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by
Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Franz Waxman, Leonard Rosenman, Fred Steiner, Marius Constant,
and a Whole Lot of Other People.


Out of all TV literature ever produced, The Twilight Zone is arguably some of the most famous.  Even 40 years after its inception, the monumental Rod Serling show still has a huge following, which is justifiable, as it had some of the most consistently-excellent writing and acting of any TV show.  And music.  Looking at the track listings, it's hard to not be impressed: Bernard Herrmann, one of the most reknown composers of all time.  Jerry Goldsmith - king of modern (and Silver Age) film composing. Franz Waxman - wow.  Bride of Frankenstein, Prince Valiant, Sunset Boulevard, and a whole host of others.  Leonard Rosenman - does Lord of the Rings mean anything to you?  Fred Steiner - Star Trek TV composing.  And that's what this compilation is all about - a huge, 4+ hour 4CD set (it's longer than Wagner's Goetterdaemmerung!) that spans the entire run of the show.  Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, the most famous names here, each get their own disc.  It's a mammoth project - kudos to the producers for the obvious time and effort put in.  But there's something of a downside - except for the Bernard Herrmann material, most of the composers have done much better work, particularly Jerry Goldsmith.  There's nothing actually wrong with any of the music, but a lot of it can become quite wearing after a while.  It's best to take this one in controlled doses.  But still, for Twilight Zone fans, this collection is hard to beat.  The compilation is actually a rerelease of 5 LPs of material that previously sold for gargantuan amounts of money.  They're obsolete now, though, since this has the average street price of $35.  Sound quality, while obviously somewhat archival due to the age of the recording elements, still sounds good - it's better than a lot of 1970s-80s OSTs.  As far as packaging, Silva lovingly produced a 12 page booklet with essays about each composer and their work.  However, the quality of the shots from the show is pretty bad - they look like a half-loaded JPG image from the Internet.  The orchestration for most of this is really, um, different, using no more than 8 players for the majority of the Herrmann/Goldsmith material.  Still, the composers milk this for all it's worth, and the music sounds a lot of the time like a full orchestra.  Some of the later composers utilized studio orchestras, though.  Overall, if you're remotely interested in the Twilight Zone, Bernard Herrmann, or Jerry Goldsmith's early days, you probably should pick this one up.


CD by CD Analysis:
(I'm sorry, but there's no way I'm going to try to do a track-by-track analysis for 4.5 hours of music)

Disc One - Bernard Herrmann
1. First Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:25)
2. Main Title (1:11)
3. "Where is Everybody?" (11:19)
4. End Title: First Season (1:04)
5-15. The Outer Space Suite (25:00)
16. Alternate Main Title #2 (0:27)
17. "Walking Distance" (12:24)
18. Alternate End Title #2 (0:42)
19. "The Hitchhiker" (7:10)
20. Alternate Main Title #3 (0:28)
21. The Lonely (11:06)
22. Alternate End Title #3 (1:07)
To begin the programme, Silva gives us arguably the best material on the whole set - Bernard Herrmann's recordings.  This music is something like a blend of his eerie sci-fi found in Day the Earth Stood Still and his lush but dark writing for Alfred Hitchcock.  Nearly all of the music here (indeed, in the whole set) is strikingly atonal, and Herrmann does an especially good job of conjuring up a desolate, Rite of Spring-like brand of atonality.  This is really evident in his main title - he creates a dark, wasted soundscape with muted horns that eventually builds up into a jarring dissonance.  "Where is Everybody?" goes back to something reminiscent of his Hitchcock work with a more traditional chamber ensemble with traditional, exciting action cues.  The Outer Space Suite, released here for the first time, is an ambient set of library music used in lots of CBS's TV and radio shows back then.  The Prelude is made up of a never-ending repeated figure based around the main chord progression from Day the Earth Stood Still.  Goes to show that James Horner isn't the only one who reuses his work.  Anyway, Outer Space is arguably the low point of Herrmann's album, with most of the tracks made up of minimalistic figures for various unearthly instruments.  His alternate end and main titles aren't that noteworthy - a few reuse the Prelude from Outer Space and two of the others have some wearing atonality.  The rest of his episode work goes back to the meld of Hitchcockian and sci-fi orchestration along with his usual dissonance.  Finally, if you've heard this OST and want more, Joel McNeely and Varese Sarabande have just put out a 2CD rerecording of Herrmann's complete TZ work.

Disc Two - Jerry Goldsmith
1. Second Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:25) - Marius Constant
2. Main Title: Second Season (0:28) - Marius Constant
3. "Back There" (12:48)
4. "The Big Tall Wish" (11:51)
5. "The Invaders" (12:49)
6. "Dust" (11:31)
7. Jazz Theme #1 (9:11)
8. Jazz Theme #2 (3:12)
9. "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" (8:14)
10. End Title: Second Season (0:42) - Marius Constant
Now we come to what will probably be the biggest disappointment for buyers of this albums - Jerry Goldsmith's disc.  This may be the earliest Goldsmith recording ever released, and, while he definitely was starting to show great talent, this TV work doesn't match up with his later feature film work.  The second season was the time when Serling introduced Marius Constant's signature theme - if you can't remember it, get out of your cave and catch some episodes on TV.  Contrary to popular belief, this wasn't composed specifically for the show - it's a blend of two of Constant's works - Etrange #3 and Milieu #2, the former providing the strange electric guitar work and the latter the "regular" atonality.  Goldsmith's work shows his early talents with atonality (after hearing this it's no surprise that he did Planet of the Apes).  It's obvious that he was influenced by Bernard Herrmann's general "sound" for the episodes, but all of this material has no roots in anything we've heard before.  "Back There" introduces Goldsmith's new sound for the second season, using jarring dissonance (much more than Herrmann did) and a weirder use of instruments (the harpsichord has a large part, perfectly lending to the alien atmostphere.)  "Big Tall Wish" goes back to a more traditional approach, using a cliched harmonica in the first cue.  Like the liner notes say, "The Invaders" is probably the most like his feature film approach, using a larger orchestral sound and more action cues.  "Dust" continues his atonal approach.  Tracks 7 and 8 comprise a 12-minute jazz suite used in various episodes.  "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" becomes somewhat more tender than the other tracks.

Bonus Review: Suite from Twilight Zone: The Movie (6:27)
In 1983, there was something of a TZ revival in that a feature film was produced.  This was comprised of four shorts, each directed by a different person, as well as a prelude.  The only one that I really like was the last one, a remake of Nightmare at 20000 feet.  Jerry Goldsmith was brought on to score it and ending up crafting one of his most loved scores.  Unfortunately the only OST that's ever been released has been a Warner Bros. LP that is completely out of print.  However, there is a surviving concert suite of the themes from the segments, which contains some of Goldsmith's best ever writing.  The recording I'm listening to is from Silva Screen's The Omen compilation.  After a short recap of Marius Constant's main theme, a huge brass fanfare erupts, giving way to a signature Goldsmith pastoral melody that's somewhat reminiscent of his Poltergeist theme, but infinitely superior.  After a full arrangement of this, we move into somewhat darker territory with a sleepy, lush theme for high strings and a wistful woodwind melody.  This develops for a few minutes, then heads back up into the stars with a totally awesome version for solo violin, piano, and ST:TMP-like strings - nearly the high point of the suite.  After a huge orchestral bridge, we come to the most sinister part of the suite with a low ostinato for strings and low brass to represent a gremlin outside the airplane.  There are parts for solo strings, eventually becoming completely out of control.  To end the suite, there's a fantastic dance-like movement, followed by a grandiose fanfare.  Come on, somebody, rerelease this album with more music!  It could very easily become my favorite Goldsmith score.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Disc Three - Various
1. Third Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:25) - Marius Constant
2. Main Title: Second Season (0:28) - Marius Constant
3. "Perchance to Dream" (9:49) - Nathan Van Cleave
4. "Elegy" (8:13) - Nathan Van Cleave
5. "Two" (12:06) - Nathan Van Cleave
6. "I See the Body Electric" (11:40) - Nathan Van Cleave
7. "A World of Difference" (11:46) - Nathan Van Cleave
8. "A Stop at Willoughby" (12:22) - Nathan Scott
9. Jazz Theme #3 (4:04) - Rene Garriguenc
10. End Title: Second Season (0:42) - Marius Constant
For me, Disc Three was the one I was dreading the most - who ever heard of Nathan Van Cleave?  Apparently, he became something of the "staff composer" after Herrmann and Goldsmith left.  However, I was pleasantly surprised - some of the best material from the set is on this disc.  The orchestral forces were somewhat beefed up here - we now have a full brass and string section, as well as various electronics.  "Perchance to Dream" features more of the Stravinsky-esque approach in the introduction, followed by a weird carnival theme, and proceeding into the wildest music we've had so far on the disc - theremin work.  The introduction of electronics here greatly adds to the dark, spooky nature of the music.  "Elegy" and "Two" aren't very noteworthy - the usual atonality.  "I See the Body Electric" gives us the most lush music we've had so far with a quaint string theme backed by acoustic guitar.  "A World of Difference" combines some interesting orchestral writing with an eerie theremin.  Nathan Scott gives a kinder, gentler score with "A Stop at Willoughby."  And Jazz Theme #3 is exactly what it sounds like.

Disc Four - Various
1. Fourth/Fifth Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:31) - Marius Constant
2. Main Title: Alternate (0:38) - Marius Constant
3. "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (12:13) - Fred Steiner
4. "King Nine Will Not Return" (11:09) - Fred Steiner
5. "The Passerby" (12:55) - Fred Steiner
6. "When the Sky was Opened" (11:53) - Leonard Rosenman
7. "The Trouble with Templeton" (11:42) - Jeff Alexander
8. "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" (10:47) - Franz Waxman
9. End Title: Alternate (0:54) - Marius Constant
Now we head to the "kitchen sink" disc with the composers that didn't fit in anywhere else.  And what an impressive list of names!  But, like Jerry Goldsmith, all these composers have written better material.  "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" introduces a cliched harmonica theme (yawn).  "King Nine Will Not Return," however, goes back to the crunching atonality of the previous sections.  It creates a nice contrast with "The Passerby" by making most of its writing for high woodwinds, whereas the latter sticks to low atonality.  Rosenman's section is nothing new for him - the usual atmospheric dissonance with piles of tone clusters.  "The Trouble with Templeton" becomes a quaint orchestral Golden Age piece that's somewhat cliched now.  Franz Waxman gives us nothing new for him - he brings the traditional TZ sound to a larger orchestra, fused with several moments of jazz.

Overall, this monumental compilation is best suited for Twilight Zone fans, Bernard Herrmann fans, and Goldsmith completists.  All the composers present have done better things, although the music is still pretty good.



 
The Twilight Zone: The Final Score
Music Rating 8/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 7/10
Length 8/10
Sound Quality 8/10
Orchestral Performance 9/10


The Twilight Zone 40th Anniversary Collection is Copyright 1999 by Silva Screen.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon. All Rights Reserved.
The Omen: The Essential Jerry Goldsmith Film Music Collection is Copyright 1998 by Silva Screen.