Lady in a Cage/Glass
June 7, 2012
If someone had played this soundtrack and not told me where it came from and who composed it my guess would certainly not be the film Lady in a Cage (1964), a suspense/terror offering from Paramount starring Olivia deHavilland, Ann Sothern, Jeff Corey, and James Caan. My guess would have been Gil Evans, Pete Rugolo, Johnny Richards, or Van Cleave. It sounded like it could have come from a progressive jazz album or could have fit into a Twilight Zone show. Prior to listening to this CD my experience with Paul Glass (1934- ) (no relation to Phillip Glass) had been limited to Bunny Lake is Missing which has sat on my shelf for years. The last time I listened to it was when I transferred it from vinyl to CD nearly 20 years ago. His list of films is small (twenty) as he only worked in the field for a short period of time and has spent the majority of his life working on classical pieces which are plentiful but unfamiliar to me. This is one film that should be seen to help understand the soundtrack unless you’re a musician and have studied the technique that Glass employs.
This music is considered to be atonal or serialism. There is no key such as ‘C’ which the music is created around. The key will also produce a tonal range as the notes are created. Serialism does contain some structure in terms of pitch, duration, dynamics, articulation, and rhythm but no regard to melody at all. Below is an example of what the music looks like on the staff and an example on the piano. Hopefully this helps a little bit.
00_Mystic_chord (click to listen)
The” Main Title” music is centered on the jagged black and white lines mixed with the film and titles from Tri-Arts. It created a feeling of disturbance as there was no consistent pattern to what you saw. The bongo, harpsichord, and brass produce a similar feeling of disturbance. “Letter for Darling” and “Don’t Shout Love” conveys a happy and sad emotion through the use of clarinet and flute. “Music Box” is the only track that is a tonal melody as it needs to be. It is played and eventually destroyed as part of the plot of the film. The following track “We’re Gonna Kill Ya” has a sense of jazz material as the vibraphone interplays with a double bass, bongo/percussion and riffs from the brass. If you find that I’m at a loss for words you’re right! This music is very difficult for me to explain.
The sound quality is excellent with good dynamic range. The individual instruments are very distinct with good treble. It is limited to 1000 units so better to act sooner rather than later.