Those who appreciate Elmer Bernstein’s singular talents are in for a treat this week with Tuesday’s first ever release of the charming and dramatic score he wrote for The Amazing Mr. Blunden. The 1972 film, directed by famous British character actor Lionel Jeffries, involves an old cottage, new caretakers, two children who meet ghosts of yet another pair of children from 100 years earlier, murder and a terrible fire, all of which are terrific inspiration for Bernstein to fashion music anchored in charming simplicity and surrounded with vivid orchestral dramatics. This is an amazing one! Listen to samples and peruse the artwork and contents this coming Monday evening. Orders begin shipping on Tuesday.
Next week’s new CD releases from Intrada at last bring everyone - including myself - a lot of John Barry love. Over 100 minutes of original Barry music for Universal’s early Marvel superhero movie, Howard The Duck from executive producer George Lucas probably headlines for most listeners. Literally packed with Barry at his best, from riveting sci-fi action music to smoky shades of film noir, from beautifully gentle romantic moods to the best of James Bond. 3-CDs offer all of Barry’s music, most of it never-before-released, his numerous alternates and re-scored cues plus replacement music scored by Sylvester Levay, also previously unreleased. All of Thomas Dolby’s songs, performed in the movie by star Lea Thompson’s all-female band also appear, as does the premiere CD release of MCA’s original 40-minute album. A tough act to follow for Barry fans. But one of my own most-played John Barry albums in my youth was King Rat, the Bryan Forbes WWII prisoner of war film with George Segal, written by James Clavell. As part of our well-regarded series of Mainstream and Ava label CDs, mixed and mastered from the first generation master elements, we initially planned on just bringing out the best release of Barry’s classic re-recorded stereo Mainstream album. Upon delivery of the masters, we made the incredible discovery of finding, amongst the many rolls of tape, the long-lost and never-before-released masters for the actual soundtrack itself, a darker and moodier musical masterpiece. Barry’s film soundtrack is an entirely different experience from his opened-up and thematically-expanded Mainstream album. Both musical experiences are terrific. Noted John Barry authority Jon Burlingame supplies all the informative details in his notes for both the Duck and the King. Look for artwork, contents and sound samples here next Monday evening!
The recording sessions in Glasgow were a terrific success. Thanks to an incredible team that included some of the best people in this business, Intrada has brought Dimitri Tiomkin’s vivid suspense score from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Dial M For Murder to life in stunning detail. Our recording sessions with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra this last week captured the entire score, including never-before-heard music cut from the film prior to its 1954 release as well as two different “Intermission Cards”, an alternate main title and a beautiful orchestral arrangement of the main theme written for possible commercial interests back in the day. Everything went so smoothly that we even had time to record an additional 8-minute concert suite from another score to add to the album as an “extra”. The recordings for everything are simply superb, conducted by a master of his craft, William T. Stromberg, engineered by one of the world’s finest scoring mixers, Simon Rhodes, and played with superb musicianship and enthusiasm by the augmented RSNO. Pat Russ was masterful with music preparation and score reconstructions, Paul Talkington continues to amaze us all with his orchestra contracting skills and Anna Stromberg helped keep the massive stack of parts delivered on time and clear up any note errors present from the original 1954 scores. Another huge asset was our recording everything in the new RSNO studio which has audio acoustics that rival the best studios we’ve ever been involved with. And having Olivia Tiomkin, the famed composer's widow, present with us the entire time literally blessed the event. Our whole team is proud of what we just put down on tape and we’re all looking forward to presenting the finished album to everyone for their listening pleasure!
This coming Tuesday, we’ll be offering the first-ever release of Kenyon Hopkin’s evocative soundtrack for the 1969 Michael Ritchie film, Downhill Racer, starring Robert Redford and Gene Hackman, both actors then getting legendary careers underway. Hopkins’ score showcases his terrific style of melding jazz band idioms with symphonic orchestra colors, with strings, oboe, English horn, harpsichord and others fitting comfortably within the big band brass and percussion sections. Artwork, contents and audio samples will be available here on Monday afternoon, August 26, with the CD available on Tuesday the 27th.