- The fall of spam
I was surprised at how many people responded to yesterday's post about autumn in the city. This is really one of my favorite times of the year, Hallowe'en is right around the corner with Thanksgiving not far off and it is nice to know that I'm not the only person who feels that way
- Speaking of seasonal changes…
…Au Bon Pain has a butternut squash and apple soup that I've become addicted to.
- "Bob, what the ☼♦§۩۞ is with that smoke, man? Whaddya got in there, a couple of hamsters blowing smoke rings, ferchrissakes?" *
I am now helping someone else out on yet another film project, mostly in a sound capacity. I went to a cast reading last night and it was strange not being responsible for the performances and not being able to just make my own changes on the spot. On the other hand, I had much less responsibility, which was also somewhat liberating.
- Be polite or he'll lop your freakin' hand off, man!
Last week I mentioned that Kritzerland was releasing a remastered edition of Franz Waxman's album recording of Taras Bulba. It arrived yesterday, although I assume that most of the east coast of the United States already knows that because I blasted "The Ride To Dubno" as soon as I unwrapped the CD. This is score is an explosion of Russian-flavored orchestral music and Waxman gets a spirited performance out of the orchestra that is now done justice by the sonics, which are much improved over the Ryko CD, which I gave a glowing review upon its release; I complemented the sound, which was pretty good for an archival release of the era, but improvements in sound technology have overtaken it.
The bonus tracks are interesting; the instrumental version of "The Wishing Star" sounds completely different without the chorus over it. Bruce Kimmel said he included it partly to provide some sort of "added value" for people who already had the Ryko disc (as if the improvements in sound weren't enough) but also to showcase some of the fascinating orchestrations by Leonid Raab. Bruce's notes are very nice as well, but the Rykodisc edition had Waxman's original liner notes for the LP which had a breakdown of the primary thematic material, and I wish that had been preserved. But other than that, a fantastic presentation of a cornerstone of my collection.
I look forward to the possible Tadlow recording that James Fitzpatrick has hinted at. This would (of course) utilize the much larger orchestral forces that were used in the original soundtrack recording and possibly contain some of the Cossack drinking songs that were heard in the film, some of which were pretty damned catchy.
- "Ah, Gandalf, my old friend…
…do you know the Easterling proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold on the Caradhras."
I have tickets for the Friday showing of Lord of the Rings at Radio City Music Hall. I was planning on going both nights, but Dan then informed me that we would be shooting material on Saturday, making it impossible for me to return. Now he tells me the schedule has changed, leaving me with a week to decide whether or not to return the next day. We shall see.
I am pretty excited about this as well. I have been on a self-imposed Lord of the Rings embargo right now to keep myself from gorging myself on the scores before the show. It will also be nice to hear some of the theatrical cues that were changed and/or expanded for the extended versions like old friends that I haven't met in some time. I am curious also to see if the live performance will utilize the blaze of aleatory brass at the conclusion of both "Flight To the Ford" from original soundtrack album and "Give Up the Halfling" from the Complete Recordings (which are otherwise different takes of the same cue) or the more restrained take for strings heard in both versions of the film, as it is clear which was Howard Shore's preferred version.
- Silver Ponytails in Space!!!
After listening to Insurrection and Nemesis again, I've decided to completely rethink my approach to presenting music from those films on my revision of my Battlestations compilation. I'm not sure if my new strategy will work (it could end up being a complete disaster), but one of the beautiful things about my new set-up is that I can do much more experimentation!
I find it interesting that Jerry Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture somehow managed to transcend the disappointment of the film itself to become such an icon of the franchise, especially considering that his first return to it was the even more disappointing fifth film. Of course, a good deal of this is because of its adaptation for use on the much more successful Next Generation series, with which it is now primarily associated (and his return to the movie series for First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis leaves Generations the only Next Generation story that doesn't feature his title march).
Goldsmith often used to mention at concerts how he never understood Star Trek, as it was "too cerebral." I had always thought that this was something of a joke partly because that was the exact wording that NBC used in their rejection of the original pilot, but mostly because his musical contributions to Star Trek were more far-reaching than any other composer other than Alexander Courage. While Star Trek: The Motion Picture remains a work apart from his other Star Trek films because of its treatment both of the universe of Star Trek and the mystery at the film's core which place the score firmly in the science fiction genre while his other scores (save the gorgeous, questing Voyager theme) were for films that concentrated more on the action/adventure aspect of the franchise.
And yet, listening to these scores over again in pursuit of selections for the new version of Battlestations I have to say that in many ways he nailed the franchise in a way that few of the other composers ever did. One of the central aspects to the popularity of Star Trek has always been its optimism, and Goldsmith imbued even the darkest moments of his scores with a sense of grace and beauty that seems to say "this is bad, but it is in the context of a good and reassuring future." The penultimate track of my compilation, which is the finale of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, will be retitled "The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning" for that very reason.
* — Dialogue and image from Living In Oblivion, the Tom DiCillo comedy about filmmaking, which is well worth checking out; it's on Netflix and can even be streamed.