Ten Tracks Today – A Film Score Monthly Special #1 – 12th September 2011

After reading an article posted by Lukas Kendall at FSM (The End of FSM: Countdown to 250 CDs) where he details his decision to halt the FSM CD label, I have gathered together all my favourite cues from my FSM releases into one playlist (amounting to almost 19.5 hours of music) and I plan to play a selection of tracks over the next few months as a thanks to Lukas and his team for their great efforts over the years. It will also serve as a reminder to me – in these days where lovers of film music can be inundated by new music – just how much excellent music there is not just today (which is debatable) but also in years/decades past.

01 – The Hanging – 100 RiflesJerry Goldsmith

FSM has given us some great early Goldsmith to enjoy. I love the building suspense of this track with the martial rhythm of the snare drum (that keeps on relentlessly right until the end of the track) and the percussion along with the brass. The latter half is payback: great Goldsmithian brass.

02 – The Search Party – ProphecyLeonard Rosenman

I think that anyone releasing a Leonard Rosenman score is taking a commercial risk: his style is definitely not to everyone’s taste. But every film music collection should contain at least one title of his. Not particularly melodic, it’s very effective at conveying a sense of panic.

03 – Jeremy’s Theme – Superman IV: The Quest For PeaceAlexander Courage

A nice lighthearted track after the Rosenman. This fourth instalment of the Superman films could arguably be part of FSM’s greatest achievement: the release of the Superman boxed set. This cue is a bit too sugary sweet for 100% enjoyment.

04 – Main Title – 7 WomenElmer Bernstein

Could almost be The Magnificent Seven until the actual theme begins. This is a film I would never have seen – I still haven’t – but I’ve been able to enjoy this score. It’s not one one of my favourite Bernstein, but I love the title track. I am a sucker for Oriental-flavoured scores and the latter half of the cue is a nice finish to the hectic start to the cue.

05 – Main Title – Beneath The Planet of The ApesLeonard Rosenman

Has a similar feel to Goldsmith’s original Planet of the Apes. It does not have the same attractiveness that Goldsmith can achieve even with non-melodic material, but this has a rawness that is almost a flip-side to the original.

06 – Prelude and Main Title (alternate) – Superman: The MovieJohn Williams

What can I say that’s not been said about this score already? Except to reiterate the Superman box set as being a landmark release in film music. I had previously bought the Rhino 2-CD release of this first score (I had managed to hold off any purchases previously), but I still “double-dipped” this score for all the rest of the goodies.

07 – So Long Partner (Finale) – Ride The High CountryGeorge Bassman

This is a fine example of a score I would never have come across had it not been for Film Score Monthly. I do admit that the score itself is one that I do not revisit often, but Bassman’s main theme is one of my favourite Western themes.

08 – Touché, Pussy Cat! – Tom and JerryScott Bradley

If you are reading this, did you read the details in a French accent? If you did then this release must have been received with a huge smile. This release, particularly the Tom and Jerry material, contains a lot of music that I am intimately familiar with. Bradley’s music is a part of my childhood and the briefest motif brings a smile of recognition – as well as an appropriate image to mind. I always state that I do not like when a composer “mickey-mouses” their music and I should hate this as this is full of music mimicking the on-screen action. But I love it, pure and simple.

09 – End Title – The Taking of Pelham One-Two-ThreeDavid Shire

One of greatest themes ever to have been composed for film. The ending of the film and the commencement of this final cue is a brilliantly humorous way to bring the film to a close. Shire’s rhythmic theme is so catchy but it’s also quite educational as it features “12-tone serialism”. The number of times I have sat with this theme trying to glean some sort of understanding of how the theory translates to the music – but failed! But, it all boils down to the fact that it is a great theme.

10 – The Killing – Torn CurtainBernard Herrmann

Part of another excellent boxed set from FSM. I had not come across any of the albums that were put together to make up the “Elmer Bernstein’s Filmmusic Collection” so this set was a great discovery for me. Bernstein’s re-recording of Herrmann’s music is my preferred version rather than the Varese re-recording.

Ten tracks only scratches the surface of what I could have had. And it shows the quality of FSM’s releases over the years that there are dozens of tracks I wish could have been played. Maybe next time!


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