What do “Gangs of New York,” “The Journey of Natty Gann,” and “The Scarlet Letter” all have in common? They’re all among the unused scores of Elmer Bernstein, and they’re all for the first time available — and together — in a single collection of four CDs.
His penultimate film score, and one he most ardently wanted released, “Gangs of New York” is set to Martin Scorsese’s mid-19th century period piece and is Bernstein at his boldest, with orchestral brass and Celtic undertones all colliding to underscore the seething hostilities and bellicose atmosphere of rivaling cultures in a lower-Manhattan neighborhood.
“The Journey of Natty Gann” is pure Disney with Bernstein at the helm, delivering a bounty of melodic layers and thematic explorations that travel the gamut from adventure to mis-adventure, through despair and discovery. A treat and a delight amidst a double-dose of hard-hitting Bernstein.
Haunting vocals, soaring orchestrations, a sense of darkness within the light… Bernstein’s score to “The Scarlet Letter” reaches into the depth of Nathanial Hawthorne’s classic novel in which passion rivals the Puritan ethic and a woman’s fierce independence burns more brightly than the red insignia emblazoning her sin.
This unique opportunity to own and enjoy what only a relative few have heard before is thanks to Walt Disney Pictures and the Elmer Bernstein Estate. While these scores never made it to the theatre, they are undeniably worthy of an appreciative audience, who won’t need the movies to recognize the greatness of the music written for them.
This 4-CD set, featuring a Matthew Joseph Peak painting on the cover, is limited to 2500 copies, and is available only through Varèse Sarabande’s CD Club. For more information, to purchase, or to hear a selection of audio, please visit the Varèse Sarabande website.
Said to be “Elmer Bernstein’s ‘Star Wars’,” “Heavy Metal” is considered by many as one of the great symphonic scores of all time. Rich, robust, thundering, and driven, the score has long been sought by collectors, and is finally available, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company, Elektra Entertainment Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Irving Azoff, the estate of Elmer Bernstein, the University of Southern California Cinema-Television Library, and the Loc Nar.
In keeping with the film’s anthological format, distinct melodies highlight the score, from the heroic anthem of Den to the moody film noir-esque Harry Canyon and the soaring love theme of Taarna.
The complete score has been faithfully remastered from the Bernstein’s personal 1/4″ stereo tapes (preserved with excellent sound quality) and presented in chronological order along with bonus tracks of selections edited for the 1981 Asylum Records LP. Liner notes by Paul Andrew MacLean draw from Bernstein interviews and include new comments from orchestrator David Spear, who adapted two of the cues from Bernstein’s original material. Stills from the film add to this beautifully produced CD.
An appropriate pairing from Bernstein’s own tape archive (lest they’d be lost forever), this deluxe CD features Bernstein’s flair for suspense, charged emotional drama, and sublime storytelling through music. And despite their medical themes, there is nothing sterile about the scores for these two films.
Considered among Bernstein’s classic scores “The Caretakers (1963)” achieves a modern, forward-thinking sound for what was considered daring subject matter at the time. Edgy, provocative, and at times chilling and somber themes, along with the Bernstein brass and punch, make for great listening, whether or not one is familiar with the movie.
A real treat for Bernstein aficionados, this premiere release of the largely unknown score for “The Young Doctors (1961)” packs a big sound, from its compelling and propelling main theme to Young Doctors Waltz.
There isn’t a film genre that Elmer Bernstein hasn’t enriched with his exceptional versatility and consummate originality: western, drama, comedy, action-adventure, epic, documentary, sci-fi, and yes, even romance. Although “By Love Possessed (1961)” never achieved “classic” status, it is, however, classic Bernstein. Set to a story that revolves around romantic quest, conflict and acquisition in sumptuous, sprawling New England, the score captures all of it with sweeping love themes, boisterous action, pastoral beauty, buoyant humor, and the insinuation of pent up passion. It is Bernstein after all!
In “Cannon for Cordoba (1970),” a big-action western directed by Paul Wendkos and revolving around the turbulent Texas-Mexico border conflicts in 1912, Bernstein pulls out all the stops with a powerful, and yes, explosive score that includes “Elmer Bernstein’s Mariachi Fiesta,” 10 tracks featuring Bernstein’s original adaptations of familiar fiesta suites.
In “From Noon Till Three (1976),” Charles Bronson sheds his usual tough-guy image to reveal an unexpected comedic side in this film by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and director Frank D. Gilroy. Little surprise is Bernstein’s alacrity with winsome wit within the western genre. This is a unique and entertaining score that is charming and sensitive, with moments of delicate beauty and all the fun of a raucous saloon. The CD includes the Golden Globe-nominated song—”Hello and Goodbye”—by Bernstein with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Bernstein and Alan Bergman introduce the song in a rare cameo.
In this second sequel in the “Magnificent Seven” series, starring George Kennedy, James Whitmore, and Joe Baker, the famous Bernstein theme is reprised in this adaptation by Bernstein’s orchestrators, Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes, who arranged the first two “Magnificent Seven” films. This never-before released complete score was conducted by Bernstein in London.
“The Unforgiven: Classic Western Scores from United Artists” is a limited-edition 3-CD set featuring the complete scores of five western scores from the film library of United Artists. Only 1500 copies are available.
Long thought to be lost, the complete score to “The Bridge at Remagen” (1969) features Elmer Bernstein’s patent mastery of saying the most with the least in this classic WWII epic directed by acclaimed documentarian David L. Wolper and starring George Segal, Ben Gazzara, and Robert Vaughn. Sought by fans of the genre and the composer alike, “The Bridge of Remagen” brings to life and to light the human side of war — and its high cost — amidst and alongside the traditional scenes of combat. Bernstein’s blend of large, dramatic cues with sensitive, intimate renderings belies the brevity of the score, which totals less than a half-hour of music for a two-hour film.
This premiere, limited-edition release is soley thanks to Bernstein having kept the 1/4″ monaural tape of the recording session, which was used to recreate the majestic and stirring work of this rare classic. And although a fair amount of audible distortion is present, the end result is the posterity of a great score by one of the world’s great film composers.
Elmer Bernstein’s brand of big-band jazz can at last be enjoyed in entirety in this limited-edition release of “Some Came Running.”
Featuring Bernstein’s charismatic versatility, the score evokes moments of musical Americana that extends from full orchestra to the blues, as Sinatra’s character struggles between “polite society” and the dark underside of the nightclub scene. Bernstein’s rendition of Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen’s, “To Love and Be Loved,” is an original.
This release of the 1958 score has been masterfully and painstakingly reconstructed, almost entirely in stereo, and with exemplary sound quality on this 3000-copy release by Film Score Monthly.
It was 45 years ago that Elmer Bernstein’s stirring and sensitive score for “Birdman of Alcatraz” evoked audiences’ compassion for a convicted murderer serving a life sentence in solitary confinement. Now, new audiences—and generations—can experience what is considered to be among Bernstein’s most important works.
Limited to 3000 copies, this first-time commercial CD release from Varèse Sarabande features complete versions of cues originally abbreviated in the film, as well as 11 additional cues never heard in the final cut.
The music, the life, and the career celebrated in two events at USC's Doheny Memorial Library
October 19, 2006 | 2nd Floor Intellectual Commons, Doheny Memorial Library
USC Professor and faculty member in the Thornton School of Music film scoring program, Jon Burlingame, highlighted Bernstein’s prolific creativity with clips from such memorable films as The Man with the Golden Arm and The Great Escape, as well as Bernstein’s TV themes and the music he composed for the Broadway stage.
September 8, 2006 | Bovard Auditorium
The USC Thornton Orchestra and Thornton Jazz Orchestra, conducted by David Spear, paid tribute to the former Thornton School faculty member with a selection of film scores from Bernstein’s illustrious career.
A treasure trove of original scores, images, and memorabilia comes to USC's Cinema-Television Library
In continuation of Elmer Bernstein’s lifelong commitment to musical education, and to honor his connection to the USC Thornton School of Music where he taught for over eight years, his family has donated his personal archive to the university’s Cinema-Television Library, one of its premier units.
Original scores, photographs, and audio recordings are among the legendary composer’s collection, which will be on display beginning this fall. Eventually, these materials will be digitized, making them easily accessible to students and aspiring musicians and composers. “Having the ability to reference this work,” says Brian King, director of the Thornton School’s Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television (SMPTV) program, “will provide students with answers to many of the how-to questions when it comes to learning the art and craft of scoring music for film.”
In recognition of Bernstein’s vast and numerous contributions to music and education, and the generous gift of the Bernstein family, the USC Libraries and USC Thornton School of Music will collaborate on celebratory events, including an exhibition and concert. Please visit the USC Newsroom for more information.
February 19, 2006 — Each year, The Sammys recognize the best — and the worst — in film music. This year, respected film music historian and author Roger Hall honored the late Elmer Bernstein with the Lifetime Achievement for Past Film Composer award, citing a number of his favorite scores between 1955 and 1965:THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956), THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (1962), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), HAWAII (1965), THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER (1965), and — Bernstein’s personal favorite — TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962). […]
MALIBU, CA—The Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra presented a special concert celebrating the music of award-winning film composer Elmer Bernstein, conducted by Music Director Sean Newhouse. The event was underwritten by Steven Spielberg, and featured a world concert premiere performance by BMI film composer John Ottman.
Elmer Bernstein – Hawaii Overture
Elmer Bernstein – The Age of Innocence
Elmer Bernstein – Concerto for Guitar (featuring Jonathan Roth)
John Ottman – Suite from X2: X-Men United (world concert premiere)
Additional selections by Mr. Bernstein
The Debut Orchestra is the 2nd oldest pre-professional training orchestra in the country, administered as a program of the Young Musicians Foundation, a non-profit organization.
More than 300 friends, family members and colleagues celebrated the life and career of composer Elmer Bernstein at a memorial service Wednesday night on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.
Bernstein, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer of such classic film scores as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, died Aug. 18 after a long illness. He was 82.
The esteem in which he was held, and the affection felt for him, was indicated not only by the speakers but by the crowd of high-profile composers, lyricists, musicians, directors and other members of the Hollywood community in attendance.
LOS ANGELES, CA — In honor of the fifth anniversary of the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, associated with John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, composer Elmer Bernstein’s “Fanfare for the Hollywood Bowl,” a one-minute composition commissioned to a select group of composers, was debuted in honor of the inaugural season of the new shell. The evening featured the induction into the Hall of Fame of artists Sarah Chang and Brian Wilson, and the posthumous induction of former Bernstein colleague and friend, Henry Mancini.