The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

The Magnificent Bernstein: “The Rat Race” Premieres on CD

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Elmer Bernstein’s back!

Kritzerland celebrated its landmark 100th release last year with the world premiere of Bernstein’s complete soundtrack to Summer and Smoke, and in 2012, his score to Walt Disney Productions’ The Black Cauldron has seen release from Intrada alongside a reissue of Amazing Grace and Chuck from Varese Sarabande.  Now, Kritzerland is returning with another Bernstein bonanza, his 1960 score to the drama The Rat Race, in a limited edition of 1,200 units.

Garson Kanin (Born Yesterday, Adam’s Rib) adapted his own 1949 Broadway play for director Robert Mulligan’s film version starring Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis as “two young hopefuls ready to claw, steal or do anything to get to the top,” according to the movie’s tagline.  Reynolds played Peggy, a dancer, and Curtis portrayed Pete, a musician, and the film chronicled their struggle to survive in the bustling, cutthroat big city.  Reynolds and Curtis were joined by familiar faces including Kay Medford, Norman Fell, and in a standout role, Don Rickles as a menacing club owner.  The Rat Race was Mulligan’s second film, following 1957’s Fear Strikes Out, on which he also teamed with Bernstein, spawning a Kritzerland score album.  Three years after The Rat Race, he would helm To Kill a Mockingbird, with a score, once again, by Elmer Bernstein.

According to Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel, Bernstein’s score is “one of Bernstein’s best.”  He adds that “right from the get-go, his electric, jazzy, and spectacular theme grabs you and never lets go.  That theme recurs throughout the score – pulsing with the teeming life of the city, with wailing brass and insistent rhythms.  Some cues keep the big-band jazzy feeling, while others are mournful and tender, as the story requires.”  The style evoked by the composer is even more remarkable in light of the fact that he would also compose the score and theme to a little film called The Magnificent Seven in the same very same year!

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order link!

This release marks the very first appearance of the actual score to The Rat Race.  An LP was issued around Sam Butera and the Witnesses’ single version of the theme, but that album (misleadingly titled  Sam Butera and the Witnesses play the Music from “The Rat Race”) featured just that one track from the movie, plus a number of popular standards.  Kritzerland located the original tapes in Paramount’s vault, and the score is being presented in sparkling stereo.  Mono source cues (all by Bernstein) as well as a couple of demos round out the album.  This promises to be just the latest in a long line of restored Elmer Bernstein classics from Kritzerland.

The Rat Race is a limited edition of 1,200 copies.  It’s slated to arrive the first week of November from Kritzerland, but pre-orders with the label frequently arrive, on average, as early as four weeks prior to the release date!  You can snag a copy below!

Elmer Bernstein, The Rat Race: Music from the Motion Picture (Kritzerland, 2012)

  1. Seal/Main Title/Arrival
  2. Wet Reception
  3. Popsicles
  4. Evicted/Platonic Propositions
  5. Telephone Man Leaves
  6. Bedtime
  7. Spaghetti and Wine
  8. Betrayed
  9. Peggy is Cynical
  10. Help from Nellie/New Sax’s/Decision
  11. The Letter
  12. Strip (Part I)
  13. Strip (Part II & III)
  14. Police Station/Conclusion
  15. Telephone Man Blues
  16. Peggy’s Blues
  17. Milwaukee
  18. Fur Blues
  19. Fur Cat
  20. Peggy’s Blues
  21. Betrayed (Alternate)
  22. Decision (Alternate)
  23. New York Theme (Demo 1)
  24. Love Theme (Demo 2)

Tracks 15-24 are bonus tracks

Written by Joe Marchese

September 24, 2012 at 13:07

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