|BMI award-winning composer Bob Israel recently supervised the premiere recording of his orchestral suite "An American Dream" at Nashville's Ocean Way Studios. Creator of some of the most-performed music in all the world through his ABC Television themes to "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings," "20/20," "This Week" and "Nightline," Israel would be one of the few composers who could view a recording with 75 musicians as "a work in progress."|| |
"An American Dream," a 14-minute symphonic orchestral suite, evolved from the theme to "World News Tonight," a 1-1/2 minute composition written in 1977. Israel referred to the Ocean Way session as "Phase 1 of a demonstration of the concert version" of the ABC News umbrella theme: when the multi-media "American Dream" project is completed, "potential performers will be able to see and hear the enormous impact of the new concert work."
Gary Anderson conducts at Ocean Way
The original piece has been used continuously by ABC and, according to Israel, "in every possible permutation because it identifies the ABC television and radio networks internationally." Those instantly recognizable trumpets and French horns "have spilled over into every aspect of ABC's new programs -- election coverage, inaugurations, special reports, radio news all day and night, even royal weddings."
BMI's Vinolla Chenault; Cynthia Daniels; Gary Anderson; BMI's Joyce Rice; Bob Israel; BMI's Michael Tortora and Bob Barone
Israel is President of Score Productions, Inc., a high-profile, bi-coastal company known for creating signature themes that readily identify the television programs for which they were commissioned. The company's list of credits -- network and cable news programs, primetime and daytime dramas, game shows, sports events, animated series, television movies, documentaries and specials -- is staggering (visit ScoreProductions.com for a detailed list). But one fact does speak volumes about its success: Score has over 445 episodes of television on the air each week featuring original music created specifically for network, cable and syndicated programming.
Bob Israel with engineer Cynthia Daniels
Since the late 1980s, Israel has had the idea to bring the ABC theme to life in front of concert enthusiasts. According to its composer, the suite "has a very strong American identity: it's modal, neither major nor minor in origin, and lends itself perfectly to an American aesthetic known in concert circles through the music of Aaron Copeland and Roy Harris, which conjures up images of broad vistas of the American landscape. Even in its original form, it is a purely American sound. It's not atonal or abstract, but emotional."
Bob Israel, Cynthia Daniels and Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson, Executive Vice President of Score Productions, arranged and orchestrated the work, and conducted the Nashville recording session; Cynthia Daniels was engineer. Israel, who lives in New York, has recorded in Nashville previously and was pleased to return: "I loved the musicians and was deeply impressed by the sound at Ocean Way. A very professional group -- they were superb."
During the day-long session, Israel hosted several BMI executives who came for a preview listen to the project. "BMI has been a second home to me. I've been connected to them since 1959 and they have been enormously supportive, progressive and unique. I've known most of the people who've headed BMI; some older ones -- like Judge Bob Burton and Bob Sour -- and the current leaders, like Frances Preston, Thea Zavin, Del Bryant and Alison Smith, and they have all been great people. I couldn't ask for a better affiliation."
In addition to preparing Phase 2 of "An American Dream," Israel is working on new music for CNN and two ongoing CBS series and on Score's first complete animation project, "The Keystone Kops," which is being developed for feature film release and television exposure. Score will function as executive producer of the project overseeing every aspect of the production as well as the music.
photos by Alan Mayor