These 1950s and 1960s OSTs deliver the usual balance of authentic experience
and sound degradation. Authenticity wins the day.
Tender is the Night (17 tracks) is the single largest helping on this silver
platter. The first and last (1 and 17 - Hollywood-Rachmaninov wallow) tracks
of the sequence are not by Herrmann. The score represents a fantasia for
strings with only The Embrace touched with conventionality. Piercing poignancy
and Sibelian elegies counterpoint The Mirror which registers
tellingly with its erupting terraces of string hysteria and the playful musette
of Vacation. The woodwind arabesques are reminiscent of the music
for the fountain in Fleckers Hassan. The Dawn is a deeply
impressive evocation of the same line as Mussorgskys Dawn on the
Moskva. A pretty dreamy manner is well sustained throughout. The sound
quality very slightly distressed. The final (non-Herrmann) track is a woeful
confection of cottonwool and caramel goo: avoid.
High throbbing strings deliver the tawdry theme of The Man in the Gray
Flannel Suit. For the most part we are speaking of a score much afflicted
with regret, chilly sheets of rain and November elegies with just a shudder
of DSCH-style vibrancy and a final gloriously incongruous Hollywood sunrise.
A Hatful of Rain (16 mins) is an extremely obscure score: all Hollywood
bell-toll, jeering raggedy brass, motoric rhythmic pith and breathy string
Excellent notes by Jon Burlingame (I hope to hear more from him) but no track
timings and a Hatful of Rain is regrettably presented as a single track suite.
The booklet includes stills from the films and monochrome reproductions of
original theatre posters.
A nice piece of Herrmann memorabilia with the greatest rewards yielded by
Tender is the Night. Not the place to start an exploration
of Herrmann but with some good material. A valuable document.