Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

What does it mean… exact change?

I have been sick all week. I was sick two weeks ago as well. It's amazing how when you get to work, all you want to do is go home, but when you're stuck home, all you want to do is get to work. It's not like I don't have anything to do (a have a large collection of books, movies, music, Netflix and, oh right, the freakin' Internet) but when you're stuck with nothing else to do it can be rather dull. Time off from work ought to be for vacations, not boring oneself stupid in one's apartment.

I'm not exactly in a bad mood, but I'd characterize it as a "drab" mood. I'm stuck in the apartment on the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet (also plain roasted chicken and chicken soup) until my body deals with whatever it is dealing with.

So I'm bored.


    This has gone viral already, so you've probably already seen it. I caught up to it when George Takei posted it on Facebook. Look at it again:


    gislebertus posted this image a few weeks ago. It was hysterical for all of the wrong reasons, but I obviously couldn't Facebook it:


    All right. I know that I've been stalling on the whole Lord of the Rings compilation liner notes thing, especially considering that I am finished with the mix itself. They're too long for a single entry and rather than just making separate entries for discs one and two, I'm thinking of a master entry with links to the notes. All I can say is that when you see them, you'll understand. There's a lot to cover.


    The most comprehensive account of a composer's work at a studio since Film Score Monthly's Miklós Rózsa Treasury (1949-1968), the Varèse Sarabande Club Release of Bernard Herrmann at 20th Century Fox is a colossal fourteen-disc set containing music from eighteen scores that the irascible composer wrote for the studio. While a considerable amount of this music has already been released, the sound in all cases has been vastly improved over any predecessor and many scores that were previously available are now presented in expanded or complete form.

    Some of what the box set features, from the Varèse press release (with additional comments from myself) are as follows:

    • Four scores are making their premiere appearance. Never before have Herrmann’s original recordings of The Snows of Kilimanjaro, White Witch Doctor, 5 Fingers or Hangover Square appeared on CD.

      (The William Stromberg recording of The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a personal favorite, but Herrmann's own reading is stunning. I was only familiar with White Witch Doctor from the suite on the Charles Gerhardt 'Citizen Kane' album, but the full score is even more exotic because of Herrmann's unusual orchestrations)

    • Jane Eyre appears in its entirety for the very first time, nearly doubling its previous length. Along with the significantly improved sound, the expansion makes this presentation a revelation in every way.

      (I had the old Arista Fox disc that paired this score with David Raksin's gorgeous Laura, but the sound on the new one blows the old one away)

    • Anna and the King of Siam was already premiered in its entirety back in 2000, but has been remastered for inclusion here.

      (This was Bernard Herrmann at Fox: Volume 3; the sound on the new disc is much cleaner)

    • One of the most beloved Herrmann scores of all, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, here receives its definitive presentation, featuring additional material, together with stunning new sound.

      (I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the sound on this particular score, which is a little brittle in comparison to some of the others. I may also be a bit hypercritical because this is one of my all-time favorite Herrmann scores. The new presentation is much better than the old, especially the finale, which was prematurely faded out on the original Fox issue, but the Elmer Bernstein recording is still valid)

    • The bonus tracks for the landmark The Day the Earth Stood Still feature a particularly fascinating track allowing us to eavesdrop into the original recording session.

      (I already had most of these; they were on the gold disc edition of the score that was included in the laserdisc box set of the film available in the mid-90s; the old but attractive Arista faux stereo mix that graced the Fox presentation is preserved here and the sound is pretty similar to the previous editions, but they never sounded terribly bad either, considering their vintage)

    • An expanded A Hatful of Rain shares disc seven with the world premiere release of White Witch Doctor, a score principally known (and much loved) thanks to its inclusion (in suite form) on the Gerhardt RCA album.

      (The previous Herrmann at Fox CDs had a suite of A Hatful of Rain whet the appetite for more. This was a very nice addition)

    • Beneath the 12-Mile Reef features improved sound but no new material.

      (No new material is featured because the FSM release was already complete. On the other hand, modern remastering techniques have done wonders for the damaged original tapes. The wow that plagued the FSM CD is still there, but very minimized. This is a distinct improvement which works well for one of Herrmann's most distinctive scores)

    • The Egyptian was expanded for our Deluxe Edition earlier this year but disc nine here isolates just the Herrmann music from the famous score co composed with Alfred Newman.

      (This is kind of lame, although I can't praise the Deluxe Edition of The Egyptian and the Twilight Time Blu-ray enough)

    • Garden of Evil has here been significantly expanded, adding some 15 new cues to what has been released previously.

      (The expansion of this score, another one formerly available as a suite on one of the Herrmann at Fox CDs, is very welcome, but even more so is how much better it sounds now)

    • Until now, King of the Khyber Rifles has been represented by only six cues on an earlier compilation. Presenting the entire score for the first time is a significant find.

      (This is one of Herrmann's most raucous and exciting scores. The suite from a former Herrmann at Fox album had a few nice moments from the score, but the sound was horribly brittle and the raging nature of the music demanded a more complete presentation. The new version is like catnip to fans of action scores. The title music from this score was used in the trailers for Romancing the Stone)

    • While Blue Denim’s previous release was already complete, Prince of Players is another score that is, essentially, a premiere here (and a major one at that) as only seven of the score’s 29 cues have been released previously.

      (Blue Denim is exactly the same master that was prepared by FSM, there was really nothing to improve on. Prince of Players is another score formerly only represented by a short Herrmann at Fox suite that deserved so much more)

    • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit expands from the eight cuts available previously to 21 here.

      (How this score managed to be so neglected until now is beyond me, but this box set rectifies all of the issues that plagued the Herrmann at Fox discs)

    • Our earlier release of Journey to the Center of the Earth was already pretty comprehensive, but we did add a few cues before remastering. The score is both a musical and sonic showpiece.

      (The original issue of this score slipped by me. It went on the backburner when it came out because of the Pat Boone songs and I never caught back up to it until now. I don't know what the earlier presentation sounded like, but this one sounds stunning)

    • Eight cues have been added to Tender Is the Night, along with a few bonus cues.

      (Nice rounding out of another Herrmann at Fox suite, better sound too)

    I am a huge Herrmannophile, so it's no surprise that this was right up my ally, but I was rather surprised by how consistently good everything in this box set sounded. The clear sound is all the more essential with the music of Herrmann, who often wrote his scores for some very unusual ensembles.

    The liner notes by Julie Kirgo are pretty basic, which is a shame. A track-by-track breakdown, such as the ones FSM posts in their online liner notes, would have been appropriate for a presentation as exhaustive as this one. Ultimately, the music is the thing, and that's where this set excels.


    When La-La-Land first announced the release of Elmer Bernstein's music from Airplane!, one of the first thoughts that went through the heads of people like me was "If the Great Gates of Paramount have indeed been opened, what might that mean for Star Trek music?"

    To say that it was like the opening of floodgates would be an understatement. Film Score Monthly released both James Horner scores, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock the mammoth (and yet so worthwhile) Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project, a near-complete account of that composer's contribution to the series; La-La Land released Jerry Goldsmith's complete score from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and then followed it up with a three disc box set of Next Generation selections with a disc dedicated each to Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway, and a third disc featuring guest composers.

    Intrada Records has now joined the Star Party with a complete presentation of Leonard Rosenman's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, produced along with FSM's Lukas Kendall. The spine artwork is designed to match the Retrograde spines on Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock so that the "Genesis Trilogy" will look linear on the shelf. The old MCA record never sounded all that bad, which is why it is so surprising at how much cleaner the Intrada disc sounds. The orchestra is more distinct, and as a result sounds rather larger. The bells in the title theme are crystal clear. It's truly invigorating.

    This has always been one of my least favorite scores for the franchise because I have never really warmed up to Leonard Rosenman's music. That said, it does contain some very nice moments; the title theme is very pleasing, the chase sequences are arresting and "The Whaler" is an extremely exciting piece of music. Intrada presents the complete score, and as it happens, injects a lot more of both levity ("In San Francisco") and drama ("The Probe — Transition/The Take-Off/Menace of the Probe/Clouds and Water/Crew Stunned") to the proceedings, improving the listening experience aplenty.

    I have to admit, I'm also rather tickled to finally know the true story behind "I Hate You."

    Once Cliff Eidelman's score for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is released (also from MCA, perhaps another Intrada release?), it will be time to revisit my Silver Screen Star Trek compilation.</b>


Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Tags: bernard herrmann, cliff eidelman, david raksin, dennis mccarthy, elmer bernstein, film music, howard shore, james horner, jay chattaway, jerry goldsmith, leonard rosenman, lord of the rings, miklós rózsa, mix workshop, ron jones, science fiction, star trek
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded