Lady in a Cage/Glass

June 7, 2012

KRITZERLAND 20022-0

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.


Track listing

1.

Main Title / Letter for Darling / Don’t Shout Love (5:37)

2.

Pozegnanie Malcolma (1:02)

3.

Empty House / Montage (1:50)

4.

The Wino Approaches (2:15)

5.

Wino Cuts Hand / The Wine Rack (2:16)

6.

Call Your Mummy / Opened and Closed (4:18)

7.

Off the Hook / The Beating in the Bedroom (2:35)

8.

Men of Tomorrow / Music Box (2:16)

9.

We’re Gonna Kill Ya (2:41)

10.

Essie Kills the Wino (1:31)

11.

Malcolm’s Letter (1:23)

12.

Fall from the Cage (2:46)

13.

The Landing (1:09)

14.

Crawl to Freedom (2:21)

15.

Finale (2:24)Total Time is 36:38
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My Dog Skip/Ross

June 5, 2012

William Ross, like Hugo Friedhofer did for Korngold, Eugene Zador for Rozsa, Conrad Pope for John Williams and Arthur Morton for Goldsmith is an extraordinary talent as an orchestrator and arranger that his output of original material has been curtailed over the years. He is kept busy and in demand in Hollywood by many of today’s top composers. My Dog Skip (1999), a family story of a boy and his dog, gave Ross the opportunity to showcase his ability with a score that will fill your speakers with melodies, warmth, and richness that has definitely become the exception to the rule in this day of wallpaper music. This music will bring a tear to your eye especially if you’ve seen the Jay Russell directed film starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, and Kevin Bacon.

 

The Main Title begins with a soft delicate piano offering the heartfelt melody which you’ll hear throughout the score again as well as variations of the theme. The melody continues with flute, oboe, and lush strings backed by the ever present piano. A warm beginning to this soundtrack sets the mood to the score which is melancholy but also uplifting. This is the perfect score to listen to when you want something that is easy on the ears. Driving with Skip begins with an ear attention riff from the tubas which turns into a fun “An American in Paris” arrangement complete with the brass mimicking honking horns and sliding trombones. Subtle but tense classical chords and woodwinds with an eerie sounding harp in the background give way to danger horns which crescendo in Greenwood Cemetery. Sad Homecoming begins with a clarinet offering a theme of despair with help from flute and piano. There are disturbing piano chords which prelude funeral like chords from the brass. A flute offers a bit of an Irish jig which is continued by the strings and ends with some blues chords from the piano in Opening Day. The final and longest track Will Grows Up features moving strings around the piano a very nice summation to a moving score.

If this is one that you let slip through the cracks it is one that you’ll certainly enjoy if you’re looking for something that is truly easy listening.

Track Listing:


1.

Main Title (03:21)

2.

Hometown Hero (01:56)

3.

A New Friend (01:37)

4.

Driving with Skip (01:01)

5.

Rivers (01:10)

6.

Greenwood Cemetery (03:24)

7.

Crossing Over (01:17)

8.

Sad Homecoming (02:47)

9.

The Deer (02:54)

10.

Opening Day (01:12)

11.

Will Strikes Out (02:19)

12.

Searching for Skip (03:00)

13.

Dad’s Advice (01:53)

14.

Will Grows Up (08:57)

Total Duration: 00:36:48

 

Ralph Nelson (1916-1987),director of Lilies of the Field, has directed some of my favorite pictures which include Charly, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Fate is a Hunter, Soldier in the Rain, and Duel at Diablo. Liner notes from Jeff Bond explain how Nelson had to use his home as collateral to get a loan to get this film made. I’m glad he did because it is a great picture and if you’ve not seen it you’re in for a real treat. Starring Sidney Poiter in an academy award winning performance, the film was also nominated for four other Oscars including Nelson who indirectly had the last laugh over United Artists. The film made a lot of money.

 

The Jerry Goldsmith score is based the theme “Amen” music and

words by Jester Hairston, who also sings the inspiring lyrics for the soundtrack. It is a straight digital remastering of the Epic LP BN26094 with the only real difference (other than improved sound) being the combining of some tracks (15-12). It is limited to 3000 units but this is more the norm than the exception. The majority of the release is mono but the transfer is clean. The real star of the soundtrack is harmonica soloist Tommy Morgan who had worked with Goldsmith before on Twilight Zone episodes performing some very similar sounding work. He was more often than not given the call when harmonica was called for and he performed so many times he could no longer remember he told me when I did liner notes for an album he did with Gregg Nestor, an arranger and fine classical guitarist. The orchestra is small but effective with Goldsmith creating the right sound for religion and Arizona with some down to earth Americana sound.

 

A clap and harmonica open the ”Main Title” to the “Amen” theme with a twangy bass, guitar, banjo, and small string ensemble. The bass line created by Goldsmith for this track gives it a special feeling. “Homer Returns” offers chamber strings, a distant sounding Copland style trumpet, and a new theme slow to develop but the banjo offers bars opening the door for the trumpet and harmonica. This second theme which I’ll call the lilies theme continues in “The Roof” with a happy upbeat harmonica continuing. “Homer Awakes/Breakfast” offers a swaying strings prelude which lead to the “Amen” theme in a soft rendition. More clarinet and harmonica are featured. “Feed the Slaves/Drive to Mass” features a bluesy humorous track which includes the lilies theme. “Amen/Sunday Morning/Amen” features the first Jester Hairston vocal with a female chorus singing the single word amen. “Sunday Morning” is excellent well thought out underscore. “The Contractor” offers a combination of the lilies and amen themes. “Out of Bricks” begins as a sad statement followed by a train track rhythm from the harmonica. “No Hammer/Return of the Prodigal” is sad underscore which changes to a horn and banjo solo featuring “Amen.” Jerry also uses the lilies theme as a prologue to the “Amen” theme. A nice track! “Lots of Bricks/Aid Given/Aid Rejected,” the longest track at nearly seven minutes restates the “Amen” theme in yet another way with some nice rhythm from the bass and percussion and able support from the clarinet. “Amen” (second version) is the second vocal of the main theme from Jester Hairston. The final track “End Title/End Cast” reprises the main theme beginning with the lonely trumpet followed by the harmonica with some well written string work as harmony.

 

This is an excellent example of early Goldsmith showing how effective he can be working on a low budget with a small orchestra. At $12.98 this is a real bargain and can be ordered from Perseverance http://store.fortytwotradingco.com/liliesoffield.html    as well as other dealers.

 

Track Listing:

 

1.

Main Title (01:49)

2.

Homer Returns (01:34)

3.

The Roof (01:16)

4.

Homer Awakes/Breakfast (03:12)

5.

Feed the Slaves/Drive to Mass (01:37)

6.

Amen/Sunday Morning/Amen (Partial) (03:59)

7.

The Contractor (02:28)

8.

Out of Bricks (01:08)

9.

No Hammer/Return of the Prodigal (04:21)

10.

Lots of Bricks/Aid Given/Aid Rejected (06:53)

11.

Amen (2nd Version) (02:18)

12.

End Title/End Cast (01:26)

Total Duration: 00:32:01