Thursday, February 25, 2016

Miklos Rozsa - More Than a Movie Composer...

During my elementary school days, my Dad presented a record album to me with the music from the movie "Jungle Book." This was not the Disney version, but the original  1942 version by the Korda brothers, which faithfully represented the Rudyard  Kipling story. For reasons undecipherable to me at the time, I became quite attached to the music, listening to it as often as my listening to  Mozart, Beethoven etc.  Later on, I got to understand why this particular movie music attracted me essentially as much as my listening to a Chopin Polonaise or a Beethoven Rondo; and that was my looking into the life and attainments of the composer.
Miklos Rozsa had become well known, to be sure, as a composer of movie classics such as "Spellbound" or "Ben-Hur" during the middle of the 20th century, and recordings of these movies became best-sellers; however, one might be reminded that Rozsa wrote music that was performed by such great conductors as Charles Munch and Bruno Walter.
Additionally, it should be known that Rozsa received commissions by a number of the leading concert  performers of the day, such as  the great 'cellists Janos Starker and Gregor Piatigorsky.
None other than the dominating violinist of those times, Jascha Heifetz, commissioned Rozsa to write for him. These compositions were not just written. They were indeed performed by these giants. It's quite obvious that Rozsa's music attracted and impressed these men.
And now you know why his music attracted me as a youngster, even though I was too young to synthesize the reasons for such an attraction.
Finally, as I think of it,  I do recall that every time I saw a movie with music written by Miklos Rozsa, I could invariably identify the writer before the credits were shown on the screen - - I can recall that sense of triumph when his name appeared.
Ah, those evanescent triumphs of youth!

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