THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD / TAKE THE HIGH GROUND!

Label: Film Score Monthly FSMCD Vol.8 No.1
Date: 1951/1953
Time: 1:18:42
Tracks: 36
Label: FSMCD Vol.8 No.1 Dates: 1951 / 1953 Tracks: 36 Time = 78:42 World premiere release of two film scores by Dimitri Tiomkin. THE THING remains landmark example of film scoring. Orchestra shares remarkable similarity with Herrmann sci-fi classic DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL from same year: both use theremin, both tacet strings in favor of stark brass, woodwinds, keyboards! But differences abound as well. Where Herrmann prefers lower instrumental registers, multiple tubas, chords in blocks, minimal activity within ensemble, Tiomkin adds basses for weight, fashions incredibly busy atmosphere of woodwind runs and flurries, harp glissandi and other activity amongst his theremin effects. THE THING glistens with suspense, heart-racing agitation. Also of note: Tiomkin achieves degree of complexity in harmonic language by favoring bitonal effects. Example: low brass repeat one chord, upper voices go somewhere else. Complete score is presented in mono from original acetate masters maintained by composer. Packaging offers dramatic cover art, profuse notes (Jeff Bond & Lukas Kendall) chronicling history of production, scoring, track details and more. Impressive CD also offers premiere of Tiomkin score for 1953 MGM military training/action movie TAKE THE HIGH GROUND, starring Richard Widmark. Tiomkin anchors with proud march theme set to words by Ned Washington. With rat-a-tat on drum, oom-pah in tuba, Tiomkin keeps tune with him wherever he goes. Still, all isn't simplicity: typical for composer are busy figures throughout, from quick "double-time" snippets of main melody to furtive orchestral ideas underscoring rowdy action. In contrast is gentler line for romantic subplot but even here Tiomkin keeps it moving right along with numerous arpeggios, countermelodies moving underneath. Presented in stereo from original elements. Dimitri Tiomkin conducts both scores. While conventional content of latter score is overshadowed by impressive, challenging effort for THE THING, pairing affords interesting contrast in style from same composer. Resulting CD scores a knockout!

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