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Tandra Page 1601, Movie Music

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

Back when I was in the Eighth Grade, my parents invested in a low-fi piece of furniture that played recorded music. They came in one day with delivery people who deposited the music player into the living room along with about a dozen vinyl LP disks. I suspect, from the variety of the LP disks, they were chosen by the salesman where my folks bought the music player. Many of them were of music my parents had never heard.

I had been listening to top forty rock and roll on my little radio, so I imagine my parents thought that was the direction in which my musical tastes lay.

A few days later we were in a department store in the music section and I was looking through the recorded disks on sale. I picked out the soundtrack album “The Ten Commandments” and said I wanted that one. My father looked at me in disbelief. I expect he was of the opinion I would choose something by Johnny Cash or The Beatles. I insisted, so my father suggested we go into a listening booth and play the record so I could be sure what I was getting. In those days you could play a record before you bought it, if you so wished. My father put the disk on the turntable and lowered the arm. The music from Elmer Bernstein began and, after about two bars, I said, “That’s what I want.” My father shrugged and paid for the thing and we took it home. I played that double album until my parents were right royally sick of it!

Afterwards I had money to purchase recorded music on my own. The first recorded music I bought was from the movie “Ben-Hur” by Miklos Rozsa. Afterward I never looked back. A whole generation of radio rock and roll swept past without me ever noticing.

In those days, movie soundtrack music came out a few weeks before the movie. I often went to movies because I had purchased the music. That was the case with “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I bought the album because it was by Elmer Bernstein and saw the movie because I liked the music. If I flipped through the display of record albums at a store and saw one credited to Elmer Bernstein or Miklos Rozsa, I snapped it up and bought it. There were later other composers added to my short list, but I did not purchase a rock and roll recording until the movie “Tommy” came out, based upon the Rock Opera by the British Rock Band the Who. After that I bought a lot of Rock albums, but I was biased in the direction of bands that made music that sounded like music of a symphony orchestra. Music from movie soundtracks had corrupted my musical tastes beyond repair.

The black vinyl recordings had a limit of about twenty minutes that could be recorded on a side. Of consequence, movie soundtrack albums were restricted to limited selections from the film of question. Some movies solved this limitation problem by issuing double disk albums. “The Ten Commandments” was a double disk album. Others issued two single disk releases. “Ben-Hur” came out as “Music From Ben-Hur” and “More Music From Ben-Hur”

A few years back I purchased a double CD package of “Music From The King Of Kings”, composed by Miklos Rozsa. This CD package promised all the music from the movie and also out takes that never made it into the film. I also purchased another double CD set promising all the music from the Cinerama film “How The West Was Won”. This set also contained music that was not in the final release.

This week I saw on Amazon a six disk issue of the music from Elmer Bernstein’s “The Ten Commandments” including all the music from the film, music from the original double disk vinyl recording I purchased way back when, as well as music for the film that was never used. Also is promised a recording Elmer Bernstein played on piano for Cecil B. DeMille in his audition to secure the gig. How could I pass it up?

I also came across a similar CD package for Miklos Rozsa’s Ben-Hur. I promptly purchased that. These are the first selections of music I ever bought back when music recordings were limited to vinyl disks. I eagerly await delivery as I type this. I’ll letcha know when they arrive and I hold them secure in my grubby hands.

A Mythology for our time! Join the Tandra Brigade today for access to over 1000 Tandra Pages at a cost of only $9.95 USD.


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