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Gerald Fried has scored a variety of esteemed projects over his 40+ year career: famous television shows such as Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Gilligan's Island; the historic miniseries Roots; and such well-regarded features as Stanley Kubrick's The Killing and Paths of Glory, and Robert Aldrich's Too Late the Hero. He is the only composer ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for a documentary score, Birds Do It, Bees Do It (1975). Throughout it all, his bold style has emphasized dynamic rhythms passed throughout the orchestra, dissonant, ambitious counterpoint, and gentle, effortless melodies.
In the late 1950s and early '60s, Fried scored multiple low-budget horror films primarily for United Artists. This jam-packed 2CD set compiles four of the best, each a distinctly Fried-ian effort but offering something different: The Return of Dracula (1958) is built around an adventurous use of the Dies Irae; I Bury the Living (1958, a creepy graveyard thriller) makes extensive use of harpsichord; The Cabinet of Caligari (1962, for 20th Century Fox) has a beautiful, romantic theme and elaborate, impressionistic cues for the various set-pieces; and Mark of the Vampire (1957) makes use of pulsing three-against-four rhythms and suspended chords in the style of The Killing.
These scores should thrill horror aficionados as well as connoisseurs of the "Chiller Theater"-type TV programs which have aired the films. Fans of Fried's Star Trek scores (like "Amok Time," "Friday's Child," and especially "Catspaw") will be delighted to find many similar passages and orchestrations. As a special bonus, at the end of disc two are rare demo versions of the jazz vocal of the theme from Caligari, "The Sounds of the Night," with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
This entire 2CD set (over two hours of music) is in mono and has been laboriously restored from the composer's personal collection, with each score presented in as complete a chronological form as possible. The Return of Dracula and The Cabinet of Caligari are from reel-to-reel tape sources; I Bury the Living and Mark of the Vampire have been transferred from barely played acetates and de-clicked using the Sonic Solutions program. In each case, the element used is believed to be the only surviving source in the world. The album overall is the result of several years' work.
The two discs are packaged in a single "slimline" jewel box. The 24-page booklet features copious photos, an introduction by Lukas Kendall, and essays on each of the films and scores by D.L. Fuller, Bruce Kimmel, Doug Adams and Jeff Bond.