Magnificent Alex North “roadshow” soundtrack gets full 2-CD restoration! Epic, elegiac John Ford western chronicles heroic 1500-mile trek of hungry Cheyenne from Oklahoma reservation to ancestral homeland in the Dakotas during 1878-79. Massive film production stars Richard Widmark, James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Carroll Baker, Ricardo Montalban, Sal Mineo, Karl Malden, many others.

North approaches tragic tale with masterful large-scale score devoid of western cliche and filled instead with rich, brooding central theme for Cheyenne, haunting melody for sympathetic Quaker Deborah (Baker), aggressive martial music for cavalry, intense battle sequences and more. Unlike typical John Ford western film scores filled with popular tunes of the era, North wrote ambitious original score on very large canvas with powerful, sometimes austere harmonic vernacular placing it in very small family with just two other epic works: Spartacus, Cleopatra. Composition-wise, these three form an unofficial trilogy of sorts. Cheyenne Autumn’s huge woodwind section (piccolo, C flute, alto and bass flutes, Bb clarinets, bass and contra-bass clarinets, oboe, English horn, bassoon and contra-bassoon) place it on par with Cleopatra. Expanded brass section (5 trumpets, 6 horns, 5 trombones, bass trombone plus tuba) is on par with Spartacus. Interestingly, like lengthy portions of Spartacus, North tacets violins (and violas) and scores for large section of cellos, basses. Resulting string sound is deep, dark, intense. Film was originally presented in 70mm “roadshow” format with dramatic Overture, fanfare Intermission card, Ent’acte, possible Exit music plus lengthy Dodge City sequence featuring Wyatt Earp (James Stewart), Doc Holliday (Arthur Kennedy) designed to close Act I. All of the above were cut after premiere showings. These exciting cues have all been restored for this important 2-CD release.

Entire score is presented in dynamic stereo from 6 channel stereo session masters vaulted by Warner Bros. in perfect condition. Over 110 minutes of music play across 2 CDs. CD 1 is sequenced to feature dramatic first half of score and wrap with North’s rousing Dodge City “Camptown Races” musical respite and brief “Intermission” fanfare, retaining composer’s musical architecture. CD 2 opens with dramatic “Entr’acte” music, continues with stirring score through powerful “Exit” fanfare for brass and percussion. Numerous cavalry source pieces plus additional Dodge City source music (arranged by North with Ken Darby), all recorded under North’s supervision, follow in the extras section. For completists, North’s numerous original percussion sequences underscoring variety of Cheyenne council meetings also appear in the extras. 24-page full color booklet with “flipper” cover designed by Kay Marshall plus authoritative notes from Frank DeWald enhance this exciting release. All master elements and artwork are courtesy Warner Bros.

The epic scale and musical vocabulary of Alex North’s score to the 1964 Warner Bros. film Cheyenne Autumn places it alongside Spartacus and Cleopatra as three lengthy and complicated works that form something of an unofficial trilogy, unique among all of the composer’s other remarkable output. North chose to emphasize emotion over setting and dialogue, electing to write in an idiom that was far removed from what audiences of the time expected from a western.

North’s score surges with dissonance; it is painted in unorthodox colors— omitting violins and violas, leaving only cellos and basses. The cellos often cover territory normally played by violas, resulting in aggressive, tense qualities in the higher range and dense, thick sounds in the lower register.  The absence of upper strings heightens the effect and is a dramatic color North also employed in portions of Spartacus. The flute section alone included piccolo and C flute as well as alto flute and bass flute. Double reeds included multiple parts for oboe, English horn, bassoon and contrabassoon. Other expansions included a large brass section, sometimes utilizing no fewer than six French horns, four trumpets and four trombones plus tuba, with players both open and muted. The percussion requirements covered the full range of snare drums, tenor drums, bass drums, log drums of numerous sizes, a large timpani section, wooden, metallic xylophones and all manner of beaters and shakers.

To present all the music recorded under North’s supervision, Intrada was given access to the entire Warner Bros. scoring session elements, newly transferred across some two dozen reels of film. Every reel survived in pristine condition, including all of the original score as well as the folk tune arrangements made specifically for the lengthy Dodge City sequence that originally brought Act I of the film to a conclusion. These elements also yielded “Overture” and “Entr’acte” cues as well as a brief fanfare recorded for the intermission card and a more deliberate one for use as a possible exit cue. The scoring sessions were captured on six-channel magnetic film with an additional six channels containing overlays of harp glissandi, xylophone hits, triangle and other colors that would be synchronized with the other six channels during postproduction mixing.

It is not just the music of Cheyenne Autumn that attempted to break the mold of traditional western filmmaking…
Intending to tell the story of the heroic, 1500-mile trek of 286 dispossessed Cheyenne Indians from a reservation in Oklahoma to their ancestral lands in the Dakotas during 1878–79, director John Ford noted, “I’ve killed more Indians than anyone since Custer.” This time he wanted to make a film from the Native American perspective. “This is their side,” he said. He wanted to portray the Cheyenne neither as heavies nor as ignorant, misguided savages.

One of the great big-scale sixties film scores is fully-restored at long last! Henry Brandt, Gil Grau orchestrate, Alex North composes, conducts.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 362
Date: 1964
Time: 112:17
Tracks: 68
CD 1
01. Overture (1:35)
02. Main Title (2:27)
03. Hope (1:29)
04. Deborah/Indians Arrive (2:24)
05. Waiting/Rejection/Justice (4:50)
06. Truth (0:53)
07. Deborah [Proposal] (1:17)
08. Going Home [Trek Begins] (1:37)
09. Dedication/Going Home [Trek Continues]/
Cavalry [Pursuit] (2:33)
10. Archer (2:05)
11. War (1:48)
12. Fire (2:24)
13. Old Chief/Tall Chief’s Death (2:17)
14. Mourning/Montage (4:03)
15. God Help Me/Cavalry [Pursuit Continues] (0:36)
16. Indians/Sage Fire (1:53)
17. Battle – Part 1/Battle – Part 2 (4:45)
18. Red Shirt/Cattle Drive (2:05)
19. Cavalry [After Battle]/Sick Girl (2:26)
20. Going Home [Hunger] (3:11)
21. Medley: “Oh Dem Golden Slippers”/
“Dandy Jim From Caroline” (1:10)
22. “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” (1:41)
23. Medley: “Quadrille”/
“Yellow Rose Of Texas” (2:00)
24. Camptown Races
(Stephen Foster, arranged by Alex North) (2:14)
25. Intermission (0:19)
Total CD 1 Time: 54:30
CD 2
01. Entr’acte (1:18)
02. Going Home [The Train] (1:49)
03. Deborah’s Book (0:27)
04. Transitions (1:59)
05. Lead Our People Home – Part 1/Lead Our People Home – Part 2 (5:42)
06. Revolt (0:52)
07. Departure (1:14)
08. The People (1:11)
09. Outbreak – Part 1/Outbreak – Part 2 (2:05)
10. Spring/Soldiers/Alarm (3:19)
11. Death (2:00)
12. The End/Going Home [End Cast] (1:42)
13. Going Home [Exit] (0:45)
CD 2 Score Time: 24:48
Total Score Time: 79:18

The Extras
14. Cavalry [Into Positions] (0:32)
15. Drums No. 1 (1:02)
16. Drums No. 2 (0:50)
17. Drums No. 4 (Version 1) (4:45)
18. Drums No. 4 (Version 2) (0:45)
19. Drums No. 5 (Version 1) (0:44)
20. Drums No. 5 (Version 2) (0:41)
21. Drums No. 6 (0:43)
22. Drums [Proposal For Peace] (1:38)
23. Drums [Proposal For Peace – Alternate] (0:57)
24. First Call (Bugle Call)/Drums No. 3 [Snares] (0:33)
25. Charge (Bugle Call) (0:23)
26. Assembly – Dodge City (Bugle Call) (0:07)
27. Rally (Bugle Call) (0:14)
28. Recall (Bugle Call) (0:10)
29. Officer’s Call (Bugle Call) (0:13)
30. Taps (Bugle Call) (0:35)
31. Boots And Saddles (Bugle Call) (0:07)
32. Flourish (Bugle Call) (0:10)
33. Forward (Bugle Call) (0:14)
34. Prepare To Mount (Bugle Call) (0:11)
35. Prepare To Dismount (Bugle Call) (0:11)
36. Medley: “Angelina Baker”/“Buffalo Gals”/“Angelina Baker”/“Buffalo Gals” (2:02)
37. Medley No. 4 (2:14)
38. Medley: “Skip To My Lou”/“Angelina Baker”/“Buffalo Gals”/“Camptown Races” (2:37)
39. Medley: “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”/“Oh Dem Golden Slippers” (2:42 40. “Early In De Mornin’” (0:57)
41. Medley No. 7 (3:55)
42. Medley: “Camptown Races”/“Angelina Baker”/“Camptown Races” (Version 1) (1:06)
43. Medley: “Camptown Races”/“Angelina Baker”/“Camptown Races” (Version 2) (1:15)
Total Extras Time: 32:55
Total CD 2 Time: 57:47