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December 5th, 2006

For Those Of You Who Share My Thing For Film Music…

I’ve been an avid collector of film music since I was a kid.  I love any music that is evocative and beautiful, particularly when it makes use of a full symphonic orchestra.  But it’s not a very well respected genre.  Way back when, I seldom saw recordings from films whose music I liked (Just try finding a copy of David Whitaker’s gorgeous music to Run Wild, Run Free), and when I did it was often not the original soundtrack, but some aftermarket re-recording that seldom did the original music justice (which was, alas, what I got when I finally was able to get my hands on an LP of Run Wild, Run Free).  Most people here in America who’ve seen Legend probably think of the music Toto recorded for the American release, unless they’ve had a chance to see a copy of the European version with it’s lush Jerry Goldsmith music.  And nowadays, the entertainment companies would rather release something with a lot of band tunes on it, whether any of those tunes were actually played during the runtime of the movie or not.  Witness the two competing CDs of music "from" the film Pleasantville, only one of which actually has the beautiful Randy Newman music on it, the other having about a dozen or so hit tunes, only one of which was played during the movie, and that while the closing credits were running.

I stumbled across this place last week, and thought I’d found a secret treasure trove.  They have CDs from dozens of films whose music I’d never seen released anywhere before, including Lalo Schifrin’s music for The Liquidator, which you should listen to if only for Shirley Bassey belting out the title song like she is going to make everyone forget about Goldfinger.

I got two CDs from them in the mail last night, two Michael Legrand scores I’d been dying to find on CD:  Summer of 42, and Ice Station Zebra. What’s wonderful about Ice Station Zebra is that it was pulled from the original masters, unlike the previous CD release which sounds like it was taped off an old LP copy, the cues are in order now, and it contains cues that were missing from the original release.  When I listen to film music, I seldom even think of the film I first heard it played to.  I enjoy it simply as pure music.  It’s so hard to find new music anymore, that is evocative and beautiful for its own sake.  But it often helps to have the music presented on the recording, as it was played to the film, as the story it was following in the film was the structure the composer was writing to.  When the cues are out of order the music just looses its impact somehow.  It’s like listening to a symphony with the movements all jumbled up randomly.

I have a list.  Could the powers that be please release in CD or some other digital form, the original soundtrack music to, Run Wild, Run Free, Maya, The Dark Crystal, Robert Russell Bennett’s amazing full length score to The Twisted Cross, Morton Gould’s music for the TV series World War 1, Vyacheslav Ovchinnokov’s War And Peace, and the music for The Apartment, Nicolas and Alexandra, Born Free, and The Bible?  Please.  Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated…

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