Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...
...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre. So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category. Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the Chicago
Tribune I can only offer my recommendations. You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks. In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
My all time favorite soundtrack (or close to it) Inside Daisy Clover has
finally arrived in a spectacular 2-disc edition from FSM!
This, one of Andre Previn's last film scores, is his finest. It combines all of
Previn's musical signatures - sharp contrasts between major and minor,
ascending (and quickly descending) string lines below a solo instrument
(piano in this case), and especially an undertone of dread in the brass and
string heavy orchestrations. Even Previn's emotionally lighter cues here
have more than a hint of melancholy. His music is tremendously emotional
and melodically memorable and it's no surprise that the theme song
composed for the film, "You're Gonna Hear From Me," (with lyrics by then
wife Dory Previn) is arguably his best song.
The terrific FSM edition, of course, includes several versions of this now
almost a standard song (including the unused Natalie Wood recording),
along with another number - "The Circus Is A Wacky World" and an unused
song, along with a lot of other rare tracks.
My love of film scoring began with Bernard Herrmann's "Concerto Macabre,"
which was composed for the Victorian thriller Hangover Square and was
cemented when I saw/heard Inside Daisy Clover for the first time one late
night on television. The 1965 film, based on Gavin Lambert's novel about a
rebellious Judy Garland type who wins Hollywood stardom and is used by a
lot of nasty movie folk in the process, is definitely for cultists (as I noted
But Previn's score is a masterwork (it's like a continuation of the music he
composed the previous year for the underrated Bette Davis thriller Dead
Ringer). The FMS 2-disc set includes a new, longer edition of the score in
sequence, a recreation of the long out of print soundtrack LP, the bonus
material and one of their glorious jewel case booklets. I've been listening
avidly to the score since it arrived in July and have a hard time singling out a
particular track - they're ALL great. But the main theme - which sets up the
quasi "circus" theme of the film (mixed with the funeral undertow of dread),
and especially "Rebellion" are two of my favorites. In that last cue Previn
manages to match the intense action on screen and create a mini musical
masterpiece in less than three minutes (it also contains the seeds of his
later classical oratorio, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor").
Like all the FSM releases, this is a limited edition. Soundtrack enthusiasts
will have already raced out to buy their copy. Those that haven't, don't
delay (click on the click above NOW). This one is a must have. Thanks FSM!
And while we're releasing Previn scores dear FSM, how about 1956's The
Don't forget to check out previous soundtrack recommendations by visiting
Next Recommendation: TBA
The CD soundtrack cover and
composer Andre Previn circa 1965 when
the film was released.