Label: Film Score Monthly - FSM Vol. 11 No. 7 • Series: Golden Age Classics • Format: 3x, CD Limited Edition • Genre: Stage & Screen • Style: Score
In one respect, this is a very enticing triple-CD set -- a limited-edition collection, it assembles the scores to half a dozen MGM-produced Westerns now owned by Warner Bros.
So on that basis, it is difficult to resist -- but there is a rub. First, as it turns Daniele Amfitheatrof, little of the music here is all that distinguished -- there is a huge gap between the quality of the movie The Naked Spur, rightfully regarded as a superb psychological Western with plenty of action as well, to keep the more conventionally minded genre audience happyand the music for The Naked Spur composed by Bronislaw Kaper.
The latter did do some fine Western scores, even late into his career with The Way West, but this is simply not one of them, and it does not hold up as freestanding music, for all of its Copland-esque pretensions and dark, noir-ish protrusions.
And one major problem, which is extremely annoying in trying to approach this score as freestanding music, is Kaper Jeff Alexander - The Naked Spur: Classic Wes reliance on variations of the Stephen Foster tune "Beautful Dreamer" as a recurring theme in the soundtrack. It is paired with Kaper 's music for The Wild North, which is not much of an improvement -- Kaper could write a big tune well enough, but there's not enough substance behind his Crying Song - The Pink Floyd* - Soundtrack From The Film More to allow it to stand on its own.
Disc two, devoted to the music of Daniele Amfitheatrofcontains some interesting work, his music -- following the lead of the movies involved -- being The Naked Spur - Bronislaw Kaper sympathetic depiction of Native American points of view and psychology. But as before, it does not stand the test of standing on its own merits, at least for those who are not thoroughly sold on the appeal of all soundtrack music.
And again, in fairness, the two movies involved, The Last Jeff Alexander - The Naked Spur: Classic Wes -- which is easily the best-preserved body of music on this collection, heard in stereo from 35mm three-track magnetic film -- and Devil's Doorway, are well worth seeing and their scores heard in context.
One heartily wishes that it were possible to report that this is an unheralded classic, but it is not -- it's a good, solid dramatic score for Punjab (Chiller Twist Mix) - Nach De Punjabi* - Nach De Punjabi Western that probably would have a better reputation today, if only the film itself were in a better state of preservation.
Again, this is a perfectly fine but hardly earthshakingly important body of music, even in the context of Western film scoring, and is notable mainly as Alexander 's first solo dramatic score. This release also marks the debut of a new Film Score Monthly cost-saving device: Internet liner notes in lieu of a printed booklet.
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