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Classical Notes

Roll Credits: June 27, 2011 - Science Fiction

Posted at 5:03 PM on June 28, 2011 by ClassicalMPR (2 Comments)
Filed under: Roll Credits

The score was, according to its composer Louis Barron, a series of "bleeps, blurps, whirs, whines, throbs, hums, and screeches." The character Robby the Robot cost $125,000 to build (this was 1956), and was the progenitor of later iconic actor-inhabited robots like C-3PO and R2-D2. Forbidden Planet was the first science fiction film to take place completely away from earth, and presumably the first whose plot was loosely based on a Shakepeare play (The Tempest).

This week's Roll Credits, with Lynne Warfel and Bill Morelock, begins with Forbidden Planet's bleeps, burps, etc., but quickly moves on to the household name space movies it helped spawn: Star Trek and Star Wars.

We also listen to Bernard Herrmann's score to The Day the Earth Stood Still; John Williams pays "tribute" to two prominent European composers; and Bill deals with issues surrounding his apparent descendants in The Time Machine (the H.G. Wells' monster-species is spelled differently though; a saving grace.)

Hope you enjoy Roll Credits, the Sci-fi edition.


Louis & Bebe Barron - Forbidden Planet
John Mauceri, conductor
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

Alexander Courage - Star Trek--The Television Show
John Williams, conductor
The Boston Pops

Jerry Goldsmith - Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Jerry Goldsmith, conductor
London Symphony

Marius Constant - Theme from The Twilight Zone
Erich Kunzel, conductor
Cincinnati Pops

Ennio Morricone - The Thing
Paul Bateman, conductor
The City of Prague Philharmonic

Bernard Herrmann - The Day the Earth Stood Still
Bernard Herrmann, conductor
National Philharmonic

Alex North - Fanfare for 2001: A Space Odyssey
Erich Kunzel, conductor
Cincinnati Pops

Erich Wolfgang Korngold - King's Row, Main Title
Charles Gearhardt, conductor
National Philharmonic

John Williams - Star Wars, Main Theme
John Williams, conductor
Boston Pops

Dvorak - Piano Tri in e minor "Dumky": VI
Beaux Arts Trio

John Williams - E.T. Flying Theme
John Williams, conductor
Boston Pops

Klaus Badelt - The Time Machine: Morlocks Attack
Studio Orchestra

Bill Conti - The Right Stuff
Erich Kunzel, conductor
Cincinnati Pops

Roll Credits homepage

Comments (2)

Great program! I've been waiting for a show like this for qute a while. I see you couldn't help but stick your finger in John Williams' eye over the King's Row thing. But still, great show!!
Since you brought it up, I'd say two things: 1) when almost anyone else does things like this, it is in fact called an homage; when John Williams (who has had to create hundreds of hours of widely varying material) occasionally does it, it's some kind of big deal and 2) George Lucas originally intended to score this movie with existing classical music ala 2001. Maybe that is the source of the similarity, as is often the case when temp tracks are used ... ? There is a part in the music for the climactic battle scene in Star Wars which recalls Holst's Mars - Bringer of War. So you can also use this against your favorite nemesis, if you really feel the need. Or you could play some of his staggeringly gorgeous scores from the '70 that aren't that well remembered today, such as John Badham's version of Dracula or Brian dePalma's The Fury. A film score doesn't have to be The Mission or Jane Eyre for the music to be amazing. In fact, frequently there's little connection at all between the quality of the film and the quality of the music.
For an homage that's (amazingly) NOT even by Mr. Williams', how about comparing James Horner's score for Gorky Park (1983) with Jerry Goldsmith's Alien (1979)?
By the way there is more to Goldsmith than science fiction. For example Roger Spittiswoode's Under Fire from 1983, or the wonderful Russia House (1990).

Posted by Kevin Lindgren | June 29, 2011 4:48 PM

come to think of it, guys, doesn't your favorite film composer deserve a whole Roll Credits all to himself?
you could feature some of his lesser known works such as Robert Altman's Images and, yes, even Jane Eyre! My guess is that it would be homage-o-rific!!

Posted by Kevin Lindgren | June 29, 2011 5:21 PM