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Lost Alfred Hitchcock film score(s) may be reconstructed via Kickstarter


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Author Topic: Lost Alfred Hitchcock film score(s) may be reconstructed via Kickstarter  (Read 106 times)
patmos.beje
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« on: August 28, 2018, 01:14:27 am »


The Californian based Intrada label is one of the bastions for CD releases of film soundtracks.  Whilst the majority of their releases hold no interest for me, they have been fantastic for releasing Rózsa scores - both original soundtracks and reconstructions (e.g. a reconstruction of the score to Hitchcock’s Spellbound not otherwise available).  They also released the definitive/best sounding version of Bernard Herrmann’s original soundtrack for Hitchcock’s North by Northwest - long sold out.

There are many scores by some of Hollywood’s golden age composers that no longer exist out with the film or in respect of which complex licensing issues prohibit their release.  The only way for such scores to see the light of day is for them to be reconstructed and recorded, usually an expensive and loss making undertaking given the small market for them.

Inspired, so it would seem, by the successful campaign of James Fitzpatrick of the Tadlow label raising over £40,000 (half the actual costs) to reconstruct and record Rózsa’s score for King of Kings by way of Kickstarter, Intrada are attempting a new funding model, by way of Kickstarter, to make available scores otherwise unavailable.

They are starting a possible Alfred Hitchcock series with Dimitri Tiomkin’s lost score for Dial M for Murder which, if successful (cost €38,794), may lead to his lost scores for Strangers on a Train and Shadow of a Doubt being reconstructed and, possibly, Franz Waxman’s lost score for Suspicon and Bernard Herrmann’s lost score for The Man who knew too much.  The latter contains a fine Prelude by Herrmann and Arthur Benjamin’s fine Storm Clouds Cantata both of which have been recorded.  Other than a song sung by Doris Day I am not sure there is much/any other music.

Herrmann and Benjamin excepted, none of this music appeals to me.  In fact, despite seeing the Tiomkin and Waxman scored films many times, I can’t presently recall a single note from them (except Lehár‘s Merry Widow waltz from Shadow of a Doubt).  I’m reasonably certain, however, that I would be able to link some of Tiomkin’s music to the right film if I heard it - certainly so in respect of Strangers on a Train.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the first project, the possibility of future releases more to my taste, means I will support the Kickstarter campaign by purchasing the CD in advance which, together with shipping costs if the CD sees the light of day, means a commitment of about £34.

I conjecture the Kickstarter campaign will be a success. Partly because Tiomkin has his fans, partly due to film score enthusiasts being tempted by the possibility of their favourite scores having a chance to be recorded if this campaign succeeds and partly due to the affection Hitchkock’s thrillers are held in and the consequential exposure their music has had.

Could such a funding model work for rarely heard classical music or classical music played long ago? I doubt it. I would be skeptical that a sufficient number of classical music enthusiasts would be so enterprising, excepting the enthusiasts who are part of this and similar forums.

See: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/129145902/dial-m-for-murder-film-score-recording

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M. Yaskovsky
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 12:04:47 pm »

The orchestra will be the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. An excellent choice; they did much film and soundtrack work; they're experts!
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christopher
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 01:24:10 pm »

When it describes these scores as “lost”, did the project include the search to locate the scores?

I have for a while been wondering if this model could be used to locate the lost scores of Sergei Bortkiewicz, not least his opera “The Acrobats”, for which there are many clues as to where it might lie - but this might best be done by a professional document hunter, and that costs money. Several thousand euros apparently. I don’t know how much interest could be attracted, certainly his music is stunning.
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patmos.beje
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 02:43:31 pm »

When it describes these scores as “lost”, did the project include the search to locate the scores?

I have for a while been wondering if this model could be used to locate the lost scores of Sergei Bortkiewicz, not least his opera “The Acrobats”, for which there are many clues as to where it might lie - but this might best be done by a professional document hunter, and that costs money. Several thousand euros apparently. I don’t know how much interest could be attracted, certainly his music is stunning.

What I meant by being lost - apologies for any innacuraccy - is the original soundtrack, as can be heard in the film, does not exist apart from the film.  Accordingly, it is not possible to release a CD of the original soundtrack.  Most reconstructions, and apparently the hoped for one for Dial M for Murder, require the entire score (music and orchestrations) to be reconstructed from scratch. I guess that the original score for Dial M for Murder no longer exists.

It amazes me how people can reconstruct entire scores from listening to music in films, often obscured by dialogue and other noises.  Whilst I think it is virtually impossible that the finished product exactly matches the original, often one would be hard pushed to notice the differences.
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patmos.beje
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 02:56:37 pm »


For what it is worth, this Intrada project is receiving a very mixed response on the Film Score Monthly General Discussion forum.

There a several, so far, who view Tiomkin's score as unworthy of a Kickstarter project when compared to other possibilities.

I have made a pledge to purchase the CD.  Including shipping I will be charged £30 if the target is reached, a small investment if this eventually leads to, say a, Rozsa score being reconstructed. So far a number are doing what I am doing, basically making a token gesture to support Intrada rather than the composer or music. If people like me prove to be the majority, I presume the project is unlikely to succeed.  That would be a pity.

See:
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=130160&forumID=1&archive=0
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relm1
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2018, 03:08:33 pm »

When it describes these scores as “lost”, did the project include the search to locate the scores?

I have for a while been wondering if this model could be used to locate the lost scores of Sergei Bortkiewicz, not least his opera “The Acrobats”, for which there are many clues as to where it might lie - but this might best be done by a professional document hunter, and that costs money. Several thousand euros apparently. I don’t know how much interest could be attracted, certainly his music is stunning.

Many famous scores were thrown away after the recording so the originals exist in a land fill.  All of the Miklos Rozsa's MGM scores were tossed. Some of his sketches may have survived (I think they're at Eastman) but not the full orchestrations. Anyone doing those now would have to rebuild them from piano conductor scores or transcriptions. Herrmann's slightly different because he orchestrated everything himself and much (but not all) of that has survived. Virtually none of the Korngold sketches exist; but the orchestrations done for the WB pictures survive because WB saved everything, or nearly everything, and they're at the WB archive that USC administers.  These "newly discovered" scores might mean there was a version not known to exist that someone finds in a library or something.  All of John Williams' musical sketches will go to Juilliard music library and within them, we might find "newly discovered" works that were just never fully realized, abandoned, first thoughts on what would be famous scores, juvenelia, etc.  These days most scores are somewhere digital so can be reproduced easily as long as the disc survives but of course in old days, these only existed in an original copy (unless someone manually copied the score by hand which would rarely be done because there wasn't time and no one thought these would be cherished in the future). 
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patmos.beje
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 06:27:07 pm »


Many famous scores were thrown away after the recording.....and no one thought these would be cherished in the future.

How wrong they were!

Happily, the original soundtracks for many of the scores of Rózsa, the majority of Herrmann’s scores and several Korngold scores have survived even if the musical scores themselves have not. Smiley Wink Cheesy Grin
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