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 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:14 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I'd like to hear more Golden Age New York film music. Specifically, I would say that I am looking for that special "GershStein" sound that was somewhat prevalent around the end of WWII. In essence, I am seeking music that swings like Gershwin, and also contains elements of Bernstein dances.

As examples, consider the following:
1 Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
2 A Newman Street Scene (from How To Marry a Millionaire)
3 A Newman New York (from How To Marry a Millionaire)
4 Bernstein On The Town Overture (from On The Town)
5 Bernstein A Day in New York Ballet (from On The Town)

Here are some that do not work in my little project: Belle of NY; Best of Everything; Philadelphia Story; On The Waterfront. I haven't replayed my Scott Bradley Tom & Jerry FSM 2CD, but will check it shortly. I've also checked a bunch of the musicals I have, and generally, they either "march" or "waltz" too much to be considered truly GershSteinian. (Yes, I invented this word today. Golden Agers, composers, and academics are free to use it; others need to pay.)

Any other suggestions?

[edit]Thanks in advance.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:30 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

My mind is now filled with some Rozsa piece with a frenetic feel that might fill your bill. It's... um.... the one right before "Song of the City" on one of those Rozsa re-recordings.

Aaah, there it is: "Pursuit" from BRUTE FORCE. It doesn't quite "swing" (you'll need to define this for us) but it does have some of the elements of this kind of cue.

Plus there's that Max Steiner "concerto-esque" thing called "Symphonie Moderne" from FOUR WIVES. I can't recall it's sound right now, but I seem to remember reading what you are asking for is what Steiner was aiming for.


Okay, that's drained me, Lex. I'm exhausted. smile

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:33 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

I recall some busy piece that "Prairie Home Companion" used to use whenever they'd do some sketch related to "life in the city".

You might try trolling through a production music library to find this and others like it (assuming you're getting paid for this) smile

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:33 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

And you haven't even met me yet, David. It's not just the coiffed looks and boundless energy -- I wear them all down. :-D

There is a bluesy feel to many of the ones I cited also.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:46 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

No pay buzz. Just doing the Golden Age thing over the last few. It's very powerful and emotional music at the same time. It's totally New York too. It's not a sound that's as intense as the old PowerHouse by Raymond Scott.

I was really trying to make a playlist that sounded like a country / city moving forward. Something my (deceased) grandfaher would have liked, and been proud to call his generation's own.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

The finale of Alex North's FOUR GIRLS IN TOWN suite seems to fit your bill, in my mind anyway.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Rozsa: NAKED CITY, EAST SIDE WEST SIDE, BECAUSE OF HIM (suite has some "busy city" music

Herrmann: TAXI DRIVER (some of those saxophone riffs....)

Newman used his STREET SCENE in lots of scores, and it ended up in a lot of other Fox scores, too.

Mockridge: opening to MIRACLE ON 34TH ST. (very "busy city" music)

Kenny G.: "Song Bird" (great orchestral single which always reminded me of rainy NYC streets on a summer night - and I did live in NYC for 15 years....)

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 2:58 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I'd love to hear the Alex North one for sure. It's probably not going to be too easy to get a hold of some of this music, at least for me. Hmmm.

OK, let me see if I can find some of these to at least sample. Thanks fellas. I'll try to be more descript when I post later after I am in.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 3:27 PM   
 By:   Jon Lewis   (Member)

you should reach just over the fence to the classical side and grab yourself Darius Milhaud's La Creation du Monde and Le Boeuf sur le Toit. Both pieces predate Gershwin and must surely have given him direct inspiration.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 4:09 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

I think the mentions of Rozsa and Herrmann here are beside the point. Yes, they (and many other composers) created memorable music for NY scenes. But Lexedo, I think, was simply looking for music in the Gershwinesque style. Leonard Bernstein certainly worked in that idiom. And Franz Waxman in REAR WINDOW. But the other composers worked in a very different fashion.

Famously THE LOST WEEKEND was tracked with Gershwin music in its initial previews. Audiences reacted badly. The style suggested comedy. When Rozsa's doom-laden music was added, the picture suddenly clicked.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   Robert0320   (Member)

The finale from THE NAKED CITY (Rozsa) might work as well as some of the Waxman score from NIGHT AND THE CITY.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 7:18 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

RPhile: Thanks for everything for sure. I think during the period in question, Gershwin is drawn on as an influence. But there is this sound - it's gay, it's happiness - even the blues end well. There's movement, but not necessarily in a cartoonish way (viz., Mickey Mouse). The best example I can think is called "Times Square 1944" by L Bernstein from On The Town -- it sounds like what those pictures look like of everyone coming home, the celebration. I don't think there would have been anything so big to celebrate since.

Anyway, I did some notes after supper. Just so you know, what I am basically doing is like Golden Age "Pandora" - trying to identify music based on other music.

Street Scene (How To Marry A Millionaire): The bluesy minor motif at about 0.10. Even the little bridges back to the main motif at 0.33 and 1.18. The Newman-swing at about 2.33 (just before at 2.28 you hear the "Gershwin" quotes from Rhapsody in Blue w the strings and the flutes). The way Newman layers the brass in the last 2min or so. All very NY-ish for the period. So these types of things are what I meant for this one.

New York (How To Marry A Millionaire): I mean, this is exactly it. This is it. I can't say anything else really. It's Newman. It's Gershwin. It's got city movement (0.02 and 0.05). The Gershwin-sounding piano with the double-bass at 0.12. The rolling piano-lines behind the singers.

New York New York It's A Helluva Town (On The Town DVD): The big fellow sings his morning song, the 6AM whistle blows. And then the exciting Bernstein music comes in until the boys start to sing - I called this the Overture, and I referred to this as Bernstein dance music. The same right after Frank sings, and then the boys do the NY NY chorus - about 2min from the whistle blow. It's all Bernstein, and very incredible. The bridge before Munshin comes back in with his verse is the same.

A Day In New York Ballet: (On The Town DVD): The clarinet and the calling sax & trumpet before Gene Kelly speaks ("...comedy in 3 acts"). When it comes-in hard - after the 6-count, this is what I am referring to as Bernstein dance music. It feels like this is where Bernstein's Mambo would have come from in West Side Story. The xylophone and clarinet about 4.20 after GK speaks. I hope all this makes sense. This is the real deal in a big way. My God, this must be the most beautiful New York music ever honestly. I believe this dance sequence is called "Times Square - 1944" -- no wonder...

On The Town Cast Recording (1961): Lenny conducts, but it's not young Lenny. I wanted young Lenny where possible. You can tell he's matured the music in the 10 or so years since the movie. I like the movie music better, but Lenny would like this one better. I will say that the 3 dance episodes here are stellar, and are included in the scope of what I am thinking about. Too bad it's got Silver Age fidelity. :-D

Copland Quiet City: This is 1986 on Deutsche Grammophon, and Lenny conducts. This is a bit newer, but has some of the qualities in the trumpet and sax lines - it's a timbre thing bc they have this "distant" sound. The strings provide colours that I associate with New York, but it's too new to be honest.

Gerhardt Waxman Philadelphia Story - This is butter, but it's PA. I'll have to really think about it. [edit]I guess it's good to stay since Rhapsody in Blue is really NY to Boston. Waxman does his best Gershwin, which is heard right after the lion roar. I remember there being a scene in the movie where the clarinet and piano where doing nice exchanges, but I don't have this DVD.

After the intro on the Main Titles / Overture to Previn's It's Always Fair Weather - this has some of what I am looking at too. He's doing alot of march music in this movie bc of its topic, and marches are definitely not NY.

I am definitely not looking for Tom & J running across the room, but you gents know that. Thanks for helping me with this.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Yes, I've viewed Rear Window many times, and I very much enjoy Waxman's music. It may not be used in too many spots, but the main titles for sure, and one other spot, perhaps panning through the courtyard. I thought I read a post on the Forum that this music is not available.

[edit]I need to revisit Herrmann's Ragtime music from Kane as well. I think it's on the other non-film Phase 4 record too, and I have that one. And I need to review Naked City and Night and the City. Nice. Thanks.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 8:30 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I think the mentions of Rozsa and Herrmann here are beside the point. Yes, they (and many other composers) created memorable music for NY scenes. But Lexedo, I think, was simply looking for music in the Gershwinesque style. Leonard Bernstein certainly worked in that idiom. And Franz Waxman in REAR WINDOW.

Give me all the NYC examples you can think of from that time bc I'm basically a blank slate before '75. Night & the City seems very interesting. I definitely want to hear Miklos Rozsa in NYC.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 9:34 PM   
 By:   Hadrian   (Member)

How about Richard Rodgers' Slaughter on 10th Avenue? Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen danced to it in the 1948 movie "Words and Music".

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 9:36 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Give me all the NYC examples you can think of from that time bc I'm basically a blank slate before '75. Night & the City seems very interesting. I definitely want to hear Miklos Rozsa in NYC.

Rozsa's stuff for NYC is very good, but I agree with Rozsaphile: it's a different thing, the urban jungle, crime, tense, but still always a bit Hungarian.

You could try Waxman's 'Crime in the Streets' which is pure pseudo-jazz. Does 'Slaughter on 10th Avenue' count, I wonder?

P.S. Oops ... sorry, Hadrian beat me to it!

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2012 - 9:56 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

 Posted:   Aug 11, 2012 - 8:56 AM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

OK, I thought about what you fellas were saying, and you were right -- I've limited myself, and I am only operating in my personal comfort-zone. So you will need to point me in the direction of a respectable text on film music theory that is designed for the intermediate level. This will help me alot because I don't maintain the level of musical understanding that most of you maintain, especially related to both classical and film music.

Think like this: about the most complex film music I can deal with are things like: I'll Cry Tomorrow; Pelham123; French Connection; Crime in the Streets. That's about the apex of what I can handle technically. I would be very comfortable with Taxi Driver top-to-bottom, and I understand Herrmann's Ragtime approach. Pelham123 took me a few months to get through, and a couple of new books. Crime in the Streets has much more going on than the average ear would pickup - I could never employ those types of compositional techniques in an innovative way. (I believe he uses fugatos here w/r/t the main theme - defintely above my pay-grade.) But I can sight-read very well, I know my theory very well, and I play just about anything, so I ain't scared. :-D

Recently I posted about Rozsa's The Killers and Double Indemnity. Neither is very simple to me. So it takes a little longer to technically digest those. Compound it with the fact that most of those scores are not readily available, and that the movies are not even easy to see, and well, that's the deal gents. Tbh, I would prefer having access to the composer's sketchbooks than having CD releases. The hard ones for me are: Raksin; Rozsa; Korngold; Waxman; North "non-jazz;" Rosenman "non-jazz;" Shire "non-jazz;" Steiner (sometimes); A Newman (sometimes); J Williams (sometimes); Herrmann (sometimes); etc. In my warped little world, basically what I do when analyzing film music is this: I observe the film sequence I am interested in; then I figure out the pitches / chords / colours coupled with any rhythmic approaches the composer used; then I attempt to identify the instruments that are being used; and then I try to understand the linkage to what I've viewed on the screen, and I try to establish this linkage from an emotional or psychological perspective based on the subject of the composer's music.

Thanks for your collective patience and info. It's always exploration for me, so launch all of those suggestions please. Besides, how can I grow if I am not making mistakes, reaching out of my comfort-zone, and asking silly questions anyway? Those recently posted stills of Newman conducting the MGM SO for How To Marry A Millionaire are priceless - that's what started this whole thing in my head.

 Posted:   Aug 11, 2012 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

Sorry if I'm "slightly out of the tune" but Mark Shaiman did a wonderful job on DOWN WITH LOVE for example with that theme starting on 1'03. The scenes on that clip are from the famous comedies starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson and DOWN WITH LOVE was kind of tribute to that series... assuming you could cast Ewan McGregor en lieu et place de Rock Hudson...

 Posted:   Aug 13, 2012 - 7:49 AM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I guess what the fellas were saying to me (in a very nice way BTW), was that the highlighted music from HTMAM in the OP, while historic and grand, is really just pretty simple stuff, which it is. Of course it is expertly arranged, orchestrated, & executed bc it's Alfred Newman & the MGM SO! The choppy changes would probably make it fun to play through bc of all the surprises. I still enjoy it. And even as the music is not in the spirit of Herrmann's or Korngold's or Rozsa's or Raksin's film music, it evokes very vivid imagery from the period in question, and works well in the movies where the pieces were used. You guys all smile when you see (and hear) HTMAM, and not just for MM!

I've created this sort of confusion before with Victor Young. I expect that the accepted legacy of Jazz and Gershwin applies to film music. And yet, sometimes this is not so w/r/t generally accepted film music compositional techniques and approaches.

I watched 42nd Street with Dick Powell, and Swing Time with Fred & Ginger on TCM. They're in my system bc of my mother. :-D

Maybe another titles to add to the NY WWII list is The Hucksters with Clarke Gable. I believe the music is by Lennie Hayton. I've only seen it once many years ago, but I had it in one of my lists.

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