Mid-May has been crazy, so apologies for the Retroist Scoreboard taking an unscheduled break. But hey, there’s some seriously good stuff to talk about now that we’re back.
Intrada Records has released a new 3-CD edition of the late, great Jerry Goldsmith’s score from Poltergeist II. Now, you may well be asking yourself how one squeezes a 3-CD set out of a single movie that doesn’t even last three hours, but this set is a real treat for Goldsmith afficionados.
The three-disc set presents, across two discs, the distinctly different digital and analog mixes of the complete score, along with a bonus third disc presenting several key cues from the film as Goldsmith originally scored them, featuring hair-raisingly unearthly choral performances that were frequently left off the sound mix in the final movie. Best of all, Intrada isn’t charging an arm and a leg just because of the disc count, so even if you have a previous release of this soundtrack, your wallet will not be forever haunted by upgrading to this release.
Quartet Records has released a very limited edition (1,000 copies) of Frank de Vol’s scores from two ’70s Burt Reynolds movies, Hustle and The Longest Yard, on a single disc. The Hustle score, among its other selling points, has the best track title this author has ever seen on a compact disc of any genre, “Phychedelicatessen”.
In a rare instance of what’s normally thought of as a soundtrack label dipping its toes into the mainstream, Varese Sarabande has released The Very Best Of Peter Cetera, decidedly not a soundtrack release…or is it? Crowded with tracks such as “The Glory Of Love”, “Daddy’s Girl”, “After All” and “Stay With Me”, all of which were prominently featured in hit movies, this isn’t such an “out of left field” release for Varese after all – late ’80s Hollywood saw Cetera as a soundtrack (and publicity) goldmine.
June 2nd will see the release of a new vinyl pressing of John Williams’ legendary Raiders of the Lost Arkscore, this time with additional material that wasn’t featured on the 1981 LP. If you have the 2008 CD box set, there isn’t anything you haven’t already heard here, but this 2-record set from Concord is an eye-catching addition to your vinyl collection. Support for “Indy” music, indeed!
Track List from the CD release.
Looking even further ahead, word has hit the internet, by way of composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden, that we might be getting a long, long overdue release of music from The West Wing this summer, while September will see the release of one, if not two, albums of music from Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks. And La-La Land Records, almost the de facto label for Star Trek music these days, is apparently in early negotiations with CBS to discuss a soundtrack release for Star Trek: Discovery…even though it’s not known who will be doing the music. This is shaping up to be an exciting year for fans of TV soundtrack music…
…and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Buckle up, because there may be even more soundtrack news very soon.
Speaking of the legendary score by John Williams for Raiders of the Lost Ark – why not listen to the composer discuss his work?
Soundtrack fans, we’re in yet another unexpectedly meaty week of wonders, so let’s waste no time in diving right in.
La-La Land Records, as previously announced, is now taking orders for their limited edition (1500 copies) double LP vinyl pressing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, returning Jerry Goldsmith’s magnum opus to turntables for the first time in nearly 40 years, this time with the complete score spread across four sides. (The CD box set has even more music, if you’re after music instead of a display piece: Goldsmith scored half the movie before coming up with the iconic Enterprise theme, which was later repurposed as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the CD edition presents the complete score as heard in the movie plus what basically amounts to an unused alternate soundtrack.)
While the first Star Trek movie is returning to vinyl, another classic movie is, incredibly, only just now making its way to CD thanks to Varese Sarabande, which is presenting Dave Grusin’s music from On Golden Pond, interspersed with dialogue from the movie (in some cases, quite lengthy chunks of dialogue).
Varese also has a trio of limited editions now available: an “encore” re-pressing of Elmer Bernstein’s score from Disney’s The Black Cauldron, limited to just 1000 copies for those who missed out on the last limited edition issue of this title.
For fans of high-octane action movies (and their music), there’s a new edition of Basil Poledouris’ music from the Steven Segal flick Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, more than doubling the running time of the original 1995 CD release. Even the movie’s source music is included as bonus tracks. What’s source music? Ask me that again in a minute.
And finally, John Williams’ score from the 1990’s Stanley & Iris gets a limited edition CD release of 3,000 copies, but that’s not all: tucked into the open space left by that movie’s score is a second Williams score hitting CD for the first time, 1972’s Pete ‘n’ Tillie. The two movies’ music are a good fit to share a CD: both are heartfelt relationship movies, and hey, it’s John Williams.
So…about source music: it’s a wonderful thing when original source music winds up as a bonus track on a CD…of course, that’s assuming that the director isn’t married to his temp track. Confused yet? That’s why we have another slice of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary this week.
The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: How The Sausage Gets Made Additional Music – you’ll see this in movie and especially TV credits these days…often in small print. Particularly with the breakneck production timetable of television, but also with movies, composers must hire extra help to ghost-write the sheer amount of music needed within that timetable. Some of today’s biggest names were yesterday’s up-and-coming “additional music” composers: the ubiquitous Bear McCreary (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Agents Of SHIELD, Outlander, Black Sails, Da Vinci’s Demons) got his break composing “additional music” for the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries, whose primary composer moved on, leaving McCreary to take over the hourly series, making his career in the process. Due to the structure of CD release contracts with the primary composer, this additional music may or may not appear on an official release, leaving music from memorable scenes off the table. (Thus was the fate of the pivotal, Joel Goldsmith-composed “Flight Of The Phoenix” scene from Star Trek: First Contact, which was left off of the original 1996 soundtrack release at the label’s demand, simply because it wasn’t by primary composer Jerry Goldsmith.) In a few cases, the assistant composers may release their material as a composer promo.
Music+FX Track or Stem – a special mix of a movie or TV show’s music score and sound effects, prepared so that local voice artists in various parts of the world can do a language dub without the original actors’ voices in the background. Particularly with older films, this may be the closest we come to having a film’s original music tapes; it’s exceedingly rare to see a CD release of a Music+FX mix, but not unheard of (i.e. La-La Land’s “archival” release of Jerry Goldsmith’s rare score from The Satan Bug). Music+FX mixes are more often the domain of bootleggers.
Source Music – composers may be called upon to create “source music” for a scene in which a movie’s characters can hear that song in question from some on-screen source – a radio, a jukebox, a band on stage, to name a few examples. (Contrast this against the movie’s score, which the characters do not hear.) Some reissue producers go out of their way to include specially composed source music, particularly if it’s been the subject of “what was that song…?” debates for years and years. In some cases, source music is a piece of music from a movie’s songtrack.
Spotting – a process during pre-production of a movie or TV show in which the composer sits in on a screening of a rough edit to discuss the timing, placement and emotional thrust of the music with the director and/or editor(s), sometimes using temp tracks as a guide. (These meetings are called spotting sessions.) Once spotting is complete, the process of composing actually begins, though some composers may discover at a very late stage that the director’s ideas on spotting has changed, and their music has been tracked over a completely different scene…or has been replaced with a piece of the temp track.
Temp Track – a “temporary track” is often assembled, during a movie’s editing process, by the director and/or the film editor to track scenes in a movie that has no score yet. Temp tracks are often cobbled together from classical pieces or other movie soundtracks, and a composer hired to score a movie will often be asked to compose music with a similar feel…without actually duplicating it note-for-note, of course. The history of film music is rife with instances of directors falling in love with their temp tracks to the point that they either don’t hire a composer, or reject a specially commissioned score when it doesn’t live up to the director’s expectations (perhaps the most famous specimen of this category being Alex North’s unused original score for 2001: a space odyssey). Temp tracks are controversial in film music, whether for the perception that they limit a composer’s creativity, or for the not-limited-to-Kubrick phenomenon which plagues composers to this day (just this year, Johann Johannson’s score for Arrival was disqualified from Oscar contention because of the prominence of Max Richter’s composition, “On The Nature Of Daylight”, in key scenes of the movie – a holdover from the temp track that the director felt couldn’t be improved upon, costing his composer a nomination).
Tracking – once a composer has turned in a completed score, that music is at the mercy of the film’s director and/or editor(s), and may not appear where it was originally spotted. The music may be chopped up, edited and tracked in a different place entirely, such as >em>Star Wars Episode IStar Wars Episode III. Additionally, licensed or specially commissioned songs may be tracked into scenes, replacing sections of more traditional scoring (Ray Parker Jr.’s memorable song was tracked into as many scenes of Ghostbusters as possible late in editing, leaving significant portions of Elmer Bernstein’s score on the cutting room floor).
I’m just going to leave this little video here for you all, just in case you have either a longing to hear the iconic John Williams Superman theme, or a desire to watch a record spinning at 45 revolutions per minute. Hell, this video has you covered if you want to do both at the same time, it’s that good!
That first paragraph probably sounds like I’m being sarcastic but, I promise, I’m not. I’d happily listen to the whole movie soundtrack in this way.