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Film Score Friday 8/25/00

by Lukas Kendall

Longtime music contractor Patti Zimmitti has passed away; memorial services were scheduled to be held last Wednesday. Patti did a lot of the contracting for major film scores here in Los Angeles, probably second only to another very classy woman, Sandy De Crescent. She was always very helpful to us at FSM. I only received an email notice of her memorial service so I don't have any further details of her passing; however, we will put together a proper obituary for a future issue of FSM.

Williams Mania

The big buzz this week is that Sony Classical is going ahead with a 2CD set of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace to include John Williams's complete score. So yes, you were right all along -- you DID pay $18 for a CD that will soon be obsolete. However, we have no further word as to when the release will be available.

Reader Larry Deming wrote in to note that TNT's PGA coverage used the theme from Jurassic Park for a tribute of Jack Nicklaus "passing the torch" to Tiger Woods. This was last Friday, August 18th, around 1PM EST. John Williams pervades pop culture again!

Concerts Links

Ron Goodwin recently conducted a large film music concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in England; see www.rpofilmmusic.com for further details.

German readers, see http://www.cinemusic.de/news/konzerte.html for a great list of regional film music concerts.

Gerald Fried

From: "Steven Kennedy" <stev4uth@hotmail.com>

    Just writing a quick note regarding your Gerald Fried release. While I must admit that the first CD was of little personal interest, it was interesting listening and I sense it will grow on me. For me the highlight was really the music for "The Cabinet of Caligari". I taped this movie off of AMC years ago along with a lot of older "horror" movies. The idea of comparing this Robert Bloch script with that of "Psycho" appealed to me at the time. Strangely enough, last Fall I re-watched this film (so that means that at least one other person has seen it, bringing your total to 7) and was struck by the music, especially the main theme.

    Imagine my delight when I received your magazine later that month and noticed this very same score available! I could not believe it. It took me a while to get around ordering it and when the post office chose to keep the package hostage an extra day or two I thought it might be too late altogether.

    My suggestion for anyone who has not yet purchased this 2-disc set, is to do so. You will likely enjoy at least one of the 4 scores represented here. Which leads to a rule of thumb regarding some of the releases in the "Silver Age" set (and probably the "Golden Age" series too), rent the film if you can, or listen to the sound excerpts on-line. I have discovered that both are helpful in deciding whether I want to "own" the release for composers/films I do not know well. The releases are so well done that it is with great restraint that I must choose just one every so often as it is!

    I am curious to know who might have been the female vocalist in the "Caligari" song. The voice was very familiar. Surely someone at the studio must know the answer to that question. Or perhaps someone knows who might have been available to sing it.

    Keep up the good work! I splurged a bit this month with both "Guide to the Married Man" and this set but it was worth it!

Thanks! Unfortunately we have no way of knowing who the female vocalist on the Caligari bonus track is. As far as asking people at the studio... this was recorded in 1962! It's often hard enough to get someone at a studio to know what happened last year. Gerald Fried doesn't recall so there's not much we can do.

We put together our 2CD Gerald Fried set out of pure love for the material and it's gratifying to get positive feedback on it.

Songs in Films

See Cary Wong's article earlier this week -- parts one and two.

From: Gunnar Grah <gunnargrah@yahoo.de>

    I generally enjoyed the two articles about songs and their use in movies. However, I would like to make a comment or two: I think that comparing a song like "When You Are Alone" by John Williams with "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen is quite misleading. Of course, "When you are alone" doesn't add too much to the listening experience of "Hook". But I don't think that it ever was planned to be a "pop song". Furthermore, it is source music, and therefor underlies a completely different set of conditions than a pop song which is simply mixed into the soundtrack and has no direct connection to the on-screen action. And if we look at the kinds of source music which Williams has composed, there are quite a few enjoyable tunes among them, e.g. "Cantina Band" from "Star Wars" or "Star of Bethlehem" from "Home Alone".

    I'd like to point out as well that there are also soundtracks which consist for the better part of neither an original score nor of songs specifically composed for the movie itself: IMHO, "The Big Lebowski" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" are perfect examples of songs which don't only evoke a certain time and place, but also add very a lot to the overall feeling of a film.

    Last, but not least: I think that Mark Knopfler's songs for "Wag the Dog" would also have been worthy of an inclusion into a discussion about pop songs in films. I remember that they were very fitting for the overall tone of that movie, perhaps even more so than an orchestral soundtrack.

    P.S.: Congratulations to the first decade of FSM! As I live in Germany, which is very backward if it comes to movie soundtracks, FSM has been one of the most important connections to this fascinating field. And being just Lukas' age, I honestly admire his accomplishments.

From: "David McKissick" <mckissickd@issc.belvoir.army.mil>

    It was hard to tell if Cary Wong's article was directed at recent movie songs or movie songs in general since he made references to Jerry Goldsmith and that he should let more of his melodies be turned into songs. "The Sand Pebbles" yielded a beautiful song, "And We Were Lovers" that was recorded by a number of artists and was also nominated for an Academy Award if my memory is correct. If the subject of movie songs is not limited to the past decade, then the number of really good movie songs is tremendous. Henry Mancini alone created quite a few. Elmer Bernstein had good songs for "Love With The Proper Stranger" and "Baby The Rain Must Fall". Sinatra made a nice recording of "Dream Away" by John and Paul Williams from "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing". In loving film music, I've discovered a lot of songs from movies that are very good. I'll have to make a list soon.

From: Jim Mitchell <jnjmitch@swbell.net>

    The same narrow-mindedness that causes one to ignore lyrical songs on soundtracks is the same which closes most of the listening public from insturmental scores. Granted, I don't like the shallowness and commercialism of "songs inspired by" collections- didn't Prince start this with Batman? Still, there's great music to be heard in contemporary films. I'm a huge Springsteen fan (given a desert island choice of Springsteen or my soundtracks, I'd take the Boss in a heartbeat), and believe that "Streets of Philadelphia", while not his greatest song, is a hugely important song in general, and equally important to films. Springsteen's tiny soundtrack output has been consistently excellent. The little-heard and difficult to find "Missing", from The Crossing Guard is also quite good. Although I would have listened to these songs even without seeing the films, I'd hated to think that they'd be ignored by soundtrack listeners for the simple fact that they -God forbid!- have words and a rock beat!

Mail Bag

From: "Roman Deppe" <roman.deppe@debitel.net>

    I just wanted to comment on Kaplan's remark, that the score of "Dinosaur" was buried under sound effects. I saw it recently here in Germany in an already dubbed version and the score was mixed in so loud, that it was sometimes almost deafening. I love the score, but at certain scenes I thought it was mixed in way tooooo loud. It was incredible. So, either the German mixers mixedthe music in much louder than the original mixers, or the speakers in my theater where the music came out were louder than in Kaplan's theater.

    I remember the same happened once when I watched SPEED. In the USA I barely heard the music and in Germany the score blew everything away... strange, isn't it?

From: Steven Jongeward <sjongeward@yahoo.com>

    In his letter concerning the rejected ALEX NORTH score for 2001:a space odyssey - Les Jepson seems to have the impression that 2001 was a novel made into film. Actually, the novel of 2001 was published AFTER the fact - and based on impressions of the screenplay written by both CLARKE and KUBRICK which in fact was all based on several previous ideas - mostly Clarke's THE SENTINEL, a short story published in the 50's. It's still amusing to recall that 2001 was beat out of its original screenplay nomination by Mel Brook's THE PRODUCERS.

From: JEDIMAESTRO@cs.com

    Could someone please tell James Fitzpatrick and his shoddy Prague Philarmonic recordings to stop butchering the cinderella of the musical arts that is film music.

    Although It has to be appreciated the exposure to the general public these cd's give, there is no excuse for such terrible and at times nauseating performances. The sound engineer obviously needs attended to also, as the sound is always so damn tinny and flat, lacking any sort of artistic and professional resonance. I know many agree with me, so how about inducting a poll or petition eh? Or am I exaggerating the seriousness of this affair? Here's to the next 10 years of your fantastic mag/site!

OK -- James, knock it off.

Links

Visit www.soundtrack.net for a ton of new CD reviews, including coverage of FSM's Tora Tora Tora and A Guide for the Married Man releases. They also have up a new Howard Shore interview and a review of the recent John Williams concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

MailBag@filmscoremonthly.com


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