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Alex North: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [Original Music from the Motion Picture]

Album Notes

Original score composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

Recorded at Abbey Studios, London, England on February 20, 1997.

Note: This is inaccurate. The album was originally released in 1966, and the notes credit Alex North as composer and conductor. -- Mark Deming

Composer: Alex North.

In 1966, Mike Nichols, who had previously been best known as a comedian and a director on the legitimate stage, made an audacious debut as a filmmaker with a searing adaptation of Edward Albee's controversial drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in which Nichols scored a casting coup by signing Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to play Martha and George, the viciously combative couple at the center of the narrative. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? went on to win five Academy Awards, including prizes for Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis, and Alex North's musical score received an Oscar nomination. The film's soundtrack album not only features North's evocative musical cues, but excerpts from the dialogue, giving a greater sense of the context of the score. North's music honors the story's push and pull between the playful and grotesque sides of one dysfunctional marriage, and often offers a gentle counterpoint to the emotional violence inflicted by Albee's characters. The 1966 release of North's score was one of two soundtrack albums released for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; the other was a complete presentation of the film's dialogue that's been long out of print. ~ Mark Deming


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