Alex North Centenary, Part 1

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

With bold, original scores for films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Misfits, Spartacus, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, composer Alex North introduced a modern, American sensibility to film music. In advance of North's centenary (Dec. 4), host David Garland presents the first of two programs displaying North's genius. This week Garland is joined by North enthusiast Jon Burlingame, who teaches film music history at the University of Southern California.

 

Playlist:

Alex North - Unchained - Unchained Melody - Bay Cities

Alex North - Fun Ride - Bite the Bullet - Prometheus

Alex North - The King And Four Queens - Main Title - Varese Masters Film Music

Alex North - Dragonslayer - Destroy That Amulet! - La-La Land

Alex North - Death of a Salesman - (m01) - Kritzerland

Alex North - A Streetcar Named Desire - Main Title  - Cloud Nine

Alex North - A Streetcar Named Desire - Seduction - Varese Sarabande

Alex North - Sanctuary - Candy's Return - Varese Sarabande

Alex North - Spartacus - Gladiators Fight to the Death - MCA

Alex North - Spartacus - Main Title, Homeward Bound - Varese Sarabande

Comments [4]

John Coughlan

David, I can't tell you how much I enjoy listening to your program. I'm a pretty avid soundtrack collector, but I'm always thrilled by what you manage to uncover. Last night's Branislau Kaper ballet from LILI was a great example. I've never heard the ballet recorded in it's entirety; only truncated versions. Thank you! I'd love to hear more from Kaper's scoring in future programing... And, while I'm at it, I'd particularly love to have some of Herbert Stothart's work included down the pike. Thanks again for the great gift.

Dec. 12 2010 01:08 PM
David Garland

Susan Myers, my guess is that Alex North would have been very pleased that your father recognized the Puccini in his score. It can't have been because of a dearth of ideas that he used Puccini's themes, and I doubt very much that he meant to pass them off as his own. He surely wanted to evoke for the listener an association with Italian opera. However the movie credits may read, North probably would have been very happy to point out the Puccini in "Prizzi's Honor."

Eugene Lieber, you've got a good ear for great film scores!

Everyone, thanks for listening!
--David

Nov. 22 2010 09:22 AM
Eugene Lieber

Spartacus is one of my all-time favorite scores. I hope next week you can play the Prelude to Battle, Quiet Interlude, one of the most beautiful moments in the score.
My other three all-time film scores are: Bernard Herrman, Vertigo
Elmer Bernstein, To Kill a Mockingbird
Hugo Friedhofer, The Best Years of Our Lives

Nov. 20 2010 10:20 PM
Susan Myers from Yonkers, NY

Greetings Mr. Garland and Mr. Burlingame,

I very much enjoy "Movies on the Radio." Tonight, however, I'm commenting on behalf of my father, a professional bassoonist, who hasn't been a fan of Alex North's since he realized that much of the score of "Prizzi's Honor" was directly lifted from Puccini's opera, "Gianni Schicchi". The score is credited to Alex North with no attribution or mention of Puccini in the credits.

My father was second chair bassoon in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra for more than thirty years, so this is a matter well in his professional domain, and close to his heart. He really resents North crediting himself for music that was so obviously derivative. When touting North's "genius," please bear in mind that North owed credit to a true genius: Giacomo Puccini.

Sincerely,

Susan Myers

Nov. 20 2010 09:39 PM

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