Tracksounds Rating = 9/10
Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Marius Constant, Nathan Van Cleave,
Fred Steiner, Nathan Scott, Rene Garriguenc, Leonard Rosenman, Jeff
Alexander, Franz Waxman
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.
First Season Introduction - Herrmann; R. Serling narration
|2||Main Title - Herrmann||1:11||****|
|3||Where is Everybody? - Herrmann||11:19||***|
|4||End Title- Herrmann||1:04||***|
|The Outer Space Suite|
|7||Space Drift- Herrmann||3:14||***|
|8||Space Stations- Herrmann||1:21||**|
|9||Time Suspence- Herrmann||4:24||***|
|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||***|
|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||***|
|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||***|
|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||***|
|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||***|
|Total Playing Time||145:23|
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.|