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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Lust for Life
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 11:37 PM   
 By:   Josh Mitchell   (Member)

I'm listening to this again right now with headphones, and the sound quality is amazing. It's hard to believe it was recorded in 1956. This release introduced me to what is now one of my favorite Rózsa scores, and my appreciation of it still grows with every listen. What a knockout.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

It's quite good, but Fox Studio orchestra recordings sound better than MGM scoring stage. At least that is what I believe I hear according to those know. Ben-Hur is not terrible but I don't think it is good either. They just didn't know better.

My favourite Rozsa is Providence now, but before that, Tribute To A Bad Man ... oh Ponderosa.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 1:42 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

..... At least that is what I believe I hear according to those know.....


I'm sorry to have to take issue with your comments, but.....

Who exactly ARE "those who know"? Any names you care to bandy about so we can get
a handle on your claim?

John Williams spoke of his preference of recording on MGM's stage. Is he one who knew?

Alfred Newman recorded on MGM's stage as well as Fox's and Universal's and Paramount's and United Artists. Did he ever speak specifically to this?

Rozsa recorded at Denham, Paramount, United Artists, Universal, and MGM, among others.....did he ever comment on how poorly he felt his MGM scores were recorded as compared to the others?

The legend I've always heard was that the old Goldwyn recording stage on the United Artists lot was the best in town. Where does this fit into your Fox and MGM theory?

The reality is that all the stages were acceptable to excellent and the engineers acceptable to excellent---but they were all different and unique---just as the makeup of the orchestras, the conductors, and the composers and orchestrators were.

Every day on this board we hear that Jerry Goldsmith was "the best".

.....John Barry was "the best".

.....Ennio Morricone is "the best".

.....Alex North was "the best".

.....John Williams is "the best".

.....Alfred Newman was "the best".

Why is it that people can't understand or accept that there are no absolutes and there is no qualitative "best" in real life?

"The Best" is simply "What You Prefer".



 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 2:35 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)



Every day on this board we hear that Jerry Goldsmith was "the best".

.....John Barry was "the best".

.....Ennio Morricone is "the best".

.....Alex North was "the best".

.....John Williams is "the best".

.....Alfred Newman was "the best".

Why is it that people can't understand or accept that there are no absolutes and there is no qualitative "best" in real life?

"The Best" is simply "What You Prefer".



Except of course--as some of us already know--that Miklos Rozsa was the best. smile

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 2:39 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

One question at a time please.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I found this CD for five bucks. I will have to spin it soon.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 6:39 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Has Edward Nassour returned to regale us once again with his endless aria da capo about scoring stages and studio orchestras? Since Ed had experience with audio engineering, he deserved to be taken seriously. But he really did linger on his one-note serenade.

To Manderley's point, Ken Darby (in Holywood Holy Land) claimed that Newman found the M-G-M facilities disappointing when he arrived for HTWWW in 1962. He supposedly introduced something that Darby called the "Newman pole" (for microphone placement) that resulted in a huge improvement. That statement always puzzled me, for I recall the HTWWW sound (at least on the LP) as somewhat muffled.

As for LUST FOR LIFE, I agree, the sound is extraordinarily bright and vivid -- more impressive to my ear than the later BEN-HUR or KING OF KINGS. It's almost as if they goosed the audio to suggest the razor-sharp intensity of van Gogh's psyche.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 6:46 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)


You took the words out of my mouth.
Newman certainly did not like the MGM sound.
However, do NOT use the lp of How the West Was Won to judge how a score sounds.
Do use the LP of anything, especialy MGM records. which loved to schmear all kinds of strange reverb onto their orchestral scores.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

I miss Ed's talk.

We all agree Tribute To A Bad Man and Lust For Life sound wonderful. Also Raintree County has a good sound too, that's probably after stuff was fixed.

Miklos Rozsa had the thickest style I ever did hear. Not mistaking that style where ever it was employed.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 7:59 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Agree of course that HTWWW sounds better on CD than LP. To my ears, at least, it still lacks the vivid immediacy of LUST FOR LIFE, recorded years earlier, near the dawn of movie stereo. Nor does anything I've heard from Fox sound that brilliant. Perhaps it's just that Metro did a better job of preserving its materials.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Of the FSM output, by far my favorite recordings for "sound" quality, not to mention orchestral performance under the batons of Alfred Newman, et.al, were from the Fox vaults.

That said, I'm certainly fond of those MGM recordings.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 9:44 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....To Manderley's point, Ken Darby (in Holywood Holy Land) claimed that Newman found the M-G-M facilities disappointing when he arrived for HTWWW in 1962. He supposedly introduced something that Darby called the "Newman pole" (for microphone placement) that resulted in a huge improvement.....


For the record, Alfred Newman "arrived" at MGM in 1935, where he recorded BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 and BORN TO DANCE in multi-track stereo.

It's my contention that he got a rudimentary education in multi-track stereo from the much-maligned Douglas Shearer, who was winning Oscar technical awards for himself and his MGM department engineers in the area of sound engineering advancements and development during that period.

Newman also "arrived" at MGM in 1940, where he recorded BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 in multi-track stereo.


The Fox recordings are wonderful, there's no doubt.

Preservation is everything. It's my feeling that, from what we have remaining, the MGM stereo masters from the '50s are better preserved than the Fox, and the Fox stereo masters from the '40s are better preserved than the MGM.

The earliest Fox stereo masters that we can document by their survival are from the 1941 HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY.

I have never seen any literature indicating that anyone other than MGM (and Universal, which recorded the singular ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL in multi-track stereo, and Disney, which recorded FANTASIA, in "FantaSound" stereo), was recording in this manner in the thirties---and the MGM stereo masters, which are extensive, go back to at least 1933.


I would also note that Ed Nassour had many wonderful stories and much information which was valuable, but he was also a senior executive at 20th Century-Fox for many years, and thus, totally unbiased. smile

There was always an ongoing and healthy competition between MGM and Fox, going back to the 1927-1930 period when William Fox's Fox Film Corporation, under his CEO, Winfield Sheehan, attempted to merge with Loew's Incorporated (MGM's holding company). Fox was wiped out in the crash, the merger attempts ended, Fox went into bankruptcy, and eventually his corporation was merged with Zanuck's 20th Century pictures to form 20th Century-Fox in 1935.

There's always this bickering over who had "the best" sound recording department in those days, Fox or MGM, and I'd suggest that it probably was neither. The most experienced was likely Bell Laboratories, who were doing the experimental work and test recordings and coming up with the inventions that made the studio sound departments possible. smile


 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2013 - 12:15 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

One thing MGM engineers stuffed up was the clipping on Ben-Hur, there are probably others. Shouldn't have happened in 1959. There are probably examples with Fox too, but usually early recordings when bandwidth was very limited.

 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2013 - 12:15 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

One thing MGM engineers stuffed up was the clipping on Ben-Hur, there are probably others. Shouldn't have happened in 1959. There are probably examples with Fox too, but usually early recordings when bandwidth was very limited.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2013 - 5:14 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

One thing MGM engineers stuffed up was the clipping on Ben-Hur, there are probably others. Shouldn't have happened in 1959. There are probably examples with Fox too, but usually early recordings when bandwidth was very limited.



In making your comments about BEN-HUR, I assume you've heard, firsthand, some of the
unvarnished original mag film full-coat recording session masters played back in one of MGM's dubbing theatres on the lot, as well as first-generation full-coat mag masters of the other studios product played through their own systems as comparisons, and that you are also taking into account the required "Academy Curve" sound specifications for all industry soundtracks and applying that information and limitation equally to your analysis of the various studios' sound departments of the day . Correct?

You've obviously been very lucky. You must have been a sound supervisor or engineer back then.

I'm afraid I only had the opportunity to hear original-recorded material played back during a few recording or dubbing sessions at Disney, Todd-AO, MGM, and Fox infrequently in the 50s-60s-70s period. It sounded perfectly fine to me then. I liked it! smile Of course the material I heard was recorded quite contemporarily at that time, and on mag recording stock which was then brand-new, which makes a difference when comparing it to what you hear from the same original elements 50+ years later.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2013 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Has Edward Nassour returned to regale us once again with his endless aria da capo about scoring stages and studio orchestras? Since Ed had experience with audio engineering, he deserved to be taken seriously. But he really did linger on his one-note serenade.


Personally I had no problem with Ed's posts. I defended him at the time, asking him several times not to leave, and still defend him. His knowledge was extensive and in depth. Yes, he may have been biased, but you take that into account and move on. I thought a lot of bullying went on with Ed that shouldn't be seen outside the schoolyard, and not there either.

I'd still rather hear about scoring stages and studio orchestras than yet another "Best score to any 1986 film that you hated"--type thread.

 
 Posted:   Sep 25, 2013 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Re: It's quite good, but Fox Studio orchestra recordings sound better than MGM scoring stage. At least that is what I believe I hear according to those know. Ben-Hur is not terrible but I don't think it is good either. They just didn't know better. My favourite Rozsa is Providence now, but before that, Tribute To A Bad Man ... oh Ponderosa.

Regarding Miklós Rózsa, I saw "Providence" many years ago when it was first released and bought the soundtrack, but only downloaded about 12 minutes of it to my iTunes, which I just played, reinforcing my belief that it is probably my least favorite Rózsa score, although I want to pull out the CD and see if I missed anything.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 25, 2013 - 7:57 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

Love the film, the score - and the MGM sound.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2013 - 5:06 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

I'm not really an audiophile, but I was listening to Rózsa's VALLEY OF THE KINGS (FSM again) very loud and through headphones this morning. Recorded on the MGM stage two years prior to the great LUST FOR LIFE. And it sounded just as terrific to me as does LUST FOR LIFE.

VALLEY OF THE KINGS is I suppose a relatively minor effort from the composer, but I simply love it. Wonderful stuff. I think part of what attracts me to the music of Miklós Rózsa is that it's SO direct that every second seems to count. And he was always the same! I'm exaggerating there, but it rarely takes me more than two seconds to recognise a Rózsa score. Hearing VALLEY OF THE KINGS for the first time was like a reuinion with an old friend. You know him, but you don't know everything about him, and so there's a new little detail added each time to what is still unmistakably your old buddy.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2013 - 10:52 AM   
 By:   cinemel1   (Member)

Thank-you to those posters who mention classic scores that I have not listened to in many years.
I took FSM's Lust for Life and the re-recording by Rozsa and the Frankenland Orch. out to give them
a spin. These are golden Rozsa. They sound full bodied and clear, a well-deserved encore.

 
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