SOUNDTRACK MARKET VIBE NOVEMBER 2017 Part 2
We are posting the second part of the November soundtrack market report regarding cds and you will find some interesting titles to read about. The report comes a little later than expected and scheduled so it’s a bit longer than I’d like it to be. Enjoy reading.
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE/DONOVAN’S REEF
John Wayne movie soundtracks have always been a big attraction to film music fans and collectors. Since the reign of vinyl, soundtrack LPs and 10 inch records that included music from The Duke’s movies were top collectibles and their prices were very high, often reaching three digit numbers. To name a few of these vinyl soundtracks, I would refer to THE BARBARIAN AND THE GEISHA Fox LP and ISLAND IN THE SKY 10 inch record, and in a lesser degree THE HORSE SOLDIERS, EL DORADO, anything by RIO BRAVO and MCLINTOCK. I also remember the “Living Stereo” RCA release of IN HARMS WAY to be regarded as a top collectible with prices reaching 50-60$ back in the 90s. Kritzerland’s release for the Cyril Mockridge scores for THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE and DONOVAN’S REEF was more than welcome in August 2014. The release was limited to 1000 copies and it was expected to vanish in a couple of days. You can find the cd being offered for sale in prices from 50 to 100$ internationally. There was a noted sale in November 11th and in December 1st for 60$ and 46$ respectively by sellers from the US and Asia. The legendary status of THE LIBERTY VALANCE movie and the fact that both movies were directed by John Ford was an added plus to the immediate success of the release. Musically speaking, LIBERTY VALANCE score is actually an Alfred Newman score and definitely not a Cyril Mockridge one, since Mockridge composed a main title theme that is almost identical to the one Alfred Newman composed for THE BRAVADOS – a Henry King western that was released three years earlier – plus he utilized “The Anne Rutledge theme” from Alfred Newman’s score for YOUNG MISTER LINCOLN (1939) another John Ford movie. DONOVAN’S REEF is not a distinguished score me thinks and it is included in this edition for preservation purposes mostly than as a listening treat.
THE LAST AIRBENDER
Another “lost” Lakeshore Records title, the original James Newton Howard score to the M.Night Shyamalan’s titanic 2010 flop, was released on cd but very quickly – less than a year later – soundtrack collectors and fans of the music realized that if they wanted a copy they should provide an amount at least four times the regular store price. The discontinuance of the soundtrack cd’s production probably had to do with the movies’ poor box office numbers . A copy of the Lakeshore cd was sold in November 4th for 77,5$ by a seller in the United States. The cd is not very easy to find and usually fetches prices of more than 50$ in the secondary market. Howard’s score is epic and bombastic but I dare to say that its function to identify the main hero of the movie is questionable. Yes, there are some very exciting moments of music – especially the “water” scene – in the movie, but this “super hero” approach was too predictable and unchallenging for the caliber and the abilities of J.N.Howard.
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.
Last August, Varese Sarabande released for the second time in a single autonomous cd the Bernard Herrmann score for JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Herrmann’s brooding but brilliant music for the Henry Levin 1959 rendition of Jules Verne magnificent story, was formerly released by Varese 20 years earlier and this cd was long out of print. The score was also included in the monumental 14 cd box set that Varese again released in 2011 with everything Herrmann composed for a 20th Century Fox studio. Prices were forbidding for the purchase of this box of course, since its 1000 copies were almost instantly vanished from the label’s online store, so anyone who wanted Bernard Herrmann’s music should have the patience and the money in order to acquire the 1997 edition or the 2011 box. Apparently, Varese decided to give a second chance to a single cd edition of the JOURNEY score in his 500 series, which means that it would be a 500 copies limited edition. The contents are identical to the Herrmann box cd contents, which means that it included two bonus tracks plus a completely new mastering. The cd sold out in less than five days and its price started to escalate, reaching now – almost 6 months after its release – the 40-50$ margin. It seems, however, that multiple copies of the 500 that were available, were bought by retailers around the world, who obviously increased the price after the title went sold out and this is evident, since a quick look into the secondary market proves that the cds for sale are more than a few, with a price of more than 40$ bottom line, almost three times more than the initial 16$ price. The two highest prices for JOURNEY in November were spotted in 22nd and 23d, reaching 44$ and 49$ respectively by US sellers. All the fuss of course has to do with the 2017 edition, so the ones who want to sell the 1997 edition shouldn’t probably have great expectations.
FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC
The fact that a score like Christopher Young’s FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC still remains out of print for the last 20 years is really extraordinary. Released by Intrada in 1990 under specific license by the production company and earlier in 1987 by Varese Sarabande which released an LP version. It seems that as years passed things became very complicated regarding the rights holder, so the cd hasn’t been reissued since 1990. However, considering the general framework of the film music industry nowadays, I find it peculiar that legal entanglements withhold a reissue of such a great work. Christopher Young composed the score during a period of great success for him, when he became an established name in film music mostly after his masterpiece work for Clive Barker’s HELLRAISER in 1987. That same year he worked for FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, a tv aesthetics movie that was highlighted for the brilliant Young score. A haunting soprano boy voice introduces a beautiful main theme that becomes the core of the whole score. Varese Sarabande, as noted above, released the music on LP and three years later the score was released on the dominating new format by Intrada in very fine sound quality. Copies can be found fetching prices of well over 50$, and in November a copy was sold after a 22 bid fight on ebay for 60$.
The amazing FSM cd released in 2005 and very quickly sold out. The back cover stated that it was a limited edition of 3000 copies but only the producers actually know the exact amount of cds that were produced and sold. Two copies were sold during November, the one for 85GBP (buy it now) and the other for 139AUD (buy it now). Up to now there is not a reissue or any other official release of music from the iconic mini series, apart from some releases of unknown origin that contain the Don Peak music from various episodes. The Film Score Monthly produced cd contains extended excerpts from the pilot episode of the series, plus music from four other episodes of the first season. All music composed by Stu Phillips.
Japanese editions on cd or vinyl were always highly acclaimed by collectors and November had a few very distinguished soundtrack cds sold for high prices. None of these sales was more surprisingly high in price than the C’ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST Japanese RCA 1994 release, that reached 172$ (buy it now) in November 19th. I remember the superb Japanese RCA soundtrack cd series with the label prefix BVCP that were dedicated to Italian soundtracks mostly. Some legendary titles were released for the first time on cd in 1994-95 among them Gianni Marchetti’s underestimated masterpiece IL SOLE NELLA PELE, Riz Ortolani’s ADDIO ZIO TOM, Trovajoli’s BOCCACCIO 70, Ennio Morricone’s METELLO and CITTA VIOLENTA. They also released almost every soundtrack Henry Mancini made for RCA during the 60s, Francis Lai’s LA BABY SITTER and some other very important titles that were never released before on cd. Among the Morricone titles that were distributed was C’ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST that contained the original 1968 album program. I really don’t have a solid answer to why this title reached this amount, except assuming that the Ennio Morricone’s ever increasing fandom is lurking for every recording of works of their favorite composer, and definitely this particular title is very rare besides the fact that it contains substantially less music than the succeeding Italian cd releases.
I should also mention the two SLCS titles sold during November, LES CHOSES DE LA VIE and FORZA G/MUSSOLINI ULTIMO ATTO. LES CHOSES DE LA VIE was released in 1989 in Japan for the first time on cd by Soundtrack Listeners Club with the label code SLCD 1004 and contained the full album program that was released on LP in 1970 (in France and in Italy). The title had tremendous commercial success and SLC reissued it in a more attractive second edition with the label code SLCS 7032. Soundtrack Listeners Club had the right to distribute the cd until 1994. Both Japanese releases are very hard to find now 23 years after their withdrawal and sealed or mint copies with obi strip are quite valuable. In November 4th, a copy of the first edition without the obi strip was sold for 46$ (buy it now) in Japan. CAM released the title two times, the first containing the very short 25 minutes score from the movie and the second a few years later containing the music Philippe Sarde composed for another Claude Sautet film MAX ET LES FERAILLEURS (1971). Sarde’s score for LES CHOSES DE LA VIE was his first attempt in composing music for the movies and it was immensely successful. The beautiful, haunting theme is one of the most suitable musical accompaniments of the 70s cinema, with its subtle and brilliant melody sparsely used in the movie but creating an ideal emotional equilibrium to Claude Sautet’s tragic drama.
Regarding the Morricone title it has been one of the most sought after titles of the maestro until Cinevox decided to release the complete original soundtracks. Released in 1996, offered six tracks from FORZA G (1972) and seven tracks from MUSSOLINI ULTIMO ATTO (1974), two completely different movies that contained completely different scores, nevertheless the Morricone distinctive style is evident in both of them. The scores were never again released in Japan, however Cinevox label released expanded albeit brief cds in 2002 for FORZA G and in 2007 for MUSSOLINI, of which FORZA G has become a very hard to find item since it is out of print. Morricone created two very interesting scores, FORZA G being charming and romantic in its approach while MUSSOLINI focuses more in the drama of the tragic end of the Italian dictator with the composer utilizing dissonant sounds and creating a light and somehow ironic march for the wannabe emperor of the new Roman empire. I believe that although the SLC cd contains much less music than the two separate score cds by Cinevox, the selection of the cues is perfect and delivers a solid cd program.
I PIACERI PROIBITI is one of the best jazz albums Piero Umiliani and his collaborators created in the 60s. It contains the original score from an insignificant 1963 movie but who really cares about the movie and its quality when you are offered such an amazing array of jazz music performed by Italian virtuosos like Gianni Basso and Oscar Valdambrini. Among the various jazz rhythms and popular tunes performed by the Umiliani team we hear a lovely waltz-like theme with strings “Notte di Nozze” which is a very pleasant interval among the excellent jazz. Nora Orlandi and her group 4+4 provided the vocals and Carol Danell performed the song “Baby Don’t Kiss me”. This outstanding album has a notorious reputation as a part of the incredibly rare Italian CAM label’s first soundtracks with the label code “CMS”. It was released for the first time on cd in 1995 by King in Japan, instantly became highly sought after and reissued in 2007 again by King. The two cd issues are identical except for the obi strip which is black in the first and white in the second release. A copy of the first issue with its obi intact, was sold for 45$ in November 28th. Very hard to find cd and worth seeking.
OTHER NOTABLE SALES
Ennio Morricone’s magnificent score for the John Carpenter 1982 masterpiece had its first and only cd release in 1990 by Varese Sarabande. The cd included the LP program that was released by MCA in 1982, with the score that made it into or was excluded from the movie. Morricone himself once told in an interview that in order to create the LP it was inevitable to include rejected music because Carpenter only used very few of his themes into the movie. Anyway, there was a recent reissue on LP of this album by Waxwork records in February 2017 that had great commercial success however there is not a hint for a cd release. Inevitably prices for this title will remain high with specifically one sold in November 8th for 55GBP while there were others that were sold for prices around 45$ during the last days of October.
This Buysoundtrax title that was released in 2006 in a limited edition of 3000 copies has become a top collectible and much in demand. It couldn’t have been otherwise since it contains the full Henry Mancini orchestral score for the sfx 1985 movie, plus the Michael Kamen additional music. These treats in two cds with exceptional sound quality and a great informative booklet with notes by the ultimate film music guru Randall Larson. The cd not only presents the full Mancini/Kamen score but also the album sequencing that was produced and released by Varese Sarabande and Milan in 1985. I believe it would be a great chance for a collector to grab a copy from the secondary markets for a price of around 40$. In November 16th, a used copy was sold by a Canadian seller for 89 Canadian Dollars, around 60€.
LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE
Bruno Nicolai’s works for Italian thrillers of the 70s are surely among the most in demand film soundtracks in the current market. The late Italian composer and for many years close collaborator and friend to Ennio Morricone had a very distinctive and effective style in composing for exploitation European cinema. He never attempted a heavyweight, symphonic approach, measuring his resources and knowing that this kind of cinema needed a more contemporary approach with a touch of orchestral accompaniment as a propulsive force to the most of the times shallow and naïve storyline of this kind of movies. The emotional involvement of the audience was mainly propelled by the music which was one of the most important aesthetic assets of the exploitation European cinema. One of Bruno Nicolai’s most memorable works was for the 1972 giallo LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE that was released on cd in 2005 by Digitmovies. Nicolai composed an excellent score with a very beautiful nursery rhyme tune as a central idea for the two main characters of the movie. This tune is developed brilliantly through the biggest part of the score creating a highly effective underscore for the standard and not very exciting plot. The cd was produced in very limited quantities and was also part of the outstanding BRUNO NICOLAI IN GIALLO box set (seven cds, limited to 200 copies) that was simultaneously released by Digitmovies. LA DONA ROSSA was sold in December 1st for 60$ (buy it now). I guess that after 12 years now the time has come for a second edition that will cover the demand of a new generation of film music fans.
WHITE FANG/Basil Poledouris and Hans Zimmer (Intrada).
Sold for 70$ in November 3d (buy it now). Very hard to find title, Intrada kept it under production for a year after its release in 2011 and then withdrew it and sold out immediately. Probably has to do with the general treatment to Disney titles by Intrada. Almost a year after their release they are withdrawn.
GETTYSBURG/Randy Edelman (Milan)
Sold for 79$ (buy it now) in November 16th. This is the Deluxe commemorative edition released in 1993 in a long box by Milan America. Outstanding edition with 28 pages booklet and 40 minutes more music than the regular released. Very limited when it came out now it is almost impossible to get one in a price lower than 50$.
THE KARATE KID/Bill Conti (Varese Sarabande)
Sold for 66$ (buy itnow) by a US seller sealed. Limited to 2000 copies when it was released in 2010 sold out very quickly besides the fact that another 2500 copies were also sold out through the monumental box set that the Varese Sarabande cd club released in 2007 that contained the scores from the four movies. The single cd release of 2010 was produced by Varese Sarabande cd club of course. The price of the single cd release reaches the 50-60$ margin easily.
* Main source will be ebay and discogs of course. You are free to comment on everything.