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A KringleQuest.commentary

The Seattle Symphony Meets Team Salkind:

How Christopher Columbus Discovered Benaroya Hall, and Why You Should Care


During Christmas 2007, a series of letters and e-mails to the New York Times concerning their December 16th, 2007 article "In Seattle, a Fugue for Orchestra and Rancor," spotlighting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and its longtime music director Gerard Schwarz, was brought to the KQ 3.0 Team's attention. As regular visitors to this site will recall from our In Memoriam: Alexander Salkind segment, it was to the Seattle Symphony and their Chorale to whom the original Team Salkind turned when they needed a score for what proved to be their last film, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. The CCTD score, composed and conducted by Cliff Eidelman, was, and remains, the only major filmscore the Seattle Symphony has ever done. Yet there are those among the powers that be in Seattle that don't want you to know this.

Fortunately for you, KringleQuest.com 3.0 is NOT one of those powers that be.

As our mission statement has long reminded our fans, our core job at KringleQuest is to bring everything Salkind, both good and bad, into the light. Accordingly, we once more bring to the spotlight the Salkinds' last movie under the original partnership of Alexander and Ilya Salkind because it was in 2007 that the musicians of the Seattle Symphony expressed several surfeits of rage against the Times for what the article alleges.

At issue: a series of lawsuits brought against Maestro Schwarz by a former member of the Seattle's first violin section, Peter Kaman, who had been playing in the ensemble since 1981. In each of his three suits, Mr. Kaman accused the orchestra of physical discrimination, brought on by the fact that he suffers from severe anxiety disorder, "a condition made worse by what [Mr. Kaman] calls systematic harassment." Maestro Schwarz, the complaint alleges, repeatedly denounced Mr. Kaman for "talking during rehearsals, accused [Mr. Kaman] of slumping in his chair, and even threatened to fire him. By his own account, Mr. Kaman is deeply troubled, having suffered from nightmares, depression, paranoia, anxiety, exhaustion, and obsessive-compulsive behavior."

As the article later revealed, a King County, Wash., Superior Court Justice threw out at least two of Mr. Kaman's lawsuits; a third lawsuit, claiming that the orchestra had inflicted outrageous conduct and emotional distress upon Mr. Kaman was likewise tossed out. It is neither the place nor the position of this website's management to weigh our own judgment on this controversy other than to suggest that shortly after the U.S. box-office failure of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, certain forces had Maestro Eidelman's score for the movie, including any and all copies of its Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, summarily suppressed.

This, then, forces us to ask, as is our wont: "Why?" At the time, which was 1992, executives representing the Salkinds and Warner Bros. had invited Maestro Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony and Chorale to take on the challenge of performing the score for this "adventure picture," as Alexander Salkind was to describe John Glen's film. We wonder if there were any copies sold even after the fact; if so, no known database exists beyond what we shared with you in our aforementioned In Memoriam: Alexander Salkind segment. Those seeking additional facts on Christopher Columbus: The Discovery are invited to link to the Internet Movie Database under "Trivia."

Ultimately, the case of Kaman vs. Seattle Symphony is of no consequence other than to film buffs who were in on the first release of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. What they will want to know, we believe, is why, years after the fact, the powers that be at Benaroya Hall haven't let out the "dirty little secret," if you will, that was Cliff Eidelman's themes and score for The Discovery. Accordingly, we would like to invite our colleagues at Film Score Monthly Magazine to investigate this controversy, so that future film soundtrack fans can again enjoy the music that the Seattle Symphony apparently now doesn't want you to hear.

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