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The Cobweb/Edge of the City (1955/1957)
Music by Leonard Rosenman
The Cobweb/Edge of the City The Cobweb/Edge of the City The Cobweb/Edge of the City
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Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: September 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 14
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

Leonard Rosenman has scored dozens of films and TV programs such as Fantastic Voyage (FSMCD Vol. 1, No. 3), A Man Called Horse, The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Combat! With so many productions bearing his sound, it is easy to forget how shocking he truly was when he made his debut. When Rosenman scored East of Eden and A Rebel Without a Cause in 1955 (he had been James Dean's piano teacher and close friend), he introduced a New York concert hall aesthetic that had never been heard in Hollywood.

This CD presents two M-G-M scores from Rosenman's early years. The Cobweb (1955) was Rosenman's second assignment and the first serial score written for film, in which he famously used the twelve-tone technique of one of his teachers, Arnold Schoenberg. Rosenman's avant garde writing accompanies a Vincent Minnelli/John Houseman film about a mental institution—not a horror film, but a character drama where the problems of the patients are dwarfed by those of the staff. Rosenman's symphonic score evokes the inner neuroses of the characters with chamber-like colors and atonal counterpoint.

Edge of the City (1957) was a black-and-white film directed by Martin Ritt, based on a television play exploring corruption on the docks of New York City. John Cassavetes plays an army deserter who must learn that "a man stands ten feet tall" (the television title) when he stands up to a corrupt boss to avenge his friend (Sidney Poitier). Rosenman's brief score features a thrilling, march-like main title in addition to his trademark atonal writing.

The Cobweb and Edge of the City were previously released on a monaural M-G-M Records LP. This premiere CD features the same 14:33 presentation of Edge of the City, reconstructed from the 17.5mm scoring masters and 1/4" album master (the film's master tapes are in mono), and the complete 36:41 score to The Cobweb, remixed in stereo. Edge of the City is presented first, as it was on the LP.

Leonard Rosenman Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008) was an accomplished 20th century American composer with a major career in film and television. He was an up-and-coming New York concert composer when his friendship with James Dean lead to his groundbreaking 1955 scores for East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause; his score for The Cobweb that same year is acknowledged as the first to be based on twelve-tone music. His other film projects include Fantastic Voyage, the 1978 Lord of the Rings, Cross Creek and Star Trek IV; his television work includes Combat, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Sybil. Rosenman made no apologies for his modernist style and was outspoken about using his film projects as testing grounds for concert works. IMDB

Comments (2):Log in or register to post your own comments
To me, THE COBWEB is like the prequel to FANTASTIC VOYAGE: a whole lot of those fascinating, murky sounds. Not nearly as much action, but interesting from beginning to end.

Have you ever seen the Cobweb, the film? Awful beyond belief. It should come with a laugh track. So many stars, trying to keep a traight face, while mouthing this awful script.

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