DEUTSCH: The Maltese Falcon and Other Classic Film Scores (Adolph Deutsch/ Moscow Symphony Orchestra/ William Stromberg) (Naxos: 8.557701)
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Adolph Deutsch (1897-1980)
The Maltese Falcon
and other classic film scores, 1941-1944
Score restorations by John MorganAdolph Deutsch Rediscovered
When recalling Warner Bros. composers for dramaticscores during the \golden age" of the 1930s and 1940s,Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and FranzWaxman (1940s) immediately come to mind. Theywere the "stars" who received the choice assignments(along with ones not-so-choice). And, of course, thevenerable Ray Heindorf was always heavily involvedwith the musicals in usually multiple capacities, laterbecoming head of the music department after LeoForbstein died in 1948.
But there were many other fine composers atWarners during at least some of those years - amongthem Bernhard Kaun, Heinz Roemheld, FrederickHollander, and the distinguished Adolph Deutsch, whowas under contract at the studio from 1937 to late 1945.
During those years he composed original scores forsuch pictures as They Won't Forget (1937), TheFighting 69th (1940), They Drive By Night (1940), AllThrough the Night (1942), Across the Pacific (1942),Action In the North Atlantic (1943), Three Strangers(1946), and Nobody Lives Forever (1946).
For this CD, five of his first-rate Warner scoreshave been selected to provide a musically varied crosssectionand overview of his work. There are twomilestone Bogart films: The Maltese Falcon (1941) andHigh Sierra (1941); one Errol Flynn adventure,Northern Pursuit (1943); a Jack Benny-Ann Sheridancomedy, George Washington Slept Here (1942); andthe mysterious and exotic Mask of Dimitrios (1944).
Warners' Mervyn LeRoy signed Deutsch to apersonal contract early in 1937. Four out of five of thefirst films Deutsch scored at the studio were directedand/or produced by LeRoy. When LeRoy left Warnersto go with M-G-M in late 1937, Deutsch's contract wasassigned to Warner Bros. He had never been undercontract to a Hollywood studio before, although he didcollaborate with Vernon Duke in 1930 on the scores forthe foreign version of two Paramount features, TheDance of Life and Honeymoon (part two of TheWedding March).
Ironically, Deutsch's rich musical background hadlittle to do with the bulk of his Warner scores - dramasof mystery, adventure, and violence. Orchestrator andmusic critic Lawrence Morton said of Deutsch'sWarner period that "any overall description of hismusic [at that time] must include such terms as bold,complex and thick-textured, dissonant, sonorous,fragmentary in thematic material and rich indevelopmental processes."Yet just before coming to Warners, Deutsch hadspent over three years as a composer-arranger andassociate music director with famed orchestra leaderPaul Whiteman's radio and concert music. This periodincluded 39 weeks on The Kraft Music Hall networkradio program and one year on Paul Whiteman'sMusical Varieties network radio show. In the early1930s Deutsch had freelanced on Broadway,orchestrating and conducting for such musicals asPardon My English (Gershwin), As Thousands Cheer(Irving Berlin), and Jumbo (Rodgers and Hart). Earlier,during the 1920s, he turned out arrangements for suchnationally famous dance bands as those led by HenryBusse, Arnold Johnson, Roger Wolfe Kahn, andVincent Lopez. Then Deutsch spent five years as chieforchestrator/arranger and assistant conductor with PaulAsh's stage presentations (the Paramount Publix units).
This was during the lush days of Chicago's OrientalTheatre followed by New York's Paramount Theatre.
But to go back to the beginning: born in London,England, in 1897, Adolph Deutsch started pianolessons at the age of five and discovered that he hadabsolute pitch at the age of seven. At eight he started atThe Royal Academy of Music in London and receivedseveral awards for piano and composition. He alsoperformed publicly at several London concerts.
Deutsch came to the United States in 1910 at the age ofthirteen and immediately became intrigued with thesounds of American popular music.
At 21 Deutsch was hired for a modest job in a NewYork publishing house (1918). He was permitted toattend rehearsals of the New York PhilharmonicSociety and study the techniques of conductors such asToscanini, Barbirolli, and Sir Thomas Beecham.
Fortunately, Deutsch was able to assimilate aneclectic range of musical experiences. In 1920 he heardthe first recording of Paul Whiteman's orchestra andwas immediately absorbed with the possibilities oforchestration. He started to study the subject and tocompose small works. This led to his professionalarranging for dance bands in the 1920s.
So, considering his background in popular music,why didn't Deutsch work on any musicals at Warners?The answer presumably is Ray Heindorf. Heindorf hadbeen at the studio as arranger, orchestrator, conductor,and all-round supervisor on their musicals since 1932.
And he was a major talent in addition to being fast. Thenumber of musicals made at Warners during the period1937 to 1945 (Deutsch's tenure) was not overwhelmingbut just enough to keep the much-admired Heindorfbusy. So Deutsch was handed mostly melodramas withsome lighter fare sandwiched in. He scored ten films inwhich Bogart appeared and he did pictures featuringother Warner stars such as James Cagney, Errol Flynn,Edward G. Robinson, Olivia de Havilland, DickPowell, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Ronald Reagan,Jane Wyman, George Raft, etc., but no Bette Davis.
She belonged primarily to Max Steiner, and to a lesserdegree, Korngold and Franz Waxman. All in allDeutsch worked on 53 feature pictures at the studio(plus a loan-out to Paramount in 1943 for Lucky Jordanwith Alan Ladd).
Most of his Warner films starting in 1943 wereorchestrated by Jerome Moross. Earlier, Arthur Langehad orchestrated both High Sierra and The MalteseFalcon.
Deutsch and Warners parted company in late 1945and he free-lanced for awhile (Paramount's Blaze ofNoon - 1947, United Artists' Ramrod - 1947, andParamount's Whispering Smith - 1949). He also didHedda Hopper's This Is Hollywood weekly networkradio show from October 1946 to June 1947. Thencame an offer from M-G-M to help out on the musicalLuxury Liner (1948), which led to him scoring acomedy, Julia Misbehaves (1948), for the studio and along-term contract. This was all happening while longtimeM-G-M composer- conductor Herbert Stotharthad become seriously ill and unable to work (he died inearly 1949).
Deutsch's third film at M-G-M was for his sponsorat Warners, Mervyn LeRoy - a new version of LittleWomen (1949). This was a package purchased by M-GMfrom independent producer David O. Selznick, whohad decided not to go ahead with his production forvarious reasons. The package included a completeworking screenplay based on the 1933 R.K.O. RadioPictures adaptation, set plans and specifications, andthe primary theme for the 1933 version written by -Max Steiner. Steiner's theme, called "Josephine,"permeated the score for the old and new version - fromthe Main Title on. It must have been a strange feelingfor Deutsch to encounter Steiner's music on an M-G-Mproject after all those years as a colleague of thecomposer's at Warner Bros. Steiner's name is all overthe M-G-M cue sheet - and he was thereby wellcompensated - but by arrangement with someone(certainly not Deutsch), Steiner's name is not listed onthe official credits. Of course, Steiner was still undercontract to Warners.
After a few dramas and lighter fare, Deutsch wasassigned M-G-M's lavish musical Annie Get Your Gun(1950) as musical director, finally coming full circle towhat he was doing all those years before he went toWarners in the mid-1930s. There followed anillustrious series of musicals: Show Boat (1951), TheBand Wagon (1953), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers(1954), Oklahoma! (1955 - on loan-out), and othermu