INVENTING LA: THE CHANDLERS AND THEIR TIMES – Earl Rose


Original Review by Alan Rogers

For over four generations, the Chandler family held a lot of influence over the city of Los Angeles though their ownership of the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Peter Jones’ Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times follows each of the Chandlers’ time in power until the loss of that power as a result of family jealousy and greed. The music for this History Channel-like documentary comes from Emmy Award winning composer Earl Rose. Rose has been composing scores for documentary films for a number of years and has here composed an interesting score that, as a listening experience, is most memorable for several track highlights rather than for the score as a whole.

Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times is typical of a lot of music that is composed for documentary films: the majority of the cues tend to establish a specific ambience rather than generate specific emotions. These musical environments are created through the use of differing tempos and different groups of instrumental. The score appears to be a mix of live and sampled instruments, with the main instrument solos being performed by live strings and a variety of woodwinds. Most memorable for me is the use of ostinato figures with harp (“No Single Family”, “Harrison Gray Otis” and “Conservative Wing”) and piano (“Brains, Brawn and Grit” and “Sense of Mission”) that inject a sense of pace to the score. The use of the strings in these and other tracks add an interesting counterpoint to these ostinato templates and the close miking of the solo instruments adds a dynamic element to the music that is very appealing. 

At the risk of contradicting myself, there are a couple of instances where cues do have an obvious emotional pull to them: “A Bridge” features a lovely but sad string melody and this sadness surfaces again later in “All So Wealthy”. The score overall is not one that I would describe as “a happy score”. It is not a sad score either. It is an enjoyable score and that comes from the way in which the composer uses the various parts of orchestra in ways that are interesting to the ear. Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times is available as a digital download from the usual outlets and can be purchased as a CD from some online retailers.

Audio samples can be found HERE and then click on arrow next to running time for samples of entire album or individual tracks.

Rating: **½

  1. No Single Family (1:02)
  2. The Pioneer (2:07)
  3. Brains, Brawn and Grit (1:35)
  4. Suppressed Ambition (1:46)
  5. They Win (1:20)
  6. Harrison Gray Otis (1:22)
  7. Most History Represents (1:21)
  8. War Against Unions / Leading Capital Forward (3:39)
  9. As Ruthless (1:35)
  10. Fastest Migration (1:24)
  11. Sense of Mission (1:27)
  12. Poverty In Civilization (1:34)
  13. In Essence (1:54)
  14. Not Every Baby (2:18)
  15. In The Case of Otis (1:53)
  16. For Membership (1:05)
  17. Left Intact (1:37)
  18. Though At The Height (1:06)
  19. A Bridge (1:43)
  20. Bam! (1:47)
  21. Conservative Wing (1:17)
  22. But His Father (0:59)
  23. The Family Pariah (2:24)
  24. The Chagrin of Otis / Bothering Me (0:57)
  25. All So Wealthy (2:42)
  26. The Medium Itself (2:04)
  27. End Credits (2:29)

Running Time: 46:41

Amadeus Music Company (2009)

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