mourning clarinet solo which isn’t a memorable melody but certainly gets the attention of your emotion as it ends with a statement from the orchestra. “Seduction” revisits the main theme which is arranged in a lush romantic orchestration that Jackie Gleason would have approved of. “Finale” ends the film with the main theme again but very proud and majestic.

The alternate Main Title is not written by Hugo Friedhofer but is a Jerome Moross composition from his film The Jayhawkers. If your ears perked up and thought it out of place you get a gold star. The record producer Bruce Kimmel and liner notes author Nick Redman let it slip through the cracks and proper credit wasn’t given to Jerome Moross. My guess is that it was used as a temporary track as both films were released by Paramount. I’ve listed a recording of the theme but there are also others from Silva as they love to do compilation recordings. The alternate finale consists of three themes with long pauses between. The main theme is repeated with a smoother ending. According to Bruce Kimmel who produced the release-“they are a ‘hidden’ track added as a playful little bonus, for those completists who insist on every note of every source cue-including such nonsense in the body of the score is always a bad idea, IMO, unless they serve some real purpose. The guitar track ends abruptly because the guitarist just stopped playing-its source music and he was just going along until they had enough.”

The second CD offers the twelve tracks from the first CD and 35 minutes of additional material. Standing out is “Luisa in Love” a nice version of the main theme, warm and tender with the Friedhofer touch. The extra material is like your favorite toppings on your sundae, not essential but nice to have. I listened to the original LP for years so my ears had a bit of adjustment when the new material suddenly appeared.

This release is a nice improvement from the previous material we had available. While the remastering can’t turn this into a 24-bit/96kHz Chandos digital recording, an industry standard in my opinion, it is an improvement over what we had so I can heartily recommend this recording to you.

Discography of Recordings:

1….Original Soundtrack on Liberty LOM-16001(Mono) recording from 1961

2….Original Soundtrack from the Liberty LP remastered by Tsunami (TSU 0114)

3….The Main Title from The Jayhawkers. Paul Bateman conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (Silva# SILKD 6030), a two CD set.

Kritzerland KR20016-6

1. Main Title (02:28)

2. The Kiss of a Scoundrel / Pursued by Rurales (05:35)

3. Toast to Friendship (02:14)

4. Lonely Thoughts / Betrayal and Capture (04:07)

5. Escape (Parts 1 & 2) (01:56)

6. To Monterey / The Search (02:46)

7. Seduction (03:29)

8. Contrition (02:16)

9. To Point of the Devil / Gentle Visitor (04:24)

10. Dark Thoughts / Necklace and Idea (03:00)

11. Confession / Confidence Regained (02:50)

12. Finale (03:46)


13. Alternate Main Title(theme from The Jayhawkers composed by Jerome Moross) (01:45)

14. Alternate Finale (06:44)

CD 1: Album Presentation

Disc/Cassette 2

1. Main Title (02:28)

2. The Getaway / The Kiss of a Scoundrel (03:54)

3. Pursued by Rurales (02:53)

4. Toast to Friendship (02:17)

5. Escape from the Cantina (02:16)

6. Lonely Thoughts / Betrayal and Capture (05:02)

7. Escape (Parts 1 & 2) (01:57)

8. The Search (01:37)

9. To Monterey (01:15)

10. Meeting After Five Years (02:00)

11. Meet My Family / Trouble Among the Four (01:39)

12. Luisa in Love (01:09)

13. The Seduction (03:31)

14. Contrition (02:16)

15. The Informer (03:12)

16. Dad’s Suspicions Allayed1 (01:55)

17. Dad’s True Colors (01:31)

18. To Point of the Devil (02:42)

19. Gentle Visitor (01:49)

20. Dark Thoughts / Necklace and Idea (03:04)

21. Prelude to Rape (03:26)

22. Luisa’s Confession / Confidence Regained (02:58)

23. Compulsion (03:17)

24. Adios Friend / Double Cross / The Ambush (04:34)

25. Confession of Love (01:33)

26. Chance to Escape / A Break for Freedom (05:19)

27. Finale (04:13)

CD 2: Complete Score

Total Duration: 02:01:07

With sales exceeding thirty million copies Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of books has captured the attention of the entire world. All published posthumously, Steig wrote as a hobby to divert his mind from the constant political death threats he was under due to his political convictions. He has the honor of being the first author to have sold one million e-books on Amazon. All three novels have been filmed in Sweden and the US will release The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig in 2011. In addition there is a Swedish television series, plans to complete the fourth novel Larsson was working on, and there are also outlines for six more stories.

My first experience with Jacob Groth, a Danish film composer was his extremely sad and dark score to the film The Boys from St. Petri (1991) which offered a memorable main theme used throughout, one that I remember to this day. The release consists of material from the television series as well as music from the three films. The opening track, the television theme is eerie as well as depicting the complex character of Salander. It is loud, very percussive, and electronic something my golden ears aren’t use to listening to. “Blomkvist,” the other main character, is portrayed in a similar fashion but even darker and mysterious with more of a spotlight on the strings and less on the electronic percussion material. There is a strong sense of urgency in the music. Misen Larsen sings the theme “Would Anybody Die for Me,” Goth-rock from The Girl Who Played with Fire specially remixed for the movie. Apparently this song is aimed at a much younger generation and I’m sure you’ll like it if you’re interested in this genre.

Having only seen one of the trilogies, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I can say that the material fits well into the film. This is a score that fans of the books, television series, and films will take a liking to. While I found the underscore tracks such as “The Scheme” and “Running Out Of Time” interesting as a listen it wouldn’t be material that I would want to revisit. However, keep in mind that this is a long way from a Max Steiner score, something this reviewer is quite comfortable with. I’m always willing to give new material a try, something I’m accused of not doing but I really make the effort. I may say “some music I don’t understand” but I do try. If you like the films you’ll like the music of Jacob Groth. It fits the dark plots well.

Performed by The Slovak National Orchestra conducted by Allan Wilson

CD# is SILCD 1331

Track listing:

1. Millennium (Main TV Theme) (3:08)

2. Blomkvist (4:34)

3. Would Anybody Die For Me? (Version 2) (3:24)

4. The Scheme (4:26)

5. Running Out Of Time (3:03)

6. Fire (2:13)

7. Abuse (4:37)

8. More Secrets – Palmgren (3:42)

9. Zala Collage (3:53)

10. The Return of Salander (5:32)

11. Another Goodbye (2:23)

Total Time is 41:12

When asked why he became a film composer Victor Young shook his head. “Why, indeed? Why would any trained musician let himself in for a career that calls for the exactitude of an Einstein, the diplomacy of Churchill and the patience of a martyr? And yet I can think of no other musical medium that offers as much challenge, excitement and demand for creativity in putting music to work.” Victor like Gershwin had an incredible talent for writing beautiful melodies and on 22 occasions he was nominated for the prized Oscar but he won only once for Around the World in 80 Days, received posthumously. “Love Letters,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Stella by Starlight,” “Sweet Sue,” “Golden Earrings,” and “When I Fall in Love” are just a few of the examples of his incredible output. Add films such as Samson and Delilah, Shane, For Whom the Bells Tolls, and The Quiet Man, selections all included in this compilation and you, have a small idea of Victor Young.

Richard Kaufman conducts the New Zealand Symphony performing six suites arranged by Patrick Russ, Henry Mancini, Richard Kaufman, and Steven Bernstein in a pleasant to listen to pops style format. This is a repressing of the Koch 3-7365-2H1 from 1996. It is exactly the same and is available in this limited release of 500 from Craig Spaulding of SAE. Now a word of caution. This recording isn’t a substitute for original soundtrack material but a pleasant one hour listening experience from a fine orchestra/conductor combination. The track error on the original Koch has also been corrected making the listing correct. In the case of Shane 14 minutes is as much material as you can get thus as close to the original soundtrack as you’ll find at this time. Victor Young scores are sorely lacking in the marketplace. Lack of interest, damaged audio tapes or lacks of cooperation from the studios are possible reasons why little or nothing has happened. Believe me when I say that if it were possible companies like Intrada, La-La Land, SAE, FSM or others would have seized the opportunity years ago. Thus the list of OST material is rather thin considering the huge output of films. Tall Men (VCL 1107 1070),Scaramouche (FSM Vol. 15 No. 13), Johnny Guitar (Varese VSD 5377),The Left Hand of God (Varese VCL 1105 1044) is material available and well worth exploring along with the material I’ve listed at the end of the article.

Again I say to the seasoned collector the arrangements will likely not be to your liking because you’re not the target market. Having said that if you’re a fan of Shane this is a must have recording because Kaufman includes the major themes from the film in a nice arrangement from Patrick Russ. The Mancini arrangement of Victor Young hits along with the main themes from Around the World is pleasant listening but strictly pops concert material.


Track listing:

1. PRELUDE (02:52)

(suite from Shane)

2. THE TREE STUMP (02:59)

3. RODEO MUSIC (00:44)


5. CEMETERY HILL (04:12)



7. PRELUDE (02:25)

(suite from Samson and Delilah)

8. MIRIAM (01:27)

9. DANCE TO DAGON (01:53)

10. HEBREW LAMENT (00:56)

11. FEATHER DANCE (01:50)

12. THE FALL OF SAMSON (01:28)

13. EXIT MUSIC (01:44)

14. ST. PATRICK’S DAY (02:17)

(suite from The Quiet Man)

16. KATHLEEN (03:35)

17. INNESFREE (02:38)


(suite – arranged by Henry Mancini)


Total Duration: 00:58:19

Listing of Victor Young Material:

1….For Whom the Bells Tolls (Stanyan STZ IK2-2) A Ray Heindorf recording from 1991

2….Samson and Delilah (Varese VSD 5497) from the original motion picture score from 1994

3….Quiet Man (Silva Screen SSD 1118) Alwyn and the Dublin Screen Orchestra from 2000

4….Around The World in 80 Days (Hit Parade Records 13502) OST from 2007

Tribute is an understatement when we talk about Alfred Newman, a man who amassed 45 Oscar nominations and on nine occasions won the coveted award. As Tony Thomas wrote in the liner notes “he was very much a man of the so called Golden Age of American film. More than that he influenced the whole art and craft of film scoring.” He headed 20th Century Fox for twenty years and composers Alex North, Hugo Friedhofer, Bernard Herrmann, and David Raksin worked for him and produced classic scores the likes of which we’ll never see again. He was music for 20th Century Fox and Zanuck the studio head gave him freedom to do whatever he felt was best for the pictures.

Richard Kaufman, whose list of credits and achievements are just as long as Newman’s conducts the New Zealand Symphony offering suites from six classic scores of Alfred Newman. This is a revisiting of the now defunct Koch label (3-73762HI) recording from 1997. This 500 limited edition release is exactly the same recording and was primarily issued for the purpose of the conductor selling copies at concerts he conducts. In addition, Craig Spaulding of SAE produced the reissue and is making it for sale through his company.

Included are suites from Wuthering Heights, Prince of Foxes, David and Bathsheba, Dragonwyck, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Brigham Young. Tony Thomas, Fred Steiner, and Christopher Palmer all had a hand in  making these works available for symphonic pops orchestras. This is all classic big budget films from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Now a word of caution: This material isn’t close to the original soundtrack material but is a nice compilation of Alfred Newman scored films. This would be a nice way to introduce you to this fine composer as it offers some of his wonderful melodic material. Having said that if you like what you hear you can then explore his material in more depth. I’ve included a discography of more complete recordings all available as new material from SAE, Intrada, and other distributors.

To the seasoned collector you’ll likely find these arrangements a bit on the syrupy side but keep in mind when this was released in 1997 you were not the target market. This is more like what the Boston Pops might do with the material. However, to the best of my knowledge this is the only available recording of material from Brigham Young so in this respect it is unique albeit a scant 5 minutes.

Personally there are many times when I enjoy sitting back and listening to a nice compilation of material. While we can’t put this recording in the category of what Charles Gerhardt did for RCA it is well recorded and performed by Richard Kaufman and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Definitely worth a listen.


Track listing:

1. Wuthering Heights – Suite (12:40)

Suite arr. by Fred Steiner includes ‘Twin Motives’, Cathy’s Theme, The Moors -theme, Heathcliff Motive, Isabella. With New Zealand Youth Choir

2. Prince of Foxes – Suite (13:19)

Edited by Tony Thomas.

3. David and Bathsheba (03:44)

Love Theme

4. Dragonwyck – Suite (08:43)

Edited by Tony Thomas.

5. Prisoner of Zenda – Suite (07:01)

Arr. by Christopher Palmer as ‘A Ruritanian Rhapsody for Orchestra’

6. Brigham Young: A Symphonic March (05:18)

Arr. by Fred Steiner

Total Duration: 00:50:45

Listing of Alfred Newman Material

1…. Prince of Foxes (FSMCD Vol. 2 No. 5) an original soundtrack release from 1999

2…. Dragonwyck (SAE CRS 0006) an original soundtrack release from 2002

3….Prisoner of Zenda (FSMCD Vol. 7 No. 1) an original soundtrack release from 2004

4….David and Bathsheba (Intrada Special Collection Volume 22) an original soundtrack release from 2005

5….Wuthering Heights (FSM Box 01) An Elmer Bernstein recording from 2006

“Good faith and daunting perseverance have once again uncovered wonderful ‘new’ music by a composer altogether unknown,” Edward Yadzinski wrote in the liner notes. The symphony written in the 30’s by Austrian pianist and composer Marcel Tyberg was saved from destruction by a music loving Italian physician in the 40’s when it became evident that the Jewish composer would be sent to Auschwitz and executed which he was in 1944. He never had the opportunity to hear his work.

The D minor symphony eerily starts with a thumping of strings from the lower register followed by the introduction of a melody from a single horn. Other horns are added and the Andante is nicely developed in a typical Germanic fashion. The pace is quite slow but moves forward nicely using other themes that go between the reeds, strings, and horns but always returning to the main theme on the solo horn. This is assuredly written in a style from the late 19th century and I am reminded of Bruckner. The Scherzo while not as lively and dance like as many I’ve heard, it still moves at a quick enough pace. Again all sections of the orchestra participate in the development of the theme. This movement also sounds very much like it came out of the late 19th century from Brahms or any number of composers of that time frame. The Adagio is a thing of beauty performed quite eloquently by the Buffalo Philharmonic. They have the right feeling for the movement and deliver a touching emotion filled performance. I’m confident if Marcell were alive to have heard it there would be a tear in his eye. The lively tune in the Rondo is given the opportunity to be performed by all sections of the orchestra. This movement has more of a modern sound as it is very upbeat and full of life and the orchestra seems excited and full of energy. The 37 minutes went by far too quickly and I found myself never bored and my attention didn’t waiver from the work at all.

I am quite excited about this new work and it will become one that I will return to on a regular basis. I will look forward to a recording of his second symphony, a work that had its premiere in the early 30’s by Kubelik and the Czech Philharmonic. I applaud the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta for stepping out of the box and bringing this new exciting work to us. It is well recorded and mastered and as always with Naxos it is a good value. It is also available as a digital download at Highly recommended.

Naxos 8.572236

Track Listing:

1….Andante maestoso-Solenne e sostenuto (14:17)

2….Scherzo: Allegro non troppo (6:22)

3….Adagio (9:27)

4….Rondo: Allegro vivace (6:43)

Total Time is 36:49