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MGM's Distinctive Sound, Conrad Salinger & a Film Music Dream came true!


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LKitten16 asked if others noticed how the orchestrated drumming of "Prehistoric Man" and "Pass that Peace Pipe" from Good News" sounded similar.

Yes, there is definitely a distinctive MGM sound that one can hear in its musicals. That can be attributed to the fact that many of MGM's arrangers and orchestrators worked on the same films, even as their melodies and themes were composed by different composers. And of course many of the same studio musicians performed on the scores. One of my fav moviemakers from MGM's Music Dept. was the FABULOUS Conrad Salinger - a composer/orchestrator/arranger who worked on the music for over 75 films, including BOTH On the Town and Good News, so yes, there is an aural connection between the songs LKitten16 mentioned.A favorite dance number Conrad created was the fabulous "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life" performed by Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in Royal Wedding. The dance's variation in musical rhythms is simply wonderful and gives the dancers so much inspiration to work from. It's a great example of what the MGM orchestras was capable of producing during those many decades. Listen to it and I know you'll agree! Another great orchestration for dance that I love by Conrad Salinger is "A Shine on Your Shoes" - done by Fred Astaire in the film The Band Wagon. You can't watch nor hear that number without smiling so check it out!

Side note: 20 years ago, I saw a film "Dangerous Beauty" whose score by film composer, George Fenton literally changed my life. Over the next month, I had my own Fenton Film Festival & viewed 28 of his movies. For some unexplained reason, I found myself writing down who the musical team was and taking thorough notes on the scores. Somehow I felt like I was being "Called" by God to work in the film music biz but since I lived in Nashville then, was poor & had no connections to Hollywood, i had no way to move there. 10 months later, another wild thing happened, I met one of George Fenton's orchestrators online (while he was working on You've Got Mail about 2 people who meet online!) which began a long and interesting association. I'd always loved film music and had 16 years of early music training but hadn't really used it, (except to sing in shows in my 1st career as a dancer.) I noticed that, at that time. there was no websites about film orchestrators (this was 2 years before IMDB) so I created "The Orchestrator's Voice," a site dedicated to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of movie music. This led to me connecting with many of Hollywood's best. Then in another Hand of God event, I was invited by a composer to move to CA and work as his assistant as he aimed to move into film music after creating soundtracks for many of Vegas' big production shows and Carnival Cruise Line Shows. I worked as his Studio Mgr, Marketing Director, Music Copyist and Score Librarian for several years until he decided to move out of state. The next Hand of God moment was in 2002, when I was hired by one of the top two Film Music Agencies in the world to executive assist their Vice President. Helping represent A-list film composers for Film and TV projects was a dream job for me and it truly validated that strange feeling I had had in '98 about being called to work in that field. In 2003, Composer George Fenton conducted his score to Blue Planet at the Hollywood Bowl and I got to meet him backstage and tell him thank you for how his music had changed my life. It was a Come Full Circle moment for sure!  

 

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