Composers

Laurence Rosenthal composed the Young Indiana Jones theme used in the television broadcast opening credits and was also the primary composer for the show, scoring and conducting the music for just under half the episodes. Rosenthal's scores tend to be towards the "mellow" end of the spectrum. Rosenthal's website lists his contributions to Young Indiana Jones, the awards he won for the series, and several sample tracks for listening. Additionally, in 2009, film score journalist Jon Burlingame conducted a three hour interview with Laurence Rosenthal discussing his film and television work. At 2:12:04, Rosenthal speaks for about ten minutes about his scores for Young Indiana Jones. Highlights include:

  • John Williams originally recommended Laurence Rosenthal to George Lucas

  • Curse of the Jackal was originally temp-tracked and recorded with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra

  • The rest of the series was recorded with a 55-piece orchestra in Munich, Prague, Budapest, or Australia

  • Rosenthal's favorite scores include Vienna, 1908, Peking, 1910, and Istanbul, 1918

Joel McNeely was the second primary composer hired to score the music for Young Indiana Jones. McNeely composed the music for just under half of the episodes and his contributions tend to be toward more of the "action" themes. Apparently, McNeely had also composed a main theme for the show, but it was never used. Over the years, McNeely has shared an extensive amount of behind the scenes information regarding his work on Young Indy through various interviews. These include: the documentary Young Indy: Around the World (at 2:57), an article published by BSO Spirit, a 1994 magazine article from Film Score Monthly (page 12), and a podcast episode from Cine Concerts (at 13:29). Highlights include:

  • Episodes [as aired on TV] had 40 - 45 minutes of music which needed to be composed within two weeks

  • Ben Burtt usually produced a temp-track with music of the appropriate theme

  • McNeely selected the source music used in The Scandal of 1920

  • McNeely himself played the soprano sax for Indy's performances in Mystery of the Blues!

Frédéric Talgorn composed the score for the Somme, 1916 and Germany, 1916 episodes that were later combined into Trenches of Hell. He also composed an unused score for Paris, 1908 which he talks about in an article on his website. Talgorn's website also includes extensive samples of his music from Trenches of Hell.

Curt Sobel composed the chilling score to Transylvania, 1918. Sobel is also an award winning music editor and successful songwriter. His website lists his many accomplishments and credits his work on Young Indiana Jones.

Steve Bramson composed the score for Treasure of the Peacock's Eye. He has some samples of his work from the episode on his website. Bramson received his masters degree in film scoring at the Eastman School of Music where he has a student with Joel McNeely and later worked as an orchestrator for Laurence Rosenthal directly out of college. According to the liner notes on the Volume 3 soundtrack CD, Bramson also worked as an orchestrator for Joel McNeely on some of the cues from Mystery of the Blues and The Scandal of 1920. Episode 235 of The IndyCast (at 6:50) features an interview with Steve Bramson by Mike Jozic where they discuss scoring the episode in detail.

John Williams' iconic "Desert Chase" theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark was used in the Mystery of the Blues bookends featuring Harrison Ford. The music was arranged by Joel McNeely with the rest of his score and was all newly recorded for the episode.

Arthur Kempel & David Slonaker are both credited as assistant composers and orchestrators according to the DVD documentary end credits and online music licensing catalogs. Kempel worked with McNeely on Attack of the Hawkmen while Slonaker worked with McNeely on Paris, 1908.

Other Composers' work is heavily incorporated into the scores:

  • Giacomo Puccini, The Perils of Cupid

  • Thomas Moore, Love's Sweet Song & Attack of the Hawkmen

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Demons of Deception

  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life

  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Espionage Escapades

  • Sidney Bechet, Mystery of the Blues

  • George Gershwin, The Scandal of 1920

In addition, several episodes contain performances of music. The aviators in Attack of the Hawkmen sing "Garryowen" and "The Young Aviator Lay Dying" while Treasure of the Peacock's Eye features a live performance of the famous song "China Dreams"