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Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Auntie Mame/Rome Adventure
Music by Bronislau Kaper/Music by Max Steiner
Film Score Monthly Vol.11 No.11 (US)
25 Tracks 69:37 mins

FSM has recently reissued four albums on two discs of selections from scores of the '50s and '60s by Max Steiner and Bronislau Kaper. These albums have never previously been released on CD and, whilst, if you've been around as long as I, you may well have the original LPs in your collection, you'll probably love them enough to invest in these remastered representations.
Of course, the trend at the time was to re-record selections from scores for record release and these albums are no exception. The first of the two scores addressed here is by tune smith extraordinaire Bronislau Kaper, for the 1958 adaptation of the successful stage production of Auntie Mame, itself adapted from a bestselling book, and starring the incomparable Rosalind Russell. For those not familiar with the original album, the seven selections featured are adapted and conducted by Ray Heindorf and open with "Prelude and Theme" which, after a big opening, settles into a grand, sweeping waltz, before turning solemn and ending on a tragic note. "Patrick" is something of a mixed bag, at times playful, at others lush, and at others sentimental; whilst "The Martini" is largely comedic, and includes Kaper's playful setting of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." "Lady Iris" sees the main theme return in largely sorrowful and subdued variations, but with a Christmasy ending. Things turn decidedly more energetic and wildly comical with "Plantation and Fox Hunt," after a brief banjo rendition of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home." "Mame Goes Abroad" is a good excuse for a medley of themes, including a Parisian Waltz, a mysterious eastern variation on the main theme, and a Tirolean-styled accordion waltz. The final selection, "Miss Gooch and Finale" features a busy, bustling and light-hearted opening, before concluding in stately fashion. To make the original album something of a tribute to Kaper, on side two, Heindorf also included a new arrangement of the Auntie Mame theme, plus the composer's popular tunes "On Green Dolphin Street;" "Invitation;" "Take My Love," from The Glass Slipper;" and of course "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," from Lili. All are included here.
The second score featured on this CD is by the great Max Steiner, for 1961's Rome Adventure, which saw Suzanne Pleshette make her screen debut alongside popular teen heartthrob Troy Donahue. Seven tracks are featured from the score, re-recorded by the composer himself, whilst side 2 of the LP featured, under the sub-heading of "...And other Neopolitan Favorites," six selections from the same year's Warner Bros. Records release "Strolling mandolins," featuring Raoul Meynard and His Orchestra; and includes popular tunes such as "Arrivederci Roma" and "Volare." All are again included here.
The Rome Adventure selections open with the title track which, after tolling church bells and a brassy fanfare, presents Steiner's sweeping main theme, with its impassioned interlude for solo violin. The film's gently lilting love theme, "Lovers Must Learn," follows, and features parts for solo cello and violin. "Tarantella" needs no explanation. The popular song "Al di La" is heard first as an instrumental, then with Emilio Pericoli's vocals. This is followed by another gently lilting tune, initially for mandolin and accordion, "Serenade," which Steiner originally wrote for the 1931 film Transgression. The melodies keep on coming with another delightful romantic tune for "Prudence;" with the second and final title cue starting out quite ethereal, before the main theme re-enters to bring proceedings to a satisfactory close.
As always, the accompanying booklet features detailed notes, by James Lochner, on the films, scores and composers, together with original LP liner notes and a cue-by-cue guide to the selections.
For further info, samples and ultimately to order your copy, go to


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