The London Symphony Orchestra have had a long and illustrious association with Film Music, having performed on a wealth of film soundtracks. This album is the first of a new occasional series called "LSO Live" and was recorded at a concert given in London's Barbican last October. "The Greatest Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin" showcases the music of Dimitri Tiomkin. Although born in Russia and never quite losing his Russian accent, Tiomkin became the sound of America with his music for Westerns. He was equally at ease with the big symphonic sound and with popular song, writing some successful hit songs for his films. The concert and resulting live album set out to display this breadth in the composer's work.
Tiomkin started out as a concert pianist but around 1930 he made an initial foray into film music and before long his career as a film composer took off. He was much in demand by Hollywood during the next 2 decades, though his best-known film scores were created in the 1950s and early 1960s. It's only right that a concert described as "The Greatest Film Scores" should focus on his most famous work, so all the music dates from this golden period 1950-1964 and includes all his oscar-winning films (The Old Man and the Sea, High Noon, The High and the Mighty). In total Tiomkin won 4 oscars ("High Noon" winning both for best score and for best song shared with lyricist Ned Washington) and he received 22 nominations in total. He became the most famous composer of his day and something of a celebrity with numerous television appearances.
The major film studios often liked their films to have theme songs to help movies sell and boost overall profits, and Tiomkin's melodic scoring easily translated into song-writing. The live album includes the theme songs for "High Noon" ("Do Not Forsake Me") and for the TV show "Rawhide", both sung by Andrew Playfoot, and songs from "Wild is the Wind", "Land of the Pharoahs" and "Friendly Persuasion" all sung by Whitney Claire Kaufman. Tiomkin generally worked with lyricist Ned Washington for his film songs, but also with Paul Francis Webster on a number of films. Tiomkin's normal practice was to weave theme songs into the orchestral parts of a film's score, and many of his songs are represented on the album in instrumental format. "The Alamo" has a number of songs and its main song "The Green Leaves of Summer" (written with Webster) and other songs are integrated into the 13 minute Suite from The Alamo.
The Western genre is not overly represented, and other John Wayne films from the concert include "The High and the Mighty" (an airplane disaster movie) and "Circus World" for which Tiomkin wrote "The John (Duke) Wayne March" dedicated to the actor and friend he worked with regularly. Other genres represented here include the epic ("Land of the Pharoahs" and "The Fall of the Roman Empire"), romantic comedy ("The Four Poster"), character drama ("Cyrano de Bergerac", "The Old Man and the Sea" and "Friendly Persuasion") and thriller. Tiomkin worked with Alfred Hitchcock on 4 of his films with two of these are included: "Dial 'M' for Murder" and "Strangers on a Train". The programme overall gives plenty of opportunity for members of the LSO to shine, and the brass & woodwind in particular deliver the goods to perfection.
The orchestra is conducted by Richard Kaufman, who is also well-known as a musical director not to mention father of Whitney Claire Kaufman who provides the female vocals. The male vocals are sung by Andrew Playfoot and the orchestra are joined by the London Voices in chorus. The album is available at: Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.