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Alexander Grodzinski

Quartet Records: THE BIG COUNTRY (2-CD) (60th Anniversary Edition) (Jerome Moross)

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Quartet Records and MGM present a 60th anniversary remastered 2-CD edition of one of the most famous western scores ever composed.

Directed by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carrol Baker, Charlton Heston and Burl Ives, this epic western was based on the serialized magazine novel Ambush at Blanco Canyon by Donald Hamilton. The Academy-Award nominated score composed and conducted by Jerome Moross (The Valley of Gwangi, The War Lord, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Proud Rebel) is undoubtedly one of the most popular soundtracks ever released. It changed the landscape of western movie scores, veering the approach away from spare folk songs to a lavish, American-flavored orchestral sound—suggestive of the open-air music of Moross’ friend Aaron Copland.

A 30-minute selection with 12 tracks from The Big Country was released on LP in 1958 by United Artist Records in two versions: stereo and mono, although the “stereo” was electronically processed from mono tapes. This album was reissued many times on LP due the popularity of the score. In 1988, Silva Screen recorded an expanded selection in terrific stereo with Tony Bremner conducting The Philharmonia Orchestra. The 76-minute original score finally appeared in 1991 on a limited release from Screen Archives Entertainment that included the whole score (with some tracks not included in the final cut of the film) sourced from the composer’s personal tapes. La-La Land Records released the same selection in 2007, although that edition sold out and is selling for exorbitant prices on the secondary market.

The 60th anniversary of this masterpiece bring us the opportunity to revisit the score, fully restored and remastered by Chris Malone (in true mono sound, without any fake stereo image), fixing some imperfections inherent on all previous releases and making it sounds better than ever! On the second CD we have included both versions of the historic LP, the processed stereo and the mono, transferred from master tapes vaulted at MGM.

The package comes with a flipper-style, 24-page, full-color booklet including the two covers of the original album and detailed liner notes by Jeff Bond.

DISC ONE. The Film Score

01. Main Title (3:25)

02. Julie’s House (2:14)

03. The Welcoming (3:13)

04. The Hazing (1:52)

05. Courtin’ Time (1:24)

06. The Terrill Ranch (1:38)

07. Old Thunder (1:43)

08. The Raid (Parts 1 and 2) (3:39)

09. McKay’s Decision (1:06)

10. The Capture (1:31)

11. McKay’s Triumph (0:38)

12. Major Terrill’s Party (Part 1) (1:33)

13. Major Terrill’s Party (Part 2) (1:13)

14. The Waltz (2:20)

15. Polka (0:57)

16. Night in Blanco Canyon (0:54)

17. McKay’s Ride (1:24)

18. McKay Is Missing (2:05)

19. The Old House (2:23)

20. Waiting (0:33)

21. Horror Stories (1:09)

22. Big Muddy (2:37)

23. Still Waiting (1:41)

24. McKay Alone (1:24)

25. Night at Ladder Ranch (1:13)

26. The Fight (2:59)

27. Cattle at the River (2:25)

28. Pat’s Mistake (1:24)

29. Buck Comes for Julie (1:17)

30. The Abduction (1:13)

31. The Captive (1:38)

32. The Attempted Rape (2:15)

33. The War Party Gathers (2:44)

34. McKay in Blanco Canyon (2:31)

35. Jim and Julie (0:40)

36. The Major Alone (1:56)

37. The Duel (0:55)

38. The Death of Buck Hannassey (2:49)

39. Ambush in Blanco Canyon (Part 1) (1:20)

40. Ambush in Blanco Canyon (Part 2) (1:52)

41. The Stalking (1:25)

42. End Title (2:04)

Total Disc One: 75:32

DISC TWO. The 1958 (Processed) Stereo LP

01. The Big Country (3:25)

02. The Welcoming (3:13)

03. Old Thunder (1:46)

04. McKay’s Triumph (1:28)

05. The Waltz (2:21)

06. The Old House (2:23)

07. Big Muddy (2:38)

08. The War Party Gathers (2:45)

09. McKay in Blanco Canyon (2:31)

10. The Death of Buck Hannassey (2:51)

11. The Stalking (1:25)

12. The Big Country (2:05)

The 1958 Mono LP

13. The Big Country (3:30)

14. The Welcoming (3:13)

15. Old Thunder (1:46)

16. McKay’s Triumph (1:28)

17. The Waltz (2:21)

18. The Old House (2:23)

19. Big Muddy (2:38)

20. The War Party Gathers (2:45)

21. McKay in Blanco Canyon (2:31)

22. The Death of Buck Hannassey (2:51)

23. The Stalking (1:25)

24. The Big Country (2:05)

Total Disc Two: 58:01

Total 2CD Time: 133:33

Limited Collector’s Edition of 1000 units.


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Hatte gestern schon den Eindruck, dass mir die alte La-La Land Version reichen wird. Das bestätigt Chris Malone sozusagen, der die neue Quartet remastert hat. Aber hier lohnt die Neuauflage sicher für die, die den Score noch nicht haben.


To address a few questions raised here:

1.) Whilst all evidence suggests that the score was recorded in three-track magnetic stereo it was certainly not archived that way. I discussed whether the film itself ever had a stereophonic soundtrack with several industry experts—one of them being the dean of early widescreen, stereo, and 3-D films, Ron Furmanek. Mr. Furmanek could find no evidence of The Big Country being theatrically exhibited in stereo.

2.) For Disc 1, we worked from the same source material—from the composer’s own monaural tapes—that was presented on both the SAE and La-La Land releases. A number of dropouts and instances of distortion, for example, were addressed (or addressed via a different approach). If you already own one or the other of the earlier releases, repurchase decisions probably will be predicated on how much you like the score, whether you want a lens into it that’s a little different, and/or you want an opportunity to study Jeff Bond’s notes and Nacho B. Govantes’ artwork.

3.) For Disc 2, we hunted the MGM archives to present the original album, that many film music fans grew up with, in the best sound possible. We start off with the stereoized version which is notable for being a relic of early “fake stereo” processing, achieved by adding extra echo and filtering frequencies left and right. We then round out Disc 2 with the same original album but in true mono. The mono version is notable for having more echo than the material as heard on Disc 1 but not the same degree as the stereoized version. Whether you play any of it is up to you but those of us who worked on this release thought it was worth doing something different. Again, if you’re completely satisfied with either the SAE or La-La Land release there is no need to buy this watermelon.



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Habe gestern überraschend per Einschreiben eine Austausch-CD von CD 1 erhalten. 

Weiß da jemand den Grund für?

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