Tech Talk From The Producer…
The two albums of film music presented on this CD were originally released on vinyl by the mainstream label in 1965 and 1966. Stagecoach
makes its very first appearance on CD from the actual first-generation multi-channel album masters and The Heroes of Telemark
makes its world premiere release on CD.
In the case of The Heroes of Telemark, the recording made under Malcolm Arnold’s baton featured very pinched audio quality—it has always been this way. The stereo imaging is minimal, albeit the “Army Band March” marches across the sound field from right to left, and the German military chorus in the “Main Title” does have some separation apart from the orchestral portion. The cymbal crashes have some prominence on the left and brass have weight to the center and right. But the recording was originally locked down with an abundance of reverb, giving the overall album a very “wet” sound with limited clarity. We had located both the original stereo and mono album masters and determined the same audio limitations existed on the mono masters, though without the benefit of any stereo separation at all. So we elected to use the stereo master for this premiere CD release.
The elements for Stagecoach were a different matter altogether and are a sonic revelation. For the album re-recording session, Jerry Goldsmith went to Western Recorders in Hollywood in late January 1966, and newly recorded virtually every sequence from his brief film score save the closing bars of the final song, “Stagecoach To Cheyenne” by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance, sung in the picture by Wayne Newton but on the album by The Bill Brown Singers.
All previous CD releases were drawn either from vinyl or from 2-track mixes that omitted much of the orchestral detail in the score. Even the original LP was prepared from watered-down mixes. All versions of the actual soundtrack itself are missing the “sweeteners” as well—those appear to be simply lost to the ages. However, with this CD release of the score, every orchestral detail is at last available, newly mixed from the actual 1 ̋ masters made at those sessions in January 1966.
The 1 ̋ masters included four channels for the orchestra plus two additional channel assignments for the vocals. As originally intended and logged by the engineers, the strings appear on the left while the banjos and twin guitars sound from the right. Trumpet and horns play from the center, as do the woodwinds and snares. Appearing on their own channel left-center are the accordion and harmonica and on the center-right the wood blocks and the marimba. Goldsmith, with his album orchestrator David Tamkin, solicited a vivid array of sounds from their musicians. For the first time ever on an album, listeners can now hear every one of those instrumental details with astonishing clarity.In addition to the multi-channel mix opportunities we were also able to fix an odd assembly issue that appeared on all previous CDs—an unintentional repeat of the first half of “A New Passenger And The Reward” (track 17) at the end of the cue, which lengthened the running time by another minute and a half before abruptly cutting off.
Both The Heroes of Telemark and Stagecoach are being presented here in the track sequences of their original Mainstream album presentations.