Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Music Box

Most of my recent music listening has consisted either of my Let Me Tell You of the Days of High Adventure and the band Leroy Justice. I received my copy of the remastered and complete Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Friday and have been playing it ever since as well. However, there have been a few other records I've listened to over the course of the week that I thought were quite interesting.

  • The Right Stuff (Bill Conti)

    The new Varèse Sarabande Soundtrack Club release of this score presents the LP edition that Bill Conti prepared for Geffen Records back in 1983. The film flopped and the album never materialized, although Conti did record about a quarter hour with the London Symphony Orchestra coupled with music from North and South for an outstanding album.

    Having this album is great because there are quite a lot of very entertaining moments on it that do not appear on the LSO recording. However, where the performances on the North and South Book I and Book II original soundtrack sets were comparable to the LSO's, this is not always the case with The Right Stuff, which also unfortunately features some distortion in most of the tracks. This is quite a contrast from the completely clean and very tight LSO performance.

    However, the album configuration does serve the music quite well, Conti's selections and sequencing bringing out the most variety. While Conti's own source music arrangements are heard on the album, the sequence from Henry Mancini's score for White Dawn is not included.

    The White Dawn would be a great release, if anybody's listening…

  • Hard Contract (Alex North)

    Another gem from the VCL is this score for an obscure James Coburn movie. It's next to impossible to find, but this score is outstanding. It has all of the trademarks of Alex North's jazz style, although the tone makes it sound more like a swanky André Previn score at times than A Streetcar Named Desire. I didn't really know what to expect from the dual album format, but I ended up putting together a single playing version combining the stereo and mono tracks into a single program. This score hasn't been getting the attention it deserves because of everything else that has just come out, but it's one of the best of the bunch.

  • Bernard Herrmann: The CBS Years

    BuySoundtrax has issued the Lee Holdridge score for Brothers At War (which I haven't yet had the chance to listen to), and when I ordered it from (I never order directly from BSX as I am familiar with their reputation), I also picked up the two Herrmann CBS compilations from Prometheus, Volume 1: The Westerns and Volume 2: American Gothic, which were two releases that I had been aware of for some time but had not had the chance to listen to.

    I wish I hadn't waited. These discs are a cornucopia of Herrmann from one of his most creative periods. Because this is Herrmann here, it is not so much the quality of the music that really got to me, but the emotions that they stir in me. I had honestly thought that these discs were relatively minor entries in Herrmann's canon, but they are just as strong as some of his film works, especially the American Gothic collection, which includes "The Walt Whitman Suite" that features some of his most beautiful music.

In other news, suitboyskin has turned me on to Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is very entertaining! Witty, well written and beautifully animated, it is yet another example of programming that works just fine for kids but which adults can enjoy as well for their own reasons. I'll have more to say on it later, but I should also mention that I am also looking forward to the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan movie adaptation for three reasons: he is good at writing and directing kids, the pre-existing storylines means that he can't shoehorn a trick ending onto it and because if nothing else, we'll get a kick-ass James Newton Howard score for it as Shyamalan tends to get the best work out of him, regardless of the quality of the related movies.
Tags: americana, andré previn, avatar: the last airbender, bernard herrmann, bill conti, film music, henry mancini, james horner, james newton howard, lee holdridge, star trek
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