There is probably
no one anywhere who has not, at some time or another,
shared rich entertainment hours with United Artists.
For almost two score years, UA has been a proud name
in motion pictures, both in America and everythere in
the world. Around its symbol have clustered the luminaries
of the movie world, names ranging from Mary Pickford,
Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin, Samuel Goldwyn,
who dominated its early years, to its imposing roster
of stars, directors and producers, who now give lustre
to its screen material.
Now UA has moved into the record
field and, as its first album release, it brings you
a modern musical portrait of itself. In its vast vaults
of film are untold hundreds of pictures that have
made audiences cheer and weep, thrill with excitement,
and chill with suspense - and also sing with the songs
which they introduced and made famous. Out of them
all come musical mementos of eleven motion pictures,
spanning twenty of the company's years. Everyone will
remember the pictures and the great songs identified
with them. Everyone will start up with astonishment
and delight at the way in which the talents of the
greatest of the movie composers come to life as interpreted,
arranged, conducted and performed by an exciting new
talent, United Artists Records' Musical Director,
We start off with Molly-O,
which will be remembered from The Man With The
Golden Arm. Schaefer opens UA's musical profile,
giving Elmer Bernstein's popular hit a new Latin flavor.
He builds it and builds it till it reaches big band
instrumentation, with the spotlight on the trombone,
in Frank Rehack's hands, alternating with the alto,
which features Gene Quill. We're off and swiging.
Moulin Rouge was a United
Artists picture that will never be forgotten for many
reasons, among theme The Song from Moulin Rouge.
George Auric's international hit, which really started
the modern trend in movie theme music. Nobody can
recall ever hearing it performed before without strings.
Nor in anything except 3/4 time. Schaefer has set
in a funky blues frame. It takes off with a 2 beat,
down home feeling, while the oboe tries to keep the
melody directly stated and clear, but the French horn
interrupts and the tune starts to swing, broadening
out to the full range of the band. But the song is
too haunting and the oboe re-emerges, restating the
theme. It is a melodic last word.
The Moon Is Blue, from the
saucy comedy of the same name, was written by Herschel
Burke Gilbert. It won its popularity as a ballad.
Schaefer brings to it a totally new approach. Some
call it a bright two, but it feels like one to the
bar. The melody swings along in double time, except
for the release. There is a duel of the saxes, a challenging
repartee, starting with a full chorus, racing through
eight bars, next four, down to a two bar exchange,
winding up together in a joyour finale. There is a
hint of humor in the tympany accents, which set off
the cascading saxophones, and almost succeeds in a
pompous effort to put a percussive period to the piece.
But Osie Johnson tops it with a bright blast on the
The ever popular Smile comes
from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. This
was long ago, before the movies and movie music became
so closely identified. Schaefer was influenced by
lyrics first and secondly by the melody, to express
the very essence of the comedian, the smiles that
radiate out of the clown's breaking heart. He sets
his mood in a minor key, via the unusual bass line
played by Chet Amsterdam, and soon the song develops
into its own major key, so the interpreter adds another
major mode to expand the song's tonality. Then it
slips back, returning to its minor sound.
Bobby Troup's Daddy is from
Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, and Schaefer gives
it a sly, provocative interpretation. Again the oboe
is there, insisting upon its statement of the theme,
echoed by Gene Quill's alto, and re-echoed by the
French horn. After Morty Lewis' soulful tenor solo,
Schaefer plays six bars to lead the oboe into his
restatement a tone higher, winning its final note
against the challenge of the horns and the saxes.
For a really swinging surprise, Schaefer
turns to High Noon, Dimitri Tiomkin's Academy
Award winning composition. No more the Western guitar,
no memories of horses' hooves, galloping rhythmically
through the beautiful refrain. The great outdoors
wasn't even out, let alone far out, for Hal's modern
concept. It not only swings, hard and fast, it orbits
into a sequence of pure extemporaneous improvisations,
featuring his own piano.
Side Two opens in a different mood
completely. From Around the World in 80 Days,
the lovely Victor Young song, Around The World,
Schaefer confesses that his first feelings for the
haunting waltz-tempo song were ambivalent. So he embraced
both, the result: a tone poem, expanded to almost
a six-minute version. At first, flute, clarinet and
bass clarinet. All the brass muted. The song broods,
melancholy, almost elegiac. The piano, suddenly, interrupts
with a new tone. The mutes are gone, full-throated
saxes replace the clarinets, and the song is off and
swinging. The beat is very definitely in four, and
the orchestra opens out reaching for something that
keeps soaring until, over it all, a new tonality crashes
to a climax. A haunting aftermath comes as the tone
poem returns to its first feeling and color.
From Alexander the Great,
comes The World Is Mine, by the Italian composer,
Mario Nascimbene. To the historical Alexander being
a conqueror, it probably would have meant the physical
world, but not to Schaefer. The world, which he might
imagine his, is filled with fun, with happy feeling,
with joys to be enjoyed, expressed as a singing, swinging
treatment that runs up and down the full range of
the keyboard, with the piccolo shimmering, and down
below, the bass clarinet.
From Limelight came the
haunting Terry's Theme, world-famous as a
waltz. Hal felt it in a 4/4 swinging tempo. There
is delight in the duet between the oboe and bassoon.
The big band development lifts the song up like a
Return to Paradise, from
the picture of the same name is another Dimitri Tiomkin
composition which goes through a metamorphosis that
is amazing. When Schaefer thinks about Paradise, it
is no South Sea Bali Hai. It's a swinging place, with
a joyful sound and a solid beat. The arrangement says
so in unmistakable terms, exciting and bright. There
is a Latin flavor, and a trumpet-alto duet featuring
Nick Travis and Gene Quill, with its final flourish
in rich thirds.
The album ends with Irving Gordon's
The Kentuckian Song, from The Kentuckian,
a backwoodsy melody redolent of the American frontier.
Schaefer underlines the Western flavor with Temple
blocks, and, as though to make up for the waltzes
that he turned into swinging 4-beat sides, he sets
the background to a triple rhythm playing it against
the foreground song, which stays with the 4/4 beat.
Schaefer plays a piano solo in his own familiar style.
Like all the movies that helped them come into being,
there comes the fade-out of the song; and for the
Showcase of Great Songs From United Artists Pictures
- the end.
Record Editor - N.E.A. Services, Inc.