I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar with composer Paul Glass prior to listening to this, Intrada Records’ reissue of the score to the 1965 Otto Preminger thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing. However, one of the great things about the consistent stream of archival releases is this ability to discover, and Glass’ music is certainly something worth investigating based on this. With the film a psychological drama, the music is a wonderful mix of lovely melodies and shatteringly off-kilter tones in the vein of Alex North.
The album begins with a theme suite (‘Theme From Bunny Lake Is Missing’) that introduces the evocative and rural main theme, which combines idyllic woodwinds with a mix of playful and sweeping string melodies. These ideas are reprised during the album, notably in ‘Bunny’ and ‘A World of Dolls’, and there is a spectacular waltz in ‘Samantha’s Waltz’, but elsewhere Glass uses some quite innovative orchestration to inflect a Hitchockian vibe. The winds turn suspenseful and tense, and the brass, strings, and percussion clash together to create a cacophony of dissonance.
The penultimate cue, ‘Touching The Sky’, is a masterpiece of the latter, with almost six minutes of virtuoso music that is an absolute thrill to listen to, and is sweetened by the final end title reprise of the main theme. Intrada have done a stellar job on this, going back to the original album pre-masters – apparently the original album had a fair dose of reverb applied – and it sounds beautiful, although songophobes may note that there are three pop tracks by The Zombies early in the album. But that’s fine, and this is a wonderful release and showcase for a somewhat lesser-known composer. And sometimes that’s the best thing of all. -CB
Bunny Lake Is Missing is out now from Intrada Records