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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.


Chris; It is worth noting that other great composers of the 20th centurey were associated with the movies. Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Max Steiner did the score for The Fountainhead.

Good point, Chris (and I'm a fan of both Steiner and Korngold too!). BTW, I actually wrote an appreciation of Steiner's "Fountainhead" score, when it was re-released in 2004. Take a look here.