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Album running time

1: Love Theme (1:30)
2: Homecoming (6:40)
3: Recriminations (2:45)
4: In the Morning (5:02)
5: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary (3:58)
6: In the Bushes (2:17)
7: Confession (3:12)
8: Romance (1:40)
9: Morte, Morte (:58)
10: Mary, Mary (1:47)
11: Thin Ice (3:21)
12: Wall Street (1:32)
13: Long Distance (2:46)
14: First Meeting (1:28)
15: Awakening (4:57)
16: Valse Nocturne (1:28)
17: The Real Thing (6:38)
18: Unexpected Encounter (3:24)
19: Rejection (2:19)
20: Rendezvous (3:41)
21: Clandestine Meeting (4:05)
22: Les Adieux (2:27)
23: Peace at Last (2:43)

Performed by
conducted by


Produced by

Released by
Serial number
FSM Vol 3 No 8

Artwork copyright (c) 1960 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2002 James Southall

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Sublime dramatic scoring from a master

It was 42 years ago when Elmer Bernstein wrote his music for From the Terrace, and he had already been an established film composer for some years. Remarkable. Anyway, it was a melodrama based on John O'Hara's acclaimed novel, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and directed by Mark Robson. While he had been around for some time, Bernstein had used most of his energy up to that point writing groundbreaking jazz for dramas and traditional Hollywood music for epics, and From the Terrace was one of his first real romances.

The amazing thing is that, while the orchestration is certainly bigger than what was to come from Bernstein, all in all the score isn't that different from one he might write four decades later. The slightly schmaltzy (though very attractive) love theme which opens the disc and dominates its second half aside, it is amazing how distinctively and unmistakably Bernstein this music is; the waltz in "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" could easily be from The Age of Innocence and the dramatic writing of cues such as "Confession" and "Recriminations" would not sound out of place in any film he scored today. Along with Alex North, Bernstein is the only composer whose music written in the 1950s would not sound out of place today - which just goes to show what most of us know anyway, that they are the two most influential film composers.

While he always has been and always will be best-known for his music for westerns, I have always felt that Bernstein's greatest strength has been his innate ability to catch the drama in serious, adult films and to do so in such an intelligent and usually beautiful way that one feels enriched for seeing just about any film on which he works. His music not only enhances every film but it also works so well musically, meaning listening to an Elmer Bernstein album is almost always an experience to cherish. From the Terrace is no exception; the way it moves from A to B to C over its course (certainly aided by being able to hear the complete score) could be a textbook example for today's composers, whose electronic and orchestral wallpaper so rarely features any actual musical development.

From the Terrace is a model score imbued with the kind of humanity and intellect that mark Bernstein as one of the finest composers of the modern age. It is as scintillating a portrait of Americana as those written by his early teacher Aaron Copland and, simply, a joy to hear.