Ten Tracks Today – A 1950s Special – 23rd August 2011


At the risk of being of interest to even fewer people who usually read this blog, I’ve been listening to ten tracks from scores from between 1950 and 1959:

01 – “Money Trouble / The Schwabadero” – Sunset Blvd.Franz Waxman

Waxman wrote such a good main theme for this score as it can easily be transformed to suggest a slight madness. I’d had the Varese re-recording for years but I found that Waxman’s score “came alive” when I heard the recent original score release from Counterpoint Records.

02 – “Susan (The Sage)” – Sweet Smell of SuccessChico Hamilton

I have this rather laid back track as being composed by Hamilton but don’t know enough to say whether this is one from this composer or from Elmer Bernstein. It doesn’t really matter as it’s a great little composition: jazzy but with a classical twist to it.

03 – “The Beginning” – AnastasiaAlfred Newman

It’s almost operatic in nature, not with it’s grandness but because of the emotions oozing out from the strings as they play the melody. Wonderfully understated in the playing and very listenable.

04 – The Twilight Zone: And When The Sky Was OpenedLeonard Rosenman

A 40-second “track” from this score that still manages to convey Rosenman’s style. Not a brash cue this, rather it’s almost cue for an establishing shot. The fantasy undertones make me wonder what Rosenman would have done with an episode of Star Trek at this time in his career.

05 – “Main Title” – The Big CountryJerome Moross

What can I say that hasn’t been said already about this iconic western theme? Once the main melody begins you’re already on your horse heading out into the distance – with Monument Valley beckoning. Perhaps not as famous as Elmer Bernstein’s theme from The Magnificent Seven but it’s just as effective at suggesting the wide open plains of the West.

06 – “The Surrender” – John Paul JonesMax Steiner

I am not a big fan of Steiner usually but there’s something about this score that appeals. Particularly when the high seas action scoring kicks in. Apparently this is a re-recording and it sounds great.

07 – “Satellite Found” – Attack of The 50-Foot WomanRonald Stein

Part of an ongoing effort to release Stein’s little-known scores as digital downloads, this suspense track (full of trilling strings and tolling percussion) is a nice little atmosphere builder for (perhaps) some ropey effects or acting?

08 – “The Mugger” – M SquadBenny Carter

I have no memory of this TV show from the 1950s (from any latter repeats obviously). The cue is somehow familiar though and may have become a staple jazz tune in later life. It’s a great little number for jazz ensemble.

09 – “Exit Music” – Around The World In 80 DaysVictor Young

Some good arrangements of the main theme for this score makes this a good listen. In fact, a nice summary as a whole as it recaps on several of the musical ideas from the score.

10 – “Stalking The Creature” – The Creature Walks Among UsHenry Mancini

Taken from what I presume is a CD full of re-recordings of “Horror Movies”, it’s a nice example of the more melodic music composed for these B-movies (some of these scores can be a bit too brash for me).

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