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Charlie Brigden

The Official Varese Sarabande Thread

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At one point (after POTA), MV indicated that he wouldn't be interested in expanding Elfman/Burton releases anymore given the Burton Elfman box.  His feelings may have changed since then, of course.  I think since he made that statement, the only score from that box to get an expansion was Edward Scissorhands by Intrada.  Even if the (OOP) box was comprehensive, I think those scores should be made available at a single score price point for people that didn't want to drop hundreds of dollars on an enormous spinning paperweight.

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There was a quote from Elfman at the time of the box, pointed out by Clemmenson at Filmtracks:

 

https://www.filmtracks.com/titles/sleepy_hollow.html

 

Quote

even Elfman admits that there wasn't much of substance to add.

 

Not only is the 'film version' of the main titles/village sequence not the film version (I know that scene very well), but there's still plenty unreleased. I have no idea what Elfman is talking about. This score was my first soundtrack CD, so I'll be very happy if it ever gets a properly complete release.

 

I should clarify that I think the final sections of the score (from the Church Battle onwards) are essentially complete, in one form or another. It seems to be a lot of smaller cues from early/mid sections that are missing.

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1 hour ago, Smeltington said:

 

Those were milestones! I look forward to listening to Dracula during the spookiest month. And the Cowboys was a pleasant surprise, as I didn't know what to expect from such an early JW score, but ended up enjoying it a lot.


The Cowboys is a masterpiece; on my Williams Top 10. But you need to go a few years earlier and discover my #1 favorite Williams score...

 

 

Yavar

 

1 hour ago, Smeltington said:

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Timeline of Burton/Elfman expansions

  1. 2009-05-19 Mars Attacks! by LLL
  2. 2010-07-21 Batman by LLL
  3. 2010-11-30 Batman Returns by LLL
  4. 2010-12-?? The Elfman/Burton box
  5. 2012-02-15 Planet of the Apes by LLL
  6. 2014-12-02 Batman (Updated) by LLL
  7. 2015-12-08 Edward Scissorhands by Intrada
  8. 2018-12-28 Batman (Updated) by Mondo

 

We're overdue for another one!

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Here's what I think

  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure - Varese OST was a re-recording.  Elfman/Burton debuted the film recording - deserves to be released outside the box! (Maybe both recordings on one disc?)
  • Beetlejuice - OST is pretty comprehensive, Elfman/Burton box set debuted most (all?) of the remaining cues (there's also an isolated score on the DVD) - deserves to be released outside the box!
  • Nightmare Before Christmas - Elfman/Burton box version is complete - deserves to be released as a 2disc set outside the box! (It's Disney, so only Intrada could do it beyond Disney Records themselves)
  • Mars Attacks! - LLL expansion is incomplete, film has an isolated score on DVD that is also incomplete, Elfman/Burton box had some stuff not on either - a proper 2CD set combining all this together (with who knows what else we still haven't heard) deserves to be released!
  • Sleepy Hollow - Elfman/Burton expansion was not complete.  A proper 2CD expansion is deserved!

 

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I would speculate that Intrada has asked, and Disney said nah, we'll keep that one to ourselves


They've continulally re-released the OST with different bonus tracks (the old songs re-sung by current pop/rock artists) over the years

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Yeah, I've picked one or two of those up myself.  One had some Elfman demos (which had previously been leaked on a holiday promo in poor quality many many years ago), which was pretty novel for the few years before the Burton box blew that open.

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Yea I picked up the exclusive Best Buy version of that, which had more demos than the "normal" version... and this was after we already got that one demo on Music For A Darkened Theater 2, and before we got all the demos in the box

 

A 2CD set would be great


Disc 1 = The complete score with all the songs throughout

Disc 2 = The demo versions of all the songs + the instrumental versions of the songs

 

Easy peasy!

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6 minutes ago, Jay said:

Mars Attacks! - LLL expansion is incomplete, film has an isolated score on DVD that is also incomplete, Elfman/Burton box had some stuff not on either - a proper 2CD set combining all this together (with who knows what else we still haven't heard) deserves to be released!

 

Well that is what you call a mess! Reminds me of the situation with Raiders and ROTJ having all these different releases with exclusive content.

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It would be real easy to make a nice 2CD set, also

 

Disc 1 = The complete score

Disc 2 = The original OST album + alternates, demos, miscellanea

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5 minutes ago, Smeltington said:

I do like Jane Eyre, that's the only other early score I had before Cowboys. These days I tend to enjoy the Jane Eyre suite a lot, after it came to my attention hearing Williams conduct it in Chicago.


I personally wouldn’t call Jane Eyre “early”...it was five years before Jaws (is Jaws “early”?) and over ten years after Williams’s first feature score, Daddy-O, in the late 50s. I might at least consider Jane Eyre the first score in his greatest period 70s-80s; it *sounds* like it comes from that period (actually it has a lot of music which looks even more forward, to stuff like Prisoner of Azkaban).

 

This is my favorite Williams score that I’d consider “early” (ten years before Jaws, six years after he started scoring theatrical features):


There’s a great complete (Mattesino) release of the score on FSM.

 

Yavar

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3 hours ago, Jay said:

Yea I picked up the exclusive Best Buy version of that, which had more demos than the "normal" version... and this was after we already got that one demo on Music For A Darkened Theater 2, and before we got all the demos in the box

 

A 2CD set would be great


Disc 1 = The complete score with all the songs throughout

Disc 2 = The demo versions of all the songs + the instrumental versions of the songs

 

Easy peasy!

 

Now that is what I would want for a "Nightmare Before Xmas" release. Like most people, I was able to get the music from that insane box set through other means, and was so happy to get the instrumental versions of the songs. I made my own edit to have a music-only version of the entire score, but... the instrumental versions of the songs were clearly taken from film stems with volume dips and other issues for some of them. I had to do some extensive editing to make anything truly fluid out of it. Hopefully if they do include those instrumentals they revisit the source of them and maybe fix them up better or even use a better source if possible. Otherwise it'll be a little of a letdown, but I would still be all for getting the release to have it physically (or I guess "legally" digitally haha).

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I got the box for $200 when it was new-ish, and that was a heck of a steal - 13 expanded scores averaged out to $15 per, and it came with a great book.  I would have probably eventually paid full price for it begrudgingly

 

The box itself is an eyesore and the DVD is just word-for-word content from interviews included in the book without all the additional detail.

 

Now it's going for a looooooooot more, of course.  Given how iconic a few of these scores are (Beetlejuice appears in movie trailers to this day, both Beetlejuice and Pee Wee are the inspiration for dozens of temp-track soundalikes, etc.) it's surprising that labels haven't gotten to them yet...  

 

In an era where some expansions actually sold out super quickly, LLL's Mars Attacks sat around forever and got discounted.  It doesn't surprise me that nobody's jumped on making a comprehensive version based on that sales logic, although I'd love to see it someday.

 

The additional Big Fish music didn't do a ton for me - the OST is still my preferred version of that one (same with Batman and Edward Scissorhands, tbh, although Batman Returns, POTA, Pee Wee, and Beetlejuice all benefit from the expansion IMO.  The rest kind of net out equal to me).

 

The instrumentals are such a shrug for me that I don't care about the issues with them.  As far as I'm concerned, the voices are part of the song, so their removal would be the same as, like, removing the strings.  I do remember hearing some slight vocal echo, especially in the Nightmare finale song.

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Yea that's why they should only be releases as bonuses on a bonus disc, not part of a main program.  And yea, I'm sure a competent producer could make them sound much better than the producer of the box did - or even locate an earlier generation element from before the singing was married to the orchestral recording

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4 minutes ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

Since Varese doesn't have their own site forums, how do they pick what scores to expand? Is it just random, or do they look at FSM for example to decide what expansions to pursue?

 

@BryonDavis can answer that question for you!

 

He actually just posted today on FSM about the state of affairs Robert Townson left him with there 

 

Quote

When Cary and I started working on CD Club releases the previous Producer did not leave us ANYTHING to work with. He had nothing in the queue or midway finished, no list, no help in advising us where anything is or what he was working on.

 

Once we started planning releases, we realized that some would be easier than others based on how much material is available. For every 2 or 3 easy to do releases, there is that one that takes forever to get finished due to a host of issues.

 

If you knew me you would know I love Elmer. WWW is a passion release for me so I am happy it's out for all to enjoy.

 

https://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=141688&forumID=1&archive=0

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8 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

Awareness of what fans have written us over the years, sites like this or FSM, my own interests in specific composers.  Other factors apply.  It's not random as much as it's about what's available, how much work has to be done and how much it will cost.  I had a list of 50 releases coming into this.  We've been whittling it away along with adding in things others want us to release within the company.

 

I know you're one of the founders of NFN but I had no idea you're associated with Varese now... to be honest I didn't realize Robert Townson left. Guess I need to get back in the loop!

 

Any chance for possible John Debney releases in the future? There are two older/slightly obscure Debney scores in particular that Varese owns (to my knowledge) that I've been really wanting expanded since the early 2000's. I ask because I've been listening to a lot of his older music lately and it reminded me about those.

 

If Disney was game I'd also say do the Ewok scores. :lol:

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6 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

I've been with Varese for almost 20 years.  I ran the sales for over 14 years and since I've been an A&R contractor for them since. We love John's music so yes, he has releases we want to look into expanding.

 

Awesome, I didn't realize anyone from Varese was here! Shows how much I've been paying attention... :P

 

I know you probably can't talk about pending releases, but any mention of perhaps either The Scorpion King or Zathura? As I said, relatively obscure scores, but I really enjoy both of them and would love to hear more of the music in the (probably very distant) future!

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Just now, BryonDavis said:

I can't discuss anything to be honest.  If NFN had it, sure, no problem, but I have obligations to my clients.  I will just say Debney expansions are on our list.

 

I'll gladly look forward to any expansions of his music then!

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1 minute ago, BryonDavis said:

 

I can't discuss anything to be honest.  If NFN had it, sure, no problem, but I have obligations to my clients.  I will just say Debney expansions are on our list.

 

BTW, anybody here listen to Wild Wild West?  Thoughts?

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6 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

BTW, anybody here listen to Wild Wild West?  Thoughts?

 

I haven't been able to listen to the entirety yet, but I think it's perfect so far! Mixing is obviously great, presentation is solid. I actually discovered this score by mistake in like ~2008 when researching Peter Bernstein after watching the Ewok films for the first time and thought it was a great score, it was definitely on my most-wanted obscure score expansions list! I'm also a big fan of Barry Sonnenfeld's films (such as MIB) so I thought it was a nice contrast. It's definitely an underrated film, and an even more underrated score which deserves some much needed attention that it seems to finally be getting because of this expanded set.

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26 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

 

I'll point this out.  Pay attention to how credits are laid out.  Notice how the art people never get credited for their layouts for a lot of the releases.  Notice how his name is usually more prominent and above that of the very musicians who make the music?  It is super important to me that the musicians and performers get credited before us.

 

You know what's funny is I did notice this! I was recently working on a project and had to go through a bunch of stuff to see who did the art design and when I got to a Varese DE I was flipping through the entire booklet not seeing it, figuring I must have missed it, I was like what the hell? I think it was the Stanley and Iris DE

 

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8 hours ago, Jay said:

Yea that's why they should only be releases as bonuses on a bonus disc, not part of a main program.  And yea, I'm sure a competent producer could make them sound much better than the producer of the box did - or even locate an earlier generation element from before the singing was married to the orchestral recording

 

Oh yeah, I wouldn't expect the instrumentals, for example, to be integrated into the main program. Although... Intrada has done that a few times with alternates, having V1 and V2 next to each other in the main program which creates a bad listening experience... but I digress. Thing is, in the case of Nightmare, you can't even just simply plop the instrumentals in place of the songs without doing some editing. I forget the exact issues now (I edited my instrumental-only version years ago), but there had to be a lot of fake fadeouts and etc created in order to make it work. So it'd be nice to have a version where that wouldn't be an issue to reprogram! :D

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Noticed that a lot (if not all) of the Varese iTunes Exclusive digital releases have suddenly disappeared. Things like The Black Cauldron, Lionheart DE, Stargate DE, Article 99, Eye of the Needle, Wisdom, Cocoon: The Return, Dead Again, Enemy Mine, After Dark My Sweet, Enemies: A Love Story, Soapdish, Off Limits, etc.

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5 hours ago, BryonDavis said:

 

BTW, anybody here listen to Wild Wild West?  Thoughts?

 

I've listened through several times and I love it - completely opens up the score over the original release. I particularly like the spider-related material in Spider Canyon/Coincidence and the complete finale - I'd never have guessed that Peter Bernstein wrote a lot of that. Other highlights for me are Washington and Avante/Air Gordon.

 

Source music is also really nice - I remembered Polka as soon as I heard the website sample.

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7 hours ago, BryonDavis said:

 

BTW, anybody here listen to Wild Wild West?  Thoughts?

 

I think there's much to like, including the nice, sweeping main theme, but the pop/rock parts aren't my cup of tea.

 

Btw, I revisited Varese's 2004 release of The Magnificent Seven recently. Apart from the awful sound of the first few seconds of the main title track, it's an enjoyable release. But I do wonder if better sources have materialized (at least for the main title) during the 16 years since the release. This is such an iconic score that it deserves to be brought back into circulation in one form or another.

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I love the WWW theme to bits - so catchy. I'm fairly sure I had reservations about the rocky parts when I first heard the score, but they're ok now. I'm not sure they work that well during the final fight sequence, but I think it works in the main title.

 

5 hours ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

It's definitely an underrated film, and an even more underrated score which deserves some much needed attention that it seems to finally be getting because of this expanded set.

 

It's a very flawed film, and despite what the liners say about the racial elements of the script (apparently put there in response to Smith pondering about being cast in a western), I think they have a more distracting effect, and I think they should have just ignored Smith's race, and focused on the popcorn element.

 

But it's still fun and not overlong, and a perfectly watchable 90 minutes if you leave your brain at the door.

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4 hours ago, JTWfan77 said:

Noticed that a lot (if not all) of the Varese iTunes Exclusive digital releases have suddenly disappeared. Things like The Black Cauldron, Lionheart DE, Stargate DE, Article 99, Eye of the Needle, Wisdom, Cocoon: The Return, Dead Again, Enemy Mine, After Dark My Sweet, Enemies: A Love Story, Soapdish, Off Limits, etc.


Black Cauldron, at least, has been gone since May.  I went out looking after we watched the movie.

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