Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lalo Schifrin - A Composer Whose Music is Better Known Than His Name

Lalo Schifrin is a composer born in Argentina who began his musical education in Buenos Aires with the father of the renowned pianist Daniel Barenboim, and ended up in Paris studying with the legendary Olivier Messiaen.
The American TV viewer knows his music through one of the longest-running series in TV history; namely, "Mission Impossible," with Schifrin writing the theme music in five/four time. Schifrin has many TV scores to his credit and has received several Emmy and Grammy awards and nominations.
For me, one of his most compelling scores was written for the landmark documentary "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Schirer, who was, with Edward R. Murrow, the reigning American journalist of the mid-twentieth century. Shirer was also a noted historian with great journalistic talent. His "Berlin Diary," written shortly before America's entry into the Second World War, brilliantly depicts Nazi Germany - as a matter of fact, Shirer left Germany rather hurriedly upon being told that the dreaded Gestapo was compiling a file on his activities.
The music of Schifrin dovetails so effectively into the fabric woven by Shirer that, from my view, it is one of the most powerful documentaries in earlier TV history. The sense of foreboding and the coming Darkness seems to spring out of both Shirer and Schifrin as if they were one.
I believe that one can obtain some of Schifrin's music. I would also strongly recommend viewing
"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" - it is truly a memorable incarnation of the combination of sights and sounds coming out of the last mid-century.

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