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ALEX NORTH's 2001

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Sizzle Reel -
https://vimeo.com/381956853

A Brief Note -

In the early stages of production, Kubrick had commissioned noted Hollywood composer Alex North, who had written the score for Spartacus and also worked on Dr. Strangelove, to write the score for his upcoming film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. However, during post-production, Kubrick chose to abandon North’s music in favor of classical music he had chosen as temp tracks. North did not know of the abandonment of the score until after he attended a screening in New York. The world’s first exposure to North’s unused music was in 1993 on a compilation album by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The score was later re-recorded in 1993 by North’s friend and colleague Jerry Goldsmith with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Eventually, a mono mix-down of North’s original recording which had survived was released as a limited edition CD in 2007.

The release was authorized by the North family, the estate of Stanley Kubrick, Dylanna Music, North’s music publishing company, and other entities. The album features nine tracks from the score, as well as an alternate version of the track “The Foraging.” In addition, the album features three bonus tracks, all additional takes of other tracks on the album. The music is conducted the orchestrator by Henry Brant. The CD also includes liner notes and precise cue points as to where the music would have been found so that viewers can properly track these cues in sync with the film.

In The Art of Film Music, George Burt found North’s score outstanding and deemed Kubrick’s decision to abandon it was “most unfortunate”, even though his choice of classical music did have merit. On hearing the score as it might have been in the film, film scholar Gene D. Phillips argued that “it is difficult to see how North’s music would have been an improvement on the background music that Kubrick finally chose for the film.” Conversely, in his notes for the Jerry Goldsmith recording, Kevin Mulhall argued that “there is no doubt that 2001 would have been better if Kubrick had used North’s music. Even if one likes some of the choices Kubrick made for certain individual scenes, the eclectic group of classical composers employed by the director resulted in a disturbing melange of sounds and styles overall.” Film critic Roger Ebert noted that North’s rejected score contains emotional cues to the viewer while the final music selections exist outside the action uplifting it. With regard to the space docking sequence, Ebert stressed the peculiar combination of slowness and majesty resulting from the choice of Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz, which brought “seriousness and transcendence” to the visuals. Speaking of the music generally, Ebert wrote that “when classical music is associated with popular entertainment, the result is usually to trivialize it (who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger?). Kubrick’s film is almost unique in enhancing the music by its association with his images.”

METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER presents
Alex North’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
starring KEIR DULLEA GARY LOCKWOOD DOUGLAS RAIN
music by ALEX NORTH conducted and orchestrated by HENRY BRANT
screenplay by STANLEY KUBRICK and ARTHUR C. CLARKE
produced and directed by STANLEY KUBRICK
SUPER PANAVISION and METROCOLOR

Runtime: 45 min
Sound Mix: 2-Track Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 (35mm)

Track Listing -

BONES and MAIN TITLE
THE FORAGING
THE DAWN OF MAN
THE BLUFF
NIGHT TERRORS
BONES and MAIN TITLE
EAT MEAT AND KILL
SPACE STATION DOCKING
DOCKING
SPACE TALK
TRIP TO THE MOON PART 1
MOON ROCKET BUS
BONES and MAIN TITLE
SPACE STATION DOCKING

music composed by ALEX NORTH
conducted and orchestrated by HENRY BRANT
recorded at ANVIL STUDIOS

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Is this for real?

It feels like a unfinished project 2001 when you take into account the music is rejected and then he cut the big chunk out which they found recently.

This really would be a good reason to rediscover and reimagine a film…

I went to a screening where the music was removed and played by a live orchestra so they have a dialogue and effects only track already prepared to make this possible. Even without the what was it 16 minutes removed.

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This is for real as far as a fan edit is concerned. The score has been cut to picture and the film has been assembled into a kind of documentary format where scenes are allowed to play out with their original cues along with the original sound effects and title cards providing context.

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I actually listened to how the opening would sound and I have to say it does not exceed how zarathrusta sounded but to be honest I think the bit that has me intrigiged is the apes scene from the sizzle reel you posted.

I don’t know how the Alex North version “is” but whete do you personally feel it exceeds the original version with temp tracks?

I kind of got the gist that the blue danube track might be worse than the Alex north and the apes scenes really kind of seem to work with the short snippets…

It is subjective and alternate and yes it is interesting. Ithink to herald Kubrick as a genius is fair but I sense a frustration within this man that wants to burn everything outside his final cut and also in this circumstance it seems perhaps this frustrated man did not have the patience with the music that had been created in some regards.

Perhaps he felt more comfortable with how he had it working without outside influence… But to disregard the whole score smacks of impatience and a bit arrogant.

I don’t know if it is good or not though but it does seem strange to write it of entirely.

Then again William friedkin reportably tore up lalo schifrins exorscist score and threw it in to the car park

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This project isn’t about exceeding the choices made in the final film but to serve as a document of what was, at one time, intended for the film. Just about anyone can sit back and point to Kubrick’s genius in retaining his preferred temp tracks. The film is a classic and there’s little point in disputing that. Alex North’s 2001 is more of a what could have been and more importantly? Giving the composer his due more than fifty years later.

As for the rest? Guess you’ll have to PM me to find out. 😉