Wings/Zamecnik arr. by Dominik Hauser

December 15, 2012



To help celebrate Paramount’s 100th anniversary WINGS, the very first best picture Oscar, was given the royal restoration treatment including the J.S Zamecnik material written specifically for the film.  J.S. Zamecnik (1872-1953), who studied under Anton Dvorak, not only used original material but music from Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Sousa, DeFrancesco, Verdi and others for this project. The source music was absolutely necessary for the time period of this film.


Having had the opportunity to discuss the process with Gregg Nestor who was responsible for the music preparation, I learned what a labor of love this project turned out to be for Jeannie Gayle Pool, Dominik Hauser and La-La Land Records. What seemed to be a synthesized sounding recording to this reviewer’s ear, one that I almost put it into the pile of one and done CD’s, has turned out to be a real gem for me upon repeated listens. It is a mixture of live recordings as well as MIDI tracks which were edited to incorporate live and synthesized.


Filmed with assistance from the War Department, who supplied over 200 planes with Army airmen, the film cost a staggering 2 million dollars but the result was a runaway release for two years in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in addition to a touring roadshow production. The sound effects and aerial battle scenes were used for years and years by Paramount which contributed in helping to recoup losses.


Highlights include the overture which consists of the main title, a theme with shimmering strings which builds to a crescendo and introduces the love theme an uplifting melody which is light and airy. The military theme takes front and center and the track concludes with the love theme which you’ll hear several times during the listening of this CD. You’ll also hear the main title as well as the theme for Mary and Jack. “A Small Town” is a very typical sounding silent theme which is being played to daydreaming Jack and the flirtatious Mary who has a crush on Jack but he is oblivious to her feelings. “In Military Camp” is a comical cue using Little Brown Jug, which also mixes in the patriotic Star Spangled Banner.  One of the more popular classical compositions used by Hollywood is Franz Liszt’s Les Preludes which is used as a battle is going on. Frederick Hodges performs ragtime and classical piano in a nice compilation of melodies as Mary confides in Celeste, a restroom attendant, from the film.


Would this release have benefited from the use of a full classical symphony orchestra? As a CD listening experience I would say yes without reservation. However, silent films used pit orchestras and these ensembles are certainly not in the 100 piece size, far from it. It needed the smaller ensemble to achieve the right kind of sound for the restoration of the picture. Perhaps at some point there will be another release for CD with a large orchestra giving the sound full impact to the listener. As you give this recording repeated listens you’ll come to appreciate the combination of live orchestra and sound samples. The liner notes were written by the producer of the project Jeannie Gayle Pool and she provides inside information of what was necessary to bring this restoration forward. Recommended.




Track listing


Overture; Main Title; Love Theme Wings; Knights and Ladies*(02:53)


A Small Town; Mary Preston Had Always; Mary Raises Finger(02:10)


Sylvia and Dave in the Swing; Bon Vivant+; Close Up of Mary(01:32)


Youth Laughed (00:24)


In Military Camp+; Put Your Moniker (01:40)


Ode to Spring*; She’s My Girl; If You’d Seen His Look (02:27)


The Revolving Machine; Comedian Taken Out (00:41)


Hurry #2+; You’re Game (01:37)


Intermezzo+; Chanson+; Intermezzo+; Aviator White; Air Flight* (02:52)


Change of Scene; Comedian Seen; Crusaders* (01:58)


Allegro Furioso (00:32)


Count Von Kellermann; L’istesso Tempo; A Midsummer Night’s Dream+; Second Airplane on Fire; Air Flight* (04:07)


Storm+; English Trenches (03:08)


Giant Gotha; Grandioso; Soldiers Marching; Escorted By; Over There+; Darktown Strutters’ Ball+ (03:05)


Close Up of Mary; Germans Seen (00:42)


Storm+; Incidental Symphonies #3+; Running Out of Gas(03:24)


Right after Crash; A Midsummer Night’s Dream+; Say That’s the Shooting Star (00:45)


French General Kisses (01:20)


Cabaret Capers+; I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles; Cabaret Capers+ (02:58)


Mary Walks to the Table; No War Drinking Song; When Yankee Doodle Learned to Parlez-Vous+; Mary Enters; I Understand; They Turn Away; Dress to Impress (04:39)


The Cobbler and the Fairy+; Another Close Up of Mary (01:22)


It’s Sylvia I Love; Jack Stoops Down (02:15)


Incidental Symphonies #5+ (01:22)


Behind the Enemy; Daybreak; Battle Music+ (01:57)


Airplanes Start (01:50)


Les Preludes+ (01:22)


The Tempest+; Sicilian Vespers+; Battle Music; Far in the Enemy; Dave Crawls on Ground; Storm+; Soldiers Run (05:03)


One Plane; Jack! Jack!; Jack Shooting (02:44)


After Crash; Change of Scene; Disperazione; Don’t Go; My Buddy+ (06:12)


The Flying Ace+ (01:12)


Romanza Senza Parole+; Mother Close Up; Mary Seen at Fence(06:10)


Jack’s Theme+ (01:03)

All selections Sony/ATV Harmony (ASCAP), unless otherwise indicated.
+Published by Paramount Allegra Music
*Published by WB Music Corp.

Total Duration: 01:15:26



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