Film Music Review
The Sammy awards
Links
 
 

 

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

  Special Merit 

CINEMA RHAPSODIES: The Musical Genius of Victor Young

22 Tracks (Playing Time = 67:38)

Music performed, written and arranged by Victor Young.

Produced for Compact Disc by Bill Buster.

Hit Parade Records CD 13501

Rating: ***1/2

Tracks (all Mono unless otherwise indicated):

1. Main Theme from AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (STEREO)
2. India Country Side from AROUND THE WORLD (STEREO)
3. THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY
4. WRITTEN ON THE WIND - conducted by Alfred Newman
5. Alone At Last from SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR
6. Moonlight Serenade (Summer Love) from THE STAR
7. La Vie En Rose
8. Change of Heart from FOREVER FEMALE
9. When I Fall In Love from ONE MINUTE TO ZERO - Richard Hayman & His Orchestra (STEREO)
10. Themes from SAMSON AND DELILAH
11. The Call of the Faraway Hills from SHANE
12. My Mother from THE QUIET MAN
13. My Foolish Heart
14. Everything I Do (Wintertime of Love) from THUNDERBIRDS
15. LOVE LETTERS - Richard Hayman & His Orchestra (STEREO)
16. EAST OF EDEN
17. Theme from FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
18. Prelude from GOLDEN EARRINGS
19. Ruby from RUBY GENTRY
20. Autumn Leaves
21. Theme (Blue Star) from MEDIC
22. Stella By Starlight from THE UNINVITED - Richard Hayman & His Orchestra (STEREO)

 

Here is a collection of themes and songs by one of the most underrated film composers.

First a little background about his music career...

Victor Young was also a violinist, arranger, conductor and songwriter. He studied violin at the Warsaw Conservatory in Poland and played in the Warsaw Philharmonic until the beginning of World War I.  In the 1920s he was a concert violinist and concert master for various theater orchestras. During the 1930s, he worked a lot on radio for such singers as Al Jolson and Smith Ballew.  Young also formed his own orchestra and recorded a string of popular songs from 1931 to 1954, including such film hits as: "The Third Man Theme"; "Ruby"; "Theme from Limelight"; and "The High And The Mighty."  He worked for Brunswick and Decca Records, especially with Bing Crosby (who sang the beautiful title song for AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS).

According to the late film music historian, Tony Thomas:

"It was said of Victor Young that melodies were such a part of his nature that all he had to do was sit at the piano and they fell out of his sleeves."

It's true that Young was a great melody writer.

Here are some of his film song hits:

  • "Stella By Starlight" (lyrics by Ned Washington) from THE UNINVITED (1944)
  • "My Foolish Heart" (lyrics by Ned Washington, 1949)
  • "When I Fall in Love" (lyrics by Edward Heyman) from ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952)/
    also featured in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (see Sammy Awards for 1993)
  • "Around the World in Eighty Days" (lyrics by Harold Adamson, 1956)

Young received 22 Oscar nominations, among them were these film scores:  THE DARK COMMAND (1940); FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1943); LOVE LETTERS (1945); and SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949).  He received only one Oscar for AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS. Unfortunately, it was awarded posthumously, since he had died in 1956.

During his twenty year career from the 1930s to '50s, he composed over 350 film scores, almost all of them for Paramount Pictures.  And he wrote for all kinds of films - comedies, musicals, dramas and westerns.  Among his early scores were four Hopalong Cassidy western films:
HEART OF THE WEST (1936), RANGE WAR (1939), LAW OF THE PAMPAS (1939), THREE MEN FROM TEXAS (1940).

This excellent compilation of Victor Young's film music includes many of the songs and themes already mentioned.

Five of the tracks are in STEREO (tracks 1, 2, 9, 15, 22). All the others are MONO and the sound quality is sometimes a bit thin but still very listenable.

Some of these beautiful selections have recordings that actually made the Hit Parade. They include: "Around the World" (Main Title - #13 in 1957); "The High and the Mighty" (#6, 1954); "La Vie En Rose" (#27, 1950); "Ruby" (#20, 1953); "Autumn Leaves" (#52, 1955).

Victor Young had one of best popular string orchestras of the 1940s and '50s. That is what is heard on this CD collection, along with several tracks performed by harmonica virtuoso Richard Hayman and His Orchestra (tracks 9, 15, 22).

The CD notes by Greg Adams and John Adey are informative and well written.

This is like taking a nostalgic trip back in time. For fans of vintage lushly romantic film music of the 1940s and '50s, this should provide a relaxing listening experience.

A most enjoyable collection.

--Roger Hall, 7 July 2006

Comments regarding this review can be sent to this address: Film Music Review

 


Please help support Film Music Review

Order your copy of A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC -- click here


Return to top

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

   
 
   
Contact  

© 2006 PineTree Productions. All Rights Reserved.