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 Posted:   Jan 1, 2010 - 11:20 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Been catching up on some old LP material and couldn't help noting how heavily influenced parts of this David Amram score are by Alex North. Track 6 ("Switchblades on Parade") sounds almost more North than North, and a worthy companion to the aerial roundup sequence from "The Misfits" (from the year before, I believe). A quick check of Google reveals that Amram has done just about everything there is to do (and is still doing it) in both the classical and jazz fields, and collaborated with just about everybody EXCEPT Alex North, but I think if he were to listen to this score again he'd have a hard time denying the North influence.

Anyone had this LP and care to comment?

 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 12:22 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Both films were from 1961. I actually don't find much of anything but pure Amram in every Amram score. He was a completely unique voice. I have loved his music since first hearing the Percy Faith version of Splendor In The Grass, and then I loved The Manchurian Candidate and everything else he did. I managed to snag The Young Savages at some point in the 1960s and it's just a terrific score and works wonderfully in the film.

One of my happiest moments during my Varese years was doing his incidental score to the 90s Broadway version of On The Waterfront, which, if you've never heard it, is worth seeking out. I talked to him several times on the phone and he's a terrific guy and loved that I knew his work so well. He sent me the music to Splendor because I was about to do the movie theme album of jazz from the movies with Fred Karlin, and it was the only piece I absolutely insisted on.

 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 5:14 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

That's very interesting stuff, Haines, and I really should gain wider acquaintance of Amram's work. But are you saying Track 6 doesn't sound anything like North?

 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 5:58 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

I know there's not much music in SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, but that theme is to die for.

The only reason I bought that Percy Faith album was to get the theme from SPLENDOR.

The film is great, lauded in its day, mostly forgotten now, but I think it's certainly one of the better films to explore the American persona, and the ending is truly transcendant.

As is Amram's beautiful music.

I'd love to see the tracks for this available some day...


 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 6:54 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Hello pp312:

I have owned "The Young Savages" LP for about 20 years. The music you are referring to is actually track 2 on side 2, and, I seem to recall, this is the music which accompanies the main title credit sequence during the film.
I can understand you hearing similarities between this and the work of Alex North - the aggressive rhythms, the counterpoint, polytonal dissonances, etc. Perhaps this was a result of both composers using a synthesis of orchestral and jazz techniques? Or maybe this was more a product of its time period, when it was fashionable to break away from the well-worn Romantic tradition performed by full studio orchestra, and employ more modern-sounding dissonance utilizing smaller ensembles.
Nevertheless, David Amram is his own musical voice and I really do not think he was directly influenced by Alex North. Actually, the liner notes on the back of the LP indicate that Amram was influenced by Thelonius Monk. I also think that Amram's themes are more cleary stated. North's themes and melodies have an "unfinished" quality to them ; they have long unpredictable contours, they sometimes stop at unexpected places, and are typically seasoned with secondary themes or motifs. This lends a yearning dream-like quality to North's music which I do not think is an element in Amram's compositions.

Amram received his eduction from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. So I rather think the academic climate in which his generation of musicians learned their material helped foster the modern instrumental approach found in films scores from the late 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and even into the early 1970s. I'm certain that just about everbody here at these FSM threads is aware of what happened when a certain person (whose initials are JW) wrote his symphonic score for a sci-fi/fantasy film blockbuster released in 1977...

 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Hello pp312:

I have owned "The Young Savages" LP for about 20 years. The music you are referring to is actually track 2 on side 2, and, I seem to recall, this is the music which accompanies the main title credit sequence during the film.

Howdy, ToneRow. I have a downloaded music file which of course has no sides. Anyway, it's "Switchblades on Parade".

For the rest, I appreciate the points you make, especially about the comparable musical education and background for the two men. I'm still not entirely convinced that this explains the astonishing similarity I hear, at least in that one track, but of course unless someone has some inside knowledge of a further connection I guess the discussion can't go much further. If anyone else has or hears this album and is as struck by the similarity as I was, however, don't be afraid to chime in.

 Posted:   Jan 2, 2010 - 6:49 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Sorry that I do not have insider knowledge, pp312. I am only a consumer of music, not an industry professional. I agree with you to a point about that 1 track; one can listen to Amram's tympani in Switchblades on Parade and conjur up recollections of North's Spartacus, for instance. However, I would not use this minute-and-a-half track to sum up the entire score or describe Amram's overall style.
A little more discussion on this album, I think, is due:

First, FYI, the track titles and their timings were provided on the back of this Columbia LP:

Side 1: (19:57 total time)
Harold's Way 1:50
Las Muchachas Delicadas 5:32
True Blue 5:30
Harold's Way Out 6:50

Side 2 (21:51 total time)
Theme from "The Young Savages" 2:21
Switchblades on Parade 1:39
The Last Taco 1:27
Theme from "The Young Savages" 3:06
Funeral March and Requiem 2:38
Help! 1:43
Subway Sounds 2:00
Later with the Elevator 1:58
Rooftops 4:19

Since Amram especially recorded jazz pieces for Side 1 based upon material he wrote for this film, I think that this album is actually an entire re-record, and not the actual session tapes used for the film. However, I could be wrong about this. Perhaps Amram wrote all of this material prior to the film editing, and director Frankenheimer selected only those cues which fit the film. But in all likelihood, I think Amram pulled a "Mancini" and made a seperate recording session just for the Columbia soundtrack LP. Can any one out there confirm this one way or another?

 Posted:   Jan 15, 2014 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

A pity the right channel of track 8 is balanced at such low volume, making it sound lopsided and ruining the stereo effect.

 Posted:   Jan 16, 2014 - 7:19 PM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

Can we have Splendor sometime in the future?

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