August 31, 2011
Eagle-Lion Films like Lippert, Pine-Thomas, and Monogram made a lot of ‘B’ movies. IMDB shows 155 spanning nearly twenty years. The forties were the peak years including some pretty decent films such as Trapped with Lloyd Bridges and Barbara Payton, music by Sol Kaplan. It was during this time frame that Casanova (1948) came out. Filmed in Mexico this film is available for free viewing on the internet. The main interest I have in this film is the fine Hugo Friedhofer score. A word of caution. This is an archival recording and you’re going to hear a little noise in the background. I found that my listening experience improved by lowering the volume. I could still hear the music just fine but the background was quiet. Any score from Friedhofer is a welcome addition to this reviewer’s collection. You’ll hear the work and influence that Friedhofer had on Korngold. What you’ll hear is the difference in the orchestra he worked with on this score as opposed to the Warner Bros. ensemble which could have been three times the size.
The “Main Title” begins with a fanfare that introduces the strings who offer a typical Friedhofer melody not unlike Korngold could have written. Keep in mind Hugo did a lot of arranging/orchestration for him when they both worked for Warner Bros. The theme offers the time period as well as a bit of romance. “Death to Oppression” is a brief track with action as it offers some dissonant brass and a military fanfare. “Bring Casanova/The Great Lover/Husband Arrives/The Sister is four combined tracks which offer a very romantic version of the main title. The love theme blossoms complete with solo violin complemented by the harp. It shifts to danger mode before a Spanish guitar is a prelude to the love theme again. “Lorenzo and Casanova/The Sword/Bianca and Father” starts with a quiet moment before tension arrives followed by a drum roll with fanfare and a romantic theme very much like Korngold. “The Plan/Attack is of interest as it offers some very nice horn work in addition to tension and urgency from the strings. “Find the Traitors/Ambush” is action packed with drum rolls and swirling strings. “Audacious Casanova/Bianca and Zanetta’s Plan” begins in a courtly fashion with romantic medieval strings and fluttering flutes. “Count de Brissac Plots/Casanova’s Kiss” is more of a medieval style mocking track. “Escape” opens with tension, a statement from the horns; a good underscore track without going over the top. “Lovers’ Meeting/Success/Casanova’s New Servant is romance in the air, a bit of dashing chivalry, a bit of mockery, and a nice exchange from flute and clarinet. “Lovesick Fools” is a Spanish romantic guitar one could hear as part of a serenade. “Kisses Before Dinner” begins with a fluttering clarinet and offers the love theme once again. This track probably has the most noise of all. “Count de Brissac Makes His Move” has mounting tension and an air of oriental like melody dominates the track. “A Great Swordsman, A Great Lover” offers a hint of that nice love melody again. “Lorenzo and de Brissac/Lorenzo Dies/Casanova Arrested” is more action underscore with parts of quiet moments. “Zanetta Reveals The Truth” has its yearning but also danger motifs. “Casanova’s Last Supper” opens with yearning strings followed by a religious cue from the organ which is followed by a military fanfare. “Jail Visitor” is a longing track with religious feeling. “Casanova Escapes/Duel to the Death/The End offers a flurry from the violins backed by the horns calling out. The duel is somewhat subdued but there is urgency from the strings. The harp signals the end with a brief return to the main title followed by an ending fanfare which brings this score to a close.
Limited to a 1000 units don’t delay in having this in your collection. You can’t ever get enough of Friedhofer.
1… Main Title (2:02)
2… Death to Oppression (1:20)
3… Casanova/The Great Lover/Husband Arrives/The Sister (4:04)
4… Lorenzo and Casanova/The Sword/Bianca and Father (2:58)
5… The Plan/Attack (2:30)
6… Find The Traitors/Ambush (4:30)
7… Audacious Casanova/Bianca and Zanetta’s Plan (3:11)
8… Count de Brissac Plot’s/Casanova’s Kiss (1:38)
9… Escape (3:52)
10… Lovers’ Meeting/Success/Casanova’s New Servant (3:26)
11… Lovesick Fools (1:42)
12… Kisses Before Dinner (5:55)
13… Count de Brissac Makes His Move (1:11)
14… A Great Swordsman, A Great Lover (2:38)
15… Lorenzo and de Brissac Duel/Lorenzo Dies/Casanova Arrested (5:14)
16… Zanetta Reveals The Truth (1:46)
17… Casanova’s Last Supper (1:54)
18… Jail Visitor (2:08)
19… Casanova Escapes/Duel To The Death/The End (3:53)
Total Time is 56:41
Kritzerland CD# is 20019-7
August 30, 2011
The latest offering from Carl Davis is nearly seventy minutes of Beatle material. It is arranged somewhat differently than what the Boston Pops or live concerts I’ve heard of their material in the past. Davis had an interesting experience with his first contact listening to their music. It seems he heard A Hard Day’s Night while taking a bath and began swishing around to the beat and fell in love with them. Fast forwarding he was approached by the head of programming for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Carl obliged with this new offering on this his twelfth release on his own label. Arrangements are by Chris Egan, who also produced the CD, Andy Winter, Richard Sidewell, Roy Moore, and Mike Townend. Davis has been releasing all sorts of good material lately ranging from silent movie material, television, ballet, a score from his daughter, a Christmas album, and of course movie material.
She Loves You offers some nice trombone work with an emphasis on strong percussion on this track. Here Comes the Sun/Something is a bit on the light airy side until the guitar plays a solo on the latter part of the track. It has a bit of twang to it which I feel adds to the track. And I Love Her is pretty standard as and arrangement goes but I liked the South American rhythm. Can’t Buy Me Love has great trombone work and good percussion. A nice upbeat version with guitar offering a nice solo. Eleanor Rigby is orchestrated with an antique sound to it. Hey Jude offers a cello solo and oboe backed by harmony from the piano. It is a soft and delicate track. As the arrangement continues the orchestra joins with the brass offering harmony. The Long and Winding Road features an attractive trumpet solo backed by strings. Twist and Shout features the excellent trombone section making this a lively entry. Yellow Submarine is very unique in its March style, reminding me of my band days. Yesterday begins with oboe and then a cello offers a romantic solo, very heartfelt and reminding me of my teenage years. Let it Be begins with piano followed by a clarinet which offers the theme. Lively is Ob-La-Di- Ob-La-Da with a steady beat from the drums. The trumpets give it a Spanish flavor. Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane offers some nice work from the trumpet section with some double tonguing technique. Blackbird features guitars and woodwinds in a softer delicate arrangement. Norwegian Wood is a straight arrangement that enhances the tune. A Hard Day’s Night features the trombone section offering the melody with a little slide action. Help shifts gears with the entire orchestra participating. The Fool on the Hill gives us a beautiful oboe, flute, and muted trumpet in a soft rendition. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band if full of vigor and uses a long introduction. With A Little Help From My Friends offers clarinet and flute before sweet strings takeover. Part way through the music turns distorted and somewhat dissonant which is the way the track ends.
The orchestra seemed to be having a good time playing which certainly enhances the recording. When you’re looking for something to hum to that is a little laid back and requires little or no thought this is certainly a nice way to spend an hour. The twenty four selections will pass rather quickly. I’m glad that they recorded it. Recommended.
1… She Loves You (2:22)
2… Here Comes the Sun/Something (4:27)
3… And I Love Her (2:53)
4… Can’t Buy Me Love (2:15)
5… Eleanor Rigby (2:24)
6… Hey Jude (5:02)
7… The Long and Winding Road (3:36)
8… Twist and Shout (2:38)
9… Yellow Submarine (2:50)
10… All You Need Is Love (3:39)
11… Yesterday (3:21)
12… Let It Be (4:04)
13… Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (3:18)
14… Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane (4:23)
15… Blackbird (2:33)
16… Norwegian Wood (2:38)
17… A Hard Day’s Night/Help (3:31)
18… The Fool On The Hill (2:54)
19… Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends (4:24)
20… A Day In The Life (5:35)
Total Time is 69:30
Carl Davis conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
CD# is CDC012
August 30, 2011
BuySoundtrax records has announced a 36 track collection of some of the more popular science fiction themes of all time. There will be a physical CD as well as a digital download released on Tuesday September 13th. This is not a symphonic symphony orchestra release but a synthesized collection. Sprinkled in are a couple of very nice piano solos along with 3 vocals.
Having had the opportunity to listen to the download I can tell you I was quite taken with Capricia a solo piano work performed by Mark Northam. I’m fond of classical material and this would nicely fit in on a CD for solo piano. It has a beautiful theme, well developed, and nicely recorded. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also nicely done performed by the composer Dennis McCarthy on the piano. These are interesting departures from the norm in listening to this material. Other favorites include The Thing, Tron, The New Outer Limits, and Dune. Several of the tracks are under a minute and a few more in the one minute range but also mixed in are several that are longer than 4 minutes and are given ample opportunity to be properly developed.
This collection is going to appeal to the person who enjoys a wide variety of listening material on a compilation album or serve as a basic introduction to science fiction material. It peaked my interest enough to seek out additional Caprica material after hearing the offering.
The material will be available at http://buysoundtrax.stores.yahoo.net/
1… Rocky Horror Picture Show (4:27)
2… Battle: Los Angeles (2:29)
3… The Thing (3:02)
4… Devil Girl From Mars (4:34)
5… The Illustrated Man (3:07)
6… Avatar (3:45)
7… The Adventures of Buckaroo Banza (3:16)
8… The Terminator (2:49)
9… Dune (1:24)
10… Communion (5:25)
11… Tron (5:00)
12… Capricia (4:00)
13… Eureka (:50)
14… Fringe 85 (:23)
15… Fringe (:32)
16… Futurama (:27)
17… Robotech (1:32)
18… Star Wars: The Clone Wars (:45)
19… Stargate SG-1 (1:00)
20… Stargate Atlantis (1:03)
21… Stargate Universe (1:03)
22… The New Outer Limits (1:01)
23… The Twilight Zone (:43)
24…The Starlost (1:13)
25… Man From Atlantis (2:32)
26… Knight Rider (1:17)
27… Thunderbirds (:57)
28… UFO (1:10)
29… Red Dwarf (1:18)
30… Doctor Who (1:01)
31… Torchwood (1:40)
32… Primeval (:33)
33… Star Trek: The Animated Series (:59)
34… Star Trek: Generations (3:23)
35… Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (5:09)
36… Star Trek Enterprise (4:02)
Total Time is 70:40
August 29, 2011
It is certainly fun to explore the difference in scores between Simon Boswell and Bernard Herrmann, both of who wrote music for the popular Greek mythology story of “Jason and the Argonauts” and his quest for the Golden Fleece. Herrmann scored the 1963 film without strings using brass, woodwinds, and percussion. Boswell used strings and lots of them. Simon Boswell got his start in 1985 with a score to a 1985 Italian horror film Dario Argento and during the next 25 plus years has done over 90 films. While he has done a lot of work in the horror field and has awards to his credit I think you’ll find that this is a welcome departure to much of what we listen to in 2011 soundtracks. Perhaps Hollywood should take a look at what Boswell has to offer?
The opening track “Jason’s Theme/Main Title” to this Hallmark three hour television special is a brave memorable theme not unlike John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith in style performed by the 70 piece Air Lyndhurst studio orchestra. Throughout the score you’ll hear this heroic theme for Jason performed many times. “Destiny/The Bulls” is in two parts. The first part is one which offers an air of mysticism and a sense of fate to it, hinting at the Jason theme and finally coming out with a few brief moments of the wonderful lush melody. There is a bridge with a solitary clarinet followed by “Bulls” which is a very active action track involving the entire fight. I like his effective use of the brass section. “Mother” hints at the Jason theme as it offers a pleasant section with the strings, a brief offering from the oboe, a fanfare, and solo from the vibes and back to the action. “Map of the Stars” opens with mystery, a lush treatment of the Jason theme, and another section of an air of mystery and intrigue. “Edge of the World” is a cue of tension building using the oboe and almost staccato like strings with the brass changing from majestic to dangerous. “Battle” begins with a slow building tension to a great action track using the entire orchestra. Beginning with soft strings and flute “Love Theme” is all too brief not really ever getting started but offering romance. “The Truth” is another action track not ever having to go over the top. Nice to hear no clanging and the heavy use of a synthesizer in the track. “Prince to the People” we hear the heroic Jason theme, a solitary flute followed by swirling strings, a flute and harp denoting deity. “Table of the Gods” is one of dissonant brass and lower strings. One can hear the struggle in this track. “A Thief’s Tale opens with a statement from the flute offering a story before it ends with a royal fanfare from the brass. “Death of the Dragon” is a brief action track. “The Golden Fleece” is a motif used whenever the majestic cloth is related to the story. “Pyre” is a brief proud track. “Orpheus” is a solo lute that offers an air of an ancient sound to the film. “The End of the Quest” brings the film to a conclusion with a Star Wars style statement. There is a sense of victory and accomplishment. We end as we began with the lush Jason theme.
This is approximately ½ of what Simon wrote for the film so it is a sort of compilation of the best material from the score. I know that this will have appeal to fantasy film score lovers. Recommended.
1… Jason’s Theme (2:24)
2… Destiny/The Bull (9:45)
3… Mother/Gathering Argonauts (2:42)
4… Map of the Stars (5:46)
5… The Edge of the World (3:50)
6… Battle (5:40)
7… Love Theme (0:55)
8… The Truth (5:53)
9… Prince to the People (5:26)
10… Table of the Gods (4:44)
11… A Thief’s Tale (2:42)
12… Death of the Dragon (0:58)
13… The Golden Fleece (0:54)
14… Pyre (1:11)
15… Orpheus (1:44)
16… The End of the Quest (3:19)
Total Time is 58:01
Perserverance PRD 036
http://www.perseverancerecords.com/order.html Purchase Jason and the Argonauts(PRD 036) for $14.95 plus shipping through the Perserverance Yahoo Store and you can buy The Film Music of Phillip Lambro for only $2.95 plus shipping. To order the Lambro CD just type in Lambro1012 in the coupon code to get the discount. Take advantage of this generous offering of two CD’s for less than $20.00. Limited to stock on hand so hurry.
August 27, 2011
Delos is proud to release an addition to their ever growing catalog of Russian Disc material with Kara Karayev Ballet Suites (DRD 2009). The Penguin Guide which reviews classical music and is over 1200 pages has a total of (0) listings for this composer. Yet he has written three symphonies, two operas, and 20 film scores.
https://sdtom.wordpress.com/?s=karayev. Having purchased a release of his material from Naxos (8.570720) which included his third symphony, music from a film score “Don Quixote” and a wonder tone poem “Leyla and Mejnun,” I became quite intrigued with his material. There were other recordings but only on LP. Karayev was born in Baku, studied composition with Shostakovich and infused his native Azerbaijani folk music into his works. You’ll hear influences from Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Debussy among others but of course he has his own voice and the result is very special.
Before we get started there is a small typo in regards to the year he died. The back notes in the jewel case indicate he passed away in 1952. It is really 1982 which the liner notes indicate. If he passed away in 1952 how could he have written In the Path of Thunder in 1958?
Seven Beauties (suite from the ballet) is from 1952 and is based on a story of oppressed people and the corrupt Bakhram and his Vizier. The ballet has four acts and 11 tracks and is a 34 plus minute suite. Like the Nutcracker it is a series of different styles of dances. The “Waltz” immediately recognizes Shostakovich with the brass offering the beginning statement before the waltz tempo opens the ballet. It is a melody that will stay with you after your listen. At over four minutes it is given ample opportunity to develop. The “Adagio” opens with a solo French horn offering the melody. After he finishes the strings show off their romantic side. This is a yearning movement which offers more hope than many adagios. “Dance of Merriment” is a vivacious filled dance. There is a definite influence from Prokofiev and Shostakovich. “Prelude” begins with an air of mystery and intrigue from the lower register of the orchestra. The cat-like clarinet introduces the flute who offers a theme followed by a horn and then strings. The mystery has gone and the movement blossoms a bit. However the percussion ends the movement with a return to the mystery. “Indian Dance” is a very brief one that could have easily been included on their Western Classics (DRD 1603). The percussion is quite effective on this track.”Khorezm Dance” is Turkish and quite mocking while “Slavonic Dance” certainly has a different spin than Dvorak, it is worthy. There is a wonderful catchy melody in “Magrib Dance” which is Spanish in flavor with a bolero tempo, castanets, and that yearning feeling. “The Chinese Dance” is as you would expect a pentatonic style to begin with making no doubt what country it came from with the gong, it ends with mystery. “The most beautiful of all beauties” sounds exactly like the title. An air of romance from the strings coupled with a mysterious feeling. The final track “Procession” is definitely in the style of Shostakovich again with bolero type percussion as the brass is featured.
In The Path of Thunder (1958) was a winner of the Lenin prize in 1967 and dealt with the love between a white women and a black man in South Africa, quite a controversial topic for a Russian composer. The six part suite opens with a “General Dance,” and African tribal dance offering lots of rhythm, a flute and clarinet exchange, then the orchestra. “Dance of the Girls with Guitars” with its Oriental opening of the oboe is a Scheherazade piece. After the opening the rhythm is the key to this track a bolero type as it really has nothing to do with guitars. If there were any this reviewer didn’t hear them. “Night in “Stillevelvd is a romantic piece in the tradition of Debussy or Ravel. “Scene and Duet” also reminds me of Debussy. It offers a lovely romantic track which could very easily be the music for a figure skating dance. Next is a beautiful “Lullaby,” soft and delicate. It concludes with “In The Path of Thunder” which is a tribal offering again.
Conductor Rauf Abdulleyev, also born in Baku, has a nice feel for the music and conducts the Moscow Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra nicely. Marina and Victor Ledin provide excellent information on the complete details of the ballet story.
1… Waltz (4:31)
2… Adagio (5:42)
3… Dance of Merriment (1:47)
4… Prelude (4:12)
5… Indian Dance (0:53)
6… Khorezm Dance (0:50)
7… Slavonic Dance (2:39)
8… Magrib Dance (3:03)
9… Chinese Dance (1:25)
10… The most beautiful of all beauties (4:54)
In The Path Of Thunder
12… General Dance (4:08)
13… Dance of the Girls with Guitars (6:15)
14… Night in Stilleveld (5:21)
15… Scene and Duet (10:01)
16… Lullaby (5:48)
17… In the Path of Thunder (6:35)
Total Time is 72:34
August 24, 2011
I am pleased to announce that Music Box Records has agreed to become part of my ever growing companies to participate in the recording of the month. On 9/21/11 Music Box is offering two new releases to its ever growing collection. The small French based company offering Descente Aux Enfers, a Georges Delerue score and Le Grand Pardon, from the pen of Serge Franklin. Both releases contain new unreleased music. I look forward to reviewing this material.
August 23, 2011
Sol Kaplan is another Hollywood composer you can put into the category of a somewhat unknown entity. His busy productive years between 1949-1953 he did twenty five pictures, was blacklisted in 1953 and from 1954-1959 did four movies. The House On Telegraph Hill (1951) was composed during that hectic five year period and is the earliest score of Kaplan’s to be released. He is best known for his Star Trek work. Soundtrack Collector lists 83 different sources available. This is the fifth release of his material from Intrada the other four being Treasure of the Golden Condor (#67), Dangerous Crossing (#106), Niagara (#157), and Destination Gobi (#169).
The 20th Century Fox film (#14810) stars Valentina Cortese who plays Victoria Kowelska as prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Her friend doesn’t survive and Victoria assumes her identity to get to America. The son of her friend as it turns out is heir to a fortune. She marries Alan Spender (Richard Basehart) the boy’s trustee for the estate and the mystery begins. All is not as it appears. A chain of events begins with her brakes being tampered with and a very scary ride in the hilly San Francisco results in a car accident that she was able to walk away from. Her friend Marc Bennett (William Lundigan) who just happened to be the processing officer in Europe becomes involved in the not so kosher happenings. The boy’s governess Margaret (Fay Baker) is also involved as she knew that Alan had killed his aunt the first step in his scheme and is also in love with him. To further complicate matters Victoria falls in love with Bennett making her situation a big lie. Remember if the boy and mother die Alan will inherit a considerable fortune. Victoria discovers through a telegram what Alan is really up to. The ending is tense and exciting. While not a noir film as Fox claims it is overall a good film with Wise doing a good job.
“House on Telegraph Hill,” the main title can certainly be put in the category of a good noir theme like Rozsa has done so many times. While there is a moment or two of romanticism the majority of the track is a hard biting theme from the strings with the brass offer a military style harmony enhanced by the snare drum. “Poland” has a different theme but with a reference to America given at the end of the track. “Karin” is again sad and somber until another American patriotic reference is made. “Proposal” is the love theme which you’ll hear several times again. This arrangement is a full orchestra with sweet strings. It projects ah to be in love quite nicely. “Fear of the Past” complements a tension scene that Karin is going thru. There is a dissonant part before it ends on a slightly romantic moment. “Aunt Sophie” opens on a sad note and then becomes the main title theme without the brass, just somber strings. There is a brief moment of the love theme and a third theme is introduced very light and airy which I’ll call Christopher’s theme. “The Playhouse begins with the Christopher theme and switches back and forth between and sad. “Annoyance” is again the love theme followed by Christopher’s theme performed by the woodwinds. “Threat” begins with the love theme but suddenly becomes quite tense building to a dissonant climax followed by the main title and another climax from the orchestra. “Questions/Karin’s Wild Ride” is a brief statement of the love theme which quickly disappears to one of tension. The wild ride is the main theme repeated from the first track with the emphasis on the horns. “Nocturnal Exercise” is a good underscore track with reference being given to both the main title, love theme, and a four note danger motif. “Karin and Marc” is a sweet band version of the love theme, straight forward arrangement without strings and a perfect length for a single release. “The Album” begins with the love theme which changes to a slow tension building with the four note motif given by the brass four times. “Cold Comfort” offers quiet tension with a string only version of the main title. “The House” is another tension filled track with main title. “Poison” is also tension filled with enough suspense that I’m sure Herrmann would have approved. “Stay Awake” makes good use of the four note motif. “Finale” builds to a climax before we hear the romantic theme played with all the love notes the strings can muster. It builds to a crescendo with a full orchestra version of the main title concluding the 50+ minute score.
This release is an excellent example of what Kaplan is all about. Never over the top, this nicely made use of his three themes plus the four note motif helped enhance a pretty good film. This release is worth exploring and also give the film a watch. This release is limited to a 1000 copies so hurry is the word of the day.
1… House on Telegraph Hill (1:55)
2… Poland (3:24)
4… Proposal (4:40)
5… Fear of the Past (2:34)
6… Aunt Sophie (3:05)
7… The Playhouse (2:20)
8… Annoyance (1:39)
9… Threat (2:29)
10… Questions/Karin’s Wild Ride (2:32)
11… Nocturnal Exercise (4:04)
12… Karin and Marc (2:34)
13… The Album (2:19)
14… Cold Comfort (4:58)
15… The House (4:12)
16… Poison (4:09)
17… Stay Awake (3:51)
18… Finale (2:32)
Total Time is 52:32
Intrada Special Collection #176 was conducted by Alfred Newman.