Alex North's "Cheyenne Autumn" score released on 2CD from Entrada
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Entrada Web Site. Reprinted with permission||Date: 06.10.2016|
|Magnificent Alex North “roadshow” soundtrack gets full 2-CD restoration! Epic, elegiac John Ford western chronicles heroic 1500-mile trek of hungry Cheyenne from Oklahoma reservation to ancestral homeland in the Dakotas during 1878-79. Massive film production stars Richard Widmark, James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Carroll Baker, Ricardo Montalbano, Sal Mineo, Karl Malden, many others. North approaches tragic tale with masterful large-scale score devoid of western cliche and filled instead with rich, brooding central theme for Cheyenne, haunting melody for sympathetic Quaker Deborah (Baker), aggressive martial music for cavalry, intense battle sequences and more. Unlike typical John Ford western film scores filled with popular tunes of the era, North wrote ambitious original score on very large canvas with powerful, sometimes austere harmonic vernacular placing it in very small family with just two other epic works: Spartacus, Cleopatra.|
Composition-wise, these three form an unofficial trilogy of sorts. Cheyenne Autumn’s huge woodwind section (piccolo, C flute, alto and bass flutes, Bb clarinets, bass and contra-bass clarinets, oboe, English horn, bassoon and contra-bassoon) place it on par with Cleopatra. Expanded brass section (5 trumpets, 6 horns, 5 trombones, bass trombone plus tuba) is on par with Spartacus.
Interestingly, like lengthy portions of Spartacus, North tacets violins (and violas) and scores for large section of cellos, basses. Resulting string sound is deep, dark, intense. Film was originally presented in 70mm “roadshow” format with dramatic Overture, fanfare Intermission card, Ent’acte, possible Exit music plus lengthy Dodge City sequence featuring Wyatt Earp (James Stewart), Doc Holliday (Arthur Kennedy) designed to close Act I.
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| All of the above were cut after premiere showings. These exciting cues have all been restored for this important 2-CD release. Entire score is presented in dynamic stereo from 6 channel stereo session masters vaulted by Warner Bros. in perfect condition. |
Over 110 minutes of music play across 2 CDs. CD 1 is sequenced to feature dramatic first half of score and wrap with North’s rousing Dodge City “Camptown Races” musical respite and brief “Intermission” fanfare, retaining composer’s musical architecture. CD 2 opens with dramatic “Entr’acte” music, continues with stirring score through powerful “Exit” fanfare for brass and percussion.
Numerous cavalry source pieces plus additional Dodge City source music (arranged by North with Ken Darby), all recorded under North’s supervision, follow in the extras section. For completists, North’s numerous original percussion sequences underscoring variety of Cheyenne council meetings also appear in the extras. 24-page full color booklet with “flipper” cover designed by Kay Marshall plus authoritative notes from Frank DeWald enhance this exciting release. All master elements and artwork are courtesy Warner Bros. One of the great big-scale sixties film scores is fully-restored at long last! Henry Brandt, Gil Grau orchestrate, Alex North composes, conducts. Intrada Special Collection 2-CD set available while quantities and interest remain!
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