My Geisha/Waxman

April 6, 2013


Kritzerland KR 20024-8

Lately Kritzerland has been releasing a lot of Shirley MacLaine movies so much so that maybe Bruce should change his company title? It wasn’t too long ago that he released “Matchmaker” and “Hot Spell” both starring Shirley. Maybe he should change it to the Geisha label as he has released “Geisha Boy,” “The Barbarian and the Geisha,” and now this fine new release “My Geisha.”

A very typical comedy of the 60’s, the plot featured a common theme of fooling the husband by changing her appearance. The score by Franz Waxman blends opera, oriental, and a sweet sounding melody that you’ll hear often while listening to this soundtrack. Waxman was right at home with the classical material as he conducted many world premiere works in his twenty year concert series in Los Angeles.

The CD begins with “Main Title (You Are Sympathy to Me),” not only introducing us to the main theme but a hint of pentatonic to make the listener aware of the oriental tie in and after a fanfare we hear a little bit of the New York sound. Being the consummate professional that Franz Waxman was, this was just a day’s work for the maestro. By the third play in the reviewing process I found myself humming this easy on the ears melody. I’ve included the main title as an audio clip. There is also a demo version that features the song.”Koto Theme,” definitely Japanese sounding is in three parts with the theme being played in all of the sections on Mandolin. There is single string plucking as well as a difficult passage in the last section. “The True Geisha” is another Japanese sounding piece that is underscore with little thematic material to offer the listener. “Geisha House” is also mandolin playing. “Indistinguishable Melody” is a brief melody performed on the accordion. There are four Madama Butterfly tracks, also conducted by Waxman that feature some of the main themes from the Opera as well as a libretto. Also mixed in are some appropriate sounding underscore tracks including “Preparations” does offer a hint of style that sounds like it could be from some of his noir material.

Don’t expect a sound like “Sunset Boulevard” but more of a style you might hear from Duning or Previn. The stereo mastering offers a nice sound, not the archival sound you might hear on other recordings from that era. The CD is a limited recording of 1000 units so act sooner rather than later and add this score to your Waxman collection.

Track listing

1.         Main Title (2:16)

2.         Goodbye, Lover (2:25)

3.         Arrival in Tokyo (2:05)

4.         Pittsburgh Surprise (0:20)

5.         Koto Theme (2:08)

6.         The Plot/Lucy’s Poster (1:46)

7.         The True Geisha (3:21)

8.         Preparations (2:21)

9.         One Fine Day (from Madama Butterfly) (4:42)

10.       Love Duet (from Madama Butterfly) (2:31)

11.       You Are Sympathy To Me (3:26)

12.       The Real Yoko (2:10)

13.       Call Me Paul (2:44)

14.       Finale from Madama Butterfly (3:03)

15.       Lucy’s Arrival (0:58)

16.       Overture to Madama Butterfly (2:10)

17.       End Title (0:24)


18.       You Are Sympathy to Me (demo) (2:58)

19.       Pittsburgh Surprise (alternate) ( 0:20)

20.       Geisha House, Part 1 (Yajuro Kineya) (1:26)

21.       Indistinguishable Melody (0:39)

22.       Call Me Paul (without insert) (2:42)

Total Time is 47:05

Madama Butterfly Composed by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by L. Illica and G. Giacoso

Conducted by Franz Waxman