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 Posted:   Mar 2, 2018 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

People who know me are familiar with my love for the music of Alfred Newman, he's only behind Bernard and Miklos as my favorite film composer, and in my top eight composers, PERIOD.

My favorite score by Alfred happens to be Greatest Story Ever Told; I am as obsessed with that score as I am by any other; I even have the book about Alfred's screwing over by the director of GSET "Hollywood Holyland"!

Needless to say, Alfred's religious scores in general are very close to my heart, and I find it fascinating that an agnostic composer could compose so deeply, so gorgeously for Christian flicks. I mean it's true, maestro Newman wrote quite a bit of gorgeous and exciting music for secular movies, but I always sensed a spirituality to the religious epics. It's like he brought his writing personality and own, metaphysical thoughts to the scores. Same with Rozsa, now that I think about it.

In any case, happy day for me! I have seen two Grails for me come into my possession in the past year (Rhino King of Kings and now SOB....HA!). This one I chased for so long...I just wanted to share how satisfying it is, as both collector and lover of music, to finally get this cd without selling my first born children.

I posted this also because I would love to hear who's acquired some grails and want to talk about it and heck, I'm more than happy to discuss SOB (I'm such a kid, I always laugh when I write that), Alfred (all day if need be), und so weiter.

Hope everyone at FSM is rockin' their weekend!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2018 - 2:16 PM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

Cheers to ya WA as well :-)
I hope the ongoing Goldsmith excavation is going well?
As a child of the 80's (technically 70's, but barely), its hard to not be defensive to ridicule since it was such a junk era that gave nothing of worth to the arts....so, that said, I just have to share my one piece of junk art that comes to mind for grailiscisnous.

Pino Donaggio's BODY DOUBLE on Intrada.

I still weep a little that I can take this of the shelf and play it anytime. As a 10 or so old, I snuck around to watch this film & am still bowled over by the score. The fact much of the film is JUST score, little dialogue is what did it I think. Im surprised it wasn't even more widely embraced because of that by scoreoholics in general. This one has a but of everything, and was one of a few I taped off the tv. Got so sick of the sound efx, bad quality & bits of dialogue (Can you come to Belini's, I think we have a problem. Lol), I'm still over the moon I can hear a real recording now.
If only Brian May's THE ROAD WARRIOR happens before I die!!


Eventually I did
sneak away from the junk, momentarily, and came round to Golden Newman, Steiner and that lot....my age bracket & upbringing, I don't have as warm a feeling for all golden age films, but enjoy many of them, regardless and love the greater majority of those scores. I just wish I had been around from the ground floor is all! Bernadette is a great one, film & score, completely agree there. My entry to Newman was, oddly, Prisoner Of Zenda, thanks to FSM in fact. The Robe & The Egyptian were the ones that clinched it, thanks to all the attention those titles have seen. 'Holyland', the Darby book is on my Amazon wish list, does that count for cool?! ;-)


Cheers,
Sean

 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2018 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Cheers to ya WA as well :-)
I hope the ongoing Goldsmith excavation is going well?
As a child of the 80's (technically 70's, but barely), its hard to not be defensive to ridicule since it was such a junk era that gave nothing of worth to the arts....so, that said, I just have to share my one piece of junk art that comes to mind for grailiscisnous.

Pino Donaggio's BODY DOUBLE on Intrada.

I still weep a little that I can take this of the shelf and play it anytime. As a 10 or so old, I snuck around to watch this film & am still bowled over by the score. The fact much of the film is JUST score, little dialogue is what did it I think. Im surprised it wasn't even more widely embraced because of that by scoreoholics in general. This one has a but of everything, and was one of a few I taped off the tv. Got so sick of the sound efx, bad quality & bits of dialogue (Can you come to Belini's, I think we have a problem. Lol), I'm still over the moon I can hear a real recording now.
If only Brian May's THE ROAD WARRIOR happens before I die!!


Eventually I did
sneak away from the junk, momentarily, and came round to Golden Newman, Steiner and that lot....my age bracket & upbringing, I don't have as warm a feeling for all golden age films, but enjoy many of them, regardless and love the greater majority of those scores. I just wish I had been around from the ground floor is all! Bernadette is a great one, film & score, completely agree there. My entry to Newman was, oddly, Prisoner Of Zenda, thanks to FSM in fact. The Robe & The Egyptian were the ones that clinched it, thanks to all the attention those titles have seen. 'Holyland', the Darby book is on my Amazon wish list, does that count for cool?! ;-)


Cheers,
Sean


You're getting me psyched to check out Donaggio; he's a composer I still have to explore. I mean, I love Carrie, Body Double...shoot I love ALL the DePalma stuff from the 70s and early 80s.

And I also will try to imagine myself during the time of those movie and Golden and Silver composers. Imagine going to work with Alfred, Bernard, Franz, and Miklos!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2018 - 5:41 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I'm ever so sure that Wagner Almighty has all of Kritzerland's amazing Alfred Newman CDs, especially the redo of Demetrius and the Gladiators and How Green Was My Valley, but all the others as well.

 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2018 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I'm ever so sure that Wagner Almighty has all of Kritzerland's amazing Alfred Newman CDs, especially the redo of Demetrius and the Gladiators and How Green Was My Valley, but all the others as well.

I WISH!

I have How Green Was My Valley and several other Kritzerland release, but Demetrius and a bunch of other CDs (including two by awesome Alfred) I need to grab. Especially before they run out, so hopefully soon.

I still can't get over David and Bathsheba, I can't imagine there existing a better version. That's the one that got me into that amazing score. Same with Beneath the 12 Mile Reef, How Green...

 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2018 - 3:25 PM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

So, WagnerAlmighty, I'd suggest you add The Razor's Edge to your collection - if you haven't already. One of his greatest spiritual scores no doubt.

 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2018 - 5:30 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Of the Newman scores that go back some, David And Bathsheba is the one I visit most. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it has a life blood of its own - the story tends to unfold just listening to ALL the music chronologically. Yeah, Kritzerland definitely knocked this one out of the ballpark. Having seen the film fairly recently, the commentary on what constitutes an adult relationship, whether you see it embroiled in sin or not, sort of resonates in the field today. But then, I suspect King David was let off the hook rather lightly - the music counts as one big sympathy vote.

I'll have to watch SOB, and listen to the music all over again because it has been a while.

 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2018 - 6:14 PM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Of the Newman scores that go back some, David And Bathsheba is the one I visit most. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it has a life blood of its own - the story tends to unfold just listening to ALL the music chronologically. Yeah, Kritzerland definitely knocked this one out of the ballpark. Having seen the film fairly recently, the commentary on what constitutes an adult relationship, whether you see it embroiled in sin or not, sort of resonates in the field today. But then, I suspect King David was let off the hook rather lightly - the music counts as one big sympathy vote.

I'll have to watch SOB, and listen to the music all over again because it has been a while.


The Kritzerland David and Bathsheba is one of the crown jewels of their selection. In fact, I'm kind of weirded out that I haven't yet scooped up both the Newman and Goldsmith stuff from them. That will be remedied.

As far as Razor's Edge oh yeah! That, Counterfeit Traitor, Prince of Foxes, Leave Her to Heaven.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2018 - 11:01 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

And of course you'll be sure your Kritzerland Newman collection includes two of my own holy grails, THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY and O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (this last paired with THE LUCK OF THE IRISH by frequent Newman colleague Cyril J. Mockridge).

 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2018 - 2:16 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

And of course you'll be sure your Kritzerland Newman collection includes two of my own holy grails, THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY and O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (this last paired with THE LUCK OF THE IRISH by frequent Newman colleague Cyril J. Mockridge).

One of the best things about being an Alfred fanatic is how there are so many scores to listen to! The man was like a music machine...even if reluctantly (at least from the composing end).

I wonder what his music would have sounded like if he DID like composing wink

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 12:36 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

I presume you saw the post, complete with link, about today's CBS Sunday Morning broadcast about the Newman clan. Here's another link to it on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd_xrT1HAHc

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 4:20 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)



Needless to say, Alfred's religious scores in general are very close to my heart, and I find it fascinating that an agnostic composer could compose so deeply, so gorgeously for Christian flicks. I mean it's true, maestro Newman wrote quite a bit of gorgeous and exciting music for secular movies, but I always sensed a spirituality to the religious epics. It's like he brought his writing personality and own, metaphysical thoughts to the scores. Same with Rozsa, now that I think about it.



That is an interesting point which has often crossed my mind. Not so much agnostic composers writing so wonderfully for "Christian flicks", but agnostic - or atheist - listeners responding to the music "in the intended way". Maybe it's the universal humanity or spirituality behind it all which seems to touch a nerve across all spectrums, except perhaps in the case of those who have put up mental barriers.

WA, regarding SONG OF BERNADETTE (I don't like writing SOB - although KOK is worse), didn't you say that you originally got the Tsunami bootleg? We're not supposed to mention these things here, but I think it's okay in this context. New collectors often don't know what's legit and what isn't. Anyway, you now have the Varese? Is that right? I don't think the sound is that great on the Varese either, but it's not a problem for me at all. The music shines, it really does... illuminate. I don't even mind the endless repetition of the "vision" music. Instead of thinking, "Oh no, not that again" I was going, "Yay, that theme again".

I won't go into my "Grails" list. I never think of the things I'd like to have in that way. And besides, "the things I'd like to have" range from orchestral to jazz to electronic, so it would become unweildy here. In that case I'll just throw in a few thoughts about some of the epic and/ or "religious-sounding scores" from the Golden Age. SONG OF BERNADETTE is sublime. I'm also completely overwhelmed by Newman's THE ROBE, and by the Newman/Herrmann THE EGYPTIAN. I can get through all of these in one sitting without once looking at my watch.

Curiously - and I can't explain why this is - the one I have most trouble with is Waxman's THE SILVER CHALICE. I know that the film looks more like THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR T than anything else, but even bearing in mind the weird film it accompanies, I just can't get into it. And not knowing "why" kind of bothers me. All the ingredients are there, but it hasn't connected yet, and I've given it half a dozen goes.

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 5:56 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)



Needless to say, Alfred's religious scores in general are very close to my heart, and I find it fascinating that an agnostic composer could compose so deeply, so gorgeously for Christian flicks. I mean it's true, maestro Newman wrote quite a bit of gorgeous and exciting music for secular movies, but I always sensed a spirituality to the religious epics. It's like he brought his writing personality and own, metaphysical thoughts to the scores. Same with Rozsa, now that I think about it.



That is an interesting point which has often crossed my mind. Not so much agnostic composers writing so wonderfully for "Christian flicks", but agnostic - or atheist - listeners responding to the music "in the intended way". Maybe it's the universal humanity or spirituality behind it all which seems to touch a nerve across all spectrums, except perhaps in the case of those who have put up mental barriers.

WA, regarding SONG OF BERNADETTE (I don't like writing SOB - although KOK is worse), didn't you say that you originally got the Tsunami bootleg? We're not supposed to mention these things here, but I think it's okay in this context. New collectors often don't know what's legit and what isn't. Anyway, you now have the Varese? Is that right? I don't think the sound is that great on the Varese either, but it's not a problem for me at all. The music shines, it really does... illuminate. I don't even mind the endless repetition of the "vision" music. Instead of thinking, "Oh no, not that again" I was going, "Yay, that theme again".

I won't go into my "Grails" list. I never think of the things I'd like to have in that way. And besides, "the things I'd like to have" range from orchestral to jazz to electronic, so it would become unweildy here. In that case I'll just throw in a few thoughts about some of the epic and/ or "religious-sounding scores" from the Golden Age. SONG OF BERNADETTE is sublime. I'm also completely overwhelmed by Newman's THE ROBE, and by the Newman/Herrmann THE EGYPTIAN. I can get through all of these in one sitting without once looking at my watch.

Curiously - and I can't explain why this is - the one I have most trouble with is Waxman's THE SILVER CHALICE. I know that the film looks more like THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR T than anything else, but even bearing in mind the weird film it accompanies, I just can't get into it. And not knowing "why" kind of bothers me. All the ingredients are there, but it hasn't connected yet, and I've given it half a dozen goes.


I liked Silver Chalice better the first time I heard it, it doesn't hold up well for me...almost entirely due to the sound.

I had the Song of Bernadette on Tsunami...I'm not sure if you've owned it but the sound is HORRIBLE! I mean, abysmally bad. I took Yavar's advice and picked up the Varese (he told me there's a definite sound difference to the positive...it's still a very old recording). I must say, even the YouTube clips of the (presumably Varese, same cover art) blow away the Tsunami.

I also had the Tsunami Keys of the Kingdom, which was even worse. It says something that, though Alfred is a top three film composer in my heart, I sold both of the Tsunamis and doubt I'll ever miss them. I so love the KotK score that I heard in the movie...and barely heard on the Tsunami. Maybe Stromberg will come through.

I agree with you concerning the religious scores striking a chord in people regardless of belief system. I'm only nominally religious and yet I feel those scores very deeply.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 6:09 AM   
 By:   lacoq   (Member)

You don't have to wait for Mr. Stromberg, KoK coming later this year via Tadlow.

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 6:43 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

This is complicated.

Emotion and passion are important, but as Buddhists like to point out, the passions ultimately are bypassed to hit true 'spiritual' realms. Music can be as much a Pied Piper and seducer as a conduit. We never should forget that music (even Bach) is an emotion manipulation tool, and never so much as in Hollywood. Georgi Ligeti is as spiritual as Beethoven.

So I don't buy into the idea that one must be 'religious' to write religious music. Miklos Rozsa didn't have to be alcoholic to write 'Lost Weekend' nor schizoid to write 'Spellbound'.

What these composers have a gift for is uniting opposites. They give us sensual, visceral, even sexual music that is still conventionally 'spiritual'. People find that very therapeutic, somehow healing the different parts of themselves. But it ain't the 'still, small voice'.

'Silver Chalice' failed because Waxman was self-consciously trying to be 'exalted' and neo-classical. When Rozsa did this stuff he did period research and also had his natural Magyar gift of archaic folk-style to ground it. Newman also went 'exalted' neo-classical in bits of the Robe (Palm Sunday harks back to Renaissance rather than antiquity), but stayed emotionally romantic and modern.

Music is 2D insofar as it has a timeline. Post-Einstein we need an 'exploding' multi-D musical form which hasn't yet been created.

WA ... try Mayuzumi's score for Houston's 'Bible'.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 7:21 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

You don't have to wait for Mr. Stromberg, KoK coming later this year via Tadlow.

Wagner was writing about Keys of the Kingdom (KotK), not King of Kings, the Tadlow recording of which she is well aware of.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)



So I don't buy into the idea that one must be 'religious' to write religious music. Miklos Rozsa didn't have to be alcoholic to write 'Lost Weekend' nor schizoid to write 'Spellbound'.

'Silver Chalice' failed because Waxman was self-consciously trying to be 'exalted' and neo-classical.


Interesting points throughout your post, William, but I've highlighted the above two in particular. It's of course true that you don't have to be religious to write (or to respond to) "religious-sounding" music. In addition to your examples, nobody has to be a vampire to respond to Dracula music. And in horror films too, we often have the SPECIFICALLY Christian/ Catholic "power of the cross" on display - the literal imagery, and the triumphant church bells wrap-up. Just like the Hallelujahs in any number of biblical epics, those are rooted in something very concrete, and they still work on my emotions "as they should", and I'm an atheist. Almost impossible not to bring religion into things here, but I don't think it's a controversial point.

Your second comment about THE SILVER CHALICE caught me off-guard, because I've never heard anyone say that it "failed". Plaudits are in abundance everywhere about how brilliant this score is, so I thought I was in the minority - in fact I'm sure I am - in not "getting" it. But who's to say if it "fails" for me because of the reasons you give. To me it simply sounds odd. I tried to connect to it first by listening to it in the context of the knowledge I have of the film. That didn't work. So I tried to imagine that I had tuned in to a radio station and had no idea what was playing, only to be told at the end that it was the little-known ballet written for the Budapest Dance Theatre by Bela Lugosi-Laszlolajos in 1938.... and it still didn't grab me. And yet it "works" and is held in very high esteem by loads of brainy music people.

WA - I did mention this before I think, but I'll do it again. I may even be using the same words as before and have "forgotten". I can't tell anyone what to do with their money, but I personally will never buy another Tsunami release. I did years ago out of ignorance, but I THINK that they don't pay their dues, apart from usually sounding shit. Another label you should avoid is Membran. I got loads of them maybe about ten years ago at a record fayre here. Three euros each. Great! Only once I got home did I realise that they were exact copies of the FSM releases. I emailed LK about it and he said they were scumbags and that it was very frustrating, but that there was nothing he could do about it. All that work and effort (and money) put into those releases by FSM only to have it pirated by someone in a "legal loophole", and FSM doesn't get a cent out of it.

So there ya go. Religion and bootlegs in the same post. Hope I'm still around to be able to make further posts about any old bollox!

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Graham is dead on about Tsunami and Membran, WA. The latter will have decent sound often...but only because they completely stole the master from FSM after they spent the money to restore the music!

Also, though I'm a big fan of Waxman...add me to the club that doesn't yet "get" The Silver Chalice. It's not bad or anything, but it hasn't clicked with me like many of his other scores have. I should try again one of these days.

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 9:25 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)




Your second comment about THE SILVER CHALICE caught me off-guard, because I've never heard anyone say that it "failed". Plaudits are in abundance everywhere about how brilliant this score is, so I thought I was in the minority - in fact I'm sure I am - in not "getting" it. But who's to say if it "fails" for me because of the reasons you give. To me it simply sounds odd. I tried to connect to it first by listening to it in the context of the knowledge I have of the film. That didn't work. So I tried to imagine that I had tuned in to a radio station and had no idea what was playing, only to be told at the end that it was the little-known ballet written for the Budapest Dance Theatre by Bela Lugosi-Laszlolajos in 1938.... and it still didn't grab me. And yet it "works" and is held in very high esteem by loads of brainy music people.

WA - I did mention this before I think, but I'll do it again. I may even be using the same words as before and have "forgotten". I can't tell anyone what to do with their money, but I personally will never buy another Tsunami release. I did years ago out of ignorance, but I THINK that they don't pay their dues, apart from usually sounding shit. Another label you should avoid is Membran. I got loads of them maybe about ten years ago at a record fayre here. Three euros each. Great! Only once I got home did I realise that they were exact copies of the FSM releases. I emailed LK about it and he said they were scumbags and that it was very frustrating, but that there was nothing he could do about it. All that work and effort (and money) put into those releases by FSM only to have it pirated by someone in a "legal loophole", and FSM doesn't get a cent out of it.

So there ya go. Religion and bootlegs in the same post. Hope I'm still around to be able to make further posts about any old bollox!


You are preaching to the (unfortunately) educated when it comes to Tsunami, Graham. I was very depressed when spinning their "releases" of Alfred's music. It was truly awful, and I'm a super crazy about those scores. I'll never buy from Tsunami again, ever.

I like Silver Chalice, but nowhere near the Alfred scores. I'd like it better if it was re-recorded.

I should mention, on the expanded release there are pieces that definitely sound concert-worthy. It's just a horrible shame about the long hallway sound...it's as though the engineer had a large amount of pre-delay added to the mix bus. To me it sounds like the orchestra's playing two streets over.

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2018 - 9:26 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

All that said, Franz Waxman was pretty darn terrific imo.

 
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