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Thursday, February 19, 2009


John Paul Jones/Parrish
Music by Max Steiner
Film Score Monthly Vol. 11 No.12 (US)
24 Tracks 71:30 mins

As with its other recent release, Auntie Mame, coupled with Rome Adventure, the FSM label has made available on CD for the first time, these two Max Steiner scores from 1959 and 1961 respectively. Both are re-recordings of the composer's music from the films, the first concerning Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones, and starring Robert Stack; the second a vehicle for teen heartthrob Troy Donahue, based on Mildred Savage's tale of "love and lust on the tobacco farms of the Lower Connecticut Valley."
Both presentations are again re-recordings, often the norm at the time; the first conducted by Muir Mathieson, who also conducted the score as heard on the film, and now sadly lost; the second featuring Steiner's seven selections from the Parrish score, originally presented on side 1 of the LP, with George Greeley (My Favorite Martian composer) playing piano concerto-like arrangements of three of the Parrish themes, as well as Steiner's immortal "Tara's Theme" from Gone With the Wind, and the popular "Theme from A Summer Place."
This disc gets underway with the near 37-minutes of selections from John Paul Jones, which is vintage Steiner, full of proud and heroic music, and incorporating, as the composer often did, well-known tunes, in this case, "Yankee Doodle," which opens and closes the "Main Title," book casing Steiner's fabulous march theme for the title character, which is reprised in more stately and nautical modes in the following "Growing Up." After a dark opening, the next track becomes grimly determined for "The First Landing of the U.S. Marines.""House of Burgesses" is illustrated by a light and sunny minuet; with the mood continuing into "Horse-Play," with its banjo-lead Southern feel, giving way to lively horse-racing music, and then to a touch of romance. "Yankee Doodle" returns in grim mode for "Valley Forge," which is followed by the lovely theme for the title character's one true love "Aimee," though the track takes a darker, suspenseful turn before the theme returns in its most espressive form. "The Surrender" features characteristic Steiner action writing, before "Yankee Doodle" again returns softly to close. "Catherine the Great" incorporates portions of the "1812 Overture" in a largely suitably Russian-flavoured track. After an initial fanfare, "The Golden Sword" pairs Jones' march with the Aimee theme. The theme from "House of Bugesses" returns in waltz-like mode for the opening of "Dorothea," before the composer introduces a Scottish lilt into Jones' courtship of Dorothea. The lengthy "Return from Russia- Finale" revisits many of the themes featured in the preceding score, before ending heroically with the march theme.
Parrish opens with a theme not by Steiner, but by actor John Barracuda, who played a small part in the film. "The Tobacco Theme" is something of a spiritual piece, but not very memorable. This is followed by Steiner's "Paige's Theme," a guitar-driven, easy-going piece for strings. "Allison's Theme" is a sultry, clarinet-lead piece of bluesy music, with the typical, easy-going Steiner lilt of "Lucy's Theme" following, probably the best known theme from the picture. A radio source cue follows in "Someday, I'll Meet You Again," a theme originally written by the composer for 1944's Passage to Marseilles. "Paige's Theme" then returns in a waltz arrangements; with another easy-going piece, "Ellen's Theme," which actually opened the picture, concluding this lovely set of selections from the Parrish score. The Greeley performances close the disc in tuneful, easy-listening fashion.
The accompanying booklet is unusually short of illustrations but, as always, features copious notes on the films and scores, by James Lochner, including the much desired cue-by-cue guide, as well as the original LP liner notes from John Paul Jones.
For further information, samples, and to order your copy, go to


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