Scary Music

Scary Music

by Erich Kunzel


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Scary Music

The first time Erich Kunzel & the Cincinnati Pops made a symphonic Halloween album, they called it Chiller. Now that a sequel has come from the haunted house -- er, the Cincinnati Music Hall -- they merely state what they hope will be the obvious, Scary Music. But this time, Kunzel doesn't raid the classical music field for material, preferring to stick with film music, television ditties, and the Top 40. Does the curse of the dreaded sequel strike again in the form of slimmer pickings? Well, the selection doesn't start out well, with more banal film boredom from Danny Elfman (Sleepy Hollow, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice). But things soon perk up with campy renditions of the themes from The Addams Family and The Munsters. A properly shimmering "Tubular Bells," a vertically inflated but still somewhat funky Ghostbusters theme, and toward the end, some pure fun pop/kitsch culture in the themes from The Blob (by the young Burt Bacharach, no less!) and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Some horror fans might have wondered why the national anthem of Halloween songs, "Monster Mash," was left off Chiller. But it's here -- and it goes pretty much as expected, with a Bobby "Boris" Pickett-like vocal by Joe McBride and symphonic goop ladled onto the early-'60s rock beat. Even Michael Jackson's "Thriller" puts in an appearance, sung by a female singer who only underlines the androgynous nature of the original record. One notable curiosity here is the somber "Dies Irae" -- based on opening music to The Shining by synthesizer pioneer Wendy Carlos (almost all of her score was thrown out by the filmmakers, and it remains one of the more obscure items in her catalog). Again, a panoply of sound effects opens the album, now recorded more stunningly than before in DSD. Indeed, recording and mix engineer Michael Bishop is turned loose -- and given "composer" credits -- to conjure some of the creepiest surround-sound noises ever committed to polycarbonate discs. Though lacking Chiller's historical perspective, Scary Music is at least as entertaining as its predecessor -- which has to be rated an achievement.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/24/2002
Label: Telarc
UPC: 0089408058028
catalogNumber: 80580

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Erich Kunzel   Primary Artist,Conductor
Joe McBride   Keyboards,Vocals,Narrator
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Nikki Gregoroff   Vocals
Julie Spangler   Vocals
Chandler Webber   Saxophone
Winton Woods High School Choir   Choir, Chorus
School for the Creative and Performing Arts High School Choir   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Michael Bishop   Sound Effects,Engineering
Jason Miles   Producer
Doug Oberkircher   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
Joseph Price   Arranger
Martin Walters   Engineer
Robert Woods   Producer
Steve Rappaport   Composer
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction
David Bell   Director
Richard E. Rodda   Liner Notes
Laurie Wyant   Director
Ed Meitner   Engineer
Roger Grodsky   Director
Thomas Macko   Illustrations
John C. Bruening   Text

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