HOUSE OF USHER (REISSUE)
Film Date: 1960
Reissue of original Les Baxter soundtrack from landmark 1960 debut of American International Pictures cycle of highly successful Edgar Allen Poe-themed horror movies featuring Vincent Price.
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Doug's Tech Talk
Reissue of original Les Baxter soundtrack from landmark 1960 debut of American International Pictures cycle of highly successful Edgar Allan Poe-themed horror movies featuring Vincent Price. (Contents identical to Intrada 2011 release). Also known as The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Roger Corman directs, Richard Matheson scripts. Intrada presents entire score from only surviving music elements available through MGM - the music-only dubbing masters used in final production of film. Happily these include no dialog or effects, albeit assemblies and edits of many cues were, of course, already locked in. For early screenings of movie, Baxter supplied an "Overture" to get audience into proper mood. Cue was dropped from subsequent re-releases of film and initial home video presentations but happily was present on scoring elements and also appears on our CD. Baxter scores for full orchestra plus chorus, writes music both soothingly tonal, frighteningly dissonant. Score is lengthy, covering some three-fourths of the picture! Informative notes by Tim Greiving, handsome graphic design by Joe Sikoryak. Score recorded at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in May 1960, Les Baxter conducts. Intrada CD, an integral part of any Les Baxter collection, now available in our MAF series!
Tech Talk From The Producer…
first of eight cinematic Edgar Allan Poe adaptations produced by
Roger Corman, House of Usher was an important project for Les Baxter. As such, he
pulled out all the stops, scoring for full orchestra plus large choir and writing in an
idiom both soothingly tonal and frighteningly dissonant. It is a lengthy score, with
music covering literally three quarters of the film’s
final 85-minute running time.
For the premiere release
of Baxter’s score from House of
Usher, we edited and mastered
the CD from the only surviving
music elements available
through MGM—the musiconly
dubbing masters used
for the final soundtrack of the
film. While these masters were
complete and happily contained
no sound effects or dialog, they
did include the cue assemblies
and crossfades used in the film
as well as several quick fades at
the end of some cues. These tapes also included the “potting” of various levels made
by the original music editor to accommodate dialog and sound effects. These mono
scoring elements were in remarkably clean shape overall, considering their frequent
use with the steady re-release of the popular film over the years, including numerous
foreign-dubbed prints and video incarnations. For our CD, where possible, we have
minimized any abrupt level changes, albeit some fluctuation in o 12 verall relative levels remains apparent. The dynamic range is reasonably crisp and effective throughout.
For the initial presentations of the film in 1960, a three-minute “Overture” was
created by Baxter to help create the right mood for audiences as the show was about to
begin. This sequence was subsequently dropped from re-release prints and
home video presentations. For our
CD, we were fortunate enough to have access to this complete and
rarely heard overture, recently restored and newly mastered by Chace Productions for
the video department of MGM. It is included at the start of the CD.
So let Les Baxter and his orchestra, complete with chorus, now usher you into the
terrifying world of Edgar Allan Poe and his immortal tale of Roderick and the House
of Usher. CD player on. Volume up. Lights out.
Composed and Conducted by Les Baxter.
Recorded on May 3, 1960, at Samuel Goldwyn Studios.
This soundtrack was produced in cooperation with the
American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.