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Above and Beyond (1952)
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Above and Beyond Above and Beyond
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: August 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 11
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

Above and Beyond (1952) tells the story of Paul Tibbets, the Air Force pilot who led the mission to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and thus end World War II. More than a wartime docudrama, the M-G-M film dramatizes the American domestic experience of the time, with Paul Tibbets (Robert Taylor) fighting to end the war while his wife Lucy (Eleanor Parker) fights to save her family.

Above and Beyond features a strong, sterling score by Hugo Friedhofer, no stranger to the war genre with his Academy Award-winning music to The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and solid efforts like Between Heaven and Hell (1956), The Young Lions (1958) and In Love and War (1958) yet to come. The score features Friedhofer's brand of Americana crafted from his admiration for composers such as Copland and Gershwin, and also the progressive sonorities of Vaughan Williams and Hindemith. The score is of a piece, but also full of memorable horn calls, marches, melodies of love and devotion, and an ominous chordal motive for the bomb itself.

Capping all of the melodies is a dynamic main title which would not be out of place in a contemporary film such as Air Force One. Friedhofer was an astute dramatist whose progressive sensibilities set the stage for future composers like Goldsmith and Williams; the main title to Above and Beyond is one of his greatest compositions.

Although originally recorded in stereo, Above and Beyond, one of only a handful of scores Friedhofer composed at the studio, is presented in complete, chronological form in the best possible monaural sound, as the stereo reels were discarded in the 1960s. The liner notes are by film music scholar and Friedhofer expert William H. Rosar.

Hugo Friedhofer Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Hugo Friedhofer (1901-1981) started his Hollywood career as an arranger and orchestrator (working for Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner, among others) before becoming one of the most admired—if still underappreciated—composers of the 1940s and ’50s, with television work extending into the 1960s. He won an Oscar for his score for The Best Years of Our Lives. FSM is proud to have released several scores by this thoughtful and accomplished musician; sample the main titles from Above and Beyond and Soldier for Fortune for their exquisite melodies. IMDB

Comments (11):Log in or register to post your own comments
I opened this one for an Easter present.

Wow, the sound on this is so good. Although mono, it is SO clear and so good it's just THIS close to sounding like stereo.

And I was able to recognize sounds from THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES and from his later scores at Fox, so anyone who likes either will find something there to like.

The title cut from this is not only my favorite from an FSM album - but probably from any score I've ever heard.

ABOVE AND BEYOND is indeed above and beyond my favorite Hugo Friedhofer score!

This score garnered friedhofer an Oscar nomiantion and it was ceratinly a worthy contender. This and the main title from his THE SUN ALSO RISES are two of the most arresting title themes in all of film music. Simply spectacular.

I promised myself a break from the FSM Board, but every time someone mentions ABOVE AND BEYOND I just have to jump in and say that it's absolute perfection, and anybody who hasn't got it yet is a nincompoop.

I second everything that has been said so far. The score is absolutely brilliant, and the film itself is great too.

I second everything that has been said so far. The score is absolutely brilliant, and the film itself is great too.[/endquote]


What he said...

There were a number of great melodists (if that's a word) among the golden age composers, but for me Friedhofer's themes were the most dazzlingly complex and yet beautiful of them all. They just seem to unfold as you listen. ABOVE & BEYOND, BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE SUN ALSO RISES and THE BARBARIAN & THE GEISHA are each amazing themes in their own ways. I've never tired of hearing these across the years. It's a shame the SOLDIER OF FORTUNE tapes were in such degraded condition, because the music we hear on the FSM disc is quite good despite the sound problems. I pretty much buy any Friedhofer release that appears, and have seldom been disappointed. (I guess THIS EARTH IS MINE would rank as the least distinguished of Hugo's scores I've heard.)

I'm not so sure about the film. It seems to give more weight to the couple's marital problems than to the infinitely more challenging subject of the bomb. There are films (GWTW most famous among them) that can make a personal drama seem compelling against a large historical canvas, but this was not one of them. Also, I believe much of the music was never used in the film. I discovered some good music from the FSM release, but I was very disappointed when I finally caught up with the movie.

I've ordered this title based on the above comments. The samples sure sound great!

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Andre Previn

Violin:
Samuel Albert, Dave Crocov, Sam Fiedler, Werner L. Gebauer, Saul Grant, Sidney Greene, Mort Herbert, Sol Kindler, Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Emanuel Moss, Lou Raderman, Al Vertchamp, Eunice Wennermark

Viola:
Cecil Figelski, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus, Germain Prevost

Cello:
Alexander Borisoff, Alex Bunchuk, Fernand Lhoest, Edgar Lustgarten

Bass:
George F. Boujie, Louis Previati, Arthur Shapiro

Flute:
Aaron Gershunoff

Oboe:
Philip Memoli

Clarinet:
Gus Bivona, Mort B. Friedman, Alex Gershunoff, Don Lodice (Logiudice), D. H. McKenney, Andrew Young

Bassoon:
Charles A. Gould

French Horn:
John W. "Jack" Cave, Vincent DeRubertis, Herman Lebow

Trumpet:
Uan Rasey, Irvin Shulkin, Joe Triscari

Trombone:
Walter Benson, Herb Taylor, Simon Zentner

Piano:
Jacob Gimpel, Milton Raskin

Harp:
Mary Jane Barton

Drums:
Frank L. Carlson, Mel Pedesky, D. V. Seber

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.