Film Music Review
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The Twilight Zone Revisited
(Part Two)

On the 50th anniversary of the classic sci-fi television show's premiere in 1959,
here are reprints of two reviews from Film Music Review....

CD Review No. 1


THE TWILIGHT ZONE: The 40th Anniversary Collection.  4 CD Box Set  

Album Produced by Ford A. Thaxton. Album Notes by Christopher Landry.  Digital Editing and Remastering by James Nelson at Digital Outland.  Digital Transfers by John Beal at Reeltime Music and Alan Howarth at Dimension Audio.

Silva Screen Records America, 1999.



Rating: **** [Highest Recommendation]

Disc One:  

Theme and Music by Bernard Herrmann

1.   First Season Introduction - Rod Serling  (0:25)

2.   Main Title (1:11)

3.   "Where is Everybody?" (11:19)

4.   End Title: First Season  (1:04)

5-15.   The Outer Space Suite (25:00)

16.   Alternate Main Title #2 (0:27)

17.   "Walking Distance" (12:24)

18.   Alternate End Title #2 (0:42)

19.   "The Hitchhiker" (7:10)

20.  Alternate Main Title #3 (0:28)

21.  The Lonely (11:06)

22.  Alternate End Title #3 (1:07)

Disc Two:

Music by Jerry Goldsmith

1.  Second Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:25) - Marius Constant

2.  Main Title: Second Season (0:28) - Marius Constant

3.  "Back There" (12:48)

4.  "The Big Tall Wish" (11:51)

5.  "The Invaders" (12:49)

6.  "Dust" (11:31)

7.  Jazz Theme #1 (9:11)

8.  Jazz Theme #2 (3:12)

9.  "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" (8:14)

10. End Title: Second Season  (0:42) - Marius Constant

Disc Three:

Music by Nathan Van Cleave, Nathan Scott and Rene Garriguenc

1.   Third Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:25) - Theme by Marius Constant

2.   Main Title: Second Season (0:28) - Marius Constant

3.   "Perchance to Dream" (9:49) - Nathan Van Cleave

4.   "Elegy" (8:13) - Nathan Van Cleave

5.   "Two" (12:06) - Nathan Van Cleave

6.   "I See the Body Electric" (11:40) - Nathan Van Cleave

7.   "A World of Difference" (11:46) - Nathan Van Cleave

8.   "A Stop at Willoughby" (12:22) - Nathan Scott

9.   Jazz Theme #3 (4:04) - Rene Garriguenc

10. End Title: Second Season  (0:42) - Marius Constant   

Disc Four:

Music by Fred Steiner, Leonard Rosenman, Jeff Alexander and Franz Waxman

1.   Fourth/Fifth Season Introduction - Rod Serling (0:31) - Theme by Marius Constant

2.   Main Title: Alternate (0:38) - Marius Constant

3.   "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (12:13) - Fred Steiner

4.   "King Nine Will Not Return" (11:09) - Fred Steiner

5.   "The Passerby" (12:55) - Fred Steiner

6.   "When the Sky was Opened" (11:53) - Leonard Rosenman

7.   "The Trouble with Templeton" (11:42) - Jeff Alexander

8.   "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" (10:47) - Franz Waxman

9.   End Title: Alternate (0:54) - Marius Constant



 For years, fans of TWILIGHT ZONE have been clamoring for more music from this popular TV series.  

Well, it's now here for the 40th anniversary of the series premiere and what a feast for the ears!  Compared to the earlier 5 separate LPs and 2 CDs on Varese Sarabande in 1985-86,  and the 5 CDs from Japan, this new 4 CD set is superior.

 I  vividly remember watching the TZ episodes when they were first telecast on Friday nights on CBS.  I was fascinated with Rod Serling's ingenious story ideas and especially enjoyed the enchanting music scores by Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith.  It's very appropriate indeed to have one CD devoted to each of these film music masters.     

 Each of the 4 discs opens with Rod Serling's classic spoken introductions, and then the Main Titles without narrations.  

The first season had opening and end titles music by Bernard Herrmann, the other four seasons it was music by French avant-garde composer, Marius Constant.  Even though the Constant title theme is the best known, I think the Herrmann themes fit the series better.  The Constant themes weren't written for the TZ but taken from two other works. The Herrmann themes were commisssioned for the series.  These themes are essential and are included at the beginning and end of each CD, and also include some alternate ones.

 In addition to the Main and End Titles, music used in 24 episodes of TWILIGHT ZONE are featured, including some of the very best scores from the entire series of 156 episodes, which ran originally from 1959 until 1964.  The arrangement of each CD with different composers is an excellent idea.  

The first disc is devoted to Bernard Herrmann's incredible music and contains four of his best scores: "Where is Everybody?" (pilot episode - October 2, 1959); "The Lonely" (first telecast on my birthday! - November 13, 1959); "Walking Distance" (October 30, 1959); and "The Hitch-Hiker" (January 22, 1960).  Herrmann composed four other TZ scores, including fan favorites:  "Eye of the Beholder" and "Little Girl Lost."  Even though they're not included on this disc, what is included is choice Herrmann material.  My all-time favorite TZ episode is "Walking Distance."  To my mind this is Serling's best writing and Herrmann's most poignant score in the TZ series.  Writing about Herrmann in his excellent book, The Twilight Zone Companion, Marc Scott Zicree writes:

... his gentle and evocative score permeates the episode, omnipresent yet unobtrusive. Listening to this is hard to believe any composer - particularly one with such distinguished credits in feature films - would bother to take such pains.

 But as producer, Buck Houghton, pointed out it was because

Bernie responded very strongly to things that he thought were good.  It's a great score.  

That it is, but so are the other three scores included on disc one.  An added treat is the 25 minute "Outer Space Suite" which was recorded in 1957 for the CBS library.  Portions of this suite were used as source music for many different TZ episodes.

 Disc Two has more treats to offer.  This time it's Jerry Goldsmith and four of his best TZ scores: "Back There" (January 13, 1961); "The Big Tall Wish" (April 8, 1960); "The Invaders" (January 27, 1961); and "Dust" (January 6, 1961).   Goldsmith composed three more TZ scores, but the ones included are his best known.  Of these, "The Invaders," is his most accomplished TZ score and is a perfect accompaniment to the story, with almost no dialogue, about an old woman (superbly played by Agnes Moorhead) fighting off tiny invading aliens.  Goldsmith's score sparkles with sharp rhythmic attacks featuring strings, piano, organ and celeste.  Like Herrmann's "Walking Distance" music, this is a marvelously evocative score.

 Disc Three highlights three other composers: Nathan Van Cleave, Nathan Scott and Rene Garriguenc.   Van Cleave (as he preferred to be listed in TZ credits) was the most prolific of all the composers included in this set.  He composed 12 scores for TZ episodes.  Five of his scores are on the third disc.  Of these, "I Sing the Body Electric" (May 18, 1962) is probably his best effort - a beautiful flowing theme for flute and strings which is ever changing to fit the charming Ray Bradbury story about a grandmother taking care of three children.  Another favorite episode of mine is "A Stop at Willoughby" (May 6, 1960).  The composer of this episode, Nathan Scott, evokes the nostalgia of a long ago era in a small rural town (using a small brass band) and contrasts it with music representing the big city pressures in the advertising business. Rene Garriguenc's memorable "Jazz Theme #3" (listed in the CD booklet as "Street Moods in Jazz") is a marvelous theme which was used in several TZ episodes including the one about a cynical man who succumbs to the enticement of a talking slot machine in "The Fever" (January 29, 1960).

 Disc Four includes music by Fred Steiner, Leonard Rosenman, Jeff Alexander, and Franz Waxman.  Steiner's wonderful score for "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (April 7, 1961) uses harmonica and guitar to accompany the story of a man (memorably played by Cliff Robertson)  from 1847 who suddenly walks "over the rim" into the modern world and the instrumental accompaniment changes to a modern percussive sound.  Two other fine Steiner scores are included on this disc.

Leonard Rosenman only composed one TZ score, "And When the Sky Was Opened" (December 11, 1959).  His atonal score features prominent use of clarinet and trumpet to accompany the story of three astronauts who one by one all fade away. Jeff Alexander's subtle and swigning score for "The Trouble with Templeton" (December 9, 1960) features harp and piano solos along with the strings.  It's a delightful score moving seamlessly between slow bluesy theme and upbeat 1920s Dixieland swing band.  Another subtle score is Franz Waxman's only TZ episode, "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" (October 23, 1959).  As Christopher Landry mentions in his booklet notes, "it bears mentioning that the score for this episode resembles that of the classic and similarly-themed SUNSET BOULEVARD, written by Waxman nearly a decade before this journey into the Twilight Zone."  Another example of a composer rising to the occasion of a well written story by Rod Serling.                   

The 12 page booklet has a few stills from different episodes and very good notes about all the tracks.  However, the track listing in the booklet is not the same as on the CD box.  The booklet indicates 12 tracks for disc one, when there are actually 22 in all -- they are listed on the CD box. There are also some numbering differences of the various Main Titles and Jazz Themes. It appears that the CD box would be best for locating the correct tracks.         

 When listening to these TWILIGHT ZONE scores, what is so remarkable is how the composers could make a small instrumental ensemble sound so full and rewarding.  This is made even more apparent by the excellent editing done by James Nelson and digital transfer of the original music by John Beal and Alan Howarth.  The sound of these mostly mono tracks is simply superb. All of this fine work was done under the skillful supervision of album producer, Ford A. Thaxton.  

 Even if you're not a longtime TWILIGHT ZONE fan, this set is a must have collection.  The first two discs devoted to Herrmann and Goldsmith are worth the price alone.    

Get this wonderful 4 CD collection and take the trip to imaginary worlds and wonders.

 Or, as Rod Serling would say,

...that's the signpost up ahead... your next stop... the Twilight Zone.

This is a landmark CD collection with some of the best music ever composed for television.

--Roger Hall, 22 October 1999


CD Review No. 2

It was named Editor's Choice, Best CD of the Month for December 2007.

The CD also received a Sammy Award for Best Restored Film Score of 2007.



"'Walking Distance' is a masterpiece of television scoring and can be performed in a concert hall without any apologies needed. I believe it is Herrmann's greatest score for television." -- from Roger Hall's review

This CD includes Bernard Herrmann's complete score for FAHRENHEIT 451 and also his classic score for "Walking Distance" from THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

Read the complete review here








See also these two recommended CDs...


The Best of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone



Bernard Herrmann: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2 CDs)
(re-recordings conducted by Joel McNeely)


And this CD review for...  


music by Jerry Goldsmith


CD: Bernard Herrmann on Radio
Free CD available with A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC




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