Gutbrain Records

Monday, 22 December 2008

The fortieth Soundtrack of the Week is Dimitri Tiomkin's score for The Thing from Another World.

1951 was an important year for film music. It brought The Thing from Another World, with Tiomkin's influential, theremin-driven music, as well as The Day the Earth Stood Still, with Bernard Herrmann's influential, theremin-driven music.

While Herrmann's score is minimalist and mostly lyrical and ethereal, Tiomkin's is extremely aggressive, assaulting the viewer with sounds of pure terror. It's an amazing listening experience. Besides the theremin, you'll hear wind machine, flexatone, two sets of timpani, two pianos, three harps, pipe organ, lots of brass and woodwinds, and double bass (the only strings).

(For some reason, the documentary Theremin: An Electonic Odyssey features Herrmann's music — it's the first music you hear and there's a segment on The Day the Earth Stood Still — but, as I recall, doesn't even mention Tiomkin.)

There isn't very much music (less than half an hour), so the Film Score Monthly release also contains Tiomkin's score for Take the High Ground!, a more straightforward military drama. It's not the kind of music I enjoy very much, but I'm happy to have it included here.