Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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happy birthday


I tried to make it to work today. I did. It was very snowy, so I got in my car and drove for over an hour. I made it from Francis Lewis to about as far as Main Street (for those of you unfamiliar with Queens geography, that's only three exits on the Long Island Expressway). So I turned around and went back home. I then waited at the stop as two scheduled buses didn't show up. As what I was waiting in made night on Hoth feel like noon in the Bahamas, I then went back home and called my boss and told him to forget about me coming in today. I ain't going anywhere today. Okay, I might pop out for some coffee, but that's it. No point in letting the day go to waste, though. I might possibly watch the remastered Criterion of The Seven Samurai.

Incoming calls welcomed.
A phone conversations with waystone that included references to 70° weather and an e-mail from Saadia mentioning how she spent the whole day in flip-flops is starting to make me really tired of the damn cold. In a move of inconvenient seasonal pride, the winter is really working to make up for the mildness of its first half. I did run into a girl at work yesterday who was 21 and from California, so she was looking forward to [what meteorologists were then expecting to be] the snowstorm as she had never experienced snow. My guess is that she never experienced hail before today either.

This rash of Bill Conti records of late has been a revelation to me. I always thought of him as talented. His scores for the North and South miniseries were extremely memorable and one of the first times I remember watching a show and taking note of the composer. However, I'm wasn't a really big fan either of his original music for For Your Eyes Only (although I like his brassy arrangment of the Bond theme) or the overblown Masters of the Universe. Additionally, my distaste for Sylvester Stallone's screen presence meant that I really didn't come across his music for those films very much. I also have to admit that I'd seen him very often because I used to watch the Oscars, and I think the guy is kind of scary-looking. I mean, look at him up there ▲ ... he's, like, saying, "First I will create a beautiful score for this film. Then I will eat your brain" or something. So I haven't until recently appreciated the true breadth of his talent. He has written some very involving music.

A conversation with lehah after reading his rave about Gloria that had him mention Alex North in context of this score caused me to be a bit shocked. I mean, Conti and North are not two names that really go together in my head. I checked the score out myself - I ended up breezing right through it twice, actually - and was really impressed. I also understood what he meant about how the score often feels a bit like North. F.I.S.T. was a similarly shocking in how deep a score it is. I caught up to the film a few weeks ago. It was actually one of the few films I can stomach Sly in, although he has quite a few choice line readings ("Eye yam deh Yoonyooon!"), and the music was outstanding. It works gangbusters as a listening experience as well.

Speaking of North and South, that Varese suite that's coupled with The Right Stuff is a great piece of music in its own right, but a full CD... or better yet a 2 disc set with a platter for the first series and the "Love and War" follow-ups, similar to what Intrada did with Eloise (which I bought on a whim because I like Bruce Broughton and absolutely loved) would be most welcome.

One of the best things about having a really good sound system is the ability to play Miklós Rózsa music at obnoxiously loud decible levels. I just have to say... how amazing is this release!?! Okay, there are parts where the sound is a little dodgy, but it never gets too bad, especially considering what the previous albums sounded like. And just listen to those thick textures... it has the scope of all his epics as well as the sturm und drang of one of his film noir classics (why, oh why, is there no complete recording of his score for one of the greatest noirs of all time, Double Indemnity). I suppose that might have been motivated by the similarly lurid goings-on.

Rózsa is one of the few composers whose work is often best served by more complete representations (although I do think the Rhino Ben Hur was a bit of overkill - one day I'm going to go through that and make a playable version of that score). If I prefer the 1961 album of El Cid better than the lengthier and better-sounding Koch recording, it is only because I feel that Rózsa's performance of the music is better than Sedares' was. I doubt there will be a new recording of the score as the Koch album was attached to the film's brief theatrical re-release, thus making it somewhat 'official,' which is a shame because El Cid is one score I think that Bruce Broughton would knock out of the park.
Tags: alex north, bill conti, birthday, bruce broughton, film music, miklós rózsa
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