Wednesday, January 26, 2011


January 26, 2011

     Yesterday morning, after this year’s Oscar candidates were announced, Dennis Bartel of KUSC in L.A. played selections from the five pictures nominated for Best Original Score.  Broadcasting on 91.5 fm from the University of Southern California, KUSC is a cherished gift to the airwaves and the internet.  It’s not just that the station’s talented and knowledgable djs play the best classical recordings available.  They also play movie soundtracks on a regular basis.  Listening to Mr. Bartel, Alan Chapman, Kimberlea Daggy, Rich Capparela and the legendary, inimitable Jim Svejda (among others), one regularly hears scores by the likes of John Williams, the entire Newman family (Lionell, Alfred, Randy, Thomas and David), Danny Elfman, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner and many others.  What’s more, the station often plays non-movie music from these great composers.  Korngold’s violin concerto, Williams’ harp concerto and Herrmann’s cantata, “Moby Dick” (dedicated to Charles Ives), are among many pieces I’ve discovered while  listening to KUSC.  Find them, wherever you are, at  But beware:  Tuning in may be addictive.

Later on January 26, 2011

     While listening to an excerpt from Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor’s score for “The Socail Network,” I had an epiphany related to an earlier post on this site.  Like so much else in David Fincher’s film, the score is inspired by Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane.”  Famously, composer Bernard Herrmann used a 3-note motif throughout “Kane.”  Ross and Reznor, too, grounded “The Social Network’s” music in a 3-note ostinato ( a musical phrase repeated over and over throughout the composition).  Just a coincidence?  Maybe.

Still later on January 26, 2011.

     Condolences to the family of Stanley Frazen, former president of the A.C.E. and the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild, who died on January 23 at the age of 91.  Looking at a list of Mr. Frazen’s editing credits it’s hard to find one that isn’t a landmark in television history.  Among the shows he helped shape were:  “The Burns and Allen Show,” “The Jack Benny Show,” “My Favorite Martian,” “The Monkees,” “Get Smart,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Colombo” and “Charlie’s Angels.”  Wow!!

     Two of Stanley Franzen’s children, Nancy and Robert, are themselves film editors.  I got to know Robert a little when we were “neighbors” last summer at the Post Group.  It somehow seems fitting to me that the son of an editor of “The Monkees” wound up, decades later, doing a brilliant job cutting Charlie Kaufman’s ‘”Synechdoche, New York.”  Again, Rob, my thoughts and warm wishes are with you and the rest of your family.

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