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 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 10:10 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

From Facebook:

Agent and friend of film music RICHARD KRAFT will join GSPO on February 15 to pay tribute to the life and music of Elmer Bernstein. If you don't do another thing today (except visit to get your tickets!), click on this link to read a funny and poignant remembrance of Mr. Bernstein, written by Mr. Kraft.

Richard Kraft is the co-owner of Kraft-Engel Management, one of the world’s leading agencies specializing in representing film and theatre composers. Prior to starting his own company in 1991, Richard was an agent at ICM and started his career working with several of his musical heroes such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and Henry Mancini. Kraft once ran Varèse Sarabande Records where he executive produced over 150 soundtrack albums.

Kraft-Engel Management's clients include many friends and special guests of the Golden State Pops Orchestra - Steve Bartek, Marco Beltrami, John Debney, Michael Einziger, Danny Elfman, Mark Isham Music, Christopher Lennertz, Joseph LoDuca, John Ottman, John Powell, Richard M. Sherman and Austin Wintory, and many many more.

 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 2:09 PM   
 By:   Tom Servo   (Member)

I bought two orchestra-level seats for this show, but due to a family emergency I don't think we'll be able to attend... anyone know anyone who might be in the market to purchase?

 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 8:57 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

From Facebook Christopher Lennertz on Elmer Bernstein and the GSPO Tribute concert:

 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

From Facebook:

We must be under Cupid's spell! Golden State Pops is so IN LOVE with our Facebook fans and Twitter followers that we are announcing two great discounts, sure to make your Valentine's weekend unforgettable. For just 48 hours, (from noon on Fri, Feb 7 until noon on Sun, Feb 9), we are offering 30% OFF tickets to our February 15 concert, "Great Composer Tribute: Elmer Bernstein." And if that's not enough, the great folks at The Whale & Ale, just a couple of blocks from the theater, will give you 15% off any food items and soft drinks with presentation of your concert ticket.

Get to San Pedro early, snag a great parking spot, and enjoy a fantastic, authentic British meal (insider's tip: don't miss the prime rib!). Then take your seats in the historic, Art Deco Warner Grand Theatre for a fantastic evening, resplendent with romantic film score music from "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Far From Heaven," "From The Terrace," "Hollywood And The Stars" (formerly used at the Academy Awards), and much more. Hear touching tributes from some of those who knew Elmer best - his son, PETER BERNSTEIN, composer BEAR MCCREARY, who was one of Elmer's select proteges, agent RICHARD KRAFT, who worked with and was a friend of Elmer for many years, and film director JOHN LANDIS, who directed many of the films Elmer composed the music for - National Lampoon's Animal House, Spies Like Us, Trading Places, Three Amigos! and more.

By waiting to celebrate Valentine's Day until the 15th, you'll trade the crowds, Friday night traffic and overpriced, limited menus for a truly one-of-a-kind, memorable ON SALE for 48 hours!

The spell won't last long - snag your tickets at using discount code 83cap

 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 12:27 PM   
 By:   CCW1970   (Member)

I'm taking the family. Can't wait!

Henry, as always, thanks for posting updates and great background/composer info for these concerts!

 Posted:   Feb 9, 2014 - 12:08 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I'm taking the family. Can't wait!

Henry, as always, thanks for posting updates and great background/composer info for these concerts!

Thanks, Elmer was my first composer hero. He was later usurped by Williams, Goldsmith and Morricone. But frankly in retrospect Elmer had the grandest career of them all. He conquered more musical worlds than any of them and did it all before they did.

It is one thing to have more soundtracks released than anyone else for a big chunk of time. But he cornered documentary film scoring ( David Wolper), experimental film scoring (films and exhibits by Ray and Charles Eames), scored the most popular music video ever made THRILLER, had two Tony nominated musicals on Broadway and worked with the dance music on films like OKLAHOMA, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and THE COURT JESTER.

Since he began during film music's Golden Age he had one foot in that tradition but wrote scores that incorporated jazz (MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM), rockabilly (BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL), calypso (RAMPAGE), gospel (GOD'S LITTLE ACRE), big band (THE SILENCERS), Olde English folk (WHERE' S JACK?), well you name it. He had the weird distinction of scoring the last film of a number of great directors; John Ford, Michael Curtiz, William Wyler, Cecil B. DeMille, Fred Zinnemann and George Roy Hill.

He walked away from 3 careers telling his agent no more jazz, western or comedy scores at different points in his life, having been the go-to composer for each of those types of films.

I could go on all night about him.

See you at the concert!

 Posted:   Feb 12, 2014 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Rehearsal for a night I have been waiting for a big chunk of my life.

In a very real sense I've concluded that we would never had a Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Ennio Morricone without him.

When Elmer came along his soundtrack LPs sold.
He sold symphonic scores like Rozsa.
He sold jazz scores like Mancini.
He even wrote title songs that made the charts like Tiomkin.
He did everything in a whole variety of ways for the first time.

My guess when all the above composers started writing in the 60s, his career was the template they all wanted to have. More than any other composer he had the freedom and success combined in such a way that resulted in the happiest musical life possible.

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2014 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I see a poster has been added on facebook of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM another landmark score joins the line-up!

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2014 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

double post

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2014 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

The GSPO has quite a roster this time:

 Posted:   Feb 14, 2014 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I would like a good crowd for this.

I am offering one free ticket.

Just e-mail me:

 Posted:   Feb 15, 2014 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

See you all tonight!

 Posted:   Feb 15, 2014 - 3:22 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I'm so envious. Wish this GSPO and Henry and all the rest of you score fans would move to the Seattle area. Can't wait to hear all about the concert even while dripping with jealousy! Have fun.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:54 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I ‘ve been going to see the Golden State Pops Orchestra concerts for over 9 years and the film music memories are now numerous. Stu Phillips celebrating his 80th in symphonic style, Dave Lombardo rocking the place with Chris Young’s GHOST RIDER, Alan Silvestri showing up for his own Tribute Concert and performing, Austin Wintory playing “The Gold Standard” at the Jerry Goldsmith Concert, Richard Sherman at the piano for the Sherman Brothers night, Varese bringing in everybody from Michael Giacchino to Hans Zimmer for their anniversary , William Stromberg channeling Bernard Herrmann for Halloween, Sam Spence coming in from France to conduct his NFL music, 92 year old Irving Gertz attending the Halloween performance of his DEADLY MANTIS, World premieres of James Horner’s AVATAR, Chris Young’s DRAG ME TO HELL and URBAN LEGEND, John Ottman’s FANTASIC FOUR and SUPERMAN RETURNS, Marco Beltrami’s SCREAM AND Bernard Herrmann’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL and many more. But I have never worked harder trying to fill seats than for this Elmer concert. Plastering the town with bulletins and posters and pushing everyone I knew to go.

And yet the attendance was one of the lowest in many a year. I felt I had failed them.

I sat down resigned to that. The first piece was THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. You don't start any better. It was played well, very well. So much so the audience responded with loud applause and whoops.

The second piece was unusual FROM THE TERRACE written in the same year as THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. This is one of those Hollywood throwback melodramas that inspired Todd Haynes to hire Elmer for FAR FROM HEAVEN. This is where you tend to start to lose your audience. But it too was played very well, quite passionate really, and very tenderly.

This was followed by another iconic moment WALK ON THE WILD SIDE. Not the usual watered down version but the original. If there ever was a melody that gets the joint jumping it is this one. Steven Allen Fox was literally bouncing to the rhythm as did much of the orchestra. God I love that cellist Cerce Gamero, she swings her cello as she plays. Again we were back to the whoops and loud applause.

Then Elmer’s son, Peter, came out to do something VERY unusual. Something called Seldom Performed Works. It consisted of “Silver” a piece Elmer wrote for Frank Sinatra for his only conducting album TONE POEMS OF COLOR, “Traveling “ and “Theme” from THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN rejected score, “Main Title” to the rejected score of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, the love theme from DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS and the STRIPES march. Between the first selections and these I got a sense the point being made was that Elmer did everything and did it well. And even more importantly Peter was going to make sure this medley didn’t come across as a mish-mash. He made sure you felt the pure Americana of NATTY GANN and the truly dark tragic underpinning to the DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS love theme. Now this time it really hit me, most of this audience didn’t know ANY of these pieces, except maybe STRIPES, and yet there was another warm response. Something was going on.

Next John Landis gave his personal remembrances and a funny and touching tribute. Then he introduced his favorite score Elmer ever wrote for one of his films. THE THREE AMIGOS, which was a “wicked lampoon” of Elmer’s own work. Putting that score in context made it more delicious. The south of the border flavor came across strong. And I was surprised again that the audience response was so robust. After all this was a comedy, but even though Elmer may have been lampooning himself, he did this straight faced. He didn’t skimp, or overly mickey mouse, or write down to the audience. The delivery was full blooded and you could hear it in the playing.

The last piece in act 1 was introduced by composer Bear McCreary who was a student of Elmer at USC and whose 25 “words of wisdom” series from Elmer I placed here last month:
His remembrances of Elmer were even warmer. He explained his accordion playing on the next piece TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I thought it was added for this performance, but Bear showed how the accordion can sound like a harmonica but with more control. Elmer used It was in the original. And before Bear began he simply stated this was the best film score ever written. Exaggeration? I have heard Elmer’s story of his struggle to write this and then finally zooming in on the fact the whole story is seen through a child’s eyes. But the childlike approach was to a whole set of extremely adult issues. The music resolving the two elements into an achingly intimate score. Not just the nostalgia of innocence, not just the Americana of a time gone by, but the oh so tender introduction of a child’s mind slowly to the adult world and how fragile it all is also expressed in this score. After listening to it again, with a performance that was almost a religious experience, I know I wouldn’t care to argue with Bear’s statement. This time I expected the audience reaction, and it came in waves.

It was intermission and I just realized I totally forgot about my “failure” to the GSPO. It was irrelevant. What did get validated at intermission was something I suspected, that was confirmed by our maestro Steven Allen Fox after the concert. The energy coming from the audience was palpable. It fed him and everybody in the orchestra and they fed it back to the audience, which responded in kind. And that energy seemed to build non-stop. I have never felt anything quite like it, usually these things are rollercoasters. This was mirrored by all the regulars who were there who bandied about the words “best” and “lovefest” a lot.

The second half started off with a personal request, that I found out was a total coincidence, HOLLYWOOD AND THE STARS. An obscure TV series that documentarian David Wolper did in 1963 about the bygone era of the early movies. As a kid I would tune in just for that music. It was lush and nostalgic and touched me to the point I wanted to know about these incredible films that came before my time, and I eventually did. It was the perfect piece to get us back to that energy flow we had before intermission.

The next piece was the one I least anticipated but was most surprised by – the comedy suites. Not only was it, again, assembled by Peter Bernstein but he introduced and told Elmer stories. They were very funny (particularly the GHOSTBUSTERS one) and the most touching, naturally. I’ll paraphrase from his quote of Elmer’s about death: “The only things I’ll miss is 1) the warmth of family and friends and 2) the making of the music; that magical creative process”. Indeed what Peter picked to create these suites spotlighted the idea that Elmer’s writing for comedy was no different than anything else. He brought the same force to be reckoned with nature to: “The Faber College theme” and “Horseplay” from ANIMAL HOUSE, “Main Title” and “Love Theme” from AIRPLANE, “Depression” from STRIPES, “Train” and “Dukes” from TRADING PLACES, “Zuul” and main theme from GHOSTBUSTERS, the end credits of THREE AMIGOS and “Servo” and theme from SPIES LIKE US. These, even more than the “Rarely Performed” group showed what his incredible range was and particularly how he could shift gears in a single genre.

Agent Richard Kraft (Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat) has become known as a master raconteur and his funny/touching moments were wonderful here (as he has done many a time for maestro Jerry Goldsmith). In his tribute he told how when he first got Elmer on the phone and it was like hearing heard the voice of God! But what surprised me was the totally exuberant enthusiasm for the music itself. He seems to have saved up and given his all this time for Elmer. These great testimonials somehow made Elmer – the man a presence in the theater.

This was the perfect time to do the piece where it all started, the one that ignited the fire, started a new type of composing that made way for Mancini, Schifrin and many others – THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM. This was a standout for what I assume was lead trumpeter Jonah Levy. And, as all night, the audience gave it all back to the orchestra in kind.

The next piece was what I first thought was a simple throwback to the early days of romantic melodrama. But like the film itself that took those melodramas many steps further than the original films could go, Elmer did too. Infusing what he did before with much more depth to reflect what was mirrored on the screen – FAR FROM HEAVEN.

And finally the film assignment that would make-or-break him. After years of being blacklisted he gets to do a full blooded score but for one of the makers of the blacklist himself Cecil B. DeMille. We take the score for THE TEN COMMANDMENTS for granted today but if he had failed in any way who knows what repercussions there might have been. He responded with an almost over abundance of richesl. What other movie in film history had so much memorable thematic material? Maybe GONE WITH THE WIND but Elmer couldn’t fall back on traditional music like Max Steiner could because nobody knew what the Egyptian top 30 was in the 12th century BC. And, damn, look how many balls you had to keep in the air, DeMille’s penchant for Wagner, representing the Bible, contrasting with Moses and Nefretiri hot and heavy romance, the melodrama that Demille fills in for Moses missing history, the scenes of pure spectacle that was a hallmark of a DeMille production, themes for practically every important character and (what he was first hired for) the dances for everyone from Bedouin sheepherders to those sexy Nubians! Elmer distanced himself from this score saying he found his own voice later. But I hear no sign of the epic composers of the time like Rozsa or Tiomkin. And, frankly I don’t hear THAT much Wagner. This was an original which I just considered a part of his evolving voice. There was no hesitation about the audience getting to their feet after this.

This demanded an encore. And I was surprised to hear the opening bars of what is the longest continuing running theme on television (somebody correct me if I’m wrong) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. It goes straight to our unconscious, particularly the few of us who were around when it was first heard.

We were not allowed to get back on our feet because the final piece of the evening came quickly THE GREAT ESCAPE. For my money the best film music march ever done (and I include such great ones as Goldsmith’s PATTON and William’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in that mix). The waves of applause continued through the final bows.

At my old age I actually learned something this night. It probably is what classical concert goers have known for years. I would have loved to fill the house with every one of you Saturday night, but if I had there is a chance what happened may not have happened. As Steven Allen Fox said everybody who WANTED to be there was there. There wasn’t the usual pockets of talking I heard in every GSPO concert I’ve been to. There were young people and old people swaying their heads to the music in front of me. They fed the musicians and the musicians fed back by a flawless performance. And by a flawless performance I don’t mean no wrong notes, I mean pure expression. You cannot buy something like this. You cannot plan something like this. The stars have to be aligned and all have to be ready for that. The perfect concert is not being blown away by a couple of numbers or symphonic spectacle. It is a whole orchestra expressing what one man wrote long ago as if they were his voice, whether it be Brahms, Beethoven or Mozart. There is nothing between you and that voice. This is the longest review I have ever written and I don’t ever anticipate writing another one like it. I hope for every one of you to experience at some time in your life what happened between me, the GSPO and Elmer on Saturday.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 1:52 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 2:31 PM   
 By:   bagby   (Member)

My wife and I were there Saturday night and I can confirm everything Morricone has written here. Wonderful concert, perhaps the best of the GSPO nights I've been to. I too have a soft spot for Elmer's music so that no doubt played a role in my perception, but the orchestra was really on and mostly fabulous.

I thought 'Magnificent Seven' started a little slow and without the snap it needed but Maestro Fox pretty soon had it galloping along. The tributes were equal parts touching and funny (though John Landis noted Agnes DeMille was Cecil B. DeMille's sister...whut?).

I personally was hoping for 'Sons of Katie Elder' as one of the encores, but really it was terrific.

In less than a month the GSPO will pay tribute to some highlights of the many fabulous scores of the films of 20th Century Fox. That should prove really that should be broken into about four concerts--1940s/1950s; 1960s/1970s; 1980s/1990s; and since 2000. Not sure how all that is going to sort itself out. I'm glad I'm not the one making those decisions.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 3:24 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Great report, Henry. Having Bear M. say To Kill A Mockingbird was the best film score ever makes me almost want to weep. How amazing. Glad to know all the wonderful scores that were played and that A River Runs Through It was also played. I wish Peter Bernstein or someone else would release that rejected score. I wish Peter would get more scoring assignments.

Sorry it wasn't a full as expected. I hope his music always remains recognized and honored.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   bagby   (Member)

Great report, Henry. Having Bear M. say To Kill A Mockingbird was the best film score ever makes me almost want to weep. How amazing. Glad to know all the wonderful scores that were played and that A River Runs Through It was also played. I wish Peter Bernstein or someone else would release that rejected score. I wish Peter would get more scoring assignments.

Sorry it wasn't a full as expected. I hope his music always remains recognized and honored.

As lovely as 'A River Runs Throught It' was--very much classic Elmer Americana--I could hear why it was rejected. It really doesn't/didn't fit the film it was composed for, imo. Much like his 'Gangs of New York' score released by Varese: a great listen on its own but would have been completely wrong for the final film.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 6:31 PM   
 By:   Tom Servo   (Member)

Thanks much for this report Morricone, great to learn all the details. I seriously wanted to attend and had my tickets all purchased my fiance and I, but there was a tragic and unexpected death in her family and we had to leave immediately for D.C. for the weekend. I was really looking forward to hearing the "Comedy Suite" and all the various tribute speakers, but unfortunately life had other plans.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 6:34 PM   
 By:   msmith   (Member)

Oh man I wish I could have attended this event.
I also wish to thank you for the details.

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