Steppenwolf (USA/FR/CH/GB 1974) is a feature film with music by George Gruntz.
- Direction and screenplay by Fred Haines, after the novel Der Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse.
- Production: DR Productions (Melvin Fishman, Richard Herland).
- Sound editor: Ian Crafford.
- Re-recording mixer: Bill Rowe.
- Musicians: London Symphony Orchestra. English jazz musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett (trumpet); Mike Gibbs, Paul Rutherford (trombone); Pete King (saxophone); Barry Guy, Ron Mathewson (bass); Derek Bailey (guitar) and Tony Oxley (percussion), Saxophone solo: Charlie Mariano; the musicians of the Piano Conclave (Gordon Beck, Fritz Pauer, Adam Makovicz, Joachim Kühn and Jasper van’t Hof). Basel drummers and fife players; drum solo: Felix Gruntz. Dixieland group with banjo. George Gruntz, Fender piano.
- Recording venue: Recordings studios in London and Basel.
In his state of depression, Harry Haller sees himself as the “Steppenwolf”, a creature halfway between a man and a free-roaming animal. Hermine and the jazz saxophonist Pablo show him new ways to live and at the close lead him into a “magic theatre” with bewildering illusions.
(2:17, from the beginning)
Title music with views of the city of Basel.
Rumbling, dissonant brass chords, above them a jazzy melody on the E-piano that is then taken over by the big orchestra. The music shifts to a rhythmic “carpet” in the low wind while the alto saxophone plays the chorus of the Western song “Yearning just for you” from the 1920s (by Benny Davis and Joe Burke); the saxophone then appends a brief improvisation.
For this film, George Gruntz created a wild musical score for a large orchestra plus a band with top-flight English jazz musicians. Charlie Mariano plays solo on the alto saxophone and is joined by the musicians of the Piano Conclave, drummers and fife players from Basel (the film is set in Basel, and George’s son Felix Gruntz gives a brilliant account of himself as a virtuosic drummer), a Dixieland band with banjo and George Gruntz himself on Fender piano. Altogether, this is a magnificent array, with the music shifting to and fro between the most varied genres. (author: Bruno Spoerri)
- Swiss Film Music. Anthology 1923–2012, pp. 251–252. ISBN 978-3-03401-265-2
- Film and music: DVD EAN 4042564012569.