The 2001 Soundtrack on Compact Disc

If it isn't possible to find the 2001 soundtrack album in a used record store or from a collector, we've noted four editions on compact disc....

2001: A Space Odyssey

MCA Records MCAD-39049 JVC-505

Oddly enough the cover for this CD is from the old MGM 2001 vol.2 (Star Child cover). This MCA disk is pretty much a reissue of the original MGM album. A side note is that MGM no longer had a license to the Polydor/Deutsche Grammaphon masters and MCA had to remaster it from the best sources available which were old LPs and cassettes. The sound is somewhat muddy and you can't hear the "hum" of the string basses that occurs in Requiem when the apes and Floyd touch the monolith.

Track Titles:

2001: A Space Odyssey
An Original MGM Soundtrack Recording

EMI CDP 7933022 (UK: CDMGM6)

Unlike MCA in the United States, EMI did have rights to the master recordings employed on the original MGM LP. The audio quality of this 1989 UK disc, accordingly, is superior to that of the MCA CD; prior to the Rhino release (below), this was the best version of the 2001 soundtrack available. Unfortunately it was not widely distributed outside the UK.

The front cover of the CD's booklet uses a photograph of Dave Bowman in the HAL "brain room"; the back cover is a close-up of Bowman's face in the same setting. Interior photos include a publicity still of Keir Dullea in character as Bowman, an EVA pod exiting Discovery, Dr. Floyd's party descending a ramp into the TMA-1 excavation site, and Space Station 5. The back of the CD box has a photo of Bowman re-entering Discovery through the air lock and a thumbnail of the original MGM LP's sleeve cover, with the well-known Bob McCall painting of the Pan Am shuttle departing the space station. Notes by David Wishart, written for this release.

Track Titles:

2001: A Space Odyssey Original MGM Soundtrack

CBS Special Products AK 45439

The sound of this release is clear and brilliant. They may have 'lifted' the tracks from a print of the film itself -- the Bass line is back, and the Requiem segues into Atmospheres as it does in the opening of the Stargate Sequence.

Track Titles:

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Rhino Movie Music & Turner Classic Movies Music, R2 72562

Thomas E. Brown reviews this new release: "Just listened to the disc and it's well worth it. You get both the theatrical music and the somewhat different music of the original "soundtrack" disc. The comparison is interesting. Karajan's Zarathustra is more dramatic than the "original" disc's although the original has a deeper sounding bass pedal. There is also a different version of Lux Aeterna (the shuttle to TMA-1) and you get the entire Gayane "Adagio," including the part which was cut when the film was chopped down eliminating a montage onboard discovery -- it jumps directly from Poole Exercising to Bowman entering the centifuge in the current version of the film. Possibly most interesting is the entire "Star Gate" and "cosmic hotel" sequence, inclding part of Ligeti's Requiem, Atmospheres and, for the first time Adventures. The latter is the strange voices heard over the hotel-room scene. Ligeti sued (and won the suit) based on the distortion of this music, and just to show how it was altered the unaltered version of Adventures is presented. It is mostly a series of vaguely (and sometimes not so vaguely) sexual vocalizations, quite loud. The distorted version (which gives the impression of the aliens watching Bowman) is far more mysterious.

"Finally there is just over 9 minutes of dialogue from the film, dealing with HAL's conflict with the astronauts and ultimate death. Heavily edited, but well done. There are a couple of intelligent essays in the disc booklet, although both of the writers make the gaffe of presuming that the "Trip" sequence involves Bowman entering Jupiter's atmosphere (where his pod would have instantly burned up or been crushed by pressure) when in fact he is entering the Star Gate, at space and time warp which takes him across the galaxy to the alien's planet....

"The disc sounds really good, and is well worth having."

Another reviewer writes: "Why did the Star Child image have to be put right behind the CD-holding spindle in the jewel case? He looks like he's got a clear plastic button for a nose....."