Monday, October 17, 2011

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN: THE FRANZ WAXMAN SCORE - The Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn

YEAR: 1993

LABEL: Silva

TRACK LISTING: The Bride of Frankenstein - Main Title, Prologue - Menuetto and Storm, Monster Entrance, Processional March, A Strange Apparition/Pretorius' Entrance/You Will Need A Coat, Bottle Sequence, Female Monster Music/Pastoral/Village/Chase, Crucifixion/Monster Breaks Out, Fire in the Hut/Graveyard, Dance Macabre, The Creation, The Tower Explodes and Finale, The Invisible Ray Suite

IMPRESSIONS: This is another of my favourite film soundtracks and how can any horror fan not love it? This score, along with Max Steiner's 1933 KING KONG score, are two of the most influential and groundbreaking scores not only in the genre of horror but in motion pictures full stop. One can recall the original 1931 DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN films had a snippet of "Swan Lake" over the opening credits and that was it; here we have a film awash in the spectacular scoring provided by Waxman which no horror fan can hear without immediately being taken back to the first time he saw this classic monster movie. A funny side story concerns the famous three-note leitmotif for the Bride; Rogers & Hammerstein unconsciouly plagiarized it for their song "Bali Hai" in SOUTH PACIFIC. According to legend, when Franz Waxman heard "Bali Hai" for the first time he sent a telegram to the two broadway composers which simply read: "You're welcome".

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: I hate to take the easy way out but, with such and iconic score, truly all of 'em.

FACT SHEET: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a 1935 film from Universal directed by James Whale. The extensive score composed by Franz Waxman was revolutionary for its time and highly influential. The original score was orchestrated by Clifford Vaughan who used "organ sonorities" to achieve a very distinct sound and colouring to the score. Waxman was so pleased with the orchestration that, when he signed a contract with MGM in 1936 he specifically recruited Vaughan to orchestrate for him. Waxman's score for BRIDE used whole tone scales rather than the more traditional diatonic scales for most of the musical cues. Whole tone scales have only six notes to the octave; each interval in the scale composed of a whole tone. Claude Debussy used this technique and Waxman presumably employed whole tone scales to give the music a "restless" feeling. Waxman usually used leitmotifs for individual characters in the score whenever they appeared on the screen. Aside from BRIDE, the album also includes a reconstructed "suite" of Waxman's musical cues from the Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi starrer THE INVISIBLE RAY. Since no musical manuscript for the film survives, Steven R. Bernstein orchestrated the suite completely by ear from recording's of the movie's soundtrack.

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