Friday, August 6, 2010

Two Brilliant Artists Named Stevens...

Recently I came across a movie called "Night Song," and because the word "song" was part of the title, I thought I would check it out in order to determine whether music played a part - well, the movie itself was rather puny in substance; however, I was rather sharply surprised to note that two giants in music were in the movie; namely, the legendary pianist Artur Rubinstein and the acclaimed conductor Eugene Ormandy. They performed a short "Concerto" for piano and orchestra, composed by Leith Stevens. By this time I was DEEPLY drawn to this little movie!
If you are not familiar with the name, it probably is because Stevens almost exclusively worked within the Hollywood circle, unlike other movie composers who are well-known to us, such as John Williams, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, etc., who ventured often outside of the movie industry.
Be assured that Leith Stevens was an accomplished composer, highly regarded within the movie circle. In this movie, Rubinstein and Ormandy collaborate in the "Concerto," and both rather obviously thought well of the music, which is by far the most memorable aspect of this movie. Perhaps if I mention the memorable movie with Brando as star; "The Wild Ones," please know that Stevens wrote the score for that acclaimed movie, as well as others - what compelled me to write about this less than memorable movie "Night Song" is that both Rubinstein and Ormandy, at the height of their great careers, thought enough of Stevens and his music to become a part of the movie. A recording of this so - called "Concerto" is available, by the way.
The other Stevens had a first name; namely George. This man was one of the truly great writers, producers, and directors in the history of movie-making. Some of his pictures are true epics, such as "Shane," "A Place in the Sun," and "Alice Adams," his earliest movie of significance. He was, at great personal peril, assigned to film the period from the Invasion of Normandy in 1944 (D-day) to the final conquest of Nazi Germany, and it was the first Allied color history of the war, taken in 16-millimeter technicolor, which included a searing visual account of Holocaust evidence. He was a recipient of the Academy Award, and is well-remembered for his accomplishments as a great American artist.
Do add these two, named Stevens, to your list of brilliant artists, in the event you should like to delve more thoroughly into their accomplishments.

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