Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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Music to wash one's dishes to.

This genesis of this project was a conversation with melancthe, in which she mentioned that listening to "Building the Crate" from Chicken Run was one of the few things that could cut through the tedium of washing dishes. It occurred to me that there are several cues I could think of offhand that had that same sort of "can do" aspect to them. In fact, this was a case where most of the contents of the album were decided within a few moments of its conception, although not necessarily the playing order, which took a bit of time to come together. Once it did, however, it became airtight.

The working title for the disc was "Can Do!" but I never really warmed to the idea of actually calling it that. The final title, Excelsior!, was derived from "Onward!" a suggestion of ehowton's; that term is also New York's state motto, so it is also something of an homage thereof as well.

This is a lengthy disc but it seems to pass rather quickly because of the tone, which is maintained by a combination of jaunty melodies and propulsive rhythms. Creating sequences in the music became very important as so to have the music flow easily while avoiding having too many similar tracks abut one another. It also became an interesting question with regards to the finale of the disc; I had to choose pieces which would be cathartic while still fitting the overall mission statement of the album. The end result manages to have moments of both intensity and whimsy, but the overarching sense is one of optimism.



26 Tracks • 81:31

1. JOHN BARRY: Main Title (Zulu) 1:27
Orchestra Conducted by John Barry

2.
JAMES HORNER: Combat Drop (Aliens) 3:15
London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by James Horner

3.
MICHAEL KAMEN: Connor and Ramirez (Highlander) 3:47
National Philharmonic Orchestra of London Conducted by Michael Kamen

4.
BILL CONTI: Training Hard (The Karate Kid) 2:23
Orchestra Conducted by Bill Conti; Zamfir, Pan Flute

5.
MICHAEL NYMAN: Becoming Jerome & God’s Hands (Gattaca) 2:51
Orchestra Conducted by Michael Nyman

6.
JERRY GOLDSMITH: The Jump (Rambo: First Blood Part II) 3:15
National Philharmonic Orchestra of London Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

7.
JAMES HORNER: Gaining Access to the Tapes (Brainstorm) 2:38
London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by James Horner

8.
HANS ZIMMER & JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Will Is Everything (Batman Begins) 2:09
Orchestra Conducted by Gavin Greenaway

9.
JERRY GOLDSMITH: Preparations (The Ghost and the Darkness) 1:11
National Philharmonic Orchestra of London Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

10.
ELMER BERNSTEIN: On the Road (The Great Escape) 2:59
Orchestra Conducted by Elmer Bernstein

11.
BILL CONTI: The Training (The Right Stuff) 1:10
London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Bill Conti

12.
JOHN POWELL & HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS: Building the Crate (Chicken Run) 3:27
Orchestra Conducted by Gavin Greenaway

13.
BASIL POLEDOURIS: Red Route 1 (The Hunt for Red October) 3:25
Orchestra and Choir Conducted by Basil Poledouris

14.
MICHAEL KAMEN: Training (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) 1:32
Los Angeles All-Stars Orchestra Conducted by Michael Kamen

15.
ELMER BERNSTEIN: Off to Spy (Spies Like Us) 1:51
Graunke Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Elmer Bernstein

16.
JERRY GOLDSMITH: The Construction (Explorers) 2:26
Orchestra Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

17.
JOHN BARRY: The Buffalo Hunt (Dances with Wolves) 4:29
Orchestra Conducted by John Barry

18.
ALEX NORTH: On to the Sea (Spartacus) 3:50
Orchestra Conducted by Alex North

19.
BRUCE BROUGHTON: Solving the Crime (Young Sherlock Holmes) 4:51
Sinfonia of London Conducted by Bruce Broughton

20.
PATRICK DOYLE: St. Crispin’s Day (Henry V) 2:23
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Simon Rattle

21.
JOSEPH LODUCA: Building the Deathcoaster (Army of Darkness) 1:52
Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by Tim Simonec

22.
JAMES HORNER: Storming the Black Fortress (Krull) 2:54
London Symphony Orchestra and Ambrosian Singers Conducted by James Horner

23.
MARCO BELTRAMI: Stand By Your Man (Hellboy) 1:59
Orchestra Conducted by Pete Anthony

24.
ELMER BERNSTEIN: The Exodus (The Ten Commandments) 5:29
Orchestra Conducted by Irving Talbot

25.
JOHN WILLIAMS: The Evacuation of Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back) 7:15
London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by John Williams

26.
JAMES HORNER: Rocketeer to the Rescue (The Rocketeer) 6:30
Orchestra Conducted by James Horner


  1. JOHN BARRY: Main Title (Zulu)

    The bold, martial strains of Barry's Zulu theme gives the album a dignified opening. This is one of my favorite film scores despite its brevity (17 minutes of music for a rather lengthy film). The import disc I have that presents the score in stereo; the liner notes on the monaural domestic Silva release stated that the album was only issued in mono and 'electronically reprocessed' stereo, but they were apparently mistaken because if this is reprocessed, it's the single best job I've ever heard. This track was actually a relatively late addition to the album concept, but once I hit on it, almost everything else clicked into place.


  2. JAMES HORNER: Combat Drop (Aliens)

    This piece, unused in the film, was one of the first cues I thought of when I began compiling tracks for the film. Written for the scene in which the Marines are deployed on LV-426, ts major mode manipulation of the primary thematic material goes with Hudson (Bill Paxton) boasting about the weaponry (seen in the extended edition) and stands in stark contrast to most of the rest of the score, which tends to be otherwise forbidding and relentless. I think it is interesting that the most likely reason why it wasn't used in the film is because it reflects the confidence of the Colonial Marines... which is exactly why it was included here.


  3. MICHAEL KAMEN: Connor and Ramirez (Highlander)

    This is the portion of "The Highlander Theme" that concerns Connor McLeod's (Christopher Lambert) training with the mysterious Ramirez (Sean Connery). The music outlines Connor's growing sense of his own power, and presents the main theme in several euphoric arrangements. While Kamen called an adaptation of the cue "Training" on his Michael Kamen's Opus CD, a cursory glance of the track listing of this disc should make it clear why I didn't use that title.


  4. BILL CONTI: Training Hard (The Karate Kid)

    This was a cue that I definitely wanted to include, but debated doing so because of its structure. The beginning is very subtle, written for Pan flute and strings, leading into a beautiful baroque-styled passage as Daniel (Ralph Macchio) attains a level of grace with his movement. The latter portion of the cue would not work without the former, and I decided that I could use the slow beginning as a rest point for the listener, bringing them into a somewhat softer passage in the album.


  5. MICHAEL NYMAN: Becoming Jerome & God’s Hands (Gattaca)

    The previous track leads straight into this one, which is a remix of two cues from this Autumnal score that I found on the compilation The Very Best of Michael Nyman: Film Music 1980 - 2001. This is a very warm piece illustrating the resolve of Eugene (Ethan Hawke) as he climbs his genetic "borrowed ladder," Jerome (Jude Law).


  6. JERRY GOLDSMITH: The Jump (Rambo: First Blood Part II)

    This track, "Will is Everything" (track 8) and "The Construction" (track 16), are three that I've used before, albeit in very different projects. In this case It's a Long Road: The Rambo Trilogy. I just could not conceive of putting this disc together without this track. Goldsmith layers his thematic material over the rhythmic electronics and percussion, including both his original First Blood theme for Rambo and develops the new, more Republican theme for him heard in the second film, and the action motif based on a cue in First Blood that Goldsmith would revisit in Rambo III.


  7. JAMES HORNER: Gaining Access to the Tapes (Brainstorm)

    This is a sly piece for bells, strings and brass, calculating and slightly mischievous. I discovered this album (a re-recording of the score for the film, which I've never seen) as a blind buy in 1992, and it has remained a favorite throughout the years.


  8. HANS ZIMMER & JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Will Is Everything (Batman Begins)

    This is another track that could have been titled "Training," but I preferred to use the line of Ducard (Liam Neeson), who is forging the spirit of young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). This is another of the tracks that I have used before, in Gotham Avenger: Screen Tales of the Dark Knight as part of the larger suite "Eptisicus" as it appeared on the soundtrack album. The titles for the album were the different species of bat, and since I was isolating a particular cue from it, I felt justified in the retitling.


  9. JERRY GOLDSMITH: Preparations (The Ghost and the Darkness)

    Goldsmith's fusion of Irish melodies, African rhythms and orchestration and traditional orchestral scoring make The Ghost and the Darkness one of the freshest of his output in the 90s. This track was in competition with "Bitter Coffee" from The Edge for inclusion; it won because of the more unique ethnic flavor.


  10. ELMER BERNSTEIN: On the Road (The Great Escape)

    It would have been impossible to have compiled this mix without putting the iconic theme from The Great Escape on it somewhere; this theme gradually forms over the course of this track, illustrating the escapees hard-won freedom, leading to a blaze of brass and snare drum. A short tension sequence was edited from the cue.


  11. BILL CONTI: The Training (The Right Stuff)

    Conti returns with this very appropriate selection from his Oscar-winning score from The Right Stuff, heard in the film as the Mercury 7 agree to work together to ensure that it would be one of them, not a chimpanzee, that would reach space first (they failed in this goal). There is no clearer evocation than the lighter side of the search for the elusive quality of "The Right Stuff" than this cue. The cover art was inspired by the inclusion of this track.


  12. JOHN POWELL & HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS: Building the Crate (Chicken Run)

    So here it is, the track that is the reason this disc exists in the first place. The good natured melodies and orchestration - including kazoo solos - draw the listener in as the music builds to a sense of accomplishment. Chicken accomplishment. I used this piece as a crescendo for the previous two tracks.


  13. BASIL POLEDOURIS: Red Route 1 (The Hunt for Red October)

    The beginning of this track, detailing a submarine shadow job, is fairly leisurely, building thematic material slowly, but halfway through it pauses and comes back, on a mission. I used the opening portion of this cue in the same manner as I did "Training Hard" (track 4), to give the listener something of a break after a more active passage, and as with that previous example, I also allowed the tail of that piece to introduce the next.


  14. MICHAEL KAMEN: Training (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

    Kevin Costner (the most Oklahoma Robin Hood in cinema history) uses the superiority of his noble breeding to organize the poor people into a band of conveniently expendable bad-asses in order to exact revenge upon Alan Rickman for thoroughly upstaging him throughout the film. Kamen's Robin Hood theme became the signature piece for Morgan Creek for years afterwards, and now it is being used by Disney.


  15. ELMER BERNSTEIN: Off to Spy (Spies Like Us)

    Useless piece of trivia: I bought this score on the very same day I bought Brainstorm (track 4). I had no idea that there was a soundtrack album for this film, but I always liked Bernstein's comedy music. It was rare these scores would see a release, but this was a welcome exception. As with all of his comedy scores, Bernstein plays everything straight, just slightly exaggerated.


  16. JERRY GOLDSMITH: The Construction (Explorers)

    This is another track that I've used before, this time in my Jerry Goldsmith memorial set, which I rarely ever listen to anymore, save for the Valhalla compilation. It is another one of the tracks I couldn't imagine not having on this album. As with much of his work with Joe Dante, this is one of Goldsmith's most delightfully weird scores (sadly underrepresented on the album), but it also contains one of his most ennobling themes, which is showcased here as the three young protagonists (Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix and Jason Presson) build their space pod thingee.


  17. JOHN BARRY: The Buffalo Hunt (Dances with Wolves)

    The original soundtrack album for Dances with Wolves featured Barry's original cue for this scene. While a most notable piece of music in its own right, at Kevin Costner's request, he adapted the piece to be more in a more traditional Western mode to give the scene more forward momentum. In other words, the quality that Costner wanted for the scene was exactly what the criteria I was using when compiling this disc, and so the film version is included. As with "Training Hard" (track 4) and "Red Route 1" (track 13), I allowed the slower beginning of the cue to lead up to the more active portion.


  18. ALEX NORTH: On to the Sea (Spartacus)

    This celebratory track opened act II of Spartacus and depicted the slaves marching to the sea. The restored version contains a sequence deleted from the original theatrical release of a couple burying their dead baby, but this music has always been heard on the album presentation. I briefly considered cutting this part out, but decided that it was needed for the integrity of the track; the playfulness heard at its conclusion only works after the moment of sorrow.


  19. BRUCE BROUGHTON: Solving the Crime (Young Sherlock Holmes)

    This rollicking romp is a theme and variations on the materia primoris for this film, heard as Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe) dashes about. Broughton's music in many ways encapsulates what a young Holmes must have been like better than the finished film does.


  20. PATRICK DOYLE: St. Crispin’s Day (Henry V)

    I knew that I was going to have a pretty noisy conclusion to this album, so I wanted to give the listener another rest before taking off again. Rousing but melodic, this accompanies Kenneth Branagh's delivery of the single most inspiring call to arms ever written by human being. It's really hard to believe that this was Patrick Doyle's first film score.


  21. JOSEPH LODUCA: Building the Deathcoaster (Army of Darkness)

    While the first Evil Dead score was a cobbled-together affair, the second film's score was orchestral and had thematic material, which LoDuca then transposed to a fantasy milieu for Sam Raimi's follow-up. This track is a huge chunk of cheese, but it's undeniably a hell of a lot of fun, and it is a good transition from the previous track into...


  22. JAMES HORNER: Storming the Black Fortress (Krull)

    Krull was the score that formed the idea for the climax of the album. There is a certain quality to the action of this cue that is speaking more about the spirit behind the derring-do than it is directly following the on-screen action. This track is made up of the beginning of "Battle on the Parapets" and two parts of "Inside the Black Fortress."


  23. MARCO BELTRAMI: Stand By Your Man (Hellboy)

    This cue begins very eerily, but soon takes a decisive turn as Hellboy (Ron Perlman) makes the choice to do what he believes in instead of what he was bred to do, which is characterized in the music by stern brass passages. This track was a late suggestion, one that ended up solving the problem of connecting the adjacent cues while working within the context of the album as a whole.


  24. ELMER BERNSTEIN: The Exodus (The Ten Commandments)

    The centerpiece of Bernstein's career-making score is this grand sequence, filmed in expansive Cecil B. DeMille fashion. While this album arrangement is slightly different from what appears in the film, it is nevertheless representative of how Bernstein was able to write a fully-formed piece of music for this scene. This is from the Dot stereo recording, which was apparently conducted by Irwin Talbot and not Bernstein himself, as is stated on the cover art, which was merely reprised from the original monaural recording (which, sadly, remains unreleased).


  25. JOHN WILLIAMS: The Evacuation of Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back)

    This track was the bitch of the bunch. I had originally developed the kernel of the idea for this cue for every incarnation of my Star Wars original trilogy compilation, but was never able to find a way to integrate it. When I hit on the idea of actually doing this album, I knew this would be the perfect addition; you get to hear "can do" versions of both the music for the Rebels and the Imperials. It was, however, a terrible pain to edit together. Because of the instantly recognizable nature of this material, I knew I had to place it late in the album as well, and given that some of the most rousing music on the album is heard in this track, it seemed it best suited to being penultimate.

    This track is a combination of music from three cues. "Leia's Instructions/Drawing the Battle Lines" is the first, with the sequence of Piett's (Kenneth Colley) promotion having been trimmed, but including the resolute sounding of the Imperial March leading to the sparkling music for the cheer-inducing 'The first transport is away! The first transport is away!' moment. We segue to "Luke's First Crash," again with a portion action music removed, the opening leading directly into a quotation of Luke's theme, then the dire variation on the Force theme heard as the Rebels retreat from the battle line. This then explodes into a triumphant statement of the Rebel fanfare. "The Rebels Escape Again" begins in a frenzied manner, but gradually settles into a confident version of 'Han Solo and the Princess' as the Millenium Falcon and then Luke's X-Wing blast off.


  26. JAMES HORNER: Rocketeer to the Rescue (The Rocketeer)

    To close off the album, I wanted something that would end authoritatively but still be in keeping with the overall theme. The enthusiastic finale to Horner's sole entry in the comic book film genre is chock full of that "can do!" attitude that I was attempting to encapsulate with this album.




That was some damn gorgeous weather today.
Tags: alex north, basil poledouris, bill conti, bruce broughton, elmer bernstein, film music, harry gregson-williams, james horner, jerry goldsmith, john barry, john powell, john williams, marco beltrami, michael kamen, michael nyman, my mixes, patrick doyle, star wars
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