‘Super Chief: Music For The Silver Screen’ is an ‘orchestral fantasy’ inspired by a rail journey Van Dyke embarked upon across the United States in 1955.
In Van Dyke Parks’ own words:
“I’ve made an orchestral fantasy illustrating my first trip across the USA by rail, in 1955. This Suite is drawn from over a score of years, and as many films, now re-recorded from my archives as a film-music composer.
In editing, I was surprised to discover my penchant for folk themes, reframed in orchestral settings. (There are countless quotes from the 19th century ‘The American Century’).
The lingo of such traditional American music reveals my obsession, however unconscious, for rustic old saws that can still cut the wood. Yep, it’s Americana. All made in the great 48.
Celtic examples abound: ‘The Water Is Wide’, ‘Old Joe Clark’, ‘The Forked Deer’, ‘Saint Anne’s Reel’, ‘I Ride An Old Paint’, etc. With these references, a dash of low- church hymns (‘Goin’ Home’) and an occasional Aboriginal motif, all embedded in this novel and singular Ode to that passing American scene... so long ago, yet about a handshake away.
It can come in handy as a backdrop to a romantic interlude in candle-lit dinner conversation over a fine linen-count. (I’ve tried this at home.) Perhaps for a head-set in a subway tunnel, or as a car-tune in a smooth segue from the surrounding road-rage on a daily commute.”