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Good Music - But Stan was Right
Mark D Burgh | Fort Smith, AR United States | 11/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Consider: Stanley Kubrick's major films all had soundtracks made up of a pastiche of sources with one exception, his least good film, Spartacus. Alex North did the honors, writing one of the most beautiful melodies for the film in "Spartacus Love Theme." For a great version of this see Yusef Latif "Eastern Sounds." But part of Kubrick's battle with Hollywood was to distance himself from cliche and compromise, and by the time he moved to England, he had an artistic vision that he saw through with nearly psychotic resolve. Kubrick knew that music was important to films, not only to provide soundtracks, but to offer counterpoints, or to unify an image with an emotion. 2001: A Space Odessey is a classic in the use of this bricolage of sound. North could not have matched either the Imperialistic bombast of Strauss (too Leftist) nor the astringency of Ligeti (too tonal), neither could he have provided a waltz with built-in associations of vieled sexuality like "The Blue Danube." Kubrick was among other things, a master pornographer, especially of machines. (see the opening of Dr. Strangelove). So what about this music? It's good, modernist stuff, and worth buying and listening to in its own right. North was fully conversant with all modes of modernist symphonic composition, and he uses them fluidly, but the edge of invention that 2001 needed was missing; North did not have it in him. We should consider, too, that North was imitating the scratch music Kubrick was cutting the film to, so this is a limitation North had to work with. Those who think 2001 would be better with this music are wrong. Stanley Kubrick, at his peak, knew what would work, and this music did not, does not, and will not. Lost soundtracks, like unpublished novels are often better in the talking about than in the reading or listening to."
Snapshot mid 20th century
M. Tyler | Sisterdale, TX United States | 04/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"North's score for 2001 is a wonderful piece of music. In the liner notes North is quoted as saying that his score had a much more contemporary feel than the music that ended up in the movie. This is absolutely true, and the North score's downfall. The music would have placed the film squarely Mid-Century, and had it been used, 2001 might well be regarded dated instead of the timeless classic it is in its current form. I can imagine the anguish North must have felt to go tho the premiere expecting his music and hearing what he heard! Nonetheless, 2001 would be weighed down and held back by Alex North's music, great as it is. The disc is great fun for fans of the movie, and a must for Soundtrack fans!"
An Intriguing, Yet Enjoyable Surprise
Luis M. Ramos | Caracas, Venezuela | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""2001: A Space Oddyssey" is one of my favorite movies of all time. Stanley Kubrick did really create a wonderful and stunning sci-fi masterpiece: the visual effects are truly ahead of its time, the atmosphere is overwhelming, and the choice of classical music is definitely compelling, especially Richard Strauss' 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', which became the key piece of music that anybody can relate to this movie.
However, I found surprising the fact that there was an original score written for the movie, and it was composed by the composer of "Dragonslayer", Alex North. I found that curious. And the fact that Jerry Goldsmith conducted the National Philharmonic Orchestra made me feel even more curious, so I bought this album.
The main title almost sound the same as Strauss' composition, very epic and appealing. The action tracks 'Eat Meat And The Kill' and 'The Bluff' are very compelling. The 'Main Theme', which is supposed to be some sort of entr'acte is truly powerful. 'Space Station Docking' is enchanting. Finally 'Moon Rocket Bus' transmits a flair of mystery with the one-woman chorus (That's what I believe the female voice is) in the backround supporting the dark mood of this cue. The rest of the music is kinda atmospheric, but it doesn't make this album any boring. In fact, this is an interesting listen.
It's hard for me to marry Alex North's music to Stanley Kubrick's classic. This album is worth listening without thinking of the powerful images of the sci-fi masterpiece."