Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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For Sandy

While I do have a tendency to revisit older projects, this was the shortest interval between the completion of a mix and the retooling. As I completed Man of Steel: Screen Tales of the Last Son of Krypton, I found out that not only had Bryan Singer started work on his next Superman movie, but that it would be titled Man of Steel as well. This meant that I would have to redo this album when the film came out either to incorporate music from it or to concentrate entirely on the Christopher Reeve series, a prospect that is only possible with the release of the Blue Box. I'd have to change the title either way.

Over the course of the weekend, I decided that I would dismantle that mix and make a new one that was structurally similar, but that only encompassed music from the films starring Reeve. I figure that Singer will be making a trilogy, and I'll just make a separate disc dedicated to John Ottman's work on those films. The result ended up being a more consistent album. While Ottman's music is quite good, it tended to stick out somewhat from the other selections on the disc. While the sonics on the Blue Box is indeed excellent (indeed, they forced me to completely re-assess Ken Thorne's contribution to the series), they are archival recordings as compared to the sound on the 2006 Superman Returns, furthermore Ottman incorporates Williams' thematic material, but otherwise that score is very stylistically different more from the other scores than they were to each other.

I didn't want to alter the structure of the piece too much, and since that structure tended to be dictated by the presentation of thematic material in Superman, most of the selections and their placement from that film haven't been altered much. I wanted the first act of the album to be a loose "story of Superman," which became something of an issue when it came to "Leaving Home" and "The Fortress of Solitude." All previous versions of this mix had "You're Not One of Them" from Superman Returns at this point, evoking an aspect of the character - in that case, his isolation - rather than direct chronology. I couldn't figure out what to put there until glenniebun suggested "Mother's Advice" from Superman II, a reprise of the music heard as Jor-El (Marlon Brando) delivers his 'father to son' monologue, which manages to achieve the same goal as I had with "You're Not One of Them," which is to say something about the character without using music that still needed to be developed in "The Fortress of Solitude."

Several of the suites I created for Man of Steel have been redone as well, some with minor changes, some with major. "Twilight of Krypton" is essentially the same edit but with a smoother transition from "Krypton" to "The Council's Decision." "Saving Lois" is longer, featuring more of "Turning Back the World," and "I Spent the Night With Superman" has a smoother outro courtesy of the bonus tracks on the Blue Box. "Trio of Traitors" has been expanded to include "Clark Return to Fortress," while "Kneel Before Zod" hasn't been expanded, but rather augmented with percussion during "Superman Pulls Big Switch." "Nuclear Encounter" has been expanded to start off with "Confrontation."

The extra time alloted to these scores benefited Superman III and IV the most, as I was able to incorporate more of those scores. I finally found a place for an edit I made for Man of Steel of Ken Thorne's orchestral arrangement of Giorgio Moroder's Superman III love theme, and a short piece called "Metropolis Skyline" that gets pretty sexy. However, most importantly I was able to include the wonderful "Lacy's Place" cue for the Clark/Lacy Superman/Lois double date.

This is a project that should have been a no-brainer, but would have been completely impossible were it not for the absolute cornucopia of delights that Film Score Monthly's Superman: The Music (1978 - 1988) is, concisely documented by Lukas Kendall, Mike Matessino and Jeff Eldridge in the liner notes, which made selection and editing a much easier process than it would otherwise have been.

Now, I admit that the cover art is a direct bite-off of the book cover of Rhino set. I actually did this on purpose; the Rhino disc was an excellent presentation of the score with the elements that were available at the time, and was one of my all time favorite CDs until the Blue Box supplanted it with sound quality and supplementary material. The full title of this album as it appears on the disc image, the CD Text and on my Mix List is You'll Believe A Man Can Fly: Christopher Reeve's Superman. The subtitle doesn't appear on the cover. It doesn't have to. While I admit that this may be slightly less striking than the Alex Ross painting I used as a cover for Man of Steel, it nevertheless immediately tells you what you're going to hear.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Courage.

21 Tracks • 81:29

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman IV: The Quest for Peace — A. Courage/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman II — K Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman II — K. Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman III — G. Moroder/K. Thorne)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman III — K. Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman IV: The Quest for Peace — A. Courage/J. Williams)

(Superman III — K. Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman IV: The Quest for Peace — A. Courage/J. Williams)

(Superman II — K. Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman IV: The Quest for Peace — A. Courage/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman II — K. Thorne/J. Williams)

(Superman — J. Williams)

(Superman II — J. Williams/K. Thorne)


Music Composed and Conducted by JOHN WILLIAMS

Engineered by ERIC TOMLINSON Assisted by ALAN SNELLING
Recorded at ANVIL STUDIOS, Denham, Buck, England

SUPERMAN II (1981) and SUPERMAN III (1983)

Music Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by KEN THORNE
Incorporating Material Composed by JOHN WILLIAMS
Lana's Theme from SUPERMAN III Composed by GIORGIO MORODER

Recorded at THE MUSIC CENTRE (CTS STUDIOS), Wembley, Middlesex, England


Superman and Original Themes Composed by JOHN WILLIAMS
Adapted and Conducted by ALEXANDER COURAGE

German Sessions Performed by the GRAUNKE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Engineered by PETER KRAMPER
Recorded at BAVARIA MUSIK STUDIOS, Munich, Germany
Recorded at CTS STUDIOS, Wembley, England

  1. PRELUDE AND MAIN TITLE MARCH Superman (J. Williams)
    The kick off of this album was a given. The opening of Superman is one of my favorite title sequences, firmly planting the movie in the grand Hollywood tradition, and the march itself a legitimate overture for the rest of the film. Rather than use the familiar fanfare opening (originally written for the Warner Brothers shield) that started off the original Superman album, I instead opted to go with the "Prelude" as it appears in the film. This is the film edit of the main title, with the additional "Up and Away," though without the pitch shift and of course the phrases dropped in the film mix for timing are intact here. I described this moment in the film, the music and its personal significance after my viewing of the film at the Ziegfeld. On the my initial take on this mix, I had to accomplish this editorially, but this track was one of the bonus cues in the Blue Box.

  2. TWILIGHT OF KRYPTON Superman (J. Williams)
    This piece is comprised of material from "The Planet Krypton," "The Destruction of Krypton" and "The Kryptonquake" (A.K.A. "Star Ship Escapes") After the rousing title sequence, the camera pushes through space towards a red sun, and the planet Krypton is revealed. This is accompanied by a noble eight note fanfare that would become almost as iconic as the elements of the Superman march itself. Otherworldy textures are heard as Lara (Susannah York) and Jor-El (Marlon Brando) discuss the future of their son; a new five-note 'crystal' motif introduced as Jor-El explains to his wife that their son will never be alone, even on Earth. This motif will become very significant,scoring Superman's relationship to his home planet; in Thorne's Superman II score, a variation will be adapted to represent the three Kryptonian villains (tracks 12 and 21). A very moving sequence is then heard as Jor-El bids farewell to his son, Kal-El (Lee Quigley); a burst of the Superman fanfare plays over the craft breaking free of the doomed world. As the planet meets its inevitable doom, Williams introduces a new twelve note 'personal' motif built from elements of the fanfare and bridge portions of the march that he will revisit in a completely different context (tracks 11 and 21) and that Thorne would both use extensively in Superman II (tracks 16 and 19). This is the only case where two tracks from the same film abut one another on the mix, something I try to avoid as much as possible but which I found worked in this particular case, as the previous track was more of an overture, while this begins the body of the album.

  3. SMALLVILLE Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (A. Courage/J. Williams)
    Kal-El is rocketed to Earth, where he grows up in rural Kansas. The track is a combination of "Back in Time" and "Pow!," which in which Courage adapted "Jonathan's Death" from Superman to evoke Clark's hometown. This theme is actually more characteristic of Williams' work before Jaws on such films as The Cowboys, The Reivers and Conrack, and fits perfectly with the images of pure Americana from that film, and it allowed me to briefly introduce the theme before "Leaving Home."

  4. LEAVING HOME Superman (J. Williams)
    The eerie 'crystal' motif is heard once again as Clark (Jeff East) is drawn to a mysterious green crystal originally seen being placed in Kal-El's ship by Jor-El. This then leads to a full statement of the Kent family theme as he reveals to his adopted mother Martha (Phyllis Thaxter) that he must leave. The final crescendo has always had some distortion on it that has thankfully been minimized by the remastering job done on the Blue Box.

  5. MOTHER'S ADVICE Superman II (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    This cue, heard as Kal-El consults the image of his mother, reprises the music for Jor-El's 'father to son' speech from "The Destruction of Krypton," which is incorporated into track 2. Thorne augments this melody with a female choir.

  6. THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE Superman (J. Williams)
    A questing motif leads to quiet statements of the Krypton fanfare as Clark heads north for reasons even he does not fully understand. The 'heritage' motif is heard as he removes the green crystal from the bag and, to an orchestral and choral crescendo he hurls it into the snow, where jagged brass and an atonal sequence score the actual construction of the Fortress itself, which is completed to a proud statement of the Krypton fanfare. Clark enters the building and so begins a beautiful sequence as a hologram of his father reveals himself and explains who Clark is and where he came from. This segment is based on the Krypton material and is scored for electronics and strings. This is a rather long track, but it plays out in its entirety as I believe it to be one of the most arresting pieces of film music I've ever heard, I love the space-out sequence as Jor-El teaches his son about himself and his history (it also appeared almost complete on my Vistas compilation). The cue closes with a bold statement of the Superman fanfare as he is seen in his classic costume for the first time.

  7. NORTH, MISS TESCHMACHER, NORTH Superman II (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and Eve Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine) track down the Fortress whereupon Lex discovers the existence of General Zod (Terrance Stamp) and his followers Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O'Halloran). The wintry adaptation of the "March of the Villains" theme heard in "Lex and Miss Teschmacher To Fortress" and "Lex Plans Partnership" forms the bulk of the track (the former appeared on the original Superman II album, but not the latter). The title comes from Lex's indelible encouragement to Miss Teschmacher to mush. "I am mushing!"

  8. LANA LANG Superman III (G. Moroder/K. Thorne)
    While the score for Superman III was composed and adapted by Ken Thorne, the Salkinds also hired Giorgio Moroder to write original songs for the film, who wrote an instrumental "Love Theme" that was performed by Helen St. John on the soundtrack album. Thorne incorporated this theme into the score, and his orchestral arrangement is quite pretty. It appears very rarely in the score, and this brief track is actually comprised of three separate cues from the film, "Lana and Clark in Cornfield," "Lana and Clark on Telephone" and "Clark Gives Lana Diamond Ring."

  9. THE BIG RESCUE Superman (J. Williams)
    The original Superman album was a masterful presentation of that score. While there were some alterations made, it was a generous set (2 LPs worth) and wasn't overly shuffled about. However, the omission of this cue (the title is from the Rhino set, the track is called "The Helicopter Sequence" on the Blue Box) was a major disappointment. This is, after all, one of the most iconic moments in the film, and ties into the mythic aspects of the Superman character. Harsh horn calls and prime Williams action writing (similar to that heard in The Empire Strikes Back) and fragments of "Can You Read My Mind" are heard as the helicopter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) is riding in is disabled and balances precariously on the edge of the Daily Planet building (slightly abridged for this album). The "danger" motif heard here would form the basis for much of Thorne's action music in the second and third films. The ostinato and fanfare theme play as Clark changes into Superman to rescue her, the "up and away" motif playing a major role in the development of the cue, which leads to a humorous moment in which Lois falls (with the music no longer is playing to the danger she's in) and she is captured by a man in a blue costume and a red cape. "Don't worry, Miss, I've got you." "You've got me... who's got you!?!" The helicopter then falls off the side of the building; Superman captures it to the first appearance in the score proper of the primary Superman theme. This theme is only ever heard in accompaniment to the full costumed Superman figure. This is followed by one of the most rousing presentations of the fanfare theme.

  10. THE STREETS OF METROPOLIS Superman III (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    This delightful Dukas-inspired cue opens Superman III, setting a lighter tone by having the titles play out over a comedic sequence of urban chaos. There is a moment in the film when Superman appears for which Thorne re-arranged the appearance of the primary Superman theme from the previous track, which has been edited out here. I found this cut actually works to the track's advantage, as it is now more of a self-contained piece.

  11. I SPENT THE NIGHT WITH SUPERMAN Superman (J. Williams)
    "You will believe a man can fly" was the tagline of Superman: The Movie,and it is this sequence, filled with the sense of freedom unfettered flight would offer, that serves both to sell that idea, and also to show what is the most successful yet cheapest date in cinema history (Supes doesn't spend a dime on Lois). The twelve note 'personal' motif heard towards the conclusion of track 2 is heard as Superman heads towards Lois' apartment for an interview; this is from "The Penthouse," and segues into the opening of "The Flying Sequence." Variations of the"Can You Read My Mind" theme accompany Superman enticing Lois to come flying with him, and they take off to a rapturous setting of the theme. This is an extended musical sequence in the film that leads into another movement with vocals by Margot Kidder; this portion of the cue has been edited out (the complete track - sans vocals - appears on my Flight compilation). I was able to shorten the cue by incorporating the alternate "I Can Fly" insert segment for the alternate Statue of Liberty flyby. The track name comes from the title of Lois' resulting article.

  12. DISARMAMENT Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (A. Courage/J. Williams)
    This suite encompasses many of the major thematic material from Superman IV and showcases Courage's talent for layering themes atop one another. It opens with Lacy's (Mariel Hemingway) theme as heard in "For Real," then proceeds to the forbidding "The Class" representing the children's realization of what nuclear war might cost, and concludes with Jeremy's (Damian McLawhorn) theme, both among the three new themes penned by Williams for this film. There are a lot of noble developments of the B Superman theme as Big Blue addresses the "United Nations" and pledges to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, and with his speech concluding in an arresting confluence of the Fanfare, the A theme, Lacy's theme, "Can You Read My Mind" and Jeremy's theme. Courage's own 'Soviet' motif is heard leading up to a triumphant statement of the A Superman theme, which I dovetailed into the conclusion of the Superman IV end title.

  13. METROPOLIS SKYLINE Superman III (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    This is a combination of two short cues accompanying sequences that take place above the city; "Superman and Lorelei on Statue" has an eerie version of the crystal motif representing the effects of ersatz Kryptonite. There is a vampish passage as Lorelei (Pamela Stephenson) tempts the Man of Steel atop the Statue of Liberty. This segues into "Gus Down Building" as Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) has a mishap on Ross Webster's (Robert Vaughn) ski slope.

  14. CRIME OF THE CENTURY Superman (J. Williams)
    A militaristic passage leads to several entertaining variations on the "March of the Villains" theme as Lex puts his diabolical plan into effect. As Ottman points out when discussing why he didn't carry over this theme to Superman Returns, it is much more illustrative of the bumbling Otis (Ned Beatty) than it is the fiendish Lex. "Do you want to see a long arm, Otis!?! Do you want to see a really long arm!?!"

  15. LACY'S PLACE Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (A. Courage/J. Williams)
    Among the many treasures found in the Blue Box, this confection, which Courage referred to as "French Farce" on his cuesheet for, was written for one of the few amusing sequences in Superman IV, in which Lacy and Clark go on a double date... with Lois and Superman. The interplay between Lacy's theme and "Can You Read My Mind" (as well as the fanfare) is delightful.

  16. TRIO OF TRAITORS Superman II (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    This suite of music from Superman II acts as the flip side to the celestial Krypton material from the early portion of the album. While consisting mostly of the same primary thematic material, it is here twisted and evil, as befits the Kryptonian villains. The forbidding fanfare from "President Kneels Before Zod," heard as the villainous Kryptonians enter the Oval Office opens this track, which then segues to (the redone version of) their trial ("Villains in Zone"), which features a sour arrangement (with the final note trailing off) of the crystal motif and percussion. Thorne's adaptation of an unused portion of the trial scene from Superman as Non prevents a moon lander from taking off. A burst of the aggressive version of the Krypton fanfare is heard from "East Huston Battle." The action then returns to "President Kneels..." as Zod realizes the man supplicating himself (Tony Sibbald) is not, in fact, the President (E. G. Marshall); "No one who leads so many could kneel so quickly." This then segues into "Clark Returns to Fortress," a desperate variation on the material introduced in track 6 as Clark realizes that in giving up his powers he has placed all of Earth in fell danger. "You couldn't know." "They knew," he responds gravely, "They tried to tell me. I just didn't listen." This is one of the few cases where I feel that if had Williams actually scored Superman II, his approach would probably not have been terribly different from what Thorne did.

  17. NUCLEAR ENCOUNTER Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (A. Courage/J. Williams)
    This suite outlines Superman's first run-in with Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), and thus features the third theme Williams wrote for Superman IV for that super-powered antagonist, created by Lex in order to "Destroy Superman" and open up the arms market once more. "Confrontation" features several playful but menacing settings of the Villain theme, which gradually leads into progressively more intense versions of the Nuclear Man theme until it breaks out into full-on action mode in "Tornado" and "Volcano," which also features a stressed version of the fanfare.

  18. JUST FLY Superman (J. Williams)
    The fanfare theme returns for this brief but rousing Air Force One rescue in Superman, excerpted from "Super Rescues." The engines on the airplane begin to fail but the craft is saved by Superman. The co-pilot looks out the window and can't quite believe what he's seeing, and when asked, he tells the pilot, "Fly. Just fly. We've got... something. I ain't saying what it is, just... trust me." Thorne would adapt this piece for the Eiffel Tower rescue in Superman II.

  19. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD Superman II (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    This track is a medley consisting of material from the climax of Superman II. It opens with a forbidding rendition of the 'personal' motif as Superman, realizing that continuing to battle the Kryptonians in Metropolis will only further endanger its citizens, flies off to lure them to the Fortress of Solitude. "Superman Flies Off" consists of variations on the theme Williams introduced in the "Prelude" (track 1), and downtrodden variations on the fanfare. Zod's variation on the crystal motif plays out as as Superman is forced to return to the molecule chamber that removed his powers. In creating this suite, I added the Zod and company's trademark percussion (culled from "Ursa Flies Over Moon") to "Superman Pulls Big Switch." Once the process is complete, he is told to bow to the vicious dictator, whose confidence is shattered unexpectedly when Superman takes his hand and begins crushing it to a victorious rendition of the Superman fanfare as "Superman Triumphs Over Villains" begins. The B section of the theme is then heard as Lex puts together that Superman, being more familiar whom he was dealing with than Zod, had outsmarted everybody; instead of giving up his powers, he took them away from Zod, Non and Ursa. The source of the title of this track is an oft-quoted phrase of Zod's. None of the material comprising this suite was available on the original LP.

  20. SAVING LOIS Superman (J. Williams)
    One of Lex's nuclear missiles hits the San Andreas fault, causing severe earthquakes throughout California. Although Lois survives the initial tremors, she is suffocated when her car is caught in an avalanche caused by the aftershocks. An intimate, despairing rendition of "Can You Read My Mind" is heard from "Finding Lois" as Superman uncovers her body. The fanfare is heard in a furious arrangement, kicking off "Turning Back the World," which features quotes of "Can You Read My Mind" and the Superman fanfare over busy orchestral accompaniment as Superman goes back in time to save Lois.

  21. MAIN TITLE MARCH REPRISE Superman II (K. Thorne/J. Williams)
    The closing track is a combination of the main title and the finale of Superman II; it opens with an edit of "Happy Lois Back to Normal" and "Superman Replaces Stars and Stripes" to emphasize the 'personal' theme, but when the march begins, it segues to the main title march. In creating the edit of this piece, I inadvertently found that Thorne's direction is so precise that I could actually fit entire sequences from the end title over the analogous sections of the main title. This was done for the initial presentation of the A theme, the return of the A theme after the second quote of "Can You Read My Mind" through the two fanfare theme sequences, and finally over the last blaze of brass (along with the additional 'bumpety bump' that Thorne added to the Superman march for the end title of Superman II and III). This "chimera," as glenniebun called it, allowed me to retain the energy of Thorne's recording but still have a thunderous exit for the album.
Tags: bryan singer, film music, john ottman, john williams, memorial, my mixes, sandy courage, superman
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