16 July 2016

Chinatown: The Expanded Score

Chinatown's classic soundtrack has finally received an official expanded treatment, courtesy of Intrada Records:

Intrada presents an expanded edition of Chinatown, with the first 12 tracks presenting the original 1974 album, remastered from the stereo masters for a more suitable natural sound of the ensemble (previous CD releases altered the dynamic range and overall levels considerably). The remaining tracks offer the entire score for the first time in the intended picture sequence. These precious recordings have been mastered from what may be the only surviving session elements in existence: a pair of aging 1/4˝ seven-and-a-half IPS full-track (mono) rolls retained by the composer and transferred to DAT some three decades ago.
1974 ABC LP
Chinatown's soundtrack was first released on LP in 1974 by ABC Records. The album did not include the score in its entirety, rather, it combined the cues into several longer tracks, it did not follow the narrative order of the film, and several tracks were re-recorded altogether, sometimes in a slightly different arrangement to how they featured in the film (the opening and end titles include brief piano flourishes at the very end, for example).
The soundtrack album was later released on CD in 1995 by Varese Sarabande, with no changes or additions. This CD would become a very rare collector's item several years later, being sold on the likes of Amazon and ebay for as much as $300. 
Varese eventually re-released it in 2012 as part of its Varese Club line - the only difference being new liner notes and slightly different cover artwork.

Bootleg CD cover
There was also a widely-circulated bootleg of Chinatown's soundtrack which appeared in the 1990s, purporting to be the complete score - often sold as the 'Complete' or 'Expanded' soundtrack - and still appears today, being sold on ebay or via filesharing services. 
This bootleg was apparently created from the isolated music track on a laserdisc release of the film and originally issued on printed CDs (rather than burned CD-Rs). 
This album simply includes all the music as it appears in the film, plus the original album versions of several tracks. The audio quality is very substandard, to say the least.
Until now, however, it was the only way of owning the whole of the film's actual soundtrack.

As announced, Intrada's new release presents both a remastered version of the original soundtrack album, and the complete score of the film, which also includes several moments never before released. Audiophiles have long complained about the 'hotter' than usual mixes of the previous releases of the soundtrack album - that has now been corrected. Of course, the real pleasure is being able to listen to the film's soundtrack in its entirety, with a crisp, clean sound overall.
Intrada album interior artwork

The liner notes by film music writer Jeff Bond give a thoroughly comprehensive analysis of Chinatown's score, including some insightful comparisons with the original, rejected score by Phillip Lambro (released in 2012 by Perseverance Records as Los Angeles, 1937). There are also detailed technical notes by the producer, Douglass Fake.

Unfortunately, apart from several tracks extending slightly beyond what was in the film, there's no 'new' material, such as unused cues or alternate, rejected compositions, but given that Jerry Goldsmith had only ten days to compose a new score after Phillip Lambro's was turfed, it's unlikely such material ever existed.

The album is currently available to order from Intrada Records and various online retailers. Further information about the release can be found here:
Intrada album back cover

No comments:

Post a comment