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Archive for the ‘George Duning’ Category

Intrada Readies Silvestri’s “Fandango,” Rare Warner TV Efforts

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isc249booklet.inddThis week’s latest releases from Intrada showcase a forgotten TV show of the ’60s and an early highlight for a then-little-known 20th century composer.

Fandango was, in its own way, one of the more impressive films of 1985. Directed by a first-timer (Kevin Reynolds) from the basis of his thesis film at the University of Southern California (the original of which found a fan in Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin Entertainment produced the film), the film revolved around a group of college friends (including Kevin Costner, in his first major role) embarking on one last road trip. The score – at times equal in its blend of action and intimate character building – was composed by a relatively unknown Alan Silvestri, who’d scored Romancing the Stone a year earlier and would fully flesh out his talents as a brassy action/sensitive drama composer with Back to the Future in the summer of 1985. For the first time, fans can finally experience this score on any format, sourced from the original 24-track session masters.

isc244booklet.inddIntrada’s also got the score to Then Came Bronson, a short-lived television show about a former newspaperman (played by actor/singer Michael Parks) who casts off his old life to find himself across America. Along the way, he meets and helps people from all walks of life; every episode had him come in and leave on that same Harley-Davidson Sportster. This two-disc set features compositions by George Duning (From Here to EternityAll the King’s Men) on one disc, and another disc of various other bits from episodes composed by Stu Phillips, John Parker and others.

Both titles can be ordered from Intrada now; links and full track lists are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 27, 2013 at 15:58

Stage and Screen Bonanza: “World of Suzie Wong,” “Elephant Steps” and Gene Kelly’s “Clownaround” Coming Soon

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Elephant StepsMore treats are on the way for fans and collectors of rare cast albums and film soundtracks thanks to the ongoing work of the Masterworks Broadway and Kritzerland labels.

As part of its ongoing digital/CD-on-demand program, Masterworks is offering two of the most unexpected cast recordings from the label’s considerable library.  On May 7, Stanley Silverman and Richard Foreman’s Elephant Steps: A Fearful Radio Show makes its digital/CD(-R) debut, while on June 4, Moose Charlap and Alvin Cooperman’s Clownaround also receives its first-ever reissue.

Elephant Steps, from composer Stanley Silverman and lyricist/librettist/director Richard Foreman, was first produced at the Tanglewood music festival in 1968, the same year avant-garde pioneer Foreman founded his Ontological-Hysteric Theater.  Billed as “Multi-Media Pop-Opera Extravaganza with Pop Singers, Opera Singers, Orchestra, Rock Band, Electronic Tape, Raga Group, Tape Recorder, Gypsy Ensemble, and Elephants all under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas,” Elephant Steps told the tale of Hartman.  The liner notes to the original LP release described it as follows: “Hartman is looking for enlightenment. He has a mysterious guru by the name of Reinhardt. The reactionary factions keep warning him to stop seeing Reinhardt, but Hartman persists. After visiting Nighttown, and then being abducted and grilled in a radio station, where he dreams of returning to his childhood, he finally climbs a ladder, looks in the window of Reinhardt’s house, and what he sees brings him illumination.”

The production was well-received upon its debut.  It was Foreman’s first major directing experience (“except my little play at the Cinematheque,” he once wrote) as well as Tilson Thomas’ first time at the podium.   Time opined that it “sounded like a giant radio with its dials spinning crazily…. It had a cohesive rhythm of its own and succeeded in gripping the attention of the Tanglewood audience through its sheer theatrical flair.” New York pronounced it “The best piece of new music I’ve heard in concert all year.”

Paul Simon was among the music-theatre piece’s fans.  Simon had taken guitar lessons from Stanley Silverman (with whom he would work many years later on his own musical, The Capeman) and Foreman recalled the singer-songwriter asking him, “Richard, if all your dreams came true, what would happen with Elephant Steps?”  Simon apparently lost interest after receiving Foreman’s reply, which the director deemed “pretentious” in retrospect: “There are three or four people in New York whose opinions I really respect.  If those people liked it, that would be enough for me.”  Foreman added somewhat ruefully when writing of the conversation, “If I’d said ‘I think this could be as big as The Beatles,’ we probably would have had a major production on Broadway.”

The psychedelic, mixed-means theatre of Elephant Steps – blending “sound and light, language and music, images and movement, graphics and films, incense and machinery, props and performers” – finally made it to New York in 1970, albeit not on Broadway.  Foreman and Silverman went on to collaborate on numerous occasions, and of course, Tilson Thomas went on to further conducting triumphs.  Actress Marilyn Sokol and chorus member Patti Austin both also achieved fame.  The Columbia Records 1974 cast recording of Elephant Steps – with orchestrations by Harold Wheeler of Dreamgirls and Dancing with the Stars fame – will be released exclusively for purchase via MasterworksBroadway.com on May 7 in a limited quantity of physical CD-Rs as well as digital download.  The CD will be available via Manufacture-On-Demand through Arkiv Music on June 4th, and downloads through digital service providers will be made available at that time, too.

After the jump: details on Clownaround and The World of Suzie Wong! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2013 at 15:32

Kritzerland’s Got the Action with “Butch and Sundance” and Vintage Dean Martin Comedy

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Butch and SundanceKritzerland has just announced its first releases for 2013, and these two rare soundtracks, both of which are making their CD debuts, couldn’t be more different: George Duning’s Who’s Got the Action? and Patrick Williams’ Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.

Almost ten years after the runaway success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 20th Century Fox realized its hopes for a follow-up film with Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.  At the conclusion of the first film, though, raindrops weren’t just falling on the titular anti-heroes’ heads: Butch and Sundance were mowed down in a blaze of gunfire.  Hollywood’s solution, then, was to release a prequel film; in fact, some have suggested that Butch and Sundance was the first film to use the term “prequel.”  Director George Roy Hill didn’t return, and Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night, Robin and Marian) took the directorial reins.  Screenwriter William Goldman, who picked up an Oscar for his work on the original film, did return for the prequel as an executive producer and co-writer with Allan Burns (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant).  Joining Hill among the absent, however, was Burt Bacharach, who won two Oscars for his work on Butch Cassidy.  Burns enlisted frequent collaborator Patrick Williams to provide the score.  An accomplished composer and arranger, Williams’ credits included Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, and the 1978 film Breaking Away, for which he received an Oscar nomination.  To fill the shoes of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Tom Berenger and William Katt were enlisted.  Familiar faces like Peter Weller, John Schuck, Brian Dennehy and Christopher Lloyd rounded out the cast.  Williams wisely didn’t try to emulate Bacharach’s style for his score, but in the words of reissue producer Bruce Kimmel, he composed “an eclectic score – playful, beautiful, filled with adventure and bravado, tenderness, and gorgeous melodic themes. It works perfectly in the film, complementing the visuals, the comedy, and the drama, a real old-fashioned honest-to-goodness film score by a master composer.”

Williams recorded virtually all of his score for Butch and Sundance: The Early Days twice. Some cues remained exactly the same in both orchestration and writing, while others had slight variations in orchestration and timing.  Still other cues had very different musical material. Kritzerland’s expanded edition offers the entire score as used in the film (plus one unused cue), plus a bonus section.  The bonus tracks present the original versions of cues where they differed from the re-recorded cues.   Butch and Sundance: The Early Days is limited to 1,000 copies, and is set for release the last week of February, though pre-orders directly from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks’ early.

After the jump: Who’s Got the Action?  We’ve got the answer, plus track listings and pre-order links for both titles. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 22, 2013 at 09:54

Henry Mancini’s “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation” Reissued with Premiere of George Duning’s “Dear Brigitte”

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The legendary American actor James “Jimmy” Stewart (1908-1997) could boast of career highlights in virtually every genre of cinema, from comedies to dramas, westerns to thrillers.  Two of Stewart’s brightest comic moments are being recalled on a new two-for-one soundtrack release from the fine folks at Kritzerland.  Henry Mancini’s score to 20th Century Fox’s Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, from 1962, has been paired with George Duning’s score to the same studio’s Dear Brigitte (1965) for the label’s latest soundtrack release, available now for pre-order.

Henry Mancini was one of the most famous musicians on the planet when he penned the score to Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.  A two-time Oscar winner and ten-time (!) Grammy winner, Mancini had sold over a million records with his jazzy scores for television’s Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky and Hollywood’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all in collaboration with director Blake Edwards.  The assignment came in a busy year for the music man.  1962 also saw Mancini compose scores for Edwards’ thriller Experiment in Terror and drama The Days of Wine and Roses, both at Warner Bros., as well as Howard Hawks’ adventure Hatari! at Paramount.  (The original soundtrack to Hatari! at long last was issued this year from the Intrada label.)  Clearly, versatility was among Mancini’s many assets.

Mr. Hobbs, directed by Henry Koster and written by Nunnally Johnson, was based on Edward Streeter’s novel and starred Stewart as a comically beleaguered bank executive who finds his vacation anything but relaxing.  Maureen O’Hara was cast as Stewart’s wife, Lauri Peters (later of The Sound of Music) played his daughter, and teen idol Fabian took the role of her boyfriend.  Mancini’s short score (about 39 minutes in length) had a great amount of source music drawing on both jazz and the youthful sound of rock-and-roll; Johnny Mercer wrote the lyric to Mancini’s melody for teen novelty “Cream Puff,” sung in the film by Fabian and Peters.

Despite a felicitous soundtrack with Mancini in bright, melodic mode, no soundtrack to Mr. Hobbs was issued at the time of its release.  The same went for Days of Wine and Roses.  Both Experiment in Terror and Hatari! received re-recordings from Mancini on his home label, RCA Victor.  Intrada premiered the original Hobbs score in 2003 as a Special Collection title.  As that edition is long out-of-print, Kritzerland is bringing the title back as part of this Jimmy Stewart two-fer.  It’s made some tweaks to the Intrada release, including a new remastering and the shifting of some source pieces to the bonus section to avoid interruption of Mancini’s dramatic scoring.  Two demos from the Intrada CD have been retained.

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation will be paired with Dear Brigitte on the new CD.  Hit the jump for details, plus the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 30, 2012 at 10:13