Saturday, January 07, 2012

Soundtrack: The Raven

I collect soundtracks - of movies that I've seen and liked, or at the very least of movies that I'd've liked to have seen. This separates me from the majority of soundtrack collectors, I think. They seem to collect music just because they like a certain composer -- they have no interest in seeing the film from which the movie came!

My collection is not large, indeed it's extremely small.

One reason it's small is because most of my soundtracks were vinyl records that I purchased in the 70s and 80s, and in the process of many moves these were lost. I used to have the original Star Wars soundtracks, for example, and Star Trek, etc. etc. etc.

I've only recently started adding to that lost collection, and re-acquiring that old collection via CD - purchasing them from Ebay and Amazon's used music service. (I do feel guilty about that. If I were the producer of a new CD or record, and found that my sales were being cut into by Amazon offering used CDs on the same page, I'd be pretty torqued. But as a collector of many, many things, whose discretionary funds do not really include funds for music CDs, I have to go with used copies.)

Anyway, today I received The Raven/An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe - both composed by Les Baxter, from Kritzerland. They are a small label who have done about 100 soundtracks... the vast majority of their stuff is not science fiction related and is of no interest to me.

I shall start this series of articles on soundtracks with the three from Kritzerland that I have, then list the 3 sf-related ones that they've done that I don't want, but offer up as knowledge to other potential SF soundtrack collector) before moving on to my other soundtracks.

Well, The Raven isn't science fiction , but rather fantasy, but it, and An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe, did star Vincent Price, and I'm a fan of Price's. Indeed, I'd like to assemble soundtracks from all his movies - but he made so many and I doubt if more than a handful are available... well, that would make it easy to assemble a collection, anyway!

According to the Kritzerland folks, they could find only one of the two original reels that the music for this movie was on, which is why they fleshed out the CD with music from An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe.

On its own, I don't know that I'd care for this music, but because I've seen both movies (and indeed, have them on DVD), when I hear a certain track I can call to mind the action in the movie that goes with it, and it's that conjunction of memory and music that makes this fun to listen to.

(Vincent Price plays Erasmus Craven, a sorcerer who lives in a castle with his daughter. He is meek and mild - drinks milk and spends his time studying and mourning his dead wife, Lenore. He is visited by a raven who can talk - Peter Lorre. Craven learns that sorcerer Dr. Bedlo (Lorre) was turned into a raven by his arch nemesis - Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff). Bedlo also tells him that he saw his wife, Lenore, in Scarabus' castle! So he and Bedlo, and his daughter and Bedlo's son (played by a young Jack Nicholson) set off for the castle to defeat Scarabus. But all is not as it appears.)

This CD is sold out at Kritzerland (they only made 1000 copies) but is available at other soundtrack websites as

The liner notes, as usual for a Kritzerland release, are disappointing for those who want to be educated about the music, and don't need to be told anything about the film! (The more so since the guy who does these things is very knowledgeable about music. But he prefers to hoard that knowledge, I guess.) For those who are "casual" fans of the movie, the liner notes are of interest to expand their knowledge of it.

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