Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
SALTER / DESSAU: House of Frankenstein
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Stuart M. Paine | Arlington, VA USA | 08/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN score is wall-to-wall Universal horror excitement. Five seconds in, you know you're experiencing a classic monster movie. What better recommendation is there than that? I can't find a single cue here (of thirty) to complain about. The music's chilling, ominous, unsettling, pounding and everything else anyone could crave - and all of that leavened with just the right amount of Gypsy-inspired stuff to ensure that no one could possibly hear it without conjuring a mental image of a pentagram and a full moon. And unlike some of the other Marco Polo score discs, this one doesn't suffer from weakly recorded sound. What a great CD this is!
In the CD booklet, arranger John Morgan says that only a piano/conductor score had survived (in the possession of composer Hans J. Salter) and that he had to reconstruct the orchestration by ear from the film itself, listening through all the "dialog, explosions, screams and other unsavoury sounds." He did a good job. I myself have done a great deal of music transcription by ear (including orchestral) and I know it's not easy. And Bill Whitaker, in his turn, says of this music that, like THE SEA HAWK, CITIZEN KANE, SINCE YOU WENT AWAY and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, it "rates being heard complete and often". I'd never have thought to couple this score with any of those, but I can see his point. Salter painted a magnificent canvas beginning to end.
A Minor Gem
J. A. Retzer | Phoenix, AZ | 01/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this recording under the budget label NAXOS release and agree with the previous poster who cites the liner notes that this score should be listened to in its entirety and often.Never having seen the film, but being a fan of the old chillers, I knew of the music only via the brief clip recorded by Dick Jacobs on his extremely worthy but all-too-short "Themes From..." LP (also available on CD). The Jacobs recording offered an abridged and re-orchestrated -yet highly effective- version of the main title theme (which I and those in my circle dubbed The Misery Waltz), and which served well in a number of theatre and video projects. The present CD recording of the reconstructed score gives a better appreciation of and greater stature to what would otherwise have been neglected and forgotten; the workmanlike professionalism accorded to even the most modest film scores of -comparatively- low-budget chillers.Again, never having seen the film I was in a unique position to approach the score with no preconceived notions or recollections of what the music represented (apart from my own previous uses made of the "Misery Waltz"). To this end I can say that Salter's score is fine music. The liner notes quote the composer as describing his scores for these chillers as "Americana," and in a large degree that is accurate. Somewhat demented Americana at times, but Americana just the same. To be sure there is plenty of Frankensteinian European coloring (Gypsy Tantrums is a standout), and the Paul Dessau bits are gems in themselves, but one never feels far from the dark corners and foggy streets of our own backyards.The recording itself is full and rich, the orchestra is lusty and plays with a certain tangible glee during certain more melodramatic passages, while every drop of pathos is wrung from the tragic love sequences. This is a CD not to be missed by fans of horror film scores, but I would also recommend it to even the more casual listener of concert music as a worthwhile and, yes -even rewarding, addition."