The Tattooed Stranger
Alan Shulman was a composer, cellist and arranger. Born in Baltimore on June 4, 1915, his early studies were with Bart Wirtz (cello) and Louis Cheslock (harmony) at the Peabody Conservatory. Shulman was the cellist of the Kreiner String Quartet (1935-38). Later, he and his brother, violinist/conductor Sylvan Shulman, co-founded the Stuyvesant String Quartet. During the 1940s and 1950s this group was noted for its performances and recordings of contemporary quartets of Bloch, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Malipiero, Hindemith and Kreisler, among others. Shulman's first successful composition was Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra, which received its première over NBC in 1941 with Emanuel Vardi as soloist. Alan Shulman's most extended orchestral writing appears in his film scores, made for RKO in the 40s and 50s. These soundtrack recordings have been restored and are being issued for the first time.
"A profile of mainstream orchestral cool at the midcentury" - New York Times
These restorations have been sensitively transferred and remastered and are taken from Shulman’s own acetates and make a very fine case for the music. Jay Shulman’s booklet note, to which I am heavily indebted, is a must-read. And for anyone interested in American film documentary scores, and in the terrific music for that B movie, this is a valuable resource. - MusicWeb International
"Not only is it rewarding to have these soundtracks available before the public, it is a first-rate release devoted to one of America’s finest, and most versatile talents that is highly recommended for everyone, everywhere, especially cinema enthusiasts, and collectors of outstanding music." - SoundWordSight
"Listening to this compilation gives an insight into the creativity and effort that went into providing music for these films that were released in abundance for many years. Very enjoyable." - Lark
In the mid-20th century, when the then seemingly incompatible worlds of classical music and jazz were still newly overlapping, cellist, composer, and arranger Alan Shulman (1915-2002), was right there at the crossroads. The musician, who spent his final years in Hudson, came from a conservatory background and played with, among others, the venerated NBC Symphony Orchestra under conductor Arturo Toscanini as well as the popular chamber jazz group the New Friends of Rhythm. During the golden ages of radio and Hollywood and the early years of television, Shulman—who taught orchestration to Nelson Riddle—flowered as a prolific, in-demand composer and arranger. Compiled by his son Jay Shulman, The Tattooed Stranger surveys the maestro's RKO Pictures soundtrack recordings circa 1946-1950, including the title film noir. It's a trip back to the years of sweeping, symphonic Silver Screen epics. - © 2023 Chronogram Magazine