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Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2 (1940-1974)
Music  Composed by Cyril Mockridge , David Shire , Herbert Stothart , Harry Sukman
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Price: $34.95
Limited #: 2000
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: December 2009
Catalog #: Vol. 12, No. 18
# of Discs: 3

FSM continues its informal annual tradition of releasing a 3CD set of classic western film scores with a second volume of westerns from the historical M-G-M film library:

Northwest Passage (Book I—Rogers’ Rangers) is the 1940 adventure score by Herbert Stothart, M-G-M’s premier composer in the 1930s and ’40s, presented in nearly complete form from the monaural optical film masters, with a few otherwise lost cues added from the film’s music-and-effects track.

Many Rivers to Cross (1955) is a comedy western score by Cyril J. Mockridge, conducted by no less than Miklós Rózsa, with a song (“The Berry Tree”) by M-G-M songwriter and executive Saul Chaplin. This score survives in glorious three-track stereo from the original 35mm magnetic film.

A Thunder of Drums (1961) is a cavalry adventure score by Harry Sukman, also presented in true stereo. Dominated by grim and martial passages, the music also features romantic strains anticipating Sukman’s scores for TV’s Dr. Kildare.

At the end of disc 3 is a television rarity: David Shire’s 1974 TV movie score for The Godchild (a John Badham-directed adaptation of Three Godfathers, a western story filmed several times earlier). It is a brief and spare work demonstrating the composer’s gift for simplicity and melody—presented in excellent stereo sound.

The film titles for this album were selected in large part from listener responses to our last westerns collection. So keep listening, and keep suggesting titles!

Complete liner notes for this album can be found—for free—online at our website

Finally: our previous two western collections, centered respectively around The Unforgiven and The Naked Spur, promptly sold out. We have increased the manufacturing run on this volume to 2,000 copies—but don’t delay!

Cyril Mockridge Scores on FSM
How to Marry a Millionaire
Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2
About the Composer

Cyril Mockridge (1896-1979) was an English composer and arranger and an indispensable member of the Twentieth Century-Fox music department under Alfred Newman in the 1940s and '50s, where he scored dozens of films in all genres (including classics like Miracle at 34th Street), but for the most part specialized in lighter fare that were collaborative assignments—a perfect example being the Marilyn Monroe film How to Marry a MillionaireIMDB

David Shire Scores on FSM
Big Bus, The
Farewell, My Lovely/Monkey Shines
Klute/All the President’s Men
Morituri/Raid on Entebbe
Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2
Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The
About the Composer

David Shire (b. 1937) is responsible for some of the most acclaimed scores of the 1970s, such as The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Conversation and Farewell, My Lovely. His film and television work extends from the late 1960s to the present day (including 2007's Zodiac), consistently excellent in its subtlety, dramatic sensitivity and musical imagination. He has also, with lyricist partner Richard Maltby, enjoyed a successful career in musical theater. IMDB

Herbert Stothart Scores on FSM
Dragon Seed
Lassie Come Home: The Canine Cinema Collection
Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2
Random Harvest/The Yearling
About the Composer

Herbert Stothart (1885-1949) was the primary dramatic composer of the M-G-M music department for the 1930s and '40s, scoring such classics as Mutiny on the Bounty, The Wizard of Oz and Random Harvest. Given that he passed away right before the advent of widescreen films with stereophonic sound and magnetic film recording, very few of his scores have been released on CD—something FSM intends to change.IMDB

Harry Sukman Scores on FSM
Dr. Kildare
Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2
TV Omnibus: Volume One (1962-1976)
About the Composer

Harry Sukman (1912-1984) was a veteran composer of feature films as well as television, both episodic (Dr. Kildare) and longform (Salem's Lot). He won an Oscar for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for 1960's Song Without End (adapting Franz Liszt). IMDB

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