Film Music Review
The Sammy awards
Links
 
 

 

 
   

 

 

 

CD Review

 

 

Special Merit  

DUEL IN THE SUNn (1946)

CD One (53:38)

1. Prelude (9:37)
2. Overture (2:15)
3. Selznick Log/ Main Title/ Legend (2:35)
4. El Balero (0:50)
5. Casino Dance (4:10)
6. Pearl's Humiliation / Border Town Jail (5:26)
7. Stage Arrival/ The Buggy Ride (2:43)
8. Arrival at Spanish Bit/ Beautiful Dreamer/
Laura Belle's Room/ Beautiful Dreamer/ Minnehaha (5:20)
9. Smoke Rings (3:01)
10. Horse Tricks/ The Runaway/ The Ride Back (4:56)
11. Roundup (0:58)
12. The Sump ((3:03)
13. Sid's Message/ Riding Cavalcade (1:30)
14. Cavalry to the Rescue (2:55)
15. Returning Cavalcade/ Jesse's Discovery/ pearl's Transition (4:10)

CD Two (57:11)

1, Sump Fever (2:15)
2. Cowboy's Dream (1:35)
3. Frolicking Colts/ Sam's Proposal (4:07)
4. Jesse and Helen (1:28)
5. Sam's Burial/ Hilltop Rendezvous (2:51)
6. A Risky Visit/ Sheriff Visits Laura Belle/ Sheriff's Close Shave (5:42)
7. Mrs. McCanle's Death (3:29)
8. Laura Belle's Letter/ grand Hotel/ The Lonely Senator (7:12)
9. Helen Meets Pearl (2:36)
10. Trek to the Sun/ Squaw's Head Rock (2;34)
11. Duel and transfiguration/ Love is Eternal/ Finale (7:29)
12. Exit Music (3:20)
13. Duel in the sun Concert Suite (12:26)

Music composed by Dimitri Tiomkin

Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, Nic Raine, conductor  
Accordions: Pavel Dreser
Novachord: Gareth Williams
Harmonica: Steve Lockwood
Clarinets/Saxophones: Ales Hustoles

Orchestra and Chorus Recorded at Smecky Music Studios, Prague, June 2016.

Album Produced for Prometheus Records by James Fitzpatrick of Tadlow Music.
Executive Producer: Luc Van de Ven
Associate Producer: Olivia Tiomkin Douglas
Recording Engineer: Jan Holzner

Score Reconstruction and Additional Orchestration by Patrick Russ.
Music Preparation: Stephen Bragini
Booklet notes by Frank DeWald
Front Cover Design: Jim Titus

Prometheus XPCD180

Rating: ****

 

Dimitri Tiomkin should be considered the first of the great western film score composers and, in my opinion, also the best. Being originally from Russia, it might seem a strange divergence of music styles, but Tiomkin was a master at composing dynamic, grandiose scores for sprawling epics of the West, like GIANT, RIO BRAVO, THE ALAMO, and in this case -- DUEL IN THE SUN.

When I wrote a tribute to what I called Tiomkin's "Golden Decade" in Soundtrack Magazine back in 2002 (now online -- click here), I couldn't include DUEL IN THE SUN since it was released in 1946. But surely it would have been included if I had chosen an earlier decade.

DUEL IN THE SUN is a sprawling, lusty and overblown western which has been nicknamed -- "Lust in the Dust." It is sometimes silly and other times action-packed and is beautifully filmed. The acting is fine, though just about everyone overacts which I expect was required in a such a trouble-prone David O. Selznick epic. I think that Jennifer Jones is not quite right for the sexy siren role she plays and is quite a turn around after her Oscar-winning role a few years earlier, as the innocent French peasant girl she played so beautifully in SONG OF BERNADETTE, with an Oscar-winning film score by Alfred Newman.

The score by Dimitri Tiomkin for DUEL IN THE SUN is one of the strongest elements of the film. His score contains a whole corral full of memorable music. But it isn't so easy to put together today, as James Fitzpatrick wrote in the CD booklet: "Tiomkin's style of composition is certainly the most challenging of any Hollywood composer to both perform and record."

One reservation I have for the attractive CD booklet, with an attractive cover design, is the failure to include the track listings. They are only available on the jewel case which isn't as easy to read over the color picture. The booklet notes by Frank DeWald are very thorough and well done. But some of terminology might be a bit of a stretch for some listeners. When he mentions the prominent "Legend" theme which is developed later in "Trek to the Sun" (CD 2, track 10), he mentions the "Phrygian-mode theme" implying it is an ancient modal style or "vaguely Native-American" as he describes it. Do listeners care about such technical music terminology? But that isn't a major deterence amd his notes are well worth reading for the track descriptions and other background information.

I have an old mono recording of most of the DUEL OF THE SUN soundtrack and I must say that this new release is much improved in both sound quality and surpases the early mono version. For example in the terrifically rhythmic "Casino Dance" (CD 1, track 5), which reminded me a bit of the "Jungle Dance" in Max Steiner's first great score for KING KONG (1933).

Another nice touch is using Stephen Foster's popular song, "Beautiful Dreamer, as a theme for Laura Belle (played by Lillian Gish), which was suggested by David O. Selznick. The Foster song theme is beautifully arranged by Tiomkin in its film music settings.

One of my favorite themes in the film is the delightful "Stage Arrival/ Buggy Ride" heard on CD 1, track 7. Tiomkin always found a way to write such memorable little moments along with the grand Main Title and action music. How he was able to compose so much music in such a short time is amazing to me, since as a composer, I take a lot of time trying to find the right melody, harmony, or rhythm for my music.

The Exit Music is especially thrilling to hear and brings the film score to an exciting close.

But wait...

There is more --

A special added treat is the Concert Suite on the last track of CD 2. It was arranged as an extended suite by veteran arranger Carroll Huxley, and designated as a "radio version." It is a more popularized arrangement of the key themes in Tiomkin's score and is a fine addition to this Prometheus release. The arrangement was found in the Tiomkin Collection at the University of Southern California.

It was appropriate that Olivia Tiomkin Douglas, the composer's widow, was an Associate Producer. I would imagine she is very proud of this production.

A thankful recognition should also go to Patrick Russ and his team for assembling this "idealized" version of this great score, especially with so many different cues composed by Tiomkin. It is good that the solo instrumentalists are recognized, as they should be, and they are listed in the CD booklet and in the above heading.

Tiomkin's DUEL is a film score winner and is on my list of the 100 most essential film scores of the 20th century -- click here.

I agree with James Fitzpatrick that the film has its flaws especially with excess sentimentality but he writes that he believes -- "it is one of the most extravagant yet brilliant film scores ever written." I agree with that statement, and I would add that Tiomkin is also one of the greatest film composers from Hollywood's past.

As a Tiomkin admirer since childhood, who first watched this film on an old black & white television in the 1950s, I am most grateful for this superb 2 CD release in colorful digital sound.
It is one of the best releases of any Tiomkin film score.

Like so many of the other Prometheus and Tadlow productions by James Fitzpatrick with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Nic Raine's expert direction, they all deserve a hearty hand-clapping -- Bravo!

-- Roger Hall, 20 July 2017

See the interview with James Fitzpatrick -- click here

For information about this Prometheus CD, write to: scq@scarlet.be

 

 

©Film Music Review.   All Rights Reserved, 2017.

 

 


Help support

Film Music Review

Order books, CDs and DVDs at the

American Music Preservation Store

 


 

Film Music Review (Home Page)


Return to top of this page

 

 

A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC

 

   

 

 

 

 

   
 
   
Contact  

© 2017 PineTree Productions. All Rights Reserved.