- My cousin was commenting about Christmas music that she was listening to a few days ago. I mentioned my old holiday season chestnut, Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas (my exact words were something along the lines of "the music smells like pinecones") which then led to somebody reminding me that it has been over eleven years since I worked at a record store and that I don't have to sell music to people anymore. I'm still not used to the idea that I can't get something stuck in my craw at 11:00 P.M. and putter on over to the Tower and pick it up that very night. Yes, I know you can download it almost immediately, but it's just not the same. I miss brick and mortar stores. I miss browsing for music.
- To the gentleman in the red sportscar fiddling with your toupée on the way to work last week: give it up. There is no magical angle that you can hit that will achieve total realism. That thing will look like a flattened miniature tree sloth no matter what you do with it.
- The garage next door to the building I'm based out of had to do some drilling the other day… right next to a stairwell that is something of an echo chamber. The sound in the stairwell was what I would imagine a blaster beam brutally raping a chainsaw would sound like.
- In New York, traffic tends to occur due to accidents, rubbernecking and congestion. In Connecticut, it seems to occur because a couple of random people decide in unison to drive very slowly all of a sudden.
- I received my Varèse Sarabande Soundtrack Club shipment Thursday night which contained Jerry Goldsmith's Freud and John Corigliano's Revolution. While it stands to reason that Freud, which I had the Tsunami edition of for many years¹ would be less of a revelation than Revolution but I had never heard Revolution before, purchasing it based entirely upon my high opinion of both Altered States and The Red Violin as well as being very moved by his first symphony. As I posted on the FSM board, my first reaction to hearing this score was… WOW!!!
I'll have more comprehensive comments about it after I've had a little more time to let it all sink in. I will say, however, that I totally agree with Paul MacLean that Corigliano is a born film composer, and that this score represents everything that engages me about both Corigliano's music and film scores in general. Until now I would have said that my favorite Corigliano work was his first symphony (with Altered States being a close second), but I can say now that it has been supplanted by this score, which manages to have a broader range of emotions while being just as challenging.
The score for Revolution is a masterpiece. The crew at Varèse Sarabande and everybody else involved in finally getting this record out (and sounding pretty freakin' fantastic, too) deserve many accolades. But the man of the hour would have to be Corigliano himself; what an amazing piece of music.
- There have been a lot of very good film music releases this year, and it will be quite a feat for the labels to equal this slate in 2010, although some of the rumblings have been… interesting. And while in the past I've tended to ignore the rumblings (I learned the hard way through Arista's Fox Classics Series not to put too much stock into any a label's intentions² or rumors, only release announcements, a trial by fire if there ever was one), these past few years have shown that these intrepid labels will leave no stone unturned in unearthing this music. I have lost count of how many of my Holy Grails are now sitting on my shelf, usually in expanded or complete form and sounding fantastic. And don't start with how many discoveries I've made through them this year, particularly through Bruce Kimmel's Kritzerland label.
¹ — This item was purchased before I really understood what "gray market" meant, and the proof of the pudding is in the taste. Varèse Sarabande's 100% official release of the music is expanded from the original LP and presented for the most part in crystal clear stereo sound (the expansions are still monaural, albeit in relatively excellent condition), while the Tsunami CD, — technically legal through a loophole in German copyright law, but for all other intents and purposes a bootleg — was mono and had horrible, pinched sonics. This is part of the reason why I refuse to purchase Harkit releases, which are analogous.
² — I am referring to the intent to release the score tracks from a film when the deal hasn't been closed, not the intent to re-record a score. I know that the Varèse Sarabande recording of Alex North's Spartacus was announced in the liner notes of their release of North's 2001 and mentioned by the label in interviews never materialized, but those days seem to be long gone; whenever James Fitzpatrick or John Morgan mention a project, it shows up in due time.