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 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 8:09 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Damnit, I can't find my old thread on this topic, so I'll have to start a new one.

I've never seen this film, but there's plenty of good things to be found on the Rhino soundtrack. The "Overture" is probably my favourite Newman composition of all time (however, I actually prefer a recording that was made on one of those Silva Western compilations). The score is busy, direct and full of life. Also a nice version of the eternal "Greensleeves" in the "A Home in the Meadow" track with new lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

My only qualm is the usual one...it's too long. Alternate cuts could have been omitted along with some of the folksy songs (especially at the end of disc 2, such as that - if you'll excuse me - ANNOYING track "Waiting for the Hoedown") to make it a more fluid listening experience.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 8:13 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

It's a marvelous score, one of his finest later efforts, and I agree about the overture and also the main title proper. It IS a bit of a stretch to take it all in in one listen, I general just skip around some of the folk source material. Thank God they didn't get Tiomkin as they wanted originally. (No desrespect meant, but I'm sure few will disagree.) I haven't played this in a while, so-

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 8:14 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

You are talking to someone who saw this as a kid and became hooked on cinema, movie scores and Alfred Newman for the rest of his life. I still can't think of a more thunderous main title in the history of the cinema.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 8:15 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

You are talking to someone who saw this as a kid and became hooked on cinema, movie scores and Alfred Newman for the rest of his life. I still can't think of a more thunderous main title in the history of the cinema.

Reminds me, I saw it too, but later, in a theater in Tripoli, Libya in 1965. I was about 9 years old.


Addendum: It's a toss up as to which is Newman's greatest main title theme- this, or AIRPORT.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 9:32 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

StevenJ, I agree that both HOW THE WEST WAS WON and AIRPORT are spectacular main titles, rousing, muscular and thematic. I also love his early scores like WUTHERING HEIGHTS. When I listen to HTWWW or Airport which are so great, I marvel at Newman's ability to evolve and change his music throughout the decades. This was a composer who changed with the times and never nailed himself into a one-style rut.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 9:40 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

So true. Airport sounds like the work of a composer 30 years younger than he was at the time he wrote it. It's arguably the greatest main title ever written! But then there's HOW THE WEST WAS WON...

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 10:01 PM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

You are talking to someone who saw this as a kid....

And thanks to your enthusiasm, Mr M, I discovered this one myself in May after running into you at the UCLU Newman concert! Really hope they bring this movie back to the Hollywood Arclight / Cinerama Dome. A superb, boisterous and multi-layered score, and I now sing along with Debbie Reynolds, et al.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 10:05 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)



And thanks to your enthusiasm, Mr M, I discovered this one myself in May after running into you at the UCLU Newman concert! Really hope they bring this movie back to the Hollywood Arclight / Cinerama Dome. A superb, boisterous and multi-layered score, and I now sing along with Debbie Reynolds, et al.


You know, it was my third grade teacher who told us in class about same the time I saw the movie in 1965 that the song Debbie Reynolds sang was the melody of the English folksong Greensleaves.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 10:06 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

Great tohave the entire score on Rhino but there are some editing goofs.

The overture is a mess - it was recorded in sections that needed to be overlapped
and some sections are out of synwith the rest of the orchestra especially the opening of shenandoah and Endless prarie.

During the scene of the indian attack, there is a space lleft for the overdub of the solo kettle drum, but they forgot to add it and there is just five seconds of dead space.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2006 - 10:37 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

(especially at the end of disc 2, such as that - if you'll excuse me - ANNOYING track "Waiting for the Hoedown")

...I like that song.


-Joshua

 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 2:23 AM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

The overture is a mess - it was recorded in sections that needed to be overlapped and some sections are out of sync with the rest of the orchestra especially the opening of Shenandoah and Endless Prarie.

I've noticed this too, so I've edited together a composite of the Overture from the Rhino CD and from the DVD. But even in the original LP version of the Overture (it's also on the DVD), there is a sudden drop in ambience right in the middle of "Shenandoah," indicating a splice. The Rhino Overture extends the opening "I'm Bound For The Promised Land" and "The Ox Driver's Song," but according to some who had heard the original studio tapes, there were also extended versions of "Shenandoah" and "Endless Prairie." That could explain the obvious "Shenandoah" edit in the film version of the Overture.

Also "First Meeting" on the Rhino DVD comes in and overlaps on the heels of "Shenandoah" one bar too early.

Mind you, I'm merely making observations, not complaints. The Rhino CDs are a godsend.

Thor, the only way to have properly experienced this great score was in a Cinerama theatre in six-channel stereophonic sound. Unlike today's surround channels which only pump out sound effects, the surround speakers for HWTWW were used for orchestral imaging. When the chorus echoes "There's plenty of gold!" in the Entr'acte, each of these echoes came from different speakers around the audience. Ditto for the bugles at the end of "He's Linus' Boy." And as for the final choral version of the finale which begins with three statements of "The Promised Land!" the first statement came from the rear speakers, the second from the middle side speakers and the third from the front speakers -- absolute sonic magic.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 2:46 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

The "Overture" is probably my favourite Newman composition of all time (however, I actually prefer a recording that was made on one of those Silva Western compilations).

I'm guessing you actually mean the Prelude (or Main Title). I don't think the choral overture was included in the Christopher Palmer suite that was recorded on Silva. I certainly agree that the Prelude is one of the most inspiring short pieces in American music. All the more amazing, then, that somebody chose to abridge it on the OST album. They cut out the entire middle section!

For years, the only way to hear the full Prelude was on a Hollywood Bowl commemorative album that preserved a live concert from 1963. The sound was miserable and the performance wooly. So, yes, the Palmer suite recordng was a godsend. Curiously, there are two different versions of this -- one on a Western collection and the other on "The Essential Alfred Newman." The orchestral versions are, I believe, identical, but the latter album adds a choral track for the finale.

The great Prelude was, very fittingly, played by the L.A. Philharmonic at one of the inaugural concerts for the new Disney Hall. It had been a long struggle to build the new West Coast auditorium, and so when Esa Pekka Salonen turned to the audience to announce an encore, everybody must have smiled when he said, "It is called 'How the West Was Won.'"

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 4:22 AM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

I've never seen this film, but there's plenty of good things to be found on the Rhino soundtrack. The "Overture" is probably my favourite Newman composition of all time (however, I actually prefer a recording that was made on one of those Silva Western compilations). The score is busy, direct and full of life. Also a nice version of the eternal "Greensleeves" in the "A Home in the Meadow" track with new lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

My only qualm is the usual one...it's too long. Alternate cuts could have been omitted along with some of the folksy songs (especially at the end of disc 2, such as that - if you'll excuse me - ANNOYING track "Waiting for the Hoedown") to make it a more fluid listening experience.


The Silva recording of selections from the score is dreadful. It's impossible to believe that those who made it had ever heard the original. And the Czech chorus sounds as though they're gargling with Scrabble tiles.

And it's too bad that you think that the OST Overture is too long, because what's on the Rhino disc is actually a cut-down version. The full piece runs about six-and-a-half minutes (I have a mono tape of it somewhere).

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 5:07 AM   
 By:   mulan98   (Member)

The Silva recording of selections from the score is dreadful. It's impossible to believe that those who made it had ever heard the original. And the Czech chorus sounds as though they're gargling with Scrabble tiles.


Personally, I think the Silva screen recordings are WONDERFUL.

I've collected movie music for over 40 years with an obvious preference for original soundtrack recording.

In my opinion though the Silva Screen people generally do a superb job in providing terrific compilations and some selections previously difficult to obtain.

The Alfred Newman collection is, I feel, especially beautiful. I'm sure the master would have given his seal of approval to the ANNE FRANK suite.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 5:47 AM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

One of my favorites from way back, but the best recording is still the classic vinyl. Not for the most cues, but just for the best sound. It just really cooked. My favorite cues has long been Climb A Higher Hill with Newman's own semi folk song the prime theme. I just wish the CD had as crystal clear sound (and performance) as did the old MGM LP.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

. I just wish the CD had as crystal clear sound (and performance) as did the old MGM LP.

Bill, I am confused by your comments. The original six tracks tapes made the Rhino CD and they are the same source for the old lp, just the old lp had a lot of reverb added.
The performances are the same.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 8:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

The Silva recording of selections from the score is dreadful. It's impossible to believe that those who made it had ever heard the original. And the Czech chorus sounds as though they're gargling with Scrabble tiles.

Well, one man's trash is another man's jewel etc. For the record, I'm talking about this album:

http://www.amazon.ca/How-West-Was-Won-Classic/dp/B000004BQC

I also like Alan Silvestri's version of the Overture on the ROMANCING THE STONE soundtrack.

And it's too bad that you think that the OST Overture is too long, because what's on the Rhino disc is actually a cut-down version.

No, I'm not talking about the overture, but the entire 2CD set.

NP: THE ABYSS (Silvestri)

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

I'm usually one of the first ones to comment on bad sound quality around here -- and while it's been a while since I listened to this, I never had any issues with the sound quality, to my memory (not that I've heard that LP, mind you).

I have to wonder if I have a different pair of CDs than everyone else big grin

-Joshua

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Taking into consideration that this is a 1962 recording, it's pretty OK. Of course, I would not have turned down a rerecording with spectacular sound, but I can live with this.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2006 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   Les Jepson   (Member)

. I just wish the CD had as crystal clear sound (and performance) as did the old MGM LP.

The LP was pressed when the masters were new, not when they were nearly forty years old.

 
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