October 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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EDITOR’s RECOMMENDATION October 2003

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The Appointment  
Music composed by Michel Legrand, John Barry, Don Walker, Stu Phillips
Limited edition: 3000 copies
  Film Score Monthly Golden Age Classics FSM Vol 6 No 11  
Running Time: 77:06 (Legrand, 18:50; Barry/Walker, 26:19; Phillips, 31:48)
Available from Film Score Monthly, 8503 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA90232; Tel: 1-888-345-6335; overseas: 310-253-9595; fax: 310-253-9588; e-mail:Info@filmscoremonthly.com

appointment

This album is a glorious oddity and, as a matter of historic record, stands as one of the finest releases by the Film Score Monthly label. Represented here are three different compositional approaches to Sidney Lumetís The Appointment (1969): Michel Legrandís wistful and infectious score for chamber ensemble, which would fail to make the theatrical print; Don Walkerís neo-romantic settings of a wonderfully lyrical theme by John Barry, and one that would eventually turn up on fifty internationally distributed prints; And, finally, Stu Phillipís haunting, and equally sumptuous, music laden with contemporary instrumentation and clever harmonies, which would eventually make a limited appearance on syndicated television in the United States.

The disc is nothing short of a fascinating and highly educational listening experience. One which mischievously manages to finds it way into my player when I am not looking. Aside from the almost incredulous way in which these seminal film composers came to leave their indelible marks on the film, a story that is worth the price of the album alone, yet more intriguing is the correlation between each composerís musical approach, with Legrand recalling elements of late Renaissance writing (And, yes, for those that already own this disc, I realise that harpsichord features prominently), Walker painting an affecting faux opera that would not look out of place in the yearís acceding Berliozís death, and Stu Phillips fusion of twentieth century elements and jazz constructs, particularly the fantastic "Solo é Triste" and the contagious "Partly Sunny".

The Appointment is a satisfying disc that shows four exceptionally talent individuals to the best of their abilities and, more importantly, stands as a highly educational document that has been thankfully saved from fading into insignificance.

Glen Aitken

***** 5

FSM album details and promotional notes:

  • Music From the Unused Score
  • Comliosed and Conducted by Michel Legrand
  • Suite liart 1 11:18 Suite liart 2 7:34
  • Total Time: 18:59
  • Music From the International Theatrical Release
  • Theme Comliosed by John Barry
  • Additional Music and Orchestration by Don Walker
  • Conducted by Harry Rabinowitz
  • Total Time: 26:19
  • Music From the American Television Broadcast
  • Comliosed and Conducted by Stu lihillilis
  • Lyrics by Bob Stone
  • Solo e Triste (vocal by Eric Karl of Bodine) 2:40
  • Carla/Help Me 2:32
  • Partly Sunny 1:34
  • Nothing 2:58
  • The Beauty of Beginning (instrumental) 2:20
  • Train to Milan/The Ride Back 1:46
  • Beginning of Love/To the Island 3:00 v The Beauty of Beginning (vocal by Laura Creamer) 2:09
  • Federico Waits/I Give You Everything/The Glasses 5:53
  • Run to Emma's 2:28
  • The Long Wait/Thank God Carla Dies/The Moment of Truth 4:09
  • Total Time: 31:48
  • Total Disc Time: 77:06

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

The Appointment was a 1969 drama starring Omar Sharif as a lonely Italian attorney who romances and weds a beautiful model (Anouk Aimee) -- all the while suspecting that she is a highly priced prostitute. Although directed by Sidney Lumet, The Appointment was a troubled production that led to its receiving three fully recorded scores by four composers. FSM's premiere release of the original soundtrack features selections from each -- making for a rare and fascinating look at three different approaches for a single film.

Score #1: Michel Legrand, recorded in Paris. Then at the peak of his powers (Ice Station Zebra, The Thomas Crown Affair), Michel Legrand provided a single 12-bar theme orchestrated for vibes, flutes, keyboards, guitars and harps, evoking Sharif's single-minded obsession. Legrand's (deliberately redundant) score was discarded after the film's initial screening for M-G-M executives, and is presented as a 2-track suite running 18:59.

Score #2: John Barry & Don Walker, recorded in London. The Appointment was released internationally with a symphonic score consisting of a 32-bar theme by John Barry, adapted and lushly orchestrated by Don Walker (a Broadway arranger who subsequently worked on Barry's musicals). This is the version of the film approved by Lumet and presently in circulation. Barry's theme was released on a French 45rpm single, both tracks of which are included within the 26:19 program on this new CD.

Score #3: Stu Phillips, recorded in Culver City. When The Appointment was released in the U.S., it was in a shorter version premiered on CBS television as the late night movie on July 20, 1972. The new cut was scored by Stu Phillips who provided a contemporary, rhythmic feel, including two songs with lyrics by Bob Stone (presented in a 31:48 program). The style is roughly that of Phillips's pop/symphonic score to the 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

FSM's CD of The Appointment is presented entirely in stereo, remixed from the original master elements. Liner notes by Lukas Kendall chronicle the production and differences between the scores.

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