I’ve been doing a cleanup of all my papers and file folders and stuff recently, and after some digging through the bins (and sneezing up dust) I found a CD from a few years ago that I’d burned.
So I put it into my computer and flicked through the tracks. And in between laughing myself silly (‘oh my* God*, I can’t believe I still have the Arrogant Worm’s “I Am Cow” on here’) I found this one track that’s really baffling me.
It’s completely instrumental, performed by a full orchestra, and about four minutes, thirty seconds long. It sounds like it’s from a soundtrack but it doesn’t contain any theme I can recognize.
I don’t know. But I posted an mp3 on Ask Metafilter that I’d downloaded a few years ago that was mislabelled. It wasn’t Richard & Linda Thompson, it was a cover version of one of their songs. Not only did someone identify the artist, but they sent me a link to download a complete mp3. (My version cut off before the song finished.) So if no luck here, try AskMeFi.
Well, Musicbrainz is identifying it as Track 5 from “Ambient Nights, Volume 4” but the track is titled “Track 9” and “Artist Unknown”. (I’m also getting script errors from Musicbrainz so who knows). It’s a 100% match though. I suspect the match is from someone’s custom compilation which is why the info seems odd.
There are a couple of other matches but they seem to be low probabilities.
(Musicbrainz (www.musicbrainz.org) is an application/database/web site that will scan your MP3s, identify them and even set the ID3 tags if you want.)
Googling “Ambient Nights” leads to this website. It’s ambient mix CD’s … not the sort of thing that would have an orchestral soundtrack. I’m guessing there’s some sort of mix-up with the ID’s.
My wife is a music professor, although 20th century music isn’t her specialty.
We’ve been listening to it. We’re guessing that it’s pre-John Williams from the orchestration, possibly 1960’s vintage from the sound of the brass. On the other hand the recording is very clean, which argues against it being an old soundtrack unless it’s a contemporary remastering.
Could it be a composer like Jerry Goldsmith whose career goes back to the 60’s? It really feels a bit more old-fashioned than a lot of modern movie music.
There’s definitely a horsey bit in the middle, and the end is a very direct Mussorgsky ripoff suggesting that there might be some sort of Russian connection … .
North was more of a genuine original, while someone like Dimitri Tiomkin (old school) or James Horner (more recently) are less apologetic about borrowing/appropriating familiar classical tropes in their works. Since the second half of the piece from the OP stinks of warmed-over Stravinsky, I’d guess it’s someone who did a film score in more of that tradition (didn’t recognize it, though).
I heard back from my film-score-buff friend. Here’s what he says:
I’d never heard of Alfred Reed, but here is his Wikipedia page, and here is another page with some info about him. The description on that second link certainly sounds like the way someone might describe the piece of music under discussion, at least.