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Classical Notes: April 10, 2006 Archive

Howard Hanson: Interlochen Alien??

Posted at 8:44 PM on April 10, 2006 by John Birge (1 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

Valerie's post on Hanson's Second Symphony showing up in "Alien" reminds me (and thousands of fellow Interlochen alumni) that this music became "The Interlochen Theme." Decades ago when NBC was doing summer broadcasts of Interlochen's World Youth Symphony Orch, that theme was played by the kids as live outro music while the announcer read the credits. Years after the broadcasts ceased, the tradition of closing Interlochen concerts with Hanson's tune continued. As for "Alien," here's a relevant post from Craig Pettigrew on the Interlochen Alumni listserve:

"The person responsible for the Hanson at the end of Ridley Scott's "Alien" was the film editor, Terry Rawlings. Not only is he a great editor, but most knowledgable when it comes to music. Films go through a "temp" process where music is cut in to allow the director and/or studio a chance to see the film in what feels like a finished
version. Temporary music was cut in by both Terry and Jerry Goldsmith's Music Editor, Ken Hall. None of whom are Interlochen alumni. But they know a great piece of music when they hear it, and Terry's suggestion of the Hanson for the temp turned out to be so terrific that Fox licensed it for the final version of the movie.

"I know this because I was the Music Editor on "Alien 3," also edited by Terry Rawlings (Directed by David Fincher, scored by Elliot Goldenthal) . During the temp process in "Alien 3" (which went on for almost a year) Terry had cut in, even before I came on the film, Hanson's "Elegy for Koussivitzky." This played near the end, and climaxes as she takes a Christ-like dive in the boiling metal. (At the time, no baby alien came bursting out; that was added at the end, so as to allow for yet another sequel) And the Hanson stayed for some time, cut and re-cut by myself to fit the various picture cuts which seemed to change week to week. (I had picked and cut the rest of the temp music, and Elliot had provided us with some synth demos)
However, the cue that Elliot ended up writing for the scene pulled
together the thematic elements introduced throughout the score, and it is a wonderful piece of music. And thus the Hanson was replaced.
Say what you will about those films, but they have provided wonderful
canvasses for composers. Elliot's score is among my favorites, and I'm proud to have been associated with it."

-Craig Pettigrew
NMC '72
IAA '72-73

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