Just a sampling...
vmzfla | Orlando, Fl. | 06/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Certainly there is much more about Alex North than what is contained on this disc. What we get here is a brief concoction of mature writing styles from the Philadephia born, Russian schooled, film composer. Perhaps his greatest contribution has been to incorporate elements of jazz
into dramatic film scores. With the exception of musicals, jazz wasn't even a consideration in a field previously dominated by the classically influenced Steiner, Korngold, and Waxman. North ushered in the next generation of soundtrack composers. This is most evident in his Ocar nominated(1951) " A Street Car Named Desire". It opens with a big piece of symphonic jazz. Swing for the piano and brass with undertones of the blues for the strings. Throughout North cleverly disguises his soundtrack. The audience is unsure if the music is coming from a nearby
jazz club or is supporting the sleazy action taking place in the New Orleans slum flat. Interesting concept that only works while viewing the film. The 1961 "Misfits" (Clark Gable's last film by the way)uses a more subtle line of jazz. Romance between the Gable and Monroe characters carried by the soprano sax. For the 1956 "The Bad Seed" North really gets it right in this story of an 8yr. old unredemptioned psychopathic killer. He uses throughout a harrowing dissonant theme entwined with a an off key childlike French folk song for a chilling demented musical experience. Perfectly hiding the evil behind the innocence of a child. The single selection from 1951's "Viva Zapata" is derived from the rhythm of his followers clacking stones. They view the arrested Zapata on horse back, noose around neck, riding to his death, with a typical Mexican folk like theme buildup for full orchestra. North depicts the brutality of Rome in "Spartacus" through the ominous howling of brass, winds, and percussion. He does give us a beautiful love theme for Spartacus and his affection for a slave girl, North never forgetting his roots and gift for melody. The overall performance of the LSO is good, as with the engineers and annotators. Because the selections are generally short one feels the absence of continuity with the program.