Tracksounds Rating = 9/10

Composed by Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Marius Constant, Nathan Van Cleave, Fred Steiner, Nathan Scott, Rene Garriguenc, Leonard Rosenman, Jeff Alexander, Franz Waxman
Produced by Ford A. Thaxton
Released by Silva America - November 1999

Track Title Time Rating Zonin' for Forty Years!
by Christopher Coleman

One of the most recognizable television themes ever, the theme from The Twilight Zone has been sung, whistled and hummed by just about all of us at least a hundred times.   That four note theme has become synonymous with the weird, spooky, coincidental, and the freaky.  Now, not only do we have this mysterious theme, but also the weird, spooky, coincidental, and freaky music that filled episode after episode of The Twilight Zone. It is no wonder the film industry was taking a nosedive.  With the advent of television and series such as these, why go to the Saturday Matinee, when one could experience better chills and thrills at home?

Silva Treasury has done a top-notch job in pulling together some of the most intriguing musical moments from some of the most loved episodes of The Twilight Zone.  Some of the greats of film music were selected to add their undeniable talents to the small screen adventures:  Herrmann, Goldsmith, Rosenman, and Waxman, among others.  Thankfully, we have been given an adequate sampling of their work on this 4 CD extravaganza.  Bernard Herrmann is honored on disc one; Goldsmith on disc two, and a compilation of Marcus Constant, Nathan Van Cleave, Fred Steiner, Nathan Scott, Leonard Rosenman, and Jeff Alexander comprise the last two discs.

The maestro of suspense and intrigue, Bernard Herrmann is featured on the first CD and rightfully so.  Here we get the classic treatment including the opening sequences with narration by Rod Serling- a must!  Of course, we find the chilly main title and end titles composed by Herrmann for the first season.  This is not the signature theme that we immediately associate The Twilight Zone with, that theme would come from the uncredited French composer, Marius Constant for the show’s second season.  Interestingly, according to the insightful liner-notes, Herrmann composed and recorded themes for the second season as well, but were rejected in favor of Constant’s work!  There are four alternate takes of the main title and end title.  I believe Mr. Serling selected the best rendition for the first season.  Aside from these we have some intriguing other cues.  The Outer Space Suite is a calculating, well-paced section of eleven tracks ranging from the mysterious to the suspenseful to the downright scary.   Herrmann’s use of woodwinds is fabulous here- playful at times, but it just sets the listener up for the inevitable twists, turns, and terror The Twilight Zone has become so loved for.  Herrmann has to be credited for helping the innovative television series get its hooks into the American audience.

That mesmerizing four-note theme?  That’s the work of Marcus Constant.  The second CD begins with Constant’s great theme and also with Rod Serling’s narration and concludes with Constant’s equally famous end titles.  Sandwiched in between is a ton of Jerry Goldsmith.  Four tracks are over 11 minutes long…enough to satisfy the heartiest Goldsmith fan!  While not as mysterious and enchanting as Herrmann’s work for the first season, Goldsmith brings a little more approachability to his compositions.  Of course, they are Twilight Zone so there is somewhat of a mystical edge to them; especially track one, Back There.  The Big Tall Wish (track 4) may be the best of the compilation.  It features a down-home harmonica, but also a melody, in the beginning, that is strangely Middle Eastern.  It then returns to harmonica, strings, and woodwinds.  Mahvelous - Simple yet captivating!  It has a feeling reminiscent to Elmer Bernstein’s wonderful theme for To Kill a Mockingbird.  In striking contrast, to track 4, we have track 5, The Invaders that starts off with shrieking strings a la Herrmann’s Psycho and remains unsettling for the duration.

The third and fourth discs feature a wide range of music from several different composers- little of which is as interesting as Goldsmith’s or Herrmann’s.  There are a few notable exceptions. Disc 3, track 6, I Sing the Body Electric, which is a very pretty suite for guitar, strings, and woodwinds by Nathan Van Cleave.  The best of the three jazz themes included in the compilation is also found on disc 3 -Rene Garriguenc’s Jazz theme (track 8) is truly hip!  Disc 4, track 7, The Trouble with Templeton provides further lighter, jazzy moments as well, but with an odd note or chord, we are quickly reminded that we have departed from the land of predictable.  Just before the halfway point is reached in this track we are thrust right into a ragtime/ Dixie land trip, but before the 11 plus minute track is complete we are returned to the almost Gershwinesque theme established at the onset.

Silva America has done justice to one of the most popular television series ever.   They have managed to bring the musical component of the zone right to the forefront.  It becomes clearly evident that the music provided by Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Marius Constant, and the others played a significant role in convincing us that we had left our the dimension we call “home” and have traveled to a wondrous land of imagination.  This is the definitive collection of Twilight Zone music and is a must for film music fans and fans of classic television series.


From the Liner Notes

The Twilight Zone was one of the finest collections of television drama in the history of the medium.  The creation of prolific film and television writer Rod Serling, this series ran on the CBS network for vie years, from 1959 until 1964.  At a time when dramatic anthologies were rapidly giving way to westerns and sitcoms, The Twilight Zone made a name for itself as intelligent and thought-provoking tales of mystery and science fiction.   

During its initial run of 156 episodes, Serling assembled an impressive roster of actors, directors, and writers.  Music was another are in which the series excelled, thanks largely to Lud Gluskin, then the head of CBS West Coast Music.  He recognized that the uniqueness of this new production required composers whose talent would complement Serling's imagination and whose discipline would permit creativity in the restrictions of a weekly television program.  Bern Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Fred Steiner, Nathan Van Cleave, Franz Waxman had all previously worked in television or radio and were all perfectly suited to the task.

Christopher Landry

Disc One

 
1

First Season Introduction - Herrmann; R. Serling narration

0:25 ***
2 Main Title - Herrmann 1:11 ****
3 Where is Everybody? - Herrmann 11:19 ***
4 End Title- Herrmann 1:04 ***
The Outer Space Suite    
5 Prelude- Herrmann 3:52 ***
6 Signals- Herrmann 1:27 ****
7 Space Drift- Herrmann 3:14 ***
8 Space Stations- Herrmann 1:21 **
9 Time Suspence- Herrmann 4:24 ***
10 Starlight- Herrmann 2:52 ***
11 Danger- Herrmann 1:26 ***
12 Moonscape- Herrmann 2:27 ***
13 Airlock- Herrmann 0:52 ***
14 Tycho- Herrmann 2:01 ***
15 The Earth- Herrmann 1:17 ***
16 Alternate Main Title #1- Herrmann 0:27 ***
17 Walking Distance- Herrmann 12:24 **
18 Alternate End Title #1- Herrmann 0:42 ***
19 The Hitchhiker- Herrmann 7:10 **
20 Alternate Main Title #2- Herrmann 0:28 ***
21 The Lonely- Herrmann 11:06 ***
22 Alternate End Title #2- Herrmann 1:07 ***
Disc Time 71:43  
Disc Two  
1 Second Season Introduction- Constant; R. Serling narration 0:25 ****
2 Main Title - Constant 0:28 ****
3 Back There - Goldsmith 12:48 ***
4 The Big Tall Wish- Goldsmith 11:51 ****
5 The Invaders- Goldsmith 12:49 ***
6 Dust- Goldsmith 11:31 ***
7 Jazz Theme #1- Goldsmith 9:11 **
8 Jazz Theme #2- Goldsmith 3:12 **
9 Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room 8:14 ***
10 End Title - Constant 0:42 ***
Disc Time 73:35  
Disc Three  
1 Third Season Introduction - Constant; R. Serling narration 0:25 ****
2 Main Title - Constant 0:28 ****
3 Perchance to Dream - Van Cleave 9:49 ***
4 Elegy - Van Cleave 8:13 ***
5 Two - Van Cleave 12:06 **
6 I Sing the Body Electric - Van Cleave 11:40 ****
7 A World of Difference - Van Cleave 11:46 ***
8 A Stop at Willoughby - Nathan Scott 12:22 ***
9 Jazz Theme #3 - Rene Garriguenic 4:04 ***
10 End Title - Constant 0:42 ***
Disc Time 62:38  
Disc Four  
1 Fourth/Fifth Season Introduction - Constant; R. Serling narration 0:31 ***
2 Main Title Alternate - Constant 0:38 ***
3 100 Yards Over the Rim - Fred Steiner 12:13 ***
4 King 9 Will Not Return - Fred Steiner 11:09 **
5 The Passerby - Fred Steiner 12:55 **
6 When the Sky was Opened - Rosenman 11:53 ***
7 The Trouble with Templeton - J. Alexander 11:42 ****
8 Sixteen Millimeter Shrine - Waxman 10:47 ***
9 End Title Alternate - Constant 0:54 ***
Disc Time 61:53  
  Total Playing Time 145:23    

Category

Score

 

Themes/ Composition

8  

CD Length

10  

Track Selection

8  

Track Order

9  

Performance

8  

Final Score

9  
         

Other reviews:

The set really has no weaknesses (beyond my personal disliking of some of the jazz source cues). The sound quality is improved both overall and even moreso in specific cues. The editing and remastering by James Nelson, John Beal, and Alan Howarth is superb, with sound quality that will easily exceed your old Twilight Zone LPs. ****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks


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All artwork from The Avengers is exclusive property of Silva America (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.