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April 29, 2007

Song of the Day #809

Song of the Day: I Should Care, music by Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, made its debut in the 1945 Esther Williams-Van Johnson film, "Thrill of a Romance." It has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Martha Tilton, June Christy, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Boz Scaggs, pianists Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and Thelonious Monk, and birthday boy Duke Ellington, among many other artists (audio clips at those links). My brother, guitarist Carl Barry, who also celebrates his birthday today, has performed this tune brilliantly, both as a solo artist and with vocalist Jack Michaels. Happy Birthday, Bro!

April 18, 2007

Miklos Rozsa: A Centennial Celebration

On April 18, 1907, composer Miklos Rozsa was born in Budapest, Hungary. Today, April 18, 2007, I celebrate the Centennial of the maestro's birth.

As readers may know, I have often featured Rozsa's music in my "Song of the Day" entries. But I officially kicked off the Centennial Celebration back in April 2006 with this entry. I concluded my tribute over the past week, beginning here and ending here (though, for sure, there will be many more Rozsa entries to come in my music diary).

Rozsa was not only the composer of nearly 100 film scores; he was also the composer of truly wonderful concert works. For those who have not explored the maestro's corpus, let me recommend a few links and books. First, readers should acquaint themselves with the work of the Miklos Rozsa Society, whose founder and director John Fitzpatrick has done a great job throughout the years, exploring and extending our appreciation of Rozsa's life and music.

Second, let me recommend two books and an article: The first book is Rozsa's own Double Life (New York, Wynwood Press, 1982; 1989), which is truly "a Spellbinding Autobiography of Success and Survival in the Golden Age of Hollywood." The book includes a foreword by Antal Dorati, and a preface by Andre Previn. It is out of print now, but can be found in many used book venues.

The second book is Jeffrey Dane's new one: A Composer's Notes: Remembering Miklos Rozsa, which includes a foreword by Leonard Pennario. It is published by iUniverse (Lincoln, Nebraska: 2006).

There is also my introductory article, first published in The Free Radical. It is available online, and also as a PDF.

And, of course, let me recommend that readers listen to Rozsa's soundtracks and concert works, which are available on CD.

Finally, let me remind readers that Turner Classic Movies begins a wonderful centennial tribute to the composer tonight, at 8 pm, Eastern time. The "special event" showcases four films that Rozsa scored. It starts with a showing of "The Killers" (1946), and continues with "Brute Force" (1947), "Ben-Hur" (1959), and "The Lost Weekend" (1945).

Rozsa was nominated 17 times for Oscars, and was a three-time winner. From his film noir scoring contributions to his scores for grand epics to his wonderful concert works, he remains, in my view, one of the finest composers of the twentieth century.

Cited at Liberty and Power Group Blog and at The Rozsa Forum.

Song of the Day #808

Song of the Day: Ben-Hur ("The Battle") (audio clip at that link) is one of the most rousing cinematic achievements in the Miklos Rozsa film score canon. No tribute would be complete without a nod to my all-time favorite film score. Rozsa's music for the naval battle, an action-packed highlight of the 1959 William Wyler-directed "Ben-Hur", remains one of his great Academy-Award winning cinematic moments. And so we conclude our Centennial Celebration of the music of Miklos Rozsa on the occasion, today, of his 100th birthday. Tune in to Turner Classic Movies to see a tribute to Rozsa-scored films throughout the day.

April 17, 2007

Song of the Day #807

Song of the Day: The Killers ("Main Title") is from the 1946 movie, which boasted one of Miklos Rozsa's classic film noir scores. It actually introduced the "dum-de-dum-dum" theme, which (along with Rozsa's score for "The Naked City") inspired the opening notes for the television series, "Dragnet" (audio clip at that link). Listen to an audio clip of the "Main Title" here.

April 16, 2007

Song of the Day #806

Song of the Day: Sodom and Gomorrah ("Intermezzo") (audio clip at that link) is a bold cinematic theme written by Miklos Rozsa. Check out the new 100th anniversary special 2-CD edition of this soundtrack!

April 15, 2007

Song of the Day #805

Song of the Day: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (Opus 32) was composed by Miklos Rozsa at the request of cellist Janos Starker. Listen to audio clips from three renditions: one recorded by cellist Lynn Harrell with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; another recorded by cellist Raphael Wallfisch with the BBC Concert Orchestra; and yet another recorded by cellist Brinton Smith with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

April 14, 2007

Song of the Day #804

Song of the Day: Concerto for Viola (Opus 37) (audio clips at that link, featuring viola soloist Paul Silverthorne) is a richly textured four-movement work that is one of composer Miklos Rozsa's orchestral triumphs.

April 13, 2007

Song of the Day #803

Song of the Day: The Vintner's Daughter (12 variations on a French folk song) (audio clips at that link), composed by Miklos Rozsa, is based on a poem by Juste Olivier, which was set to a French folk-song. It has an element of impressionism, which is captured as well by pianist Sara Davis Buecher (audio clips at that link).

April 12, 2007

Song of the Day #802

Song of the Day: Hungarian Nocturne (Opus 28, Notturno Ungherese] is composer Miklos Rozsa's "attempt to recapture the rare beauty of the nights" he remembered in rural Hungary. For me, it evokes the rare beauty of Rozsa's melodic sensibility. Listen to an audio clip here, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Sedares. Today begins my one-week tribute to the great Miklos Rozsa, which will culminate on April 18th, to mark the centennial of the maestro's birth (check out my other Rozsa tributes as well). (Noted too at the Miklos Rozsa Society's Rozsa Forum.)

April 01, 2007

Song of the Day #801

Song of the Day: These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You), music by Jack Strachey and Harry Link, lyrics by Holt Marvell, has been recorded by Benny Goodman (and here with Charlie Christian too), Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Rod Stewart, and Bryan Ferry, among many others. Happy April Fool's Day!