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:   Nov 13, 2017 - 5:08 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I've fallen very much in love with the music of Alfred Newman, but so far it's mostly been confined to the wonderful Robe (Varese) and Greatest Story (Ryko). I've been also very much enjoying his work with Bernard on The Egyptian (LLL).

Although he's written wonderful things for woodwinds (look no further than Greatest Story) and brass, there's a certain sound to his string writing that seems hard to replicate. So much emotion, and all so definitively ALFRED NEWMAN (if that makes any sense). He had such unique expression to his style, which makes me a bit more hesitant on the Stromberg rerecordings (though I'd love reccomendations from all fronts, please!).

Please name your favorite pieces and recordings, any help in this area will be massively appreciated smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 5:32 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

I definitely love Newman's music, though I find his music is best served in their original recordings. The first Newman score I ever heard was The Diary of Anne Frank, which is heartbreakingly beautiful. The only CD of this score that's out currently is the Real Gone CD of the original soundtrack album, though LLL is planning to do an expanded album at some point so you might want to hold off on Anne Frank for now.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 5:40 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I definitely love Newman's music, though I find his music is best served in their original recordings. The first Newman score I ever heard was The Diary of Anne Frank, which is heartbreakingly beautiful. The only CD of this score that's out currently is the Real Gone CD of the original soundtrack album, though LLL is planning to do an expanded album at some point so you might want to hold off on Anne Frank for now.

Thanks so much for the heads up! I really am especially interested in great string pieces from AN. I think Song of Bernadette might be next, I have my eyes on the Tsunami 2 disc.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 7:46 AM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)

Please name your favorite pieces and recordings, any help in this area will be massively appreciated smile

You are asking for it. smile

My favorite Alfred Newman is David and Bathsheba. Initially on Intrada, this title is currently in print in its Kritzerland edition.

Another recommendation is The Snake Pit, which, on Varese Sarabande, has been paired with the 1957 Three Faces of Eve by Robert Emmett Dolan.

Speaking for myself, I like Alfred Newman's work as a conductor more so than as a composer ... so my preferences are for the vintage studio session recordings over digital recordings of AN's music.
Newman's conducting of 2 scores by Alex North in 1952 [Les Miserables & Pony Soldier] are superb renditions of these North compositions.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

WA, don't touch anything from the Tsunami label! They're bootlegs, and very often in horrendous sound! Another label to avoid is Membran, which just copies legal discs and repacks them, selling them cheaply. They've done a LOT of Newman (and Rózsa), sometimes from the Film Score Monthly releases. Of course, FSM and the other legit labels don't get a cent out of it. Lesson over! I'll now think about how much I like Alf Newman...

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Alfred is a bit hit and miss for me, but some of his work I really like (and I generally prefer him over Steiner, at least). THE SONG OF BERNADETTE is my favourite, followed by THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD and HOW THE WEST WAS WON. So no particularly original choices.

Also have a fondness for THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, THE MARK OF ZORRO, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE, THE EGYPTIAN, among others.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN I never cared for at all.

In terms of soundtracks, I almost always prefer rerecordings. Old crackly sound is not my idea of a good listening experience, no matter how much they've tried to clean it up. But I grant you there is something unique about the original recording of BERNADETTE, for example -- with its stirring, no-hold-bars glissando strings that can't easily be replicated today.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 7:57 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

WA, don't touch anything from the Tsunami label! They're bootlegs, and very often in horrendous sound!

Oh no, my s.o. just bought the Tsunami. This sucks. Over twenty dollars US. Wow.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 8:17 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Right then, how much do I like Alfred Newman??? To be truthful, he's one of those composers who is very hit or miss for me. I find quite a lot of his output to be fairly routine and undistinguished. But of course, his output was enormous so there's loads of room for plenty of gems too.

I'm more fond of Newman's original recordings, where he's conducting, than re-recordings, which can be very difficult to get right. I've got one Newman re-recording, "A Tribute to Alfred Newman" with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. The selections are fine, my favourite being the opening 13-minute suite from WUTHERING HEIGHTS. It's a beautiful score, but the famous "Newman string sound" is notoriously difficult to recreate without sounding too saccharine. Some of Newman's most beautiful works almost teeter on the edge of being overly sugary, but he always seemed to keep it just this side of the danger limit. In re-recordings that sound often becomes dangerous to diabetics, and the Kaufman album is a case in point.

The trouble with the original recordings is that the best ones are very often from films which are up to eighty years old, so the archival sound is sometimes a problem. Not always - I've heard some fine-sounding scores from very old films. I'm fond of Newman's swashbuckling PRINCE OF FOXES, which was one of the first FSMs (I think), but my favourite Newman "sound" is for his religious-themed movies.

You mentioned (WA) THE SONG OF BERNADETTE. There's a 2-CD set from Varese, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Some tracks show their age, but it doesn't bother me at all. It's simply wonderful music, although some have said that it gets very repetitive. In my case, instead of thinking, "Oh not that theme again!" I actually go, "Great! There's that theme again!"

One of my favourite soundtracks of all time is one you know well. I can listen to the 2-CD set of THE ROBE without a break, and without once getting bored. It's absolutely compelling. The 8-minute track "The Crucifixion" is so powerful it's both heartbreaking and almost frightening at the same time. I have the score pinned in my profile as one of my faves.

After reading the recent thread which waxed lyrical about the joys THE EGYPTIAN, I went ahead and ordered it despite already having the FSM. I rarely double-dip, but I think this exception is jutified. Newman and Herrmann at the height of their powers.

Oh yes, and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Sublime.

I'm now thinking about all the great Newman scores which I DON'T have. I ought to remedy the DAVID AND BATHSHEBA situation. And it's great to know that THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK is getting an (improved) release.

I'm off to listen to some great Alf Newman now. That AIRPORT theme is one of the most thrilling Main Titles I've ever heard. Caught it on TV at an impressionable age and was hooked. And to think that that pulsating theme came from a corny old Hollywood composer (feeble joke).

Since I started this thread, I have changed from being somewhat lukewarm towards Newman to being a total nut for his stuff.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

WA, don't touch anything from the Tsunami label! They're bootlegs, and very often in horrendous sound!

Oh no, my s.o. just bought the Tsunami. This sucks. Over twenty dollars US. Wow.


I tried to get the warning in early! Can't you cancel it?

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 8:24 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Right then, how much do I like Alfred Newman??? To be truthful, he's one of those composers who is very hit or miss for me. I find quite a lot of his output to be fairly routine and undistinguished. But of course, his output was enormous so there's loads of room for plenty of gems too.

I'm more fond of Newman's original recordings, where he's conducting, than re-recordings, which can be very difficult to get right. I've got one Newman re-recording, "A Tribute to Alfred Newman" with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. The selections are fine, my favourite being the opening 13-minute suite from WUTHERING HEIGHTS. It's a beautiful score, but the famous "Newman string sound" is notoriously difficult to recreate without sounding too saccharine. Some of Newman's most beautiful works almost teeter on the edge of being overly sugary, but he always seemed to keep it just this side of the danger limit. In re-recordings that sound often becomes dangerous to diabetics, and the Kaufman album is a case in point.

The trouble with the original recordings is that the best ones are very often from films which are up to eighty years old, so the archival sound is sometimes a problem. Not always - I've heard some fine-sounding scores from very old films. I'm fond of Newman's swashbuckling PRINCE OF FOXES, which was one of the first FSMs (I think), but my favourite Newman "sound" is for his religious-themed movies.

You mentioned (WA) THE SONG OF BERNADETTE. There's a 2-CD set from Varese, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Some tracks show their age, but it doesn't bother me at all. It's simply wonderful music, although some have said that it gets very repetitive. In my case, instead of thinking, "Oh not that theme again!" I actually go, "Great! There's that theme again!"

One of my favourite soundtracks of all time is one you know well. I can listen to the 2-CD set of THE ROBE without a break, and without once getting bored. It's absolutely compelling. The 8-minute track "The Crucifixion" is so powerful it's both heartbreaking and almost frightening at the same time. I have the score pinned in my profile as one of my faves.

After reading the recent thread which waxed lyrical about the joys THE EGYPTIAN, I went ahead and ordered it despite already having the FSM. I rarely double-dip, but I think this exception is jutified. Newman and Herrmann at the height of their powers.

Oh yes, and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Sublime.

I'm now thinking about all the great Newman scores which I DON'T have. I ought to remedy the DAVID AND BATHSHEBA situation. And it's great to know that THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK is getting an (improved) release.

I'm off to listen to some great Alf Newman now. That AIRPORT theme is one of the most thrilling Main Titles I've ever heard. Caught it on TV at an impressionable age and was hooked. And to think that that pulsating theme came from a corny old Hollywood composer (feeble joke).

Since I started this thread, I have changed from being somewhat lukewarm towards Newman to being a total nut for his stuff.


Well I'm still getting over getting stuck with the Tsunami Song... frown

But great post! I agree completely about Alfred's strings...there was a member here who mentioned that trying to replicate "that sound" can be near impossible because Newman had a long time system established amongst the players, the halls, etc. The string sound he had was basically intrinsic to Alfred being alive, in other words.

The Kritzerland David and Bathsheba is SO good, I highly recommend that CD to you. It really gets you in the second half, fantastic soundtrack. I've only had a week and given it four listens already, it's that good.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 8:31 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I'm off to listen to some great Alf Newman now. That AIRPORT theme is one of the most thrilling Main Titles I've ever heard. Caught it on TV at an impressionable age and was hooked. And to think that that pulsating theme came from a corny old Hollywood composer (feeble joke).

I've always found that score ridiculously out-of-date. It's very much at odds with the 70s feel of the movie, like a remnant from a distant age. But in and of itself, the score is fine.

I also forgot about THE ROBE. A fairly recent discovery of mine, but gorgeous indeed.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 8:38 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Thor, regarding the AIRPORT mention, I was particularly referring to the Main Titles alone. I think they're as great as anything Johnny W did for THE TOWERING INFERNO for example. But yes, the rest of the score doesn't do much for me, especially the kind of comical music for the Helen Hayes character. At least I think it was Helen Hayes.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 9:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Well, I just don't think ol' Alfred was up to the modern aestethic at the time; he was just "doing his thing". So did Rozsa in DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID, of course, but as it was a pastiche movie, it worked well.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Well, I just don't think ol' Alfred was up to the modern aestethic at the time; he was just "doing his thing". So did Rozsa in DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID, of course, but as it was a pastiche movie, it worked well.


That makes it sound as though he was incapable of scaling these great heights. He was chameleon. He occasionally tried other sports like 'Nevada Smith' where he channelled Moross's generation. The Airport Title is actually unusual in his output because he is introducing '70s elements.

It's truer to say he didn't WANT to go over a certain boundary, not that he couldn't. Max Steiner said he couldn't understand rock music. Newman had a strong connection to jazz. He could've. He didn't, because he saw more dramatic possibilities in traditional technique. Funk is not hard to write. Even easier today, with all those rhythm synth programs.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I'm off to listen to some great Alf Newman now. That AIRPORT theme is one of the most thrilling Main Titles I've ever heard. Caught it on TV at an impressionable age and was hooked. And to think that that pulsating theme came from a corny old Hollywood composer (feeble joke).

I've always found that score ridiculously out-of-date. It's very much at odds with the 70s feel of the movie, like a remnant from a distant age. But in and of itself, the score is fine.



My reaction was from the opposite point of view. In a year of MASH, FIVE EASY PIECES, JOE, PATTON and WOMEN IN LOVE, Ross Hunter's (king of Hollywood gloss) AIRPORT was the most superficial ever. Even compared to other similar Hollywoody films of it's type it had none of the nuance of Anthony Asquith's THE VIPS or the technical authenticity William Wellman brought to THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. So I was surprised that if there is any suspense and energy in it at all it came from Alfred Newman and the few actors, Van Heflin, George Kennedy and Maureen Stapleton, who were trying to bring some life to this overlit dull TV episode. Many on FSM have said scenes from classics like PSYCHO, THE GODFATHER and JAWS were made so by the music but when removed I always saw masterly filmmaking crackling with potential. AIRPORT on the other hand deadens without Newman's contributions. George Seaton, at the end of a distinguished career, could no longer stage anything that had immediacy or tension. I still say AIRPLANE got more inspiration from this (and it's sequels) than ZERO HOUR or many of the other references used.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 10:58 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yeah, it's not that the music doesn't add anything to the proceedings of that clunker of a movie; it's more that the idiom feels out-of-date.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 11:04 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

N/A. Thought we were talking of How the West Was Won.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Yeah, it's not that the music doesn't add anything to the proceedings of that clunker of a movie; it's more that the idiom feels out-of-date.

And my point was the film itself was just as much or moreso out-of-date than anything Newman did, including that loungey love theme.

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

N/A. Thought we were talking of How the West Was Won.

That's the other thread. This one is more about AN appreciation in general. And hi!

 
 Posted:   Nov 13, 2017 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I'm relieved, WA, you like David And Bathsheba. I haven't really hit the nail with the hammer all that hard, however, when Kritzerland presented their release initially, I mentioned the tambourine had a lot of attention in the score. I'm not at all certain if the tamb had more emphasis in other typical productions, but it's there in buckets and spades in D & B, relatively speaking.

There's also one more thing which I tried to throw in as a point of discussion and that is right at the start of the D & B MT, you've got the orchestral double entrant statement. In the first brass flourish, the tamb more or less is timed to coincide with all else. In the second, there is an interesting delay tactic used in bringing in the second brass statement. The question is, the tamb in that second statement is slightly out of synch because it comes in advance of the brass. Is this a mistake on the part of the tamb, or was it actually intended that way? That quirk gives the orchestra's entry slightly extra flavor as a result, or, so methinks. Originally, I had wondered whether these slightly unorthodox techniques of, perhaps, deliberately mistiming certain orchestral cues might have had some underlying stylistic architectural motivation/consideration?

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2017 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.