Author Topic: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza  (Read 108 times)

serya

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Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« on: August 06, 2018, 08:30:55 AM »
I've always wished there were a soundtrack album for the film Murder By Decree (1979) about Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper.  The score is by Paul Zaza with some heavy editing and laying by Carl Zittrer.

In doing research and identifying some of the tracks, I think I know why there was no album, since the soundtrack is more complicated than usual. First, besides library music from KPM and De Wolfe for source music and also a score scene, much of the music by Zaza has ended up on Parry Music as library tracks with generic names, and I'm not sure which came first, film or library use, or was it the same?  Since Zaza already worked for Parry, maybe that was part of the deal.

At any rate, there are some key themes I can not account for on the Parry site, though they may be there or perhaps were on an LP somewhere.  I assume they are Zaza but there is no guarantee of that. I've uploaded the clips on YT and they can be found in this link as a playlist if anyone would care to take a listen and steer me in a possible direction.  Would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.


Retronic

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 05:59:53 PM »
I'd love to help you as these personal projects/ quests are very close to my heart.  I thought that most Zaza stuff on Parry was pop based but I may be wrong and could check. I have a Parry catalogue with a few pages missing. 

JMTeixeira

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 07:01:19 PM »
Zaza´s stuff (apparently) is not just pop based :)  If not wrong, two of the tracks used in the movie ST are:

Paul Zaza - Suspense Mood 10
Paul Zaza - A Farewell To Stirling

Please check these two albums:

PML 164B Orchestral Drama Moods 4 - Disc 2
PML 193B The Celtic Collection - Disc 2

here in the Upright Music search tool, as I believe it holds a more than generous portion of the Parry Music Library.

hxxps://search.upright-music.com/

serya

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 01:02:53 AM »
Thanks for replying guys.

Well spotted JMTeixeira;

I did go through the search.upright-music.com page and went through every album on there that a Zaza track came up on.  I found Suspense Mood 10 on that site, which is the library name for the track in the medley posted on Terror Trap for the Zaza interview, ironically titled on there as "Main Title - Whitecapel 1988" when it actually is not the main title used in the film as I posted it on YT.  "A Farewell To Stirling is the alternate library version of the "Annies Theme - Closing Music" from that same suite of tracks minus the swell and bells at the ending in the film version.  I did go through those albums and many others.

After going through all those albums on their site I still did not find some of the tracks used in the film, including the often-used themes I posted on YouTube so thought I'd post that here and see if it rang any bells (not Big Ben).

Yes, Zaza had a lot of funk and pop tracks on the Parry albums, but on the site there is a lot of darker horror orchestral music ala Murder By Decree as well as some soaring romantic orchestral, and everything in between. 

Retronic

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 08:21:30 AM »
PML 30 is already into the 1980's I believe so any LPs are going to be in the early run of Parry- first 20 odd if that.

Mr

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 04:13:30 PM »
Interesting find! Zittrer also has some cues on Parry.

I've had a theory for a while that some of the Parry material was repurposed cues from various film and TV scores, this confirms my suspicion. The LP could very well have been released after the film was, though. This was often the case in Italy, at least.
I checked my Zaza cues on PML nos. 01, 02, 03, 05, 06, 09, 11, 12, 13, 17 and 20, and neither seem to be in this style. As Retro points out, a lot of the material is pop/disco-based - often prominently featuring keyboards, of which there are none in these 6 clips.

serya

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Re: Murder By Decree by Paul Zaza
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 06:09:36 AM »
Yes, and it becomes hard to tell which came first, film or library use, and perhaps they were at the same time; still under contract so the deal was to use it for library as well.  I do know that out of the tracks I have identified from the site, some are the same exact recordings as appear in the film, but some are then 'beefed up' with some random effects and muted female voice to make them sound better for modern library use.  Frustrating for my purposes, of course.

The online album numbers also seem to be different mega-albums with lots of different tracks from different years thrown together in a theme, and are different than the same album track list of the late 70s early 80s counterparts. 

Adding a little bit to the challenge of IDing the film tracks is that Carl Zittrer did a lot of editing which included layering of multiple tracks, changing pitch, adding sound effects like slowed down Big Ben style bells, all to creepy effect.  Having all the originals would be great.  But now that I have dug into the Parry connection to the material it might explain why there could never really be a proper soundtrack album.