February 2006 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Lost in Space - 40th Anniversary Edition  
Music composed by John Williams, Various Artists
Original Soundtrack from the Irwen Allen Televison Series
  Available on La La Land Records (LLLCD 1042)
Running Time: (2 Discs) 78:42; 76:39

Some years ago GNP Crescendo had released a comprehensive Irwin Allen Television compilation set which included a lot of the music from Lost in Space. Even then a handful of episodes were found to be missing. This new 2-disc set from La-La Records is a boon for the completists and fans alike, as it features a fair amount of music missing from the previous collection.

The musical sensibility for Lost In Space was established by none other than a certain Johnny Williams - who less than a dozen years latter would revolutionise science fiction film music with Star Wars. The first disc focuses on material exclusively composed by Williams, whose contributions for Lost In Space marked a pivotal role in the early years of his career. The John Williams-scored music for the episodes ‘The Reluctant Stowaway’, ‘Island in the Sky’, ‘The Hungry Sea’ and ‘My Friend, Mr. Nobody’ appear on the first disc, but each is presented in more expanded form by including additional unreleased cues.

One must understand that Williams’ music here is quite different from the music of Star Wars. Those expecting this to be in the same large epic symphonic genre will be in for a shock. As most fans know this kind of music is more tongue-in-cheek than earnest. There is a certain dark brooding motive that permeates through the suites which is evocative of Williams’s style from the future scores like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Dracula as well as The Towering Inferno. Many arpeggios and ostinatii foreshadow Williams’s golden age from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s. There is even an homage to Bernard Herrmann’s The Day The Earth Stood Still with use of the theremin in ‘The Reluctant Stowaway’.

Disc 2 starts with Williams with a brand new jazz-influenced take on the Season Three Main Title – a reflection of the new sound for the sixties. However entering the series would be entourage of such prolific scorers as Herman Stein, Hans J Salter, Leith Stevens, Alexander Courage, Gerald Fried, Cyril Mockeridge, Robert Drasnin and Lionel Newman. Each composer brings to the series their own style, sometimes colourful sometimes melodic, moving from serene to pastoral to western. There is a great variety of emotions reflected in the writing style of these artists and one can’t help but be transported to a less cynical age in science fiction television. Take Robert Drasnin’s ‘Curse of  Cousin Smith’ which has a catchy jazz rhythm.

The booklet is well produced with extensive liner notes and analysis. This is an enjoyable album that warrants repeated listens just for the sheer nostalgic value of the series. A must-have for the fans as well as for those who missed the fun and jazziness of the 60’s TV series.

Amer Zahid


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