Monstrous Movie Music (MMM-1953)
Release Date: 2006
Conducted by Masatoshi Mitsumoto
Radio Symphony Orchestra of Slovakia
Best of 2006: Best Re-Recording
|2.||A Good Trade & A Surprise for Dad||2:45|
|3.||Beautiful Dreamer & Baby Joe and Transition to New York (Pt.1)||0:53|
|4.||Baby Joe and Transition to New York (Pt. 2)||0:29|
|6.||Joe and the Lion||2:38|
|7.||Joe and the Ropers||1:25|
|8.||Tragedy Averted Pt. 2||1:20|
|9.||Jill Meets Gregg||0:24|
|10.||Night Club Fanfare||0:12|
|12.||African Dance No. 1||0:19|
|13.||African Dance No. 2||1:39|
|14.||Fanfare No. 2||0:07|
|28.||Joe Breaks Loose||0:44|
|29.||Joe Runs Amok, Pt. 1||0:13|
|30.||Joe Runs Amok, Pt. 2||0:37|
|31.||Joe Knocked Out||0:50|
|33.||Jill and Gregg, Pt. 2||1:12|
|34.||Chase, Pt. 2||0:49|
|35.||Chase, Pt. 3||1:43|
|36.||Joe Eludes the Cops, Pt. 2 & Fire, Pt. 1||1:45|
|37.||Fire, Pt. 2||1:48|
|38.||Fire, Pt. 4||1:09|
|39.||Fire, Pt. 6||1:38|
|41.||Schneer's Emblem & Heaven||0:43|
|42.||Pa Warns Rudolph||0:46|
|49.||He is Dead||0:55|
|50.||The Birth of the Creature||0:37|
|51.||My Gloves (I) & The Cage||1:28|
|55.||Trailer & Fisticuffs||0:51|
|56.||Trial and Escape||3:02|
|58.||Meet One Trouble||1:52|
|61.||My Gloves (II)||0:24|
|64.||Moon Mystery and End Title||1:08|
|65.||Survival? & The Ceratosaurus||4:06|
|Total Album Time:||61:10|
|by Brian McVickar
February 26, 2006
Alongside Monstrous Movie Music's other current major release containing music from This Island Earth and other alien invasion films, is this collection of music from three early films showcasing special effects work by the master, Ray Harryhausen. Conductor Masatoshi Mitsumoto again leads the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Slovakia in faithful, close-miked performances of Roy Webb's Mighty Joe Young (1949), Paul Sawtell's The Animal World (1956) and cues by various composers such as George Duning and Daniele Amfitheatrof for the film 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957).
A little more than half the album's running time is occupied by Webb's varied score for Mighty Joe Young and we begin appropriately with its energetic "Main Title", full of strong brass, a tribal drum beat pattern and a bright yet staccato main theme presented on woodwinds and strings. This track bleeds into the next, "A Good Trade & A Surprise For Dad", with its cheery disposition of pizzicato strings and chirpy winds. Stephen Foster's oft-heard tune "Beautiful Dreamer" makes its first appearance in track three followed by the brief but busy "Baby Joe & Transition to New York". Big active brass, rolling timpani and slicing strings get their due in the propulsive trio "Joe and The Lion", "Joe and The Ropers" and "Tragedy Averted Pt. 2", after which a number of bold fanfare and dance cues are grouped together into a percussive, catchy suite. A solo piano rendition of "Beautiful Dreamer" provides a brief respite, but is soon joined by the full, swinging orchestra.
Another collection of brief fanfares is featured and then with "Tenth Week" the dramatic score returns, including another quote of "Beautiful Dreamer". Trouble begins in "Joe Breaks Loose" through trills and rising brass exclamations and then into the curt, frenzied cues for when "Joe Runs Amok". The action is set aside for a moment in the calm, lush string textures of "Jill & Greg Pt 2", but the pace must quicken once more as a "Chase" ensues. Strings and woodwinds propel most of the excitement but accented by angry brass outbursts and triplets. The next suite of action follows as "Joe Eludes The Cops" and then the climactic fire sequence, heard here in four parts of tragic, swirling strings, heavy low brass and frantic woodwind runs. The "End Title" returns to the more playful textures of earlier, then into a final rendition of "Beautiful Dreamer" and resounding, major key crescendo.
The opening track for 20 Million Miles to Earth, "Schneer's Emblem and Heaven", contains some ethereal, gorgeous colors on harp, piano, vibraphone and flutes. "Pa Warns Rudolph" is more ominous through its use of timpani and low woodwinds, but has a bright tag in "Sicily". "Comet" is a brief, blaring alarm from the brass and timpani. More mid-range, dramatic brass and string textures occur in "Certainly" and "Substance", the latter also includes a quirky figure for electronic organ. "Galley Fire" quickly pounds out some action. The quirky 4-note motif from "Substance" pops up again in the midst of "He Is Dead", "The Birth Of The Creature" and "My Gloves & The Cage", heard again on the electronic organ and in the horns.
The exciting, fanfaric "Trailer & Fisticuffs" leads into the lengthiest track (at three minutes) of this section, "Trial & Escape", which is propelled by punchy, motivic brass, timpani and some nervous string tremolos. "Meet One Trouble" carries the softer sensibilities of the score in a pleasant harp, strings and clarinet arrangement and "Evil Dead" brings back the menace in powerful, rising tension. The 4-note motif receives further ominous workout, mainly in the horns, in "My Gloves II", "Throws Stone" and "Creature". "Moon Mystery and End Title" begins hesitantly in high strings, before a harp allows the music to relax and warm up throughout all sections of the orchestra to a sonorous close.
Music from dinosaur spectacular The Animal World wraps up the album in the final two tracks, the first being "Survival and The Ceratosaurus". Mysterious tones in woodwinds and harp start the four minute suite before some noble, low brass appear under trilling winds. A harp ostinato then propels more low sonorities, abruptly halted by threatening brass and piano. The threat builds to more dramatic stingers, along with low brass slurs and trembling strings. The album closes with "Heaven", revisiting the gossamer textures of "Schneer's Emblem and Heaven" from 20 Million Miles, making for a soothing end to the previous fiery activity, threats and outbursts. As with the other releases from Monstrous Movie Music, this album is a must for fans of the genre and its hyper-dramatic, unsubtle styles. In examining the music composed for the multitude of Harryhausen projects, I still prefer those by Bernard Herrmann, Lawrence Rosenthal and Miklos Rosza, but there is still much fun to be had in these early efforts.
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