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Monday, March 09, 2009


Time After Time
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Film Score Monthly Vol.12 No.3
27 Tracks 54:07 mins

Another must-have release for all fans of great film music is FSM's new complete original recording of Miklos Rozsa's last great score for Nicholas Meyer's Time After Time, a fantasy in which H.G. Wells not only wrote The Time Machine, but also invented it, only for Jack The Ripper to use it to evade capture by travelling to the future - of course with Wells in hit pursuit. The excellent David Warner played The Ripper, with Malcolm McDowell perhaps a surprise choice as Wells, but acquitting himself very well in such a mannered and subdued role for him. His love interest was played by Mary Steenburgen, and their love spilled over into real life, with the couple marrying.
There was a soundtrack album at the time of the film's release but, as was often the custom of the time, it was a re-recording, with the great Hungarian composer conducting the Royal Philharmonic in a programme of just under 40 minutes, and the music was in places modified for the recording. Here, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the film, the complete score, as heard in the film, is finally released.
Probably the most memorable theme the composer wrote for the film is "The Time Machine Waltz," one of many fine waltz tunes he came up with over his lengthy career. The track however is used as source in the film and mixed low so its hard to hear. Interestingly, Meyer wanted to used Rozsa's Spellbound theme, but couldn't obtain the rights to the piece, so Rozsa came up with the new theme, and aren't we glad he did?! The piece is heard within the body of the score, with a piano version of the theme, of which only a brief snatch was heard in the film, included as a bonus track at the end.
But, leaving this theme behind, the score has much, much more to appreciate, including some of the most frantic and excited action music Rozsa ever composed for, the various chases involving Wells and The Ripper; a typically gorgeous love theme, which positively soars during the "Finale;" an adventurous, propulsive theme for the time machine; a plaintive oboe theme for what Wells initially thinks is his future Utopia, before the truth or modern-day life is revealed to him; and a music box-like theme (adapted by Rozsa from the Chants d'Auvergne) for The Ripper's watch. Among the many memorable cues, worth a special mention is the music for the taking off of the time machine, a ticking motif, which adds an even more propulsive feel the the "time machine theme," especially when swirling violins and urgent brass are added to the mix.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high-quality booklet, with stills from in front and behind the camera, notes on the film and its score, plus the always appreciated cue-by-cue guide, courtesy of Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald, and most valuably, the director's "Retrospective Thoughts" on the film.
Rozsa fans will be delighted by this release (I certainly am) and I have no hesitation in recommending it to all devotees of great orchestral film music. While you're at it, check out the movie, if you can: it's a delight.
Visit for further details, samples and of course to order your copy.


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