A Raisin in the Sun/Rosenthal

December 5, 2010

Kitty Kat Club clip from A Raisin in the Sun

This release (1500 copies) which is coupled with Requiem for a Heavyweight is the 148th release from Intrada in their Special Collection Series and includes the first Hollywood film score for Laurence Rosenthal. Released by Columbia in 1961 after a run on Broadway this Daniel Petrie directed film starred Sidney Poiter and Ruby Dee and  dealt with racism as well as family life. This was the first of three David Susskind produced pictures Laurence would do as well as the Oscar awarded Miracle Worker (Intrada Special Collection 130 sold out) directed by Arthur Penn in 61-62, a productive time. Perhaps there will be another limited edition release or a box set of his material?

The recipe for this score is Negro spiritual, Gershwin Porgy and Bess, and Bernstein West Side Story with a smattering of source material to sweeten the score. My first listen made me instantly recall both Porgy and West Side as far as style is concerned. “Main Title/The Chauffeur” introduces the main theme  as well as the jazz side of the soundtrack featuring the alto sax. The main theme is a heartfelt one and it is used on several tracks. This reviewer could imagine rocking my daughter to sleep while this is going on in the background. “Kitty Kat Club,” included as a clip, is a good example of the raucous side of Rosenthal featuring the alto sax as well as piano. “The Phonograph” is an exotic dance hall track featuring trumpet and tenor sax which exchange  back and forth supplemented by percussion and guitar. A good track! “Flaming Spear,” features bongo drums with an African male solo chanting to the constant percussion. “Invitation to Nigeria/ On His Knees” offers an instrumental version featuring strings of “Flaming Spear,” the main theme, and underscore material.

This is a wonderful first effort from Rosenthal worthy of a lot more attention than it has ever received. This forty nine minute soundtrack offers a wide variety of material including spiritual, jazz, lullaby, and dark underscore. You’ll find the forty nine minutes have passed by far too quickly.

This is a mono recording which transferred quite nicely but please keep in mind that this material is 50 years old and you’ll not hear the dynamics you’re use to in newer recordings. It is well worth having in your collection as I’m sure some of you have little if any material by Rosenthal. Don’t hesitate to see the film as it offers a strong Poiter/Dee. Recommended.

Track listing:

8. Main Title/The Chauffeur (02:34)
9. Memories Of Big Walter/In My House There Is Still God (03:06)
10. Kitty Kat Club (00:59)
11. Meet Joseph Asagai/Asagai Departs (06:17)
12. $10,000.00 Check (02:02)
13. Stand Up, Walter Lee (04:19)
14. Flaming Spear (03:32)
15. How Bad Things Are/She Bought You A House (03:24)
16. Hurt And Pain/You Be The Head Of This Family (05:41)
17. The New House (04:33)
18. The Phonograph (02:13)
19. The Welcoming Committee (00:45)
20. Packing/Willie Is Gone! (03:48)
21. Invitation To Nigeria/On His Knees (02:34)
22. He Come Into His Manhood Today (Finale) (03:31)
Tracks 8-22 – from A RAISIN IN THE SUN 

Total Time=49:45




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