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Thursday, December 15, 2005

CD REVIEWS - The Getaway & Sinfonia Tapkaara

The Getaway
Music by Jerry Fielding
Film Score Monthly Vol.8 No.18 (U.S.)
16 Tracks 38:05 mins

At last we get to hear the rejected score for the Steve McQueen/Ali MacGraw version of The Getaway from 1972. I won't go into the politics of the situation as these are amply covered in the accompanying booklet, but suffice to say that Jerry Fielding, director Sam Peckinpah's composer of choice found his efforts tossed out in favour of a new score by Quincy Jones. Whatever you think of Jones' efforts, it is great to finally be able to hear Fielding's score, even if, like most of his efforts, which often work wonderfully on screen, but are less involving away from the images they are composed for, I don't find it an album I will be much returning to.
There is much tense, suspenseful action music, with the lengthy "The Bank Robbery" very reminiscent of Fielding's music for the similar opening scenes in Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. The other lengthy track, "Hotel Confrontation" is another tense affair and demonstrates the composer's preference for writing around the action, rather than through it. Unfortunately, this does not make for a satsifying listen on CD, where you sit there just dying for some flowing music to latch onto. Some lightness figures in the score, namely the love theme for the McQueen/MacGraw characters, first heard in an ethereal treatment in "The Water Hole," and more conventionally in "Texas Trash Heap." Rounding out the score are a number of source cues of the pop/country variety.
As a bonus, there is included a DVD, featuring a half-hour documentary Main Title 1M1: Jerry Fielding, Sam Peckinpah and The Getaway, in which Fielding's widow Camille, their daughter Elizabeth and Katy Haber, Peckinpah's long-time confidante, assistant and lover, reminisce about the composer and his relationship with the director.
As I said, Nick Redman's accompanying booklet notes give the troubled history of the film and its music and also provide a cue-by-cue guide to the CD, even providing the means to synchronise the music to the film should you wish to go down that path.

Sinfonia Tapkaara
Music by Akira Ifukube
Naxos Japanese Classics 8.557587 (EU)
5 Tracks 60:45 mins

Fans of Akira Ifukube's music for Japanese monster movies, such as the Godzilla series, will want to snap this album up for his Symphonic Fantasia No.1, which combines themes from a number of these films, in a wonderful 13-minute suite, filled with bold marches and exciting action sequences.
Two concert pieces round out the disc, the title piece being the 25-minute Sinfonia Tapkaara, which has three movements and is equally enjoyable, with some flowing, rhythmic Japanese dance-style music and some almost funereal processional music, pausing only for a brief nocturne. The other concert piece is the 21-minute Ritmica Ostinata, which, as it sounds, consists largely of exciting ostinatos.
The accompanying booklet, in both English and German, provides biographical notes on the composer and a guide to each work.
Overall then, a thoroughly enjoyable album, full of movement, which really gets the blood circulating. So often composers who lead a double life between film and concert stage, compose very different music for each medium, but I'm glad to discover that Ifukube seemingly doesn't make that distinction and, on the evidence of this disc, I'd welcome the opportunity to hear more of his concert music any day.


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