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Torch Song Trilogy
Various Artists
Torch Song Trilogy
Genre: Soundtracks


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Torch Song Trilogy
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genre: Soundtracks
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 042283778528, 042283778542

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CD Reviews

The Horse's Mouth
Arbiter of Good Taste | 07/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'd like to reply to the review entitled "Some Really Bad Edits." I feel that I am qualified in that I was the music supervisor for the film "Torch Song Trilogy" as well as the co-producer of the soundtrack album.

First of all, Mr. Fierstein's performances are most certainly the ones used in the film. They were recorded in a studio with piano accompaniment by the late Peter Matz, who composed the original background music for the film and was my co-producer of the album. There are no edits made to these recordings! As for the song "Svelte," if you watch the film, you will clearly hear that Fierstein plays a game of catching himself before uttering what one would expect to be a rhyming obscenity (in one case, he begins to utter a word which is unprintable on this website but suffice it to say it begins with the letter "f" and then he immediately changes his mind and substitutes the word "duck"). This was entirely intentional on Fierstein's part and was meant to be humorous.

The quality of Fierstein's recordings is admittedly not all that great: I wasn't in Hollywood when they were recorded, but I did my best with the recording studio engineer to try and make them sound as good as possible with some digital noise filters. But I repeat: the tracks have NOT been edited for content. Another reason the Fierstein songs sound somewhat different is that the ambient nightclub sounds which were laid over the music track for the film have been removed, and what you get on the album is 100 percent Fierstein (and Matz).

The recording I chose of "Body and Soul" is by legendary bass-player Charlie Haden and his Quartet West (Ernie Watts on sax, Alan Broadbent on piano, Billy Higgins on drums). It is taken from a 1987 Verve Records album. Granted, this is not a traditional interpretation, but its quiet moodiness struck me and I placed it in the film in the background when the character of Ed (Brian Kerwin) goes to Arnold's (Fierstein) dressing room and tells him of his suicide dream. The music drifts in from the off-screen nightclub, and is suggestive of something that might be played after the main show is over, the crowd has thinned out, and it is well past midnight.

It is not a perfect album, but it serves as a good souvenir of the film, and contains some incredible performances by jazz legends such as Billie Holiday and Anita O'Day. I have only two regrets:

The album is very short. Although there was more music used in the film, it didn't stylistically mix well with the torch song theme (i.e. Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" is used in the film but it just wouldn't work on the soundtrack album).

An incredible frustration for me was the fact that, due to a disagreement over finances, Ella Fitzgerald's management invoked a clause in her recording contract (from the 1950s but it remains in full force and effect) and blocked Fitzgerald's recording of "This Time The Dream's On Me" - certainly the most important song in the film, where it is used three times and played over the closing credits - from being included on the soundtrack album. Had we been able to include this song, I think it would have been a far better album.

I am sorry that "A Film And Music Lover" from Phoenix doesn't like the album. It actually did quite well, charting for many weeks in the Top Ten on Billboard Magazine's Jazz Chart.

July 2005

Make AVAILABLE this on CD soon, please
A. A. Figueroa | London, London United Kingdom | 12/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I wish this title could be made available any soon. Do we need to wait until the publisher comes with a 20th anniversary edition (by 2008, if we're lucky)? Torch Song Trilogy was a hit as a play, a pioneer movie about gay cinema worldwide and a classic. Why deny the many followers of Harvey Fierstein the pleasure of a remastered edition of this soundtrack? Please make available this CD for the people who didn't have the chance of buying the vynil or the CD the first time round. And a Special Edition of the movie on DVD would be fantastic too."