Film Score Blogs by Bill Wrobel
Big news of the day: Scott Peterson was condemned to death by a unanimous vote of the jury. At this moment, three of the jurors, including the fireman foreman, are speaking live commenting on the trial, verdict, and sentence. Considering that the State of California rarely ever actually executes their death row inmates, I suspect Peterson will be waiting for his fateful day of destiny for a decade or two (or more!).
I just finished posting a reply on Talking Herrmann. The topic is “UK TV Programme on BH” started by media musician Howard Goodell advertising his four-part British TV series, “Howard Goodell’s 20th Century Greats” that spotlights Herrmann on the third segment. His website is: http://www.howardgoodall.co.uk/
The Topic is found at: http://zarniwoop.intermedia.uib.no/talking/view.cgi?forum=thGeneral&topic=1848
Poor Mr. Goodell was reacting to the “miserable response” that he perceived in some of the spot reviews he read on Talking Herrmann. I had not been able to watch his last weekend show (since it was a British-based show), but I tried to reassure his hard efforts to champion (educate and entertain the television audience) the music of Bernard Herrmann. Ideally it will soon be available as a dvd that can be compatibly played in the dvd players of America. If it was available now, I would immediately order it so that I can own my own copy. It is not dissimilar to me buying my own reference copy dvd of “A Talk With Hitchcock” (that included clips of an interview with Herrmann) and “Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Adventures of a Wunderkind—A Portrait and Concert” (that also interestingly featured John Morgan discussing Korngold’s music). There is precious little out there in the media discussing Herrmann’s works and historical importance, so I automatically appreciate Goodall’s project (despite not being able to see it as yet). If I had a magic television that could tune into that Channel 4 UK show last Saturday, I would write a review here & now. I am very curious about that show, so I hope I get to see it (or at least hear it) soon. The current impediments will, in time, be cleared away for the likely future probable viewing.
Yesterday (Sunday) I went to Tower Records to see if the recent Naxos/Stromberg/Morgan cd recording of The Adventures of Mark Twain was available (it was—one copy left!). It was in the Naxos bin in front of the “Steiner” card. Oddly enough, adjacent to that row was a rare, unusual find: the 13 year-old copy of the CNR Archive Music Series release of “The Pride & the Passion” (Antheil) and “The Agony & the Ecstasy” (North). I can only assume that this rare, out-of-print cd (CNS 5001) was somehow or misplaced in the inventory and turned up right where it needed to be for me to see it! What particularly “sold” it for me was the red-tag price of only $4.99. Great buy. The Naxos cd was $7.99 retail (still a good buy). Originally the CNR cd was listed on the cd for $19.99, and a later tag reduced it to $6.99. Too bad there wasn’t a copy of the stereo MYSTERIOUS ISLAND cd available (I’d buy an extra copy even at $16.99).
I do not have the final (5th) page of the cue sheet rundown, but I calculate that the first four pages comprise of about 89 minutes of music (this does not include the Overture). Morgan states that there’s over a 100 minutes of music. Imagine: 25 to 30 minutes of music from the film proper were not newly recorded. Steiner was at that period pretty much a wall-to-wall music carpet layer! He was not known for a minimalist approach to scoring! However, he scaled down a bit more in his later career, especially in the mid-Fifties to mid-Sixties, streamlining his instrumentation, lessening his counter-melodies and other musical intricacies. Perhaps he was keeping up with the “Joneses” so to speak (Korngold). John tends to focus on his earlier (more complex) musical structures, whereas I tend to prefer his latter works. If the budget Naxos series succeeds, and John/Stromberg are budgeted to do more Steiner works, I hope they tackle works such as “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima” and “The Hanging Tree.” A suite at least from Steiner’s inventive and imaginative score to “The Decision of Christopher Blake” would be very nice, and also my favorite B crime movie (and score) “Hell On Frisco Bay.” FATIMA should get the full treatment. “The FBI Story” would be great to hear in stereo. I would love to have the full treatment done of THE LION & THE HORSE but I rather doubt it will ever see (or hear!) the light of day since it’s an obscure Steiner title, almost never seen on tv (like BLAKE). If I ever win the Lotto, I’ll commission to have it done (as well as several Herrmann works)!
Ray Faiola (CR Studios) also champions Max Steiner’s music by releasing (thru BYU/Screen Archives) the original tracks of various scores. SUMMER PLACE and BATTLE CRY came out last year (both are highly recommended to buy), and just a few weeks ago FOUNTAINHEAD was released (I haven’t ordered it yet due to budget restraints temporarily because of the holidays, etc). His site is: http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/
He is planning to release PARRISH in the future, and I am very excited about that. I liked that Steiner score better than A SUMMER PLACE, actually, and researched it at W/B Archives over a decade ago (maybe 15 years ago).
Reel 4. (7) Medley consisting of: (a) The Mule (:32), (b) Digging (:05), (c) Mark Twain (:20), (d) Cave-In (:16), (e) Livy (:13), (f) Decision (:30), (g) To Tower (:15), (h) Luck (:04). Medley (8) of Reel 4 consists only of (a) Shot (:38) and Mark Twain (:11). medley (9) or Reel 4 consists of (a) Frogs (1:07), (b) Mark Twain (:19), (c) The Sneak (:03), (d) Luck (:36), (e) Fall (:08), and (f) De Camptown Races (:25). Finally, Medley (10) of Reel 4 consists of “Ostrich Feather Gallop” (J. Strauss, arr, Steiner), and then (b) First Call (:04).
Now: I happened to be cleaning out old files and came across material from the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (Human Engineering Laboratory). Their current website is located at: http://members.aol.com/JOCRF19/index.html
It is a well-established, reputable aptitude-testing service that I actually paid for back in July 17, 1972 when I still lived in Syracuse, New York (I moved to California the following Halloween Eve). I took a train to New York City for the testing. The administrators were a Mr. Forbes and F. Stowell. Forbes wrote various short articles including “In Defense of Low Foresight” (an old copy I found). I also discovered a most interesting article (written by Johnson O’Connor himself) titled “Music Composing.”
To quote the opening paragraph: “Tonal memory, the most significant of the music aptitudes; subjectivity, the personality of the artist, writer, and musician, as contrasted with that of the business man; ideaphoria, creative imagination, used generally in the creative arts; and structural visualization, an unexpected characteristic of the rare individual tested in this direction, seem to be the traits of the music composer…The same pattern, with accounting aptitude for the easier reading of scores, and without structural visualization, seems to distinguish conductors from composers. But even with either of these perfect patterns few persons make a living composing or conducting.”
He then discusses how musicians tend to score bottom in vocabulary. A command of vocabulary corresponds more closely with outstanding success than any other characteristic tested, and executives/presidents of businesses/college professors/editors/lawyers average quite high together. People in supervision who score as low as most musicians in vocabulary usually fail to advance. O’Connor then writes that tonal memory matures early, before age 10, long before the structural visualization of the engineer that matures at age 20, before ideaphoria at age 23, and before the aptitude of inductive reasoning maturing at age 18. He states that musicians start their professional careers ten years before others, probably too early before they’ve had a chance to learn a large English vocabulary.
If the overall subjective (introspective?) personality with high tonal memory and structural visualization also lacks (or is low in) ideaphoria (creative imagination), he can compose but rarely has a steady and rapid flow of ideas required to earn a living. Nevertheless, a person high in tonal memory (a certain niceness of sense perception) cannot neglect music or that trait used in other areas because it will generate restlessness if not used. Collecting records and passively listening to cd’s is not enough. O’Connor states that one must take an active and serious part in music, finding an outlet (singing, studying, writing).
He also states that a person with high tonal memory but low graphoria (accounting aptitude) should not start with the piano for which the music is written on two clefs, but with a carefully chosen single clef instrument, as the violin if timbre discrimination is also low. He states that those who score high on the aptitude of timbre discrimination tend to enjoy instruments rich in overtones (such as the rich clarinet) while those low tend to enjoy the purer tones of the violin. Pitch discrimination is another musical aptitude used (he claims) especially by violinists and singers, but not so much by pianists. He said photographers and machinists tend to score high on this aptitude as well.
In my test results, I scored high (91) on graphoria, high on tonal memory (96), and high average on pitch discrimination (B higher average range, not in the A range). My rhythm memory was low average (bordering C/B). My timbre discrimination was also C range average (not “low” but certainly not “high”). My structural visualization was low, but my abstract visualization was high average. My personality is basically “objective” in the average range. My “Analogies” score was quite high at 98, but my “design reasoning” was low (D). My “analytical reasoning” is low, and even my “ideaphoria,” interestingly enough. My vocabulary at the time of testing was average. My “inductive reasoning, picture” score was low, and also “memory for design.” My “silograms, language learning” aptitude is high average, although I never attempted to develop it except for tempo marking purposes.
Now: I am presently (and “Leisurely” or “Slowly” as my own personal tempo marking for doing the project!) working on the rundown for Herrmann’s score for Hitchcock’s THE WRONG MAN. I am currently on page 28 (finished with the unused cue “Handcuffs”). On the old Herrmann Society database, there is information on the bootleg cd (that I do not own): http://www.uib.no/herrmann/rec/r_wm_57.html
As I wrote in the rundown, the first unused cue titled “The Tank” was meant to be placed in a scene (cut in the final edit of the movie) just before the unused “Handcuffs” cue (meant in the kept scene located in the dvd at the start of Chapter 14). I have heard both cues in a tape I received from a collector many years ago, and I am fairly certain they’re in that bootleg Soundstage cd as part of the three “Unknown piece” cues. I aligned the audio for “Handcuffs” with the start of Chapter 14 and it worked very well with the scene, including the subsections (with the scene changes). Here you see the detainees being led out of what presumably is “The Tank” to be handcuffed and then transported to the prison. For some reason, Hitchcock cut “The Tank” scene (hence the music originally intended by Herrmann to be cut). You will note the somewhat awkward scene cut at the start of Chapter 14. Unfortunately, while the “Handcuffs” scene remained intact, the music was not included. I wonder why? It fits the scene quite well. It’s also unfortunate that the dvd did not offer a special feature to include that “Handcuffs” cue.
Now: Young and talented Johnny Flynn at the end of November created a completely reworked “unofficial” version of my Film Score Rundowns site. He publicly posted about it on the Herrmann site recently, so it’s okay to give his identity. Even Sarah, my new webmaster/maintainer/designer commented how colorful and creative it was. http://www.geocities.com/fsr_flynn/
It came out of left field, so to speak, or unexpected. I thanked him for the free work and praised his excellent, visually striking design. However, I also reaffirmed that I prefer my site to be a bit more simple and modest. The focus should be on “the work” and not bring too much attention to itself (or to me). His version has far more “bells & whistles” that I do not endorse, and it appears more “commercial” or like a “fan site” to me. However, his inventive redesign deserves attention, and I certainly hope people interested in his work will contact him and commission his services for their own site. He is also a promising young composer who did mock music for the Gunslinger (King’s “Dark Tower”). However, I do not have the new site that offers the audio clips for it, and I can’t seem to find it at Google. But here at least is a visual of the synth cd: http://www.stephen-king.de/darktower/johnflynn/musik.html I wish him luck!
All right. As a side note or item, I researched several CBS Library documents at UCLA and found some annotated (inserted handwritten) bits of information that may interest some people. I am not quite certain exactly which boxes from Deed of Gift # 2 the sheets were located, but I believe it was Box 1788, Box 1813, and Box 1805. At any rate, Herrmann was contracted on December 21, 1957 to compose music for “Collector’s Item # 2” (that pilot show starring Peter Lorre and Vincent Price). The annotation was placed on the document “Library IX, Reel 43 (Dramatic Bridges) next to the Herrmann cues # 1286 “The Arrow” (“dark brassy transition to ominous tail”) and # 1288 “The Shadow” (“Soft suspenseful time passage to soft ominous chord”). Herrmann was contracted June 1, 1957 to rerecord his old “Thomas Wolfe” radio score. Herrmann was also contracted on June 21, 1957 to compose his Desert Suite cues for the CBS Library. There was annotated “Contract Aug 5, 1958” for his “Pursuit Theme” cues, written next to Library IX, Reel 58-D-Three (Restricted Thematic Material) cue # 1473. On top of that page was the “Perry Mason Main Title” (“jazzy unison on trumpet melody over repetitious rhythm and blues accompaniment”) that Fred Steiner composed. This was contracted November 2, 1956. So obviously Raymond Burr made the pilot show quite early, long before the September 1957 premiere of the series. Herrmann was contracted Jan 18, 1957 for his Have Gun, Will Travel pilot score, while Rene Garriguenc was contracted July 1957 to compose cues for the series, including “Emotional Pathetique.” L. Moraweck was also contracted in July 1957 to do cues, including #1038 “Buildup # 1 (HGWT).” Herrmann was contracted to do his Western Saga cues on June 6, 1957. This was annotated next to cue # 383 “The Mesa.”
Box 1551 may have CBS VII
Well, I think that’s enough blogging for the day! I needed to make up a bit for the long delay between blogs. I am on vacation most of this week, so I have some extra time to devote to such pursuits. However, I have no plans to do fresh film score research (can’t afford the car rental this holiday period!). I may go back to continue my research on Richard Addinsell’s GODBYE MR. CHIPS composed for MGM. The score is, interestingly enough, held at Cal State Long Beach (an institution not particularly noted for its film score collection!). 29 pages of Kaper’s BATAAN is also there, the 3-stave version of Tiomkin’s SO THIS IS NEW YORK, Schurman’s MAN IN THE SKY, and something by Hugo Friedhofer titled BODY AND SOUL.
Here’s a link from Cal State Long Beach on a paper about four of Jerry Goldsmith’s scores: