This rousing concert opens with Bruce Broughton's brilliant, rousing theme
from Silverado, and closes with Robert Farnon's equally bracing score
for Captain Horatio Hornblower. 'Hornblower, (Warner Bros., 1951),
which starred Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo, was made in England
where Farnon, a Canadian by birth, had settled to pursue his career as a
highly successful composer of light music. The 16+-minute suite on this album
opens with 'HMS Lydia' full of energetic swashbuckling bravado that would
not have shamed Steiner or Korngold. The central movement comprises sound
portraits of two of the characters: Polewheal (Richard Hearne [TV's Mr Pastry])
the loveable, rather comic servant to the Captain and a more romantic treatment
for Lady Barbara (Mayo). Farnon's in-depth treatment which does not forsake
drama and shadows suggests Rozsa and Raksin, and suggests that the course
of the romance was not entirely smooth (Lady Barbara being promised elsewhere).
A President's Country was a composition for a film about Texas for President
Lyndon Johnson. It uses music that Tiomkin had already written for: Red
River, The Alamo, Duel in the Sun, High Noon, Giant and
Rawhide. This score, however, is mostly gently reflective, using for
instance 'The Green Leaves of Summer' rather than the martial 'De
Guella' from The Alamo It is left to the Rawhide music
to provide the more boisterous contrast. Judging from the audience noises,
we have here the spontaneity of a live performance!
The most significant score here is Hans J. Salter's music for the
1960 TV series Witchita Town that starred Joel McCrea. Salter,
best known to today's film music fans for his music for the Universal horror
films also scored many other genres including a goodly number of westerns
including: Bend of the River, Tomahawk, Apache Drums, Man Without a Star,
The Oklahoman, Gunfight at Dodge City and countless Johnny Mack Brown pictures.
For a 26 episode TV series, Salter was clearly faced with having to create
music for awhole variety of characters and situations. You can judge from
this 16 cue, 30-minute suite how exceedingly well he accomplished his mission
with scoring to equal that of the Tiomkin and Steiner western scores. There
is folksy country material, whimsy and near-slapstick, evocative cues ('Desert
Landscape, for instance), eerie and mysterious material for 'The Empty House'
with its ethnic Indian overtones, warm, sentimental music for 'Mother and
Child', tragic and melancholy for 'Jody's Death' and, of course whip-crackingly
thrilling figures for chases and music that menaces, spits and snarls for
the gun fights. Splendid stuff, recalling TV and Saturday morning cinema
A rip-rousing collection in splendid sound.