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The Long, Hot Summer
1: The Long, Hot Summer Jimmie Rodgers (2:29)
2: Hey! Eula (3:22)
3: Two Butterflies (2:34)
4: Easy Living (1:43)
5: Respect (1:08)
6: Encounter (2:03)
7: Jody (1:07)
8: Eula (1:27)
9: Barn Burner (5:36)
10: Papa (2:09)
11: Southern Belle (1:32)
12: Ashamed (5:54)
13: Loot (4:54)
14: Big Daddy (1:30)
15: The Barn Burns (4:15)
16: Summertime (1:31)

17: Sanctuary Julie London (2:18)
18: Main Title (1:34)
19: I Remember Sanctuary (3:43)
20: Candy Man (3:00)
21: Sleep Little Lush (1:18)
22: You're Mine (1:51)
23: Narration No 1 (1:06)
24: Narration No 2 (2:01)
25: Narration No 3 (1:46)
26: Revelation (1:31)
27: Candy's Return (2:48)
28: Little Girl (6:57)
29: Believe (2:43)

Performed by
conducted by


Produced by

Released by
Serial number
VCL 0202 1005

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

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Wonderful pairing of scores mark superb release

Alex North was already well-established by the time he scored The Long, Hot Summer in 1958 for director Martin Ritt, but I think it's fair to say that it is in the years that followed that he posted those scores that really solidify his reputation today - certainly this score is one of his most renowned - and rightfully so. The Varèse Sarabande CD Club has been a boon to collectors everywhere: releasing those scores that probably wouldn't see the light of day otherwise due to their noncommercial nature alongside a few more that are probably not as musically satisfying, but draw in the punters to pay for releases like this one.

The film united Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and also featured no less a figure than Orson Welles. It was the first of three films North scored based on writings by William Faulkner - more about the others, later. At the time, the fashion was always to have a song in the movie with the same title as the film, a practice that has thankfully been abandoned today (try to imagine a Tiomkin belter called "Dances with Wolves" or a light jazz Mancini arrangement for "Batman Forever") and thus, the album opens with "Sanctuary", music by Alex North, lyric by Sammy Cahn, sung by Jimmie Rodgers. North wrote many wonderful songs during his career (the one aspect of it that doesn't get the attention it deserves) but I would suggest this isn't one of them. However, things get on track in a stunning fashion in "Hey! Eula", the album's second cue, a piece of superb, swinging rock and roll. Occasional pieces of source music aside, the remainder of the score is superbly romantic, but in a way so utterly different from that employed by his peers (it goes without saying that there are no sweeping strings, no "big theme") you have to admire not only North's courage in posting such a work, but in the courage of his employers for allowing him to do it. North was still setting the foundations for how all high-quality film music would become in the proceeding years.

I suppose "Easy Living" could almost be termed the "love theme", but to do so rather demeans its thoroughly adult, intelligent nature. Plenty of romantic material follows, perhaps most stunningly "Ashamed", with a heartbreaking violin solo: one of North's finest pieces. By contrast, the cue that follows, "Loot", is anguished and almost tortured, with mournful strings and muted trumpets. "The Barn Burns" is probably the score's standout cue, as a furious, frenzied attack by the brass alternates with the emotional strings. Vintage North.

The Long, Hot Summer is a superb score, laying in some ways the groundwork for two of North's most daring, stunning works, The Sound and the Fury (for the same director - and in my opinion North's boldest and best score) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? They are of course totally different pieces of music, but one can see the origins of both contained herein.

The album features a bonus - and what a bonus: North's score for Sanctuary, the third of those William Faulkner movies (the second one was The Sound and the Fury). Again it starts with a song, this time with lyrics by the Bergmans and sung by Julie London - it's superb. The first track of score reprises the song's melody, and comes complete with one of North's extremely rare uses of choir - again, it is a great piece of music.

The film itself is a bleak tale of rape and murder, starring Lee Remick, meaning that once again North offers one of his journeys into the depths of the human psyche. It goes without saying that no composer has ever done that as well as North and Sanctuary does not disappoint on any level. It is less illustrious than the other score on the album purely because the film is so much more obscure, but that doesn't for a moment mean the score is any less worthy of attention.

These two North scores make for the best album since the relaunch of the CD Club; both are stunning - both are brilliantly-constructed - but then, both are by Alex North.