Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2013 - 12:13 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

So I'd say Rozsa was quite proud of his score. And it is a magnificent score indeed. I simply love the "River Pastorale".


I didn't say he wasn't proud of the score. I didn't say it wasn't a great score. I know it very well.

A coupla' things, to clarify.

Rozsa never referred to it afterwards, despite that 'musical archaeology' paper reference. He described 'El Cid' as his last major epic score. He knew S & G was a stinker. In his interview to James Pavalek in the '70s he said, 'They kept making biblical epics, and each one was worse than the one before it ...' of S & G. Rozsa loved the subject matter, and that was enough for him to accept. Call it temptation. Tiomkin left the picture. Waman's great score for 'Taras Bulba' was for another honker, but Tadlow and Waxman did a great job.

Nobody can be quite sure that the Idlsohn material is from 'biblical times'. The melodies are from liturgies that are unchanged for centuries. That means they're MORE LIKELY to be biblical. Only the lyrics we can be sure are biblical. But that in itself will open up a question for some. Why are they used in such a terrible film?

If you make a film about Islam for example, you need to respect certain things. And Yemenite Judaism deserves the same.

Another thing's worth mentioning. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is the story of the early split between settled agriculturalists/city dwellers and nomads, as is the Cain and Abel story, retold by the writers of the Old Testament in a later context. It relates to a time before there were any 'Jews' as we know that term to mean, and Rozsa should have said Hebrews, or children of Abraham. Another of the film's deliberate cock-ups. Stu Granger as Lot keeps referencing 'the laws of my people', despite the fact that Moses won't be around for centuries yet. The angels who appear to him in the prison wear phylactery boxes from the post-Mosaic era. Of course they're angels ... so they COULD be from the future? John Huston did a far better job... complete with mushroom cloud to give the thing its modern relevance.

It's a potboiler, and the dance routines are beyond kitsch, they're just tragic. When I listen to the score I think of the ancient middle east, not of Aldrich's film. Anouk Aimee can't keep the giggles off her face throughout.

I think Tad are doing a grand job on Goldsmith at the minute. If they do tackle Rozsa again, (and they may not; there are SOME issues with the estate, no?) a DDD of 'Ben-Hur' would sell well and keep up the profile in the bigger picture. And no-one's yet recorded 'A Double Life', a sore omission from the output, and his second Oscar winner. But would it sell?

No-one here would want either, because Ben-Hur has had full OST releases to please the collectors, and Double Life just isn't popular, depite it being a fantastic neglected score, with all his styles, from the film noir, to the psychological to the historical.

I'm not sure why I'm going into all this.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2013 - 5:08 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


And it harms Rozsa's reputation. Not because it's a bad score, but because it's a crap exploitative misconceived film he preferred to ignore thereafter. And there are good enough sources for a good release if they're found. This film, and 'The Green Berets' (not 'The Power' or 'The VIPs') finished him for nearly a decade in film music.


Oh boy. Rozsa was not 'finished' for a decade because of S & G and it's ridiculous to suggest such a thing. He got less work because of changing times. S & G the score was and is greatly admired. Rozsa took the job as a favour to a friend and as a musicologist took great pleasure in it, though of course he would have hoped for a better result. As for him ignoring it afterwards, I distinctly remember him replying to a question about which of his scores he'd like to see re-recorded: "Well, Sodom & Gomorrah has some quite exciting music in it." This is not ignoring it thereafter.

Also, all your objections to re-recording this score previously have been based on the unpopularity of the film. Now suddenly you come up with this liturgical, treading-on-ethnic-toes stuff. Now I'm seriously wondering what it is you have against a possible re-recording. I mean, as a Rozsaphile I'd have thought you'd be supporting it. Instead you come on to pour a bucket of water every time it's mentioned.

 
 Posted:   Dec 25, 2013 - 6:19 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Oh boy. Rozsa was not 'finished' for a decade because of S & G and it's ridiculous to suggest such a thing. He got less work because of changing times. S & G the score was and is greatly admired. Rozsa took the job as a favour to a friend and as a musicologist took great pleasure in it, though of course he would have hoped for a better result. As for him ignoring it afterwards, I distinctly remember him replying to a question about which of his scores he'd like to see re-recorded: "Well, Sodom & Gomorrah has some quite exciting music in it." This is not ignoring it thereafter.

Also, all your objections to re-recording this score previously have been based on the unpopularity of the film. Now suddenly you come up with this liturgical, treading-on-ethnic-toes stuff. Now I'm seriously wondering what it is you have against a possible re-recording. I mean, as a Rozsaphile I'd have thought you'd be supporting it. Instead you come on to pour a bucket of water every time it's mentioned.





For Pete's sake, it's Xmas Day! 'Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Paranoia all the way ...' That's it Paul, I'm just trying to thwart your deep desires. It's Christmas, do something fun.

I would BUY such a recording, and encourage folk to do so BUT ...

To answer these objections:

(a) I've brought up this 'liturgical' point here a coupla times, and elsewhere too. And from the start of this thread at that. Because it needs brought up, even if nobody here thinks on these things. It'll not affect Tadlow.

(b) His career DID take a turn for the worse for a while. Yes, yes, 'I wanted to concentrate more on my concert work'. He ALWAYS did his concert work, for at least three months a year.

Given that styles were changing, he needed to be clever and more versatile about what he liked and disliked in the '60s. He 'didn't understand' Resnais' Providence, he thought 'Body Heat' was sleazy (eh? A remake of 'Double Indemnity'?), he turned down stuff like 'The Night Porter', and some say 'Star Wars'. Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, kept on going with good old-fashioned orchestral scoring of a high degree during that period. They ploughed a middle course.

He couldn't have picked two worse films to avert the suspicion that he was out-dated than Berets and S&G. He wasn't, but those were bad choices. From then on, he was 'Mr. Nostalgia' when throwback scores were needed. That need not have been so.

(c) You're telling me he wanted a re-recording when asked in an interview. Y'know, I don't doubt it. He also wanted a re-recording of 'Valley of the Kings'. All that does is to add to the suspicion that he didn't really have that much taste in films, and used them only for the joy of writing the music he wanted to write. He had no INTEREST in films, only in the musical problems of scoring them. Which is okay. But I'd not trumpet that abroad if I were trying to proselytise for him.

An ad-man would say Rozsa's MYTH is not built on that. The MYTH is that he had immaculate taste (as Williams said of him). In fact, 'taste' cannot be borrowed. The guy who always dresses out of GQ mag and covers his house in fine art is covering up the fact he has no taste of HIS OWN. Rozsa had great musical taste. Not great cinematic taste. If he was to hire PR men, they'd ask him what his goals were. Then, when he'd say, 'To achieve status in the CONCERT MUSIC world', they'd tell him to play down the bad films.

If he loved the score so much, he might have arranged a concert suite.


It's Christmas, and this thread has been hijacked by us enough. This isn't a day for hoking over the internet.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 25, 2013 - 4:45 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I don't mind 'hijacking' this thread to talk about what film is or isn't worthy of re-recording.

Firstly, and as is usual with your posts, I have no idea what you're on about. S & G was made in 1962, right after El Cid. This was at the height of Rozsa's popularity, when, as he described it, 'that whole hysteria' about epic films was in full swing (and it wasn't S & G that killed it but The Bible, Greatest Story and Roman Empire, all of which were more boring than S & G). Why you keep grouping it with Green Berets (1968) etc is a mystery. There is a long, long separation in Rozsa's career from '62 to'68. Sodom did nothing to harm his career. He did a fabulous job on a lousy film, and certainly not for the first time. If a lousy film could have damaged his career it would have been in tatters by the 50s.

Look, let's simplify. S & G is a fabulous score only ever heard in the most lousy of sounds, some of it mono. If someone could discover the tapes in good stereo sound, as good as B-H or KOK, which is not wonderful but listenable, I would be very happy. You suggest such tapes exist. If so, someone is being very tardy in bringing them to light. Given the scatty history of the film itself I somehow doubt such tapes exist.

The 'liturgical' thing. No one but you has ever brought it up, and frankly, I don't buy it. Who the hell but us cares what traditional tunes may have been used in a failed film from 1962? No one, of course, which is why I ever-so-subtly suggested you must have some other reason for not wanting this score re-recorded. Who knows, maybe you just don't like it. Maybe you're just being deliberately obstructive, or argumentative, or convoluted--not beyond the realms of possibility with you. I don't know. But if you really believe there are good reasons for not re-recording this score, I suggest you come up with a better one that this, because this one doesn't fly.

"An ad-man would say Rozsa's MYTH is not built on that. The MYTH is that he had immaculate taste (as Williams said of him). In fact, 'taste' cannot be borrowed. The guy who always dresses out of GQ mag and covers his house in fine art is covering up the fact he has no taste of HIS OWN. Rozsa had great musical taste. Not great cinematic taste. If he was to hire PR men, they'd ask him what his goals were. Then, when he'd say, 'To achieve status in the CONCERT MUSIC world', they'd tell him to play down the bad films."

Again, more nonsense. We know Rozsa wasn't a cinema buff. With the exception of a few films like B-H he considered the cinema low class. So what? A lot of people of Rozsa's class and background feel the same. These days I'm inclined to think that was a mark of his GOOD taste rather than the opposite. And what do you mean, the MYTH that he had immaculate taste? Does the fact he had little interest in cinema mean his taste was lacking overall? I have no interest in pop/rock music, but I don't believe that damages my 'taste' quotient.

Funny, you seem to be always trying to remind us that Rozsa was not perfect, but anyone with half a brain would assume that immediately. We're not 'fans', we're appreciators. We're not silly teenagers either. Yes, Rozsa no doubt lost his temper many times; so do I, most especially when reading your posts. Yes, no doubt his taste wasn't immaculate on every occasion. He was human--so what? But to suggest, as you appear to be doing (though with you it's always hard to tell) that his show of taste was to cover a lack of taste...wow! I'm just glad you're an admirer. I'd hate to imagine your posts if you were a detractor.

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2013 - 7:16 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I suppose in the Southern Hemisphere people have different emotions about the Christmas thing. It being so hot 'n'all.

If you can't agree with something, can't you just ignore it?




Here's my point. I really am not being churlish when I say I don't care who agrees or disagrees.

There are two worlds that Rozsa inhabited. One is the concert composer world, and the other is the film world. The people who knew Rozsa from the film world think what matters is Rozsa's great legacy in film scoring, and as far as they are concerned, if snobs in the concert world don't care about that, then that's their loss. This is his true legacy.
The people who knew Rozsa from the serious music world will say that the concert music is what he stands or falls by, and that's what's important.

They're both wrong.

He wrote great film-music, and it was so good it needs heard and preserved. And he wrote fine concertos and chamber works and they need advertised and performed. He himself cared more (or so he claimed) about tha latter.

Now, some will say that it doesn't matter what he said, what matters is the quality of the work, and if the film work outlasts and outstrips the concert work, so what? No-one can guess their own legacy, they'll say. But HE wanted it otherwise. Any time I google Rozsa's name on YouTube, and up comes 'Green Berets' on page one before anything else, I cringe. He didn't even want that title song, did the best he could with it. It has some good material in it, the FSM is very good. But it's not something to be highlighted. There was a time when his Wiki page had a ridic large paragraph about that one score. Maybe it still does?

So, if we think the concert world is DYING, and many do, or that it's elitist, then why should we care?

As regards the business of the S&G MFX tapes, take that up with who said it. He said he used them in remastering I think.

I'm saying, concentrate on the stuff that helps his REPUTATION, and the builfding of the composer myth. That's what I'm saying. You don't agree. So?

I'm well aware that nobody here cares about the liturgical thing also. Very few Israelis of the Yemenite tradition, and there are plenty in Israel today by the way, will see this, or hear any issues of the score.

But that's another world. Literally.

 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2013 - 7:30 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Actually, I've just thought of a very simple, and better example.

Rozsa scored a film called 'Something of Value' set during the Mau-Mau rebellion. He wrote a fantastic score (in terms of its SOUND, melody etc.) and it's available in the FSM box.

As a witty anecdote, he points out in his autobio that the melodies (he was very good at African stuff) were sometimes authentic, but the words were pulled out AT RANDOM from a Kikuyu dictionary. That was the 1950s. What did it matter in Hollywood?

There was less PC then.

So, whilst the CD is great, would we highlight it in concert, or discuss it in a broadcast or high-profile setting? I don't think so. Unless we were stupid.


Tennis racket zebra, traffic warden giraffe.

Not good for the propagating of his legacy. Strategy.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2013 - 2:57 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I suppose in the Southern Hemisphere people have different emotions about the Christmas thing. It being so hot 'n'all.

If you can't agree with something, can't you just ignore it?


No, not in your case. When someone pushes someone's buttons to the degree that you push mine, I say bah humbug to Christmas.

For the rest, I don't see that anything you've written really addresses any of the points I made, so perhaps this would be a good time to finally let the matter rest.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2013 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   David Charles   (Member)

Here's another vote for 'The Vikings'. I really like this score and the previous soundtrack recording sounds like it's being played through cotton wool.

'Sodom and Gomorrah' would be good too but 'The Vikings' is my number 1 wish.

On another subject entirely, what is the position with 'Greatest Story Ever Told'? I have the 3CD set from a few years ago which contained two cds of 'soundtrack' and one of the old vinyl album but how complete is this?

David Charles

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 26, 2013 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

Same request as usual :

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   General Kael   (Member)

Here is my updated list

1) KING OF KINGS
2) THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
3) THIEF OF BAGDAD
4) BEN-HUR
5) JESUS OF NAZARETH
6) MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Second tier selections:
7) 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
8) SPARTACUS

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 2:48 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

Same request as usual :



Despite all these requests, I don't believe Luc Van de Ven or James Fitzpatrick are actually soliciting suggestions for recordings smile . But if they were, PRIDE AND THE PASSION would be top of my list as well (other than any Rozsa title of course!). I know it's a favourite of both Luc and James but the last time I proposed it Luc was sceptical about the chances of it selling more than 1000 copies.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:09 AM   
 By:   juhana   (Member)

I too think THE VIKINGS ought to be rerecorded at some point. If this ever happens, it would be nice if this was made into a mini compilation of Nascimbene's scores for historical epics.

I imagine it as a 2-CD set. Basically, the first CD could include the complete score for THE VIKINGS, while the second CD (and even possible leftover space on CD1) would contain Gerhardt-style 5-15 minute suites for the likes of ALEXANDER THE GREAT, CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS, SOLOMON AND SHEBA, CARTHAGE IN FLAMES, BARABBAS, FAREWELL TO ARMS, and FRANCIS OF ASSISSI.

Let's face it, the sound quality on the existing releases for those scores is for the most part absolutely horrendous. Nevertheless, only THE VIKINGS would seem like a title that has some chances of making a profit. The others are simply too obscure. A release like this would kill two birds with one stone.

The suites would obviously not be able to include everything due to their short length, but there's nothing to prevent them from being good representations of the thematic material. At least ALEXANDER and SOLOMON would require longer suites, but ASSISSI, CARTHAGE, and possibly even BARABBAS could be represented rather compactly. If absolutely necessary, there could even be a third disc.

Also (if this ever happens), be sure to rerecord the Morricone-arranged bolero version of BARABBAS theme that was on the LP. It's simply so wonderful.

Is any of this feasible, I wonder?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:37 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

Same request as usual :



Despite all these requests, I don't believe Luc Van de Ven or James Fitzpatrick are actually soliciting suggestions for recordings. But if they were, PRIDE AND THE PASSION would be top of my list as well (other than any Rozsa title of course!). I know it's a favourite of both Luc and James but the last time I proposed it Luc was sceptical about the chances of it selling more than 1000 copies.




Not to mention a "difficult communication" with George Antheil Estate either.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:42 AM   
 By:   chriss   (Member)

I still say:




 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 5:42 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

IAlso (if this ever happens), be sure to rerecord the Morricone-arranged bolero version of BARABBAS theme that was on the LP. It's simply so wonderful.


Absolutely--one of the most memorable filmmusic pieces of the whole 60s. I recall it was used as an Overture at the Roadshow run of the film here in Sydney, and seemed to grab the attention of much of the audience. That in itself is a wonder.

(Incidentally, does the trumpeter hit a wrong note in that recording? I wasn't quite sure if it was supposed to be like that or he flubbed it).

I like the idea of having a compilation of scores by the same composer. I'm not a great fan of The Vikings; like much of Nascimbene's music it seems lumbering and ponderous, but hey, it seems to have a following so...

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I too think THE VIKINGS ought to be rerecorded at some point. If this ever happens, it would be nice if this was made into a mini compilation of Nascimbene's scores for historical epics.

It's a magic score, the tragic theme for Morganna is particularly beautiful, and the love theme is charming. And the main theme is so well known it'd need no excuse to re-record.

I imagine it as a 2-CD set. Basically, the first CD could include the complete score for THE VIKINGS, while the second CD (and even possible leftover space on CD1) would contain Gerhardt-style 5-15 minute suites for the likes of ALEXANDER THE GREAT, CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS, SOLOMON AND SHEBA, CARTHAGE IN FLAMES, BARABBAS, FAREWELL TO ARMS, and FRANCIS OF ASSISSI.



There was a 2CD set that came out some time ago with a Slovak/Czech orchestra, not James's, that has, well, weakish performances of many classics including Previn's 'Elmer Gantry'. That release has a modern DDD performance of course of Nascimbene's title from 'Alexander the Great', so we know from that, that the scoresheets are available. I like that score, and he's adopted the old Rozsa technique throughout in his harmonisations and orchestrations. It has a simple modernity, that somehow sounds like something ancient or primitive... like the return to 'primitive' art in the 20th Century, but in musical guise. Nasc wasn't the greatest composer on earth, but he was certainly an artist.

I differ on the Morricone 'Kyrie Eleison set to Clint Eastwood rhythm' though. I'm reluctant to say why in case I spark something off...

Did you know Nascimbene wrote the Moorish drum ostinatos in 'El Cid'?

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 6:41 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


On another subject entirely, what is the position with 'Greatest Story Ever Told'? I have the 3CD set from a few years ago which contained two cds of 'soundtrack' and one of the old vinyl album but how complete is this?

David Charles



Not nearly complete.

The 3CD set had the album (which was always very audiophile) on disc 1 and the other two discs largely used material that wasn't included on the album, so you need all three for completeness, though there's SOME overlap. Many passages are longer on the OST than on the album, but aren't on the 3CD. However, (and I could be mistaken) what's on the 3CD is all that has been found.

Also, there are pieces that were never released, like the fantastic oriental music for Herod's court and Salome's modest dance. I think J. Capariccio said this was Newman too. The Inbal Theatre of Dance from Israel was hired and they had tons of musicians, and they produced some keening at Lazarus' tomb, does that count as music? I think it does. And there are 'additional compositions' by a composer whose name I forget momentarily ('sorry), maybe the again unreleased choral 'otherworldly' chords that appear from time quietly during the trial scenes reel. And what of the beautiful choral passage that precedes Christ's donkey-ride? Not on the3CD either.

Some of that mystical choral stuff was unique in this sort of scoring and was put through an echo chamber, and a new recording would need to do the same: it's meant that way. But it's never seen the light of day in a release. Darby also composed some stuff I think.

Yes, it'd be something. And it's likely there are tons of alternatives, given all the wrangling from Stevens. I suppose the 'Robe' insertions, and of course the Verdi and Handel alternatives would need to be there also.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 7:04 AM   
 By:   chriss   (Member)

There was a 2CD set that came out some time ago with a Slovak/Czech orchestra, not James's, that has, well, weakish performances of many classics including Previn's 'Elmer Gantry'. That release has a modern DDD performance of course of Nascimbene's title from 'Alexander the Great', so we know from that, that the scoresheets are available.

You mean this?

http://www.amazon.de/Hollywoods-Greatest-Hits-Classic-Movies/dp/B002Q2JTK2/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 9:14 AM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

Also (if this ever happens), be sure to rerecord the Morricone-arranged bolero version of BARABBAS theme that was on the LP. It's simply so wonderful.

Absolutely--one of the most memorable filmmusic pieces of the whole 60s. I recall it was used as an Overture at the Roadshow run of the film here in Sydney, and seemed to grab the attention of much of the audience. That in itself is a wonder.


It's perplexing that -- despite the world-wide popularity of Morricone's works -- the bolero arrangement has never found its way into any Morricone CD compilation or has never popped up on YouTube. After 50 years it seems to have vanished.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

On another subject entirely, what is the position with 'Greatest Story Ever Told'? I have the 3CD set from a few years ago which contained two cds of 'soundtrack' and one of the old vinyl album but how complete is this?

Not nearly complete.

The 3CD set had the album (which was always very audiophile) on disc 1 and the other two discs largely used material that wasn't included on the album, so you need all three for completeness, though there's SOME overlap. Many passages are longer on the OST than on the album, but aren't on the 3CD. However, (and I could be mistaken) what's on the 3CD is all that has been found.




Add to all this that a significant part of the magnificent "The Great Journey" sequence ("Return to Capernaum") is missing on the CD set because that portion of Darby's archival tape seems to have been all chewed up.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.