Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008) - mainstream originals and Sci-Fi sequels

Leonard Rosenman: East of Eden & Rebel Without a Cause - album CD cover Perhaps it's just a coincidence that much of Rosenman's work on Science Fiction movies was on sequels of Star Trek, Robocop and Planet of the Apes. Certainly the music was always original even if the setting wasn't, and Rosenman's music is certainly varied including a variety of other genres and musical styles. His earlier work seems rooted in the movie business's golden age with lush romantic scores and a touch of jazz, while later scores can range from very hip to modernistic. In the latter modernistic category it is worth noting that Rosenman studied under Arnold Schoenberg, and perhaps as a result of this Rosenman is often credited with introducing contemporary musical styles into the movie business including the use of 12-tone techniques.

Leonard Rosenman - The Lord of the Rings soundtrack CD cover Though clearly a gifted composer, it is ironic that Rosenman won his two oscars for "adaptation" scores. In the case of Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" Rosenman adapted classical music by Handel, Schubert and Mozart. Rosenman was born in Brooklyn, and studied atonal music at Berkeley before moving to Hollywood. There he met and became friends with James Dean in the early 1950s, and the two even became roommates at one stage. It was Dean who suggested Rosenman compose the scores for two of his best known films - "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause". Here on Youtube is a rare video of Rosenman on piano playing his music from Rebel Without a Cause.

Films by Leonard Rosenman:

    Leonard Rosenman - Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home soundtrack CD cover
  • The Cobweb
  • Edge of the City
  • East of Eden - first of two films starring Rosenman's friend James Dean
  • Rebel without a Cause - that fatalistic kind of drama associated with Bernard Herrmann
  • Bombers B-52
  • The Plunderers
  • Hell is for Heroes - war movie with Steve McQueen
  • Hellfighters - the film where John Wayne isn't a cowboy but a firefighter tackling oil-well blazes
  • Barry Lyndon - music adaptation and conductor, with the main theme and several arrangements based on Handel's Sarabande
  • The Car
  • Race with the Devil
  • Bound for Glory - a second consecutive oscar for music adaptation
  • Fantastic Voyage - the original movie of a miniature submarine in a man's body
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes - 2nd film in the series, compare with Jerry Goldsmith original
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes - though there are gentle and hopeful moments in this the 5th film, the music in general is uncompromisingly militaristic and apocalyptic
  • September 30, 1955 (aka 9/30/55) - the title refers to the date of the death of James Dean
  • A Man called Horse - confusingly, given their similar names, the sequel "The Return of a Man Called Horse" had music by Laurence Rosenthal
  • The Lord of the Rings - the 1978 cartoon version rather than the latest by Howard Shore
  • The Jazz Singer - the Neil Diamond version
  • Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home - one of the most successful of the series, with a rousing feel-good theme for the end titles and additional music credited to "Leonard Rosenman and The Yellowjackets"
  • Cross Creek - another oscar nomination
  • Robocop 2 - compare with Basil Poledouris for number 1 in the series

TV themes and music by Leonard Rosenman:

Rosenman wrote music for a lot of TV series throughout the 60s and 70s (on Western series and other genres) and continued scoring mostly TV Movies during the 80s and 90s. Other composers who wrote music for episodes of "The Twilight Zone" include Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith.

  • The Twilight Zone - e.g. the series 1 episode "And When The Sky Was Opened" when 3 returning space pilots have a disturbing experience
  • Law of the Plainsman
  • James Dean & The Music - Leonard Rosenman and Dimitri Tiomkin
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Hour - 2 episodes
  • The Defenders - theme music
  • Combat! - another long-running series
  • The Road West - theme and some episodes
  • Garrison's Gorillas
  • National Geographic Specials - 2 episodes
  • The Virginian - 6 episodes of this
  • Marcus Welby, M.D. - theme and episodes
  • Sherlock Holmes in New York - TV Movie
  • Quincy M.E. - 1 episode
  • Rafferty
  • The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. - TV Movie
  • Amazing Stories - the episode "No Day at the Beach"
  • The Face on the Milk Carton - TV Movie

Leonard Rosenman - Recommendations:

You will not find vast quantities of Leonard Rosenman's film music on CD, but it is worth seeking out those few scores which do exist and these examples are a good starting point: