Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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At long last, completion

Playful Tunes


I had been toying with the idea of an album like this for some time, but I didn't know really where to start. An advantage of the Nomad, however, is that it is very easy to create a playlist on the fly, and so one day, while listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban a few months ago, I realized that "Aunt Marge's Waltz" was a perfect place to start in terms of bringing together some playful material. I then proceeded to go through the music that was represented on my Nomad while also considering what might be nice to add. The approach was basically very simple: present a program of music that is just plain fun. Many of my mixes do lean towards the esoteric, but this one was designed more for mass appeal.

I have yet to field-test the final result for others, but I will say this: I like it. A lot. I put it on my Nomad today and have listened to it over again four times. It is chock full of toe-tapping rhythms and whistlable melodies, and the while there is some of the music can get rather weird, there is a good-naturedness to the program that makes me grin when I listen to it. It may even be worth a try to use as a "sun peaking through the clouds" mood enhancer. It certainly brings me out of any funk I might be in while I listen to it, that's for damn sure.

The selection process for this album was pretty simple because much of it had already been done over a few weeks as I was assembling the playlist in the Nomad, but in order to maintain a constant tone there was quite a lot of editing required on some of the tracks. This is actually the most heavily edited album I've ever done, but having scrutinized it carefully, I am quite happy to say that they are all but unnoticable in the final mix.

The idea of starting with Danny Elfman's overture from Back to School was there from the very beginning. It is a perfect cue to announce the opening of the disc, a grand cascade of piano and tubas that informs the listener in no uncertain terms that the album they are about to hear is not about to take itself seriously at all. John Williams' "Presenting the Hook" from Hook was also a very early edition. Opening with a cute folk-inspired melody, it opens out into a jaunty march for the full orchestra. "No Respectable Gentleman" from one of my more recent discoveries, Jerry Goldsmith's The Great Train Robbery then follows, a slinky piece featuring a delightful instrumentation bringing a somewhat more intimate dimension to the album.

That intimacy leads us to "Mouse on the Mile" from Thomas Newman's The Green Mile, which serves to introduce a string of cues whose composition is somewhat more modern in tonality. Christophe Beck's frenzied fiddle in "Twice the Fool" from the "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the main inspirations for this section, as was the giddy "Forest Romp" from Alex North's masterful Dragonslayer score. One doesn't get much more modern than Michael Nyman, who is represented first by a dreamy selection from his Drowning by Numbers score, "Bees In Trees." The arch "Corso" follows, a catchy tune by Wojciech Kilar for harpsichord and trumpet excerpted from his otherwise gothic The Ninth Gate.

The Russian flavored "Chekov's Run" from Leonard Rosenman's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home provides a brief respite, but immediately afterwards we hear the kinkier side of Tom Newman in a selection from his eccentric score for The Player. We then return to prime Nyman, the euphoric "Wheelbarrow Walk," also from Drowning by Numbers, and similarly we return to the musicscape that Christophe Beck created for Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the off-kilter "Dead Guys with Bombs" from the episode "The Zeppo." This was actually one of the most heavily edited tracks, but I found that as long as i stayed in time, the cuts and blends I made were completely unnoticable.

Returning to more traditional material with one of Williams' trademark scherzos, which graced "The Snowball Fight" from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, another cue from Goldsmith's Victorian flavored The Great Train Robbery, "Rotten Row" presents the main theme from that film as an amiable waltz. This is followed by another one of this album's main inspirations: Dave Grusin's quasi-baroque The Goonies; "Fratelli Chase," the main title pursuit. This is a very rare score, and I was ecstatic to be able to include excerpts from it. A relative late addition to the mix was "Breakfast Machine" from Danny Elfman's crazy, career-defining Pee Wee's Big Adventure, although it was a case where its inclusion was the most natural thing in the world.

One of the most recognizable movie themes is Elmer Bernstein's sprightly march from The Great Escape. This is one damn catchy tune, and I find myself whistling it at work all the time for some strange reason. The new edition of this score allowed me to include the original soundtrack recording in all its glorious rawness. "Promenade (Tourists on the Menu)" is a playful canon from Williams' Oscar-winning Jaws. This is the album recording of a concert arrangement of this cue. One wouldn't necessarily think that Craig Safan's grandiose and rousing score from The Last Starfighter would yield material for an album like this, but the downright goofy "Rylos" is a gas. An Irish fiddle forms the basis for the overture (actually the end credits suite) from George Fenton's High Spirits.

Another cue that was there from the very beginning was the "Waltz to the Death" from Danny Elfman's Batman, a twisted parody Danse Macabre. Speaking of twisted, we return to Williams with The Witches of Eastwick. I combined the cues "The Ride Home" and "Daryl Arrives" to create "Daryl Drives," which presents a sardonic take on his catchy "Dance of the Witches" theme. The bouncy "Waterpipes" from Grusin's The Goonies follows, leading us into Michael Kamen's lush and lyrical waltz from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Bernstein is heard once again with the busy Russian-folk influenced "Fleeing in the Desert," a track created from combining excerpts from "Russians in the Desert" and "Escape" from Spies Like Us, leading us into the uncompromisingly broad "Hospital Chase" from Rosenman's Star Trek IV.

The tinkling "No Ticket" from Williams' Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade leads back into the tuba and piano territory of Elfman's Back to School with the active "Study Montage." After the excitement of the preceeding tracks, the sly and swanky "Cat and Mouse" of Henry Mancini's Oscar winning music from Victor/Victoria is something of a respite. Before one can get too comfortable, the mischevious "Finnegan's Jig" appears, a combination of the cues "School Chum" and "Finnegan's Return" from the Star Trek classic episode "Shore Leave." This was an iconic musical moment in the series, and the edit that appears here is one that I'm very proud of. The tone gets even stranger with "Pastries and Crypts," grotesque march from Bruce Broughton's Young Sherlock Holmes. "The Bordello" is a rip-roaring chase scene from David Whitaker's splendid The Sword and the Sorcerer score. These last three tracks were actually the last to be added to the record.

Few film scores - few pieces of music of any genre for that matter - say "New York" better than Elmer Bernstein's Ghostbusters, which is represented here in a brief four-part suite. The main Ghostbusters piano theme is heard from "Venkmann Burn in Hell" (not actually used in the film) and "Peter Arrives at Dana's Apartment." The quietly off-kilter "Elevator" cue ("That's gotta be some cockroach") is heard between these, and the suite is brought to a close with Dana's theme in "Lincoln Center." This is followed by the main inspiration for this project, "Aunt Marge's Waltz," from Williams' Prisoner of Azkaban.

While the crescendo of this cue would have made a fitting close to the album, I went one further and added "The Joker's Poem" from Elfman's Batman. The "punch line" of this track then becomes the finality of this disc. I used to end a lot of my mix tapes with this track as it was short and would fill out a side (I hated blank tape on my mixes). It's inclusion here is a gratifying salute to those long-gone analog days, similar to my ending Ethereal with "Final Dream" from Toto's Dune.



R O M P S
Jolly Film Music

(76:24)

DANNY ELFMAN
1.
Overture from Back To School (2:08)
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Conducted by John Coleman


JOHN WILLIAMS
2.
Presenting the Hook from Hook (1:33)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

JERRY GOLDSMITH
3.
No Respectable Gentleman from The Great Train Robbery (2:20)
Orchestra Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

THOMAS NEWMAN
4.
Mouse on the Mile from The Green Mile (1:26)
Orchestra Conducted by Thomas Newman

CHRISTOPHE BECK
5.
Twice the Fool from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered) (0:41)
Performed by Christophe Beck and Lenny Bloodstein

ALEX NORTH
6.
Forest Romp from Dragonslayer (1:27)
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Conducted by Alex North


MICHAEL NYMAN
7.
Bees In Trees from Drowning by Numbers (2:12)
Performed by the Michael Nyman Band
Conducted by Michael Nyman


WOJCIECH KILAR
8.
Corso from The Ninth Gate (2:09)
Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Stepan Konicek


LEONARD ROSENMAN
9.
Chekov's Run from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (0:54)
Orchestra Conducted by Leonard Rosenman

THOMAS NEWMAN
10.
Opening 3 from The Player (0:56)
Performed by Thomas Newman, George Budd, Michael Fisher and Ralph Grierson

MICHAEL NYMAN
11.
Wheelbarrow Walk from Drowning by Numbers (2:10)
Performed by the Michael Nyman Band
Conducted by Michael Nyman


CHRISTOPHE BECK
12.
Dead Guys With Bombs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The Zeppo) (2:45)
Performed by Christophe Beck and Lenny Bloodstein

JOHN WILLIAMS
13.
The Snowball Fight from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (0:54)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

JERRY GOLDSMITH
14.
Rotten Row from The Great Train Robbery (2:33)
Orchestra Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

DAVE GRUSIN
15.
Fratelli Chase from The Goonies (3:09)
Orchestra Conducted by Dave Grusin

DANNY ELFMAN
16.
Breakfast Machine from Pee Wee's Big Adventure (2:32)
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Conducted by John Coleman


ELMER BERNSTEIN
17.
Title March from The Great Escape (4:06)
Orchestra Conducted by Elmer Bernstein

JOHN WILLIAMS
18.
Promenade (Tourists on the Menu) from Jaws (2:42)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

CRAIG SAFAN
19.
Rylos from The Last Starfighter (1:47)
Orchestra Conducted by Craig Safan

GEORGE FENTON
20.
Overture from High Spirits (4:36)
Performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by George Fenton


DANNY ELFMAN
21.
Waltz to the Death from Batman (3:37)
Performed by the Sinfonia of London
Conducted by Shirley Walker


JOHN WILLIAMS
22.
Daryl Drives from The Witches of Eastwick (3:49)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

DAVE GRUSIN
23.
Waterpipes from The Goonies (1:18)
Orchestra Conducted by Dave Grusin

MICHAEL KAMEN
24.
The Munchausen Waltz from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (3:23)
Performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Michael Kamen


ELMER BERNSTEIN
25.
Fleeing in the Desert from Spies Like Us (0:49)
Performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Elmer Bernstein


LEONARD ROSENMAN
26.
Hospital Chase from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1:09)
Orchestra Conducted by Leonard Rosenman

JOHN WILLIAMS
27.
No Ticket from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1:20)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

DANNY ELMAN
28.
Study Montage from Back To School (1:26)
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Conducted by John Coleman


HENRY MANCINI
29.
Cat and Mouse from Victor/Victoria (3:13)
Orchestra Conducted by Henry Mancini

GERALD FRIED
30.
Finnegan's Jig from Star Trek (Shore Leave) (2:50)
Orchestra Conducted by Gerald Fried

BRUCE BROUGHTON
31.
Pastries and Crypts from Young Sherlock Holmes (0:45)
Performed by the Sinfonia of London
Conducted by Bruce Broughton


DAVID WHITAKER
32.
The Bordello from The Sword and the Sorcerer (3:36)
Performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by David Whitaker


ELMER BERNSTEIN
33.
Suite from Ghostbusters (2:45)
(Venkman Burn in Hell/Elevator/Peter Arrives at Dana's Apartment/Lincoln Center)
Orchestra Conducted by Elmer Bernstein
Ondes Martenot Performed by Jeanne Loriod


JOHN WILLIAMS
34.
Aunt Marge's Waltz from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2:11)
Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

DANNY ELFMAN
35.
The Joker's Poem from Batman (0:58)
Performed by the Sinfonia of London
Conducted by Shirley Walker



Save for my Star Wars Trilogy compilation, this ended up being the longest mix that I've made in a while. I've been narrowing my scope for the past few albums, and so recently they've mostly been between forty-five minutes and an hour. I kept adding tracks to this one, finding that it did, in fact, support a longer running time as there was enough of a variety within the music itself.

Although my original intention was to have the tracks succeed each other in standard form, I found that the forward momentum created by many of these selections lent themselves to crossfades, and so I found myself composing this album in my standard continuous stream format. I will tell you the truth though, working out the crossfades and succession of tracks is one of my favorite aspects of building an album. I strive to take music and place it in a new context, and I find that when one passes smoothly from track to track that this makes the listener more willing to accept the new creation as its own album as opposed to a compilation. It's also great fun. Nero Soundtrax allows me to either overlap the tracks or fade them in different ways, giving me very precise control over the placement of the tracks.

Unfortunately, I have not yet replaced my scanner/printer yet, so there is no final artwork yet prepared for this album. I'm tentatively doing something nice and art deco with it (hence the marble image), although I haven't settled on anything just as yet.

What a strange hobby I have.
Tags: bruce broughton, danny elfman, elmer bernstein, film music, jerry goldsmith, john williams, leonard rosenman, michael nyman, my mixes, thomas newman
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