When directors of the ’40s and ’50s needed eerie sounds to signify mental imbalance (as in Spellbound and The Lost Weekend ) or set the tone for sci-fi (as in The Day the Earth Stood Still ), they turned to Dr. Hoffman, master of the theremin. In addition to his film work, Hoffman recorded three LPs-all of which are here, originally released in 1947, 1948 and 1950 and featuring the orchestras of Les Baxter and Billy May. Three space-age essentials in one 3-CD set!
Originally released as a series of 78 rpm recordings for Capitol in the late 1940s, this set collects the work of Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman, the leading theremin virtuoso of his age. After adding theremin to a number of successful films (most notably, Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, and The Day the Earth Stood Still), Hoffman (a podiatrist by profession) teamed with British composer Harry Revel. The result: three albums that introduced this oddly provocative instrument to the world. On Music Out of the Moon, the tone is optimistic futurism with Hoffman guiding his instrument through dramatic swoops across the universe while an enthusiastic chorus oohs and ahhs at the wonder of it all. With tracks like “Lunar Rhapsody”, “Mist O’ the Moon,” and “Radar Blues”, Moon may be the most unintentionally hilarious disc in the set. The second disc, Perfume Set to Music was, according to the liner notes, inspired by “world famous perfumes.” The music, of course, is as ridiculous as the concept. The chorus remains on Perfume, but the mood is a bit more sedate, stepping away from futuristic jazz and utilizing more string arrangements. On Music for Peace of Mind, listeners are instructed that “This music has a message, if you will open your mind and heart to receive it. Turn down the lights, relax in an easy chair, and listen. Then, for a few stolen hours, perhaps you will warm to happy memories and blissful hopes.” Oh, you will, all right, you will. –S. Duda
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