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.