Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 8:35 AM   
 By:   Maleficio   (Member)

Doug's comments should really convince anyone on the fence:

http://www.intrada.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6042

By the way, I have already received a handful of emails asking what are the specific differences between the old releases and our new ones. We mentioned the differences inside the booklet but for people who desire immediate info, and hopefully without seeming too harsh towards the previous versions, here are the differences:

1) In one phrase: Ours sound better.

2) In more detail: though all six of the original Ava & Choreo LPs from the sixties were issued in stereo, with literally amazing performances and dynamic recordings of the sessions themselves, the pressings were generally quite noisy. This made the numerous LP reissues and subsequent CD versions feel welcome - until every one of them proved problematic. Yes. Every one.

The LP reissues for To Kill A Mockingbird and Walk On The Wild Side on Varese's spinoff label Citadel were taken from actual vinyl copies themselves since the masters were lost. Heavy noise reduction circuitry was applied and the dynamics became muddy with the entire upper range being lost in favor of reducing the vinyl surface noise. Later, the Movie And TV Themes album came out on CD from the audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, using the "original masters" - but those turned out instead to be dubs of the mono tapes. Over the years, several other labels presented their own CD versions of the albums, including the Japanese SLC label and Mainstream. Some of these versions had unrelated material added to them AND all sadly were still presented from either vinyl copies or lower quality multi-generation tape elements. The Caretakers, for instance, literally sounded like something being played over the telephone with virtually no dynamic range at all. Ditto Walk On The Wild Side. What's even crazier, some of these - including To Kill And Mockingbird and Baby The Rain Must Fall - were actually missing tracks. And some of them were STILL only in mono. It all added up to a messy four decades of listening where only the old original Ava LPs themselves were properly done.

So, in a nut shell, not ONE of the previous reissues either on LP or CD has ever had the complete albums drawn from the actual stereo album session masters. Now fast forward some five decades later and we finally unearth the "stuff dreams are made of" for Bernstein fans.

If you are happy with the lower quality of any of the previous versions, I can only say I hope you enjoy them. But if you have an interest in any or all of these six albums presented from those priceless original recording session masters, I would most humbly suggest you go for one of these new sets. Either way, one must admit this is precious music!
--Doug

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 8:47 AM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

I take it the AVA recording here is different to the original soundtrack album which was present on the previous Intrada release?

No, it's the same presentation - I just compare track-lists carefully wink

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 8:49 AM   
 By:   jwb   (Member)

Doug's comments should really convince anyone on the fence:

http://www.intrada.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6042

By the way, I have already received a handful of emails asking what are the specific differences between the old releases and our new ones. We mentioned the differences inside the booklet but for people who desire immediate info, and hopefully without seeming too harsh towards the previous versions, here are the differences:

1) In one phrase: Ours sound better.

2) In more detail: though all six of the original Ava & Choreo LPs from the sixties were issued in stereo, with literally amazing performances and dynamic recordings of the sessions themselves, the pressings were generally quite noisy. This made the numerous LP reissues and subsequent CD versions feel welcome - until every one of them proved problematic. Yes. Every one.

The LP reissues for To Kill A Mockingbird and Walk On The Wild Side on Varese's spinoff label Citadel were taken from actual vinyl copies themselves since the masters were lost. Heavy noise reduction circuitry was applied and the dynamics became muddy with the entire upper range being lost in favor of reducing the vinyl surface noise. Later, the Movie And TV Themes album came out on CD from the audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, using the "original masters" - but those turned out instead to be dubs of the mono tapes. Over the years, several other labels presented their own CD versions of the albums, including the Japanese SLC label and Mainstream. Some of these versions had unrelated material added to them AND all sadly were still presented from either vinyl copies or lower quality multi-generation tape elements. The Caretakers, for instance, literally sounded like something being played over the telephone with virtually no dynamic range at all. Ditto Walk On The Wild Side. What's even crazier, some of these - including To Kill And Mockingbird and Baby The Rain Must Fall - were actually missing tracks. And some of them were STILL only in mono. It all added up to a messy four decades of listening where only the old original Ava LPs themselves were properly done.

So, in a nut shell, not ONE of the previous reissues either on LP or CD has ever had the complete albums drawn from the actual stereo album session masters. Now fast forward some five decades later and we finally unearth the "stuff dreams are made of" for Bernstein fans.

If you are happy with the lower quality of any of the previous versions, I can only say I hope you enjoy them. But if you have an interest in any or all of these six albums presented from those priceless original recording session masters, I would most humbly suggest you go for one of these new sets. Either way, one must admit this is precious music!
--Doug


Well, of course he is going to say his are better.

I'd like to know how To Kill A Mockingbird compares to the newer Varese re-recording.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:01 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)


Well, of course he is going to say his are better.

I'd like to know how To Kill A Mockingbird compares to the newer Varese re-recording.


None are so blind as those who will not see!

Or listen to the samples provided.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   finder4545   (Member)

I agree with RM Eastman in thinking that the legitimate reason should be the special sound, according to Intrada's announcement. I can assure that these LP albums, at the time of the Hi-Fi home system, from the late sixties on, were a real test for reproduction units. No subsequent reissue on CD retained the balance and the crystal clarity of the sound, and I returned to play regularly my LPs to capture the right feeling of this Bernstein's world. Obviously I expect the promise will be kept and the sound will be the same given by those wonderful sound engineers of the time. My copy ordered.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Not something I would normally be interested in. But I have to admit the sample cues are quite catchy. I'll put it on my wish list.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)


Well, of course he is going to say his are better.

I'd like to know how To Kill A Mockingbird compares to the newer Varese re-recording.



Do you mean in terms of faithfulness to the original or do you mean in recording sonics.

I would be very surprised if the sound quality of the Ava release bettered the sound quality of the Varese. But the Ava is a closer-to-the-original interpretation.

Hey, folks, it's not my job (or anyone else's) to talk anybody in to buying this release. You need to check it out for yourself.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:33 AM   
 By:   jwb   (Member)


Well, of course he is going to say his are better.

I'd like to know how To Kill A Mockingbird compares to the newer Varese re-recording.



Do you mean in terms of faithfulness to the original or do you mean in recording sonics.

I would be very surprised if the sound quality of the Ava release bettered the sound quality of the Varese. But the Ava is a closer-to-the-original interpretation.

Hey, folks, it's not my job (or anyone else's) to talk anybody in to buying this release. You need to check it out for yourself.


Well both had Elmer at the helm. The Ava only has the "benefit" of having some of the same players on the original.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:35 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

What is the definite version of To Kill A Mockingbird? It looks like this new Intrada release is more incomplete compared to other releases.

If by definitive you mean "among all available re-recordings, the one most like the original soundtrack performance of the score as heard in the film," then the Ava recording (featured in this new Intrada release) wins hands-down. Probably the best combo of "most like film score" and "most complete" would pair the Ava and FMC recordings. The Varese re-recording is a more passionate, larger orchestra rendition of the music which abandons the smaller, more delicate and childlike performance that was heard in the film and reflected in the Ava and (to a lesser extent) the FMC release.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Well both had Elmer at the helm. The Ava only has the "benefit" of having some of the same players on the original.

Both the original soundtrack recording of "Psycho" and the 1975 Unicorn rerecording had Bernard Herrmann at the helm, and yet those performances are worlds apart. So I'm not sure what your point is.

JWB, you are cynical, and that's fine. What do I care?

I will say that I own three recordings of "Mockingbird," and the only one I listen to is the Film Music Collection recording. The Mainstream CD has unlistenable sound and is missing the climactic cue (though that cue has returned in the Intrada, along with the promise of much better sound), while the Varese loses the intimacy so crucial to that score. I will buy this new set and see if the Ava recording, heard properly, unseats the FMC one. But the Varese is not for me.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 9:58 AM   
 By:   TheFamousEccles   (Member)

The Ava "To Kill a Mockingbird" is also performed in tempi that are closest to the film, whereas the Varèse is a bit more leisurely in its approach (while not quite as extreme, think of the difference between a Herrmann original and one of his Unicorn Re-Recordings). The Ava is also recorded in more of the usual film-score "close-mic'ed"/sectional sound, as opposed to the (valid but different) concert-hall sound approach taken by the Varèse recording.

So part of it is preference. A score as brilliant as "To Kill a Mockingbird" can (and should) be given to all manner of interpretation... and I think they're all wonderful, but, in terms of something closest to capturing its original performance (in terms of nuance, tempi, clarity of sound, and so on), the Ava is the one that fits that bill best (though the Film Music Collection rendition is a treasured recording here, and is pretty similar to the Ava in many technical regards).

(EDIT: Well, in the time it took me to type this, SchiffyM, as he so often does, said everything I was going to, but far, far better.)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:17 AM   
 By:   jwb   (Member)


Both the original soundtrack recording of "Psycho" and the 1975 Unicorn rerecording had Bernard Herrmann at the helm, and yet those performances are worlds apart. So I'm not sure what your point is.


Yet, on the other hand the rerecordings of The Day The Earth Stood and North by Northwest both on Varese, are the superior versions, IMHO. So I don't think you can always judge either way.

JWB, you are cynical, and that's fine. What do I care?

Perhaps, but mainly I was saying that it was kinda silly to say because some of the original players were present that made it superior.

I will say that I own three recordings of "Mockingbird," and the only one I listen to is the Film Music Collection recording. The Mainstream CD has unlistenable sound and is missing the climactic cue (though that cue has returned in the Intrada, along with the promise of much better sound), while the Varese loses the intimacy so crucial to that score. I will buy this new set and see if the Ava recording, heard properly, unseats the FMC one. But the Varese is not for me.

This is the kind of stuff I wanted to hear. Personally, I don't own any of these scores and the price is very right that picking up the Intrada is definitely something I will be doing. I've been wanting to pick up To Kill A Mockingbird for a long time now and have been patient waiting for the right one to get.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:17 AM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)

It cost me a whopping $47.99!



Yes but Niall, you live on the beautiful emerald isle! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:20 AM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)


Great release! smile

Back in 1964 these were some of the first Soundtracks LPs I bought. Always liked them!

Thanks Intrada, can't wait to hear them! smile

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:26 AM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Quite a shame this includes so many jazzy Bernstein scores or I might pick it up. I'm not a fan of the sound of Walk on the Wild Side, The Carpetbaggers, or Baby the Rain Must Fall and I already have The Caretakers/The Young Doctors (Varese Club). That leaves it with a steep price for the most accurate re-recording of To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh well.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:44 AM   
 By:   Jason LeBlanc   (Member)

Here's all the great artwork Intrada posted on their site










And their copy


ELMER BERNSTEIN: THE AVA COLLECTION
INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 262

In 1961 a group of individuals spearheaded by Fred Astaire (including Jackie Mills, Thomas Wolf and Elmer Bernstein) formed the AVA record label, and in its brief four years focused primarily on the film music of Elmer Bernstein. The most famous of these were To Kill a Mockingbird and Walk on the Wild Side. Each album was meticulously recorded in superb three-channel stereo using top Hollywood and West Coast symphony musicians, jazz, performers and soloists. In addition to using his original scores with their expert orchestrations by Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes, the composer employed top arrangers like Shorty Rogers and conducted each of the albums himself. All the records were relatively brief, with running times of 24 to 33 minutes.

A variety of reissues have appeared over the years, yet none of these were sourced from the first generation 1/2" three track masters. The first to appear during the LP era were To Kill a Mockingbird and Walk on the Wild Side—both from Citadel Records. These LP releases were, in fact, transferred from vinyl, with generous noise-reduction circuitry dampening the surface noise—along with much of the orchestral nuance and fidelity. The subsequent CDs from the Japanese SLC label followed suit by using the same sub-standard master sources. The audiophile CD label Mobile Fidelity reissued Movie and TV Themes, and while the CD was subtitled an “original master recording,” it was actually presented in mono. The Mainstream label also reissued some of the catalog on CD, sometimes padding the short releases with mostly unrelated material, but still presenting the albums either in mono or from second-generation stereo tapes. Mainstream also deleted some tracks, such as on their truncated To Kill a Mockingbird and Baby the Rain Must Fall releases. In spite of all those decades of reissue activity, not one of these legendary albums has ever been sourced from its original three-channel masters. Until now.

A two-decades-long search by Intrada has yielded every one of those precious rolls of tape (including the source for Intrada's earlier release of the complete Carpetbaggers) —intact and in pristine condition, with every vibrant audio channel present and every cue Bernstein recorded playing back in some of the most stunning audio quality of the sixties. This 3-CD set presents two albums per CD, in a musically balanced order. It is a treat to be able to preserve and present to a whole new generation of listeners this incredible set of recordings made half a century ago.

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 262
Retail Price: $29.99
Available February 21
For track listing and sound samples, please visit
http://store.intrada.com/s.nl/it.A/id.8567/.f





At long last! After some 25 years of searching, Intrada proudly presents legendary Elmer Bernstein recordings made for Ava label between 1962 - 1965, all of them finally presented on CD from original 1/2" three channel and 1/4" two channel stereo album session masters! These six classic albums have seen many reissues on vinyl and CD throughout the last several decades but always in presentations dubbed from vinyl copies, from mono tapes or from truncated second generation tape copies with missing cues. For the first time ever, these near audiophile quality recordings can be heard complete, all in stereo, all directly from true masters finally uncovered at last! Bernstein (with partners Fred Astaire, Jackie Mills) created Ava label in 1962, hired top Hollywood session players plus top West Coast jazz soloists, premiered then current Walk On The Wild Side spotlighting incredible main theme (heard over Saul Bass credits in film) plus lush romantic tunes, vibrant jazz numbers. Next up was dynamite collection of Bernstein Movie And TV Themes, all newly recorded in then-state-of-the-art sound, including rare Saints And Sinners, Take Five, Anna Lucasta, Sudden Fear, Sweet Smell Of Success, "Jubilation" in only stereo performance (heard in mono originally on fifties Decca jazz album Blues And Brass) plus many others. All-time classic To Kill A Mockingbird followed in what is our favorite recording of score, with musicians from 1962 Universal soundtrack sessions gathering at United Recording to perform again with sensitivity, transparency. Note distinct sound of accordion in harmonic passages, detail of harp, subtlety of clarinet, precision of piano, power of trombones in octaves, all heard with clarity unlike any other recording. The Caretakers saw Bernstein writing one his most propulsive main titles, a stunning stereo experience right down to crisp bass trombone! The Carpetbaggers (released earlier as part of Intrada premiere of actual soundtrack) again gives composer opportunity to create blazing main title music. Final Ava project for composer was 1965 score for Baby The Rain Must fall, much-underrated dramatic Robert Mulligan film with Steve McQueen, Lee Remick. Here Bernstein brings in ace arranger Shorty Rogers (who worked with composer on Man With The Golden Arm) to create what album describes as "nuclear" arrangements of Bernstein tunes. All six masters were in pristine condition, right down to tape boxes themselves! In keeping authenticity with what were some of the finest quality recordings of the day, Intrada has preserved that vivid sound quality right down to each pause between tracks! Handsome packaging offers full color reproductions of all original jackets inside booklet plus backcovers with detailed liner notes. Bernstein generally kept each album between a brief 25 - 32 minutes. We present all six on 3 CDs, in musically satisfying order that opens with Walk On The Wild Side, goes through everything and concludes full circle with final track of theme collection, which just happens to be new arrangement of Walk On The Wild Side. Should make Bernstein fans delirious! Elmer Bernstein conducts. Intrada Special Collection 3-CD set available while quantities and interest remain!

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

From Wikipedia:


Äva Records was a short-lived American record label based in Los Angeles, founded in 1961 by Fred Astaire, Jackie Mills (1922–2010), and Tommy Wolf (1925–1979). The original name was Choreo Records; but, in 1962, the name was changed to Äva Records, the namesake of Astaire's daughter, to avoid a conflict with Texas based Choreo Records Co. located in Dallas. At its founding, Astaire was president and Mills was vice-president.

Choreo had purchased the rights to the film soundtrack album to Walk on the Wild Side. The theme song by the same name became Choreo's first singles release and became a #1 record.

In June 1964, Astaire sold his 62% stock interests, and shareholder Hermes Pan also sold his stock interest in the label to Texas realtor Glen Costin (1927–1990), who became the new president. From September 1961 to August 1964, the labels were distributed by MGM Records, MGM's first foray into independent label distribution. Äva folded in March of 1965, with Astaire owning the masters. Jackie Mills had been the president when it folded.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

People seem a little confused here: the Ava To Kill a Mockingbird was not done around the time of the film, it was done concurrent with the film's release. It is, for me, the best recording of the score, and while it is not as complete, the performance has never been topped. That's probably because it used many of the same musicians and was conducted by its composer in a session very close to that of the original film sessions.

To clarify one point in Doug's good notes - the Citadel Mockingbird was not taken from vinyl - it's almost worse and when I tell you you'll be appalled: It was taken from a commercial reel-to-reel tape I had at 3 3/4 speed - this tape had all the Ava stuff on it but was marketed privately through some record club and you would never have known it was soundtrack-related without actually looking at the back of the box. That's why it sounds awful on the Citadel.

These Ava recordings are amazing and since the only one that's a true double-dip is The Carpetbaggers, there should be no hesitation whatsoever in grabbing this. The fact that what is being touted as first generation tapes have been found and used is a bloody miracle - we were ALL going after these, not just Intrada, back in the day. We ALL had meetings with Tammy Shad about this stuff, and we ALL knew that she didn't have a clew and that's why ALL the previous releases of this stuff, save for The Carpetbaggers, were terrible. I'd have to listen to the Varese Caretakers to know if that was from these newly-found tapes, but it doesn't matter - this is an incredible package at a very reasonable price.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Would someone please give that black cat a bone.

 
 Posted:   Feb 18, 2014 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

I'd have to listen to the Varese Caretakers to know if that was from these newly-found tapes, but it doesn't matter - this is an incredible package at a very reasonable price.

Ditto your conclusion! FYI, the Varese CARETAKERS purports to be (and I believe it is) OST from original master tapes, rather than the (very nicely) re-recorded tracks that appeared on the Ava release. Much of what is on the Ava is virtually identical to the Varese OST; Elmer did a bit of minor surgery however to make more impactful renderings of the Main Title and End Title, plus his re-recorded source cues (which I like almost as much as the score cues!) have a bit more zip to them than the OST versions. I was thrilled to get the Varese when it came out, and am just as thrilled to now be having the Ava as well. This "Bernstein on Ava" package is truly a dream come true for us old heads who grew to love film music in general and Elmer Bernstein's music in particular from listening to the Ava recordings -- and who have suffered through the seemingly unending series of terrible sounding CD releases of this material. At last, the Promised Land!

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.