All posts under Dimitri Tiomkin

50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 2: #40–31

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Yesterday, I began a week-long look at 50 of my favorite film scores. If you want to read about the background behind the project, check out the earlier post. The remaining scores will be covered throughout the rest of the week. Now, on with the next installment of 50 of my favorite film scores… 40. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) [audio:gonewiththewind.mp3] Max Steiner’s classic score is made for the Technicolor sweep of the big screen. Anchored by arguably the most famous piece of film music ever written (if for no…

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CD Review: The Greatest Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin


Outside of John Williams and film music festivals, it’s not often that film music concerts are devoted to one composer, especially one from the Golden Age. But few composers lend themselves to such extensive stage time like Dimitri Tiomkin. Memorable melodies and orchestrations that were written for a full orchestral complement, Tiomkin’s music is certainly deserving of an evening. In October 2011, the London Symphony Orchestra celebrated the music of the multi-Oscar-winner and a recording of that performance, The Greatest Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin, has just been released on the orchestra’s…

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9 Oscar-Winning Scores Still To Be Released

Thoroughly Modern Millie

You’d think there be a month that went by that I didn’t think about the Oscars. Alas, I’m just that shallow. Even though an Academy Award is no indication of quality, the Oscars are how I taught myself about the history of film music and I don’t like holes in my Oscar collection. Yet after 35+ years of burdening myself with such a foolish obsession, my collection is still minus too many excellent Oscar scores. I doubt the collection will ever be complete when it comes to nominated scores. There…

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9 Favorite Western Film Scores

Silverado 1

I’m not a fan of Westerns particularly. The mythological images created by Hollywood seldom bear any resemblance to reality and their political leanings are often less than honorable. But those wide, open spaces and America’s dramatic past (even filtered through Hollywood’s gauze) arguably have inspired more great film scores than any other cinematic sub-genre. As always, with so many great scores to choose from, narrowing down a list to nine is a typically foolish task. Some composers specialized in Westerns, so to make this list more equally balanced, I only allowed…

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CD Review: 55 Days at Peking

55 Days at Peking

With the recent release of a complete FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE rerecording on Prometheus Records and La-La Land’s expanded soundtrack of 55 DAYS AT PEKING, it’s a good time to be a fan of Dimitri Tiomkin. Instead of the fall of a civilization, PEKING showcases the Boxer Rebellion in which Chinese peasants took up arms to oppose foreign imperialism. Charlton Heston and David Niven star as the heads of the American and British military might in the city, with Ava Gardner as a disgraced Russian baroness. Producer Samuel Bronston (KING…

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CD Review: The Fall of the Roman Empire


Samuel Bronston’s THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE belongs to cinema of a different era. In today’s world of bloated CGI, the 1964 film is impressive if for nothing else than the detailed sets and hordes of extras that flank the various battlefields. The acting and love story between Stephen Boyd’s Livius and Sophia Loren’s Lucia leave much to be desired, but the film is worthwhile in no small part due to Christopher Plummer’s scheming Commodus and other heavy hitters such as Alec Guinness and James Mason. Despite the film’s faults,…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin


With the recent release of SAE’s splendid soundtrack for CYRANO DE BERGERAC, I figured this month’s “9 on the 9th” post was the perfect time to celebrate the music of four-time Academy Award winner Dimitri Tiomkin. Known primarily for his scores for countless westerns and epic films of the 1950s and ’60s, Tiomkin is a polarizing composer with many film music fans. And it’s easy to see why. Tiomkin’s early career as a concert pianist no doubt contributes to the long, continuous music full of loud, dramatic orchestral flourishes and…

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CD Review: Cyrano de Bergerac


Edmund Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC has smelled like a winner since its premiere in 1897. The story of the unattractive poet and soldier with a rather large nasal protuberance who speaks his love for the beautiful Roxane through the handsome yet empty-headed Christian offers a swashbuckling tour de force role for any actor. In the mid-20th century, the role belonged to Jose Ferrer. Producer Stanley Kramer wanted to preserve Ferrer’s memorable Tony Award-winning performance and purchased the film rights specifically for the actor. Kramer and screenwriter Carl Foreman trimmed the talky three-hour play…

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CD Review: Lost Horizon – The Classic Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin


The final reissued album in the Charles Gerhardt Classic Film Scores series (at least until March) is LOST HORIZON–THE CLASSIC FILM SCORES OF DIMITRI TIOMKIN. Though there were at least two albums in the series that followed–an album devoted to suites from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and STAR WARS and the SPECTACULAR WORLD OF FILM SCORES compilation–the Tiomkin volume effectively closed the book on the Golden Age portion of Gerhardt’s work for RCA. And much as the Korngold volume THE SEA HAWK gave it a rousing start, Tiomkin’s…

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CD Review: Champion


Fans of Dimitri Tiomkin have reason to celebrate this year. We’ve already seen the premiere of Tiomkin’s score for the 1947 film noir THE LONG NIGHT and the first complete recording of his epic THE ALAMO. Later this year we’ll have a 2-CD release of the original tracks from 1950’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC. The latest release is the original soundtrack to Tiomkin’s 1949 Oscar-nominated score for the Kirk Douglas boxing flick CHAMPION. The film and Douglas’s performance as scheming, ambitious pugilist Midge Kelly are bold, brash, and not particularly subtle, as is Tiomkin’s…

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