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Salter, Dessau: House Of Frankenstein / Stromberg, Moscow Symphony


Release Date: 09/25/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570188   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hans Salter
Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Production values high, recordings full and spacious, performances totally committed.

Just when you thought it was safe to leave the shelter of the world behind the sofa here come not one, not two, but three monsters – Dracula, The Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster! And with them comes the most preposterous plot of all! Mad scientist Boris Karloff escapes from prison thanks to a thunderstorm; with a hunchback assistant he takes the persona of the owner of a travelling chamber of horrors. Within days he has got his hands on the three monsters already named, finding the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man encased in ice in a cave, and he punctuates his desire for revenge with experiments in brain transplants! In the
Read more end, everybody dies.

Whether or not the plot is silly, to say the least, the music is superb!

Hans J Salter was another refugee from Nazi Germany, a man who studied with Alban Berg and Franz Schreker, who made his career in Hollywood. His collaborator, Paul Dessau, had arrived in America in 1939 after a career in Europe as both composer and conductor. He was made more politically aware through wartime collaboration with Brecht and joined the American Communist Party in 1946, returning to East Berlin two years later. His collaboration with Brecht continued, and after the writer’s death took to writing using Schoenberg’s twelve note technique and supporting the growing West European avant-garde.

This disk gives us the complete score for the film – 55 minutes of the most eerie and atmospheric music, with the most evocative titles – Rendezvous with Dracula, Death of the Unholy Two and Liquefying Brains. What a score it is and what marvellous work John Morgan has done in his reconstruction from a three line piano score – Universal having destroyed all their old horror film scores. The orchestration is fully 1940s horror and the music sounds incredibly modern – so much so that when the Moscow musicians were recording the score they wondered if it was from a modern film. This is music for film which was truly ahead of its time.

Having already written about seven of these disks in the Naxos Film Music Classics series there is little new I can say. The production values are high, the recordings full and spacious, the performances totally committed, the booklet helpful and detailed and the standard of scholarship without peer.

How about giving us some David Raksin? I’d put The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), The Big Combo (1955) and Al Capone (1959) on the list for a start. Am I being greedy? Of course I am, but Naxos cannot, after what we’ve already heard, stop giving us such quality recordings.

-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
House of Frankenstein by Hans Salter
Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; California, USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1994 
Venue:  Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 55 Minutes 29 Secs. 

Sound Samples

House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Main Title
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Lightning Strikes
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Gruesome Twosome Escape
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Off to Vasaria
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Chamber of Horrors
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dracula Restored
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dracula's Ring
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The Burgomaster Murdered
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Rendezvous with Dracula
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The World Beyond
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dracula Pursued
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dracula Destoyed
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Gypsy Tantrums
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Ilonka Whipped
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dan's Love
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The Ruins
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The Monstrosities
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Wolf Man Revived
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Show Me the Records
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Travels
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Hunchback's Jealousy
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Niemann's Laboratory
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Liquefying Brains
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Niemann's Revenge
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The Pentagram
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Full Moon
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Silver Bullet
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dr. Niemann Successful
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): The Moon is Full
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Larry at Peace
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Dr Niemann Attacked
House of Frankenstein (orch. J. Morgan and W. T. Stromberg): Death of the Unholy Two

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