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 Posted:   Sep 18, 2020 - 7:13 AM   
 By:   cinemel1255   (Member)

Book report due within a Zoom or two! smile

That’s the one thing I hated about school, writing book reports!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 12:57 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

"In Tucson, 12-year-old Ray Bradbury had a similar epiphany. 'It was Steiner’s King Kong score, when I was on the exhilarating/excruciating rim of puberty in 1933, that made me realize there was a vast, puzzling and unknown art-form out there in the world inside the silver screen that was capable of summoning up images, within the instant of hearing, a week, a month, or a year later…It was a beginning for me and thousands like me, an invitation to listen as well as look.'”

Ummm...this book was written for me. cool

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2020 - 2:29 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

"'Listen to the incidental scoring behind the recitatives,' Steiner told an interviewer. 'If Wagner had lived in our times, he would have been our top film composer.' (Wolfgang Wagner shared that opinion: 'If my grandfather were alive today, he would undoubtedly be working in Hollywood,' he said in the 1970s.)"

This early passage brought to mind a post of 20+ years ago wherein its author mused how George Gershwin composed film music "before they called it that." And how do you like that, it turns out Steiner collaborated and became great friends with Gershwin in the Broadway years. Almost fell out of my chair upon reading that Steiner conducted short-lived "Blue Monday" a/k/a "135th Street" for George White's Scandals. That number was recreated in the Gershwin pseudo-biopic Rhapsody In Blue. But Steiner did not appear as himself; Paul Whiteman played himself as conductor.

Hey Preston N Jones, wherever you are, did you know all that?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2020 - 5:17 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"These RKO boxes do go for semi-reasonable prices if you keep feelers out:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Max-Steiner-The-RKO-Years-1929-1936-CD-Limited-Edition-Rare-Excellent-Condition/363079307919?hash=item548936928f:g:x58AAOSwJ5VfOzb7"

As soon as I read in Henry's post about the extravagant Amazon asking price I thought, after I finish this thread I'm going to look for the RKO box on Ebay. Every time I see a ridiculously expensive Amazon price tag I hop over to Ebay where invariably I find the identical item for a much less expensive price -- sometimes, downright cheap!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2020 - 5:26 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"In Tucson, 12-year-old Ray Bradbury had a similar epiphany. 'It was Steiner’s King Kong score, when I was on the exhilarating/excruciating rim of puberty in 1933, that made me realize there was a vast, puzzling and unknown art-form out there in the world inside the silver screen that was capable of summoning up images, within the instant of hearing, a week, a month, or a year later…It was a beginning for me and thousands like me, an invitation to listen as well as look.'”

Ummm...this book was written for me. cool

***

I don't have my copy of the book handy at the moment, but I'm guessing the Bradbury quote is from the liner notes he wrote for the infamous Leroy Holmes LP of KING KONG, (one of four infamous LPs, you may recall, along with Steiner's A STAR IS BORN, Herrmann's CITIZEN KANE, and Newman's THE PRISONER OF ZENDA). It's a shame that Bradbury's notes were wasted on that album, they deserve to be affixed to the genuinely faithful recordings by Fred Steiner or Morgan & Stromberg.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2020 - 5:35 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"'Listen to the incidental scoring behind the recitatives,' Steiner told an interviewer. 'If Wagner had lived in our times, he would have been our top film composer.' (Wolfgang Wagner shared that opinion: 'If my grandfather were alive today, he would undoubtedly be working in Hollywood,' he said in the 1970s.)"

This early passage brought to mind a post of 20+ years ago wherein its author mused how George Gershwin composed film music "before they called it that." And how do you like that, it turns out Steiner collaborated and became great friends with Gershwin in the Broadway years. Almost fell out of my chair upon reading that Steiner conducted short-lived "Blue Monday" a/k/a "135th Street" for George White's Scandals. That number was recreated in the Gershwin pseudo-biopic Rhapsody In Blue. But Steiner did not appear as himself; Paul Whiteman played himself as conductor.

Hey Preston N Jones, wherever you are, did you know all that?

***

I posted a link the other day to the Alex Ross New Yorker article about Wagner's influence on Hollywood composers, Howard, but I assume you're asking me about the other stuff. I don't think I ever knew before this Steiner had conducted that one-time-only performance of "Blue Monday" in the GEORGE WHITE'S SCANDALS, though I dimly remember long ago learning about his pre-Hollywood career on the Great White Way, (no pun intended). Needless to say, though, there's no end to the new nuggets I'm learning on every page of Steve's great book.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2020 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

"Many so-called serious composers are still unwilling to give serious attention to film music. They insist on weighing it against symphonic music of the classicists and find it wanting. In the first place, their intent and function are entirely different. Good film music is written for a specific purpose and if the film composer refuses to recognize the dictates of the picture, he may write a great symphony but it will serve the film badly." --c. July, 1940

Here's looking at you, Max. cool

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2020 - 5:35 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

And here's looking at you, John Morgan, who was looking into MS on an up-close-and in-person basis back in the day, affording us many succulent tidbits today, like this one:

“Max said to me that good film music has to get across to people who are very bright and people who are not. And if there’s a lot more in the music that you may find later in listening to it, well and good, but that’s not the main purpose. Because it’s not concert music. It belongs to the film.”

Morgan, Faiola...we are well represented in this book.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2020 - 7:36 AM   
 By:   cinemel1255   (Member)

Just finished book yesterday. I enjoyed it so much, I was just reading a chapter a day to stretch it out. There was just the right combination of personal story and film music comment. Now I want to go back and play some of the scores that I have on CD while re-reading excerpt from the book.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2020 - 11:35 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Hey Mel, was this guy a SCORING MACHINE or what?! He's 3/4 of the way into GWTW and for a BREAK takes on Four Wives and does it in a week! Of course, Selznick finds out and is ready to kill him. I'm just amazed at how he turns out a full score no matter the length and whether he's got a week, 10 days, 3 weeks, whatever. And it's all good stuff! And nothing like kibitzing on the side; Hey Dmitri, try this...Hugo, change the key...Victor, join me at the all night gin rummy...SHEEZ

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2020 - 10:07 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I do own some Steiner scores, but I didn’t realize he was so prolific. I have this biography now and am really enjoying it. Seven, eight, nine or more scores a year. Unbelievable. I just finished the part where he scored Gone With The Wind with two other scores on the side. I’m surprised he didn’t have a heart attack by the time he was 50.
(Yep, Howard, he was a "scoring machine.")

The author does a great job of analyzing all of the Steiner’s themes in his scores; however, at times his writing is a bit too technical for those of us who are non musicologists. Still I like reading about Steiner’s methods of scoring and about his various character motifs and themes. I think it will be a valuable resource that I will come back to at times. For instance, I’ve not seen Lost Patrol or The Informer. Smith details why the music added depth and character to those films. (And many other films.) I’m hoping these kinds of films will come on TCM in the future. Before I watch them, I’ll refer back to Smith’s descriptions to see if I can glean or hear Smith’s insights into these scores.

One of my favorite waltzes is the one Steiner composed for Jezebel. Smith calls it Steiner’s loveliest waltz. Absolutely!

Time to get back to reading about this fascinating composer. (I know Smith did one on Herrmann. Wish he would write biographies about Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith.)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 3:24 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

It has been my distinct pleasure to work with John Morgan, and to listen to him regale his stories of his time with Max. We were able to do this at the last Max Steiner Symposium, held at BYU last November. I find John endlessly fascinating, funny, friendly and extremely kind. John and William Stromberg worked tirelessly last year to prepare a score for KING KONG which was played by live orchestra in the BYU theater there. Furthermore, Ray Faiola did an absolutely amazing job preparing the soundtrack of the picture itself for the orchestra to play along to, conducted by BYU's Kory Katseanes. Result? There are no words to describe the sheer awe of it. It was outstanding. No, beyond that; I was in tears at the end of it. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Steven C. Smith's book echoes that amazing experience, but in book form. I know it sounds like review flattery, but the book really does bring Max to life, and I'll bet a large part of that is down to Steven's wonderful writing style, but also the interviews that he held with John in order to prepare for the book.

I keep a copy of the book with me at all times when working on my computer. You never know when you fancy an opportunity to dive into it.

@joan hue - Max was indeed that prolific. I have worked for years studying his composition, and discovered things that would make John Williams weep: In 1939, the year Howard L was talking about earlier on, some 13 pictures were released that bore Steiner scores. They are: THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL (probably composed @ Oct 1938), THE OKLAHOMA KID, DODGE CITY, DARK VICTORY, CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY, DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (First sequel to FOUR DAUGHTERS), EACH DAWN I DIE, THE OLD MAID, DUST BE MY DESTINY, INTERMEZZO: A LOVE STORY (Selznick), WE ARE NOT ALONE, GONE WITH THE WIND (Selznick) and FOUR WIVES (Second sequel to FOUR DAUGHTERS). I also add DR. EHRLICH'S MAGIC BULLET since Max would have been working on that around the time the recording sessions for the score began on January 7, 1940.

It's not just the volume of scores that's fascinating, it's the sheer broad spectrum of genres that this list encapsulates. That is what is so fascinating about Steiner - not simply his work rate but his complete immersion into each project. He most likely had no desire to score any of these pictures - perhaps GWTW excepted - but when I listen to each score, I get the feeling the majority of them could be his life's work, taken out of historical context.

Cheers,
Stephen

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Hey joan a/k/a “Teach,” back in senior yr. hs we had English class electives and so I attended “Literature into Film” for a semester. What a class. The very first novel we read and dissected was The Informer. And then we saw the film (ancient 16mm print, of course) and dissected it. The creaky over-the-top ending mentioned by Smith still resounds in the mind’s eye and ear. The music, however, does not. I’ve just reserved the DVD from library and will re-watch what was a 40- but now 85-year-old film for the first time since. Really looking forward to it. I've come to appreciate it as an antecedent, of sorts, to Ryan's Daughter.

I’m with you on the technical stuff. Not always easy to bear. But this is where my school day music education helps, I tend to follow along just enough to make the adrenaline rush. What the hey, the guy seems to have had a non-stop supply!

Am now about to head into the bio’s Casablanca section. Last time I saw it on TCM was able to pretty much identify the plethora of popular standards.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

It has been my distinct pleasure to work with John Morgan, and to listen to him regale his stories of his time with Max. We were able to do this at the last Max Steiner Symposium, held at BYU last November...

...Steven C. Smith's book echoes that amazing experience, but in book form. I know it sounds like review flattery, but the book really does bring Max to life, and I'll bet a large part of that is down to Steven's wonderful writing style, but also the interviews that he held with John in order to prepare for the book.


It does come together magnificently. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at all the sessions you mention.

It's not just the volume of scores that's fascinating, it's the sheer broad spectrum of genres that this list encapsulates. That is what is so fascinating about Steiner - not simply his work rate but his complete immersion into each project. He most likely had no desire to score any of these pictures - perhaps GWTW excepted - but when I listen to each score, I get the feeling the majority of them could be his life's work, taken out of historical context.

That is what sticks with me throughout the ongoing read. I mean just like that he goes from his legendary Now, Voyager to Rick's Café without batting an eyelash. It's to laugh in an awe-inspired way. And it's like he's some kind of film scoring bellwether. Look at that Steiner portfolio in '39; look at what 1939 means in the history of cinema. What a perspective.

Any chance of slipping into the atavachron for a peek back?

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Here are some main and end titles by Max from 1938-39 taken from film prints:

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/amazing_dr_clitterhouse.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/angels_with_dirty_faces.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/confessions_of_a_nazi_spy.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/daughters_courageous.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/dawn_patrol.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/dust_be_my_destiny.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/Each_Dawn_I_Die.mp3

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/crime_school.mp3

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Thanks, Ray. Dove right into Angels...Faces link. Not "Suo Gan" but it works. I freaked out as a kid hearing Rocky/Cagney freaking out off-camera. Even though I came to understand as an adult what Rocky was doing before the switch was thrown I still freak out with every viewing. Scarred for life, along with what happens to The Fly just before Herbert M picks up the rock.

The Clitterhouse piece is fantastic. Do you have the The Man Who Came To Dinner opening? It is my favorite instance of MS's WB fanfare cleverly segueing into the film title (well, it and that picture with Bogey & Ingrid).

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 7:14 PM   
 By:   Tom Servo   (Member)

I picked up my copy of this new book - in an actual bookstore here in LA! Excited to dive into its pages.

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2020 - 10:01 PM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

I freaked out as a kid hearing Rocky/Cagney freaking out off-camera. Even though I came to understand as an adult what Rocky was doing before the switch was thrown I still freak out with every viewing.

Whoa, Howard, how do you know WHAT Rocky was doing? I don't! Was it doing the boys a favor, or was it cowardice?

 
 Posted:   Oct 10, 2020 - 3:32 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Do you have the The Man Who Came To Dinner opening? It is my favorite instance of MS's WB fanfare cleverly segueing into the film title (well, it and that picture with Bogey & Ingrid).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m0VBnCTNLY

Starts at 19:04!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 10, 2020 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

LOL that was great! VOLUME 3 holy cow you've got 'em all!! Thank you for making my day.

I freaked out as a kid hearing Rocky/Cagney freaking out off-camera. Even though I came to understand as an adult what Rocky was doing before the switch was thrown I still freak out with every viewing.

Whoa, Howard, how do you know WHAT Rocky was doing? I don't! Was it doing the boys a favor, or was it cowardice?


Well, based on the venomous look on the last shot of Rocky...smile

 
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