Lee Holdridge was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1944. He spent his early
years in Costa Rica, and began his music studies on the violin when he was
ten. By the time he was fifteen, he was determined to be a composer. Later,
he moved to Boston; and, in 1962, he commenced his studies at the Manhattan
School of Music. While in New York, he wrote chamber works, rock pieces,
songs, theatre music, and scores for short films. In 1973 he moved to Los
Angeles and began his film music career.
Lee Holdridge's work for TV and films embraces a wide range of styles and
moods. His list of works includes: 16 Days of Glory; Old Gringo; Pastime;
Mr Mom; Micki and Maude; The Other Side of the Mountain Pt. II; Jeremy;
Sylvester; A Tiger's Tale; Winterhawk and 1994's The Giant of Thunder
Holdridge has also composed music for the concert hall - e.g. Concerto
for Viola and Chamber Orchestra, a Concerto for piano and
Orchestra, a Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, No.2; an
opera and suite. Lazarus and His Beloved, Scenes of Summer,
Andante for Orchestra and Ballet for Harp and Strings.
This album is as much a tribute to the late Charles Gerhardt as to Lee Holdridge.
The recording was made in 1985 with the late George Korngold as producer.
Needless to say, Gerhardt elicits crack, full-blooded, heart-on-sleeve
performances of this glorious music from the London Symphony Orchestra.
The concert opens with a suite of Holdridge's broad
virile music from the 1982 MGM fantasy film, The Beastmaster replete
with steely figures for the combat scenes, heroic fanfares and a scintillating
'Night Eagle' cue that sends the music soaring serenely, mystically aloft
with celeste, harp strings and horns.
'Music for Strings' from the 1973 film Jonathan Livingston Seagull
is an affecting, beautifully crafted work for multi-part strings. Again,
it is splendidly romantic and melodic. 'The Journey' from the 1976 MGM film,
Going Home is exuberant, high-spirited music of aspiration and adventure
laced with humour, the occasional dark shadow and, perhaps, some romance.
Gerhardt pulls all the romantic stops out for his reading of the love theme
from Splash (see below) and dons his 'swashbuckling robes' for his
Overture to the 1983 Warner Bros TV series Wizards and Warriors. As
he relates in his notes for this album, Lee wrote this score in tribute to
his idols, Korngold, Waxman and Steiner. This is a fast paced ride with plenty
of humour and a pause for the big romantic gesture.
Holdridge was asked to write the music for the 1981
ABC-Mini-series that presented the entire Steinbeck novel. Include here is
a substantial 6-movement suite. It opens with the lovely, haunting Main Title
music which contrasts strongly with the brooding, tense music for 'The Brothers
- Cathy - leaving Connecticut' that grows ever more powerful so that it towers
threateningly over the rest of the score. 'The Father' is conversely gentle
and pastoral, recalling middle-western Copland. 'The Well' has a grandiose
sweep about it suggesting broad vistas or unbridled ambition before the music
calms for the rest of the cue as 'The Naming.' A stain creeps across the
score as Holdridge adds a blighting dissonance for 'The Secret of Monterey'
as the brother's mother is discovered to be the Madam of a brothel. But again
the cue lightens in atmosphere and the music becomes tender for 'Abra's Theme'
The 'Finale' returns to the sweeping music of the Main Title.
For The Hemingway Play a teleplay in the 1970s PBS, Hollywood Television
Theatre series, Holdridge wrote his charming 'Parisian Sketch' which he later
expanded to this concert version. It is glittering, nostalgic and romantic
yet it has an air of valse triste too.
This most enjoyable concert closes with Holdridge's radiant and spectacular
music for the stunning Emmy Award-winning 1977 documentary by the National
Geographic Society, The Great Whales. As Lee says, "it contains one
of my favourite themes for a film. The music for me, is about the elegance
and almost too-human warmth of these magnificent creatures.