Counterfeit Traitor/Newman

April 7, 2011

23 – 23 Marianna (Demo)

Come 1962 Alfred Newman had stepped down from his 20th Century Fox position and while still composing had slowed down his output to only six films in the last eight years of his life. Airport (Oscar nomination), Firecreek, Nevada Smith, Greatest Story Ever Told (Oscar Nomination), How the West Was Won (Oscar Nomination), and Counterfeit Traitor were the six films. He also did the scoring of Camelot and this won him his final Oscar in 1967. He worked for Universal, George Stevens, Warner Bros., Paramount, MGM/Cinerama so he was the true freelancer.

As explained in the liner notes Counterfeit Traitor, was completely lost in any awards as 1962 was such a powerful year for films. Direct by George ‘Airport’ Seaton and starring William Holden, Hugh Griffith and Lilli Palmer it told a World War II story of espionage that ended in tragedy. Filmed on location in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Stockholm, and Berlin it was well photographed with excellent reviews but must have been shown across the street from To Kill A Mockingbird, Days of Wine and Roses, or The Miracle Worker, just a very short list of films that magical year.

Newman had a instantly recognizable sound from the 20th Century Fox Orchestra, especially in the string section, something not as evident with the one used by Paramount. You’ll hear the Newman sound of course but it is not quite the same at least in this reviewer’s opinion. The “Main Title and Prologue” immediately sets the mood for an air of tension with staccato notes from the trumpets, dissonant brass chords, and percussion. You can already feel the tension in your bones. The prologue section is a quiet one with feelings of despair offering little hope from the clarinet, oboe and, strings. “Wansee Garden Restaurant” is the first offering of the love theme from the accordion and violins. Romantic without being too schmaltzy “Mariana” is used on several tracks and is an effective love theme. The best track to listen to for the love theme is the bonus/demo “Mariana” with lush strings and piano along with a Mancini like muted trombone, classic Newman at his best. I’ve included a clip to whet your appetite. If your beat is a waltz for the theme then “Reception in Berlin” will definitely be to your liking. The theme is nearly funeral like in “A Letter from Max.” “Sacred and Profane” is very stoic and religious sounding like it belongs in The Robe and if it weren’t for the snare drum signifying some sort of military it could very well. “Espionage is a military theme of intrigue and suspense with snare drum and trumpet. “Execution and Aftermath Parts 1, 2 (unused) and 3 is a sad lower register solemn cue as one would expect from the title with a dirge, yearning strings as only Newman can deliver concluding with a very sad version of “Marianna.”

The transfer from the three-track tape is a good clean one with good treble. If you’re into Alfred Newman this is a nice CD to add to your collection. This is a limited edition release of only 1500 copies so sooner to act is better than later as the Kritzerland releases sell out reasonably quickly. Recommended as my Kritzerland April selection.

Kritzerland KR 20017-9

Track listing

1. Main Title and Prologue
2. He Knew My Background (unused)
3. First Plane to Berlin / Wansee Garden Restaurant*
4. Tightening the Vise / Riche’s Restaurant / Nazification Montage
5. Bound for Berlin / Reception in Berlin*
6. German Oil Commission / Train to Hamburg
7. Klara Holtz / The Little Nazi
8. Dark Discovery
9. Eric Insults Max / Ingrid Leaves Eric
10. A Letter From Max
11. Espionage / River Rendezvous*
12. Suddenly He Will Become Your Brother / Oil Montage*
13. Marianna’s Guilt
14. To Love and Part*
15. Sacred and Profane
16. Gestapo Headquarters
17. Execution and Aftermath Parts 1, 2 (unused) and 3*
18. Hidden Microphone / Hazards in Hamburg
19. Son of a Traitor
20. Escape From Denmark
21. Escape to Sweden
22. Journey’s End/Finale*

Bonus Track

23. Marianna (demo recording)*

*contains “Marianna”, composed by Paul Francis Webster and Alfred Newman

Total Time is 64:20


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