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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Dragon Seed
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2010 - 8:55 PM   
 By:   ajhfsm   (Member)

Congratulations on your reform Ed. I'm probably reformed too, but I still really like nice/interesting equipment.

I'm always saying that artificial reverb and the like are not desirable, I think it's personal taste, I just don't like recordings to be interfered with like that, if it is recorded with lackluster environmental sound then I want to hear that. But no ... the men in charge say it just sounds dreadful and slap a bit of reverb on to sweeten or make the mono sound more "acceptable". You can't talk these people around it, they cannot accept the "truth" in the recording.

Anyhow, thanks for the great pics and history coming out of you.

 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2010 - 9:23 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Got mine today! Sound quality is fantastic as expected. More comments to come after I listen to it heavily tomorrow smile

 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2010 - 6:00 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

What an outstanding release from FSM. And how fortunate for all that the audio from the optical music tracks was preserved. The sound is terrific on this album.

And the score is quintessential Stothart. Those soft-searing strings of his are truly unique. And, of course, the entire aural quality is signature MGM. Those were the days, eh? When you could listen to a music track and know right away what studio it came from. Not only the performers had personality back then!

Congrats to the entire team that shepherded this project through.

 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2010 - 2:19 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I have been listening to this album most of the day and it is so relaxing. Its just what I need when I have a day of stressful work. The melodies are very nice and the music is nice and simple.

 
 Posted:   Aug 4, 2010 - 3:40 PM   
 By:   Josh Mitchell   (Member)

With the seemingly endless stream of mind-bogglingly awesome 70s and 80s scores that have been released of late, I didn't realize how badly I wanted to feast my ears on a new Golden Age release until this set was announced. After listening to a few samples at SAE, I was hooked. There's just something about Chinese and Japanese-flavored Golden Age scores written by Western composers that I find very charming (well, most of the time anyways). Adding to those reasons the fact that it's presented in glorious STEREO (!), it's easy to see how helpless I was to resist its attractive power.

I'm about 2/3 of the way into the first disc now, and enjoying it even more than I'd anticipated I would. Beautiful music, amazing sound quality, and top-notch presentation. Having had no previous knowledge whatsoever of the film's existence, I'm grateful to FSM for this release which introduced me not only to the score but also to the composer.

Two big thumbs up.

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2010 - 10:21 PM   
 By:   Ray Worley   (Member)

Got mine today and have been greedily absorbing it. What a revelation! This is a beautiful, complex score lovingly presented.
The sound quality is amazing for such an old score. I think it proves that quality preservation is almost more important than the technique of the original recording. One can praise the qualties of studio x over studio y, or musical director A over director B, but if the tapes aren't properly taken care of, it doesn't matter much.
Much praise to Lucas and company for finding these sources and getting them permanently saved in digital form for posterity (and our enjoyment).

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   drivingmissdaisy   (Member)

I'm listening to this and CAN'T BELIEVE the sound quality, and to think it was made in the 40's, WOW. VERY VERY impressive, oh yah the musics great too!!

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   Glenn Butler   (Member)

I'm hoping this set will be at my house when I get home from work today or tomorrow. A while ago I took a chance on a somewhat obscure FSM Golden Age two-disc set and wound up absolutely falling in love with Land of the Pharaohs, so I'm taking another chance here based on some of the samples and effusive praise in this thread.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 11, 2010 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Listening to the sample entitled "Dealing with the enemy," it struck me how much it sounds like something Bronislau Kaper would have composed.

So I did a search on the ASCAP website and guess who's name popped up as a composer of "Dragon Seed"?

Yep. Broni Kaper!

Also listed is William Axt, Alberto Columbo, Daniel Amfitheatrof, Anelli Alberto and Bert Reisfeld.

And as my good friend Bill Rosar pointed out, towards the end of that sample it also resembles the style of Leith Stevens where the use of fourth chords sounds very much like the cue Stevens wrote for George Pal's "War of the Worlds" where the army lies in wait for the Martian machines to appear.

Speaking of that great Leith Stevens score, I wish someone would release it. Or redo it.

FYI The sample of "Dragon Seed":

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/store/MP3/1310/2-02_Dealing_With_the_Enemy.mp3

 
 Posted:   Aug 11, 2010 - 11:02 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

So I did a search on the ASCAP website and guess who's name popped up as a composer of "Dragon Seed"? Yep. Broni Kaper! Also listed ...

One can read the same info by looking at the CD's excellent notes... if one buys the set, of course.

 
 Posted:   Aug 11, 2010 - 11:16 PM   
 By:   Josh Mitchell   (Member)

So I did a search on the ASCAP website and guess who's name popped up as a composer of "Dragon Seed"? Yep. Broni Kaper! Also listed ...

One can read the same info by looking at the CD's excellent notes... if one buys the set, of course.


 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   stroppy   (Member)

The CD might have good liner notes, but I'd rather read what Ed writes. After all, he is someone who actually worked in Hollywood for many years and met many of the greats. It's one thing to write CD liner notes using research from library materials, it's another to get the information, first hand, from someone who worked in the industry.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Thanks.

What's humorous is I came up with it along with Bill Rosar without reading the notes. Then people on the forum have to jump in that had I purchased the CD I'd have discovered it.

As a matter of fact, I plan on buying the CD. A lot of the music sounds great. The stereo spread is excellent, especially considering it was done at MGM where during the 1940s the sound quality was lacking. There's still a flatness to it. That's the stage. At 66' x 93' it's smaller than the one at Fox. It uses a slate floor. The scoring stages at Fox and Warner Brothers use wood. The stage at Fox has a 'floating' floor that isolates it from extraneous vibration.

But all the stages were not up to the same sound quality achieved at Goldwyn on Stage 7. That stage was the most in demand.

Sadly, studio execs decided it should revert back to filming after a huge fire destroyed five sound stages on the Goldwyn lot in 1974.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 12:01 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

It's one thing to write CD liner notes using research from library materials, it's another to get the information, first hand, from someone who worked in the industry.


Except that he got this Kaper information how exactly? By doing research!

Too bad the Filmus archive isn't available. If it was you could read all his previous bad-mouthing of Stothart-era "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise".

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

It's one thing to write CD liner notes using research from library materials, it's another to get the information, first hand, from someone who worked in the industry.


Except that he got this Kaper information how exactly? By doing research!

Too bad the Filmus archive isn't available. If it was you could read all his previous bad-mouthing of Stothart-era "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise".


By listening to the cue. Then researching the AFM website.

Bill Rosar added that towards the end of the sample, it tended to resemble what Leith Stevens composed for a section of his score for "War of the Worlds" which I'm sure is not mentioned in the booklet.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   stroppy   (Member)

It's one thing to write CD liner notes using research from library materials, it's another to get the information, first hand, from someone who worked in the industry.


Except that he got this Kaper information how exactly? By doing research!

Too bad the Filmus archive isn't available. If it was you could read all his previous bad-mouthing of Stothart-era "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise".



If Ed "bad-mouthed" as you say, I'm confident it was for good reason. I've read much of his material on various boards and IMHO, he has never discredited anyone or anything undeservedly.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 12:21 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Too bad the Filmus archive isn't available. If it was you could read all his previous bad-mouthing of Stothart-era "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise".

I admit I've never been a Stothart fan. He wasn't in the same league as other Hollywood film composers such as Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman, just to name a few of the greats.

And yes, I did complain about the lacking of decent sound coming from the MGM scoring stage. Universal had better sound in the 1940s.

SO WHAT?

The way you phrase it, I'm some sort of hypocrite.

This recording of "Dragon Seed" is the first I've heard where the limitations of that stage were somewhat overcome. Remember these come from the raw tracks. But by the time the music was mixed into the film it took on that extremely flat, lifeless quality that we never hear from scores recorded at Warner Brothers, Fox or at Goldwyn.

Stothart was talented. But he was never an innovative composer. His works tended to borrow from the classics. And doing research it's easy to see he had lots of help.

I agree it's a shame the archive of Filmus isn't available.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 12:27 PM   
 By:   stroppy   (Member)

I get the impression that there's a group of people in this forum that tend to shoot Hollywood vets like Ed down at every opportunity.

 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

I admit I've never been a Stothart fan. He wasn't in the same league as other Hollywood film composers such as Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman, just to name a few of the greats.

And yes, I did complain about the lacking of decent sound coming from the MGM scoring stage. Universal had better sound in the 1940s.




I'm just surprised to read your praise for any of Stothart's work given how vociferously you bad-mouthed him in years past. And my recollection is that your low opinion of Stothart-era MGM encompassed considerably more than just the quality of their scoring stage. "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise" was an appellation I took as a dismissal of the entire MGM aesthetic.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 12, 2010 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

I admit I've never been a Stothart fan. He wasn't in the same league as other Hollywood film composers such as Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman, just to name a few of the greats.

And yes, I did complain about the lacking of decent sound coming from the MGM scoring stage. Universal had better sound in the 1940s.




I'm just surprised to read your praise for any of Stothart's work given how vociferously you bad-mouthed him in years past. And my recollection is that your low opinion of Stothart-era MGM encompassed considerably more than just the quality of their scoring stage. "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayonaise" was an appelation I took as a dismissal of the entire MGM aesthetic.


Yes, MGM was inferior as far as music when compared to Fox and Warner Brothers. MGM had an inferior studio orchestra which John Green vastly improved once he took over the music department. The scoring stage at MGM left a lot to be desired when compared to the stages at other studios. And much of MGM's output of feature films were designed more as homogenized family fare. Very rarely did they break away from that successful formula. But when they did such as with "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" or especially with "The Picture of Dorian Gray" they proved they were capable of making great movies.

And I've always said that my favorite Stothart score was for "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

 
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