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 Posted:   Jul 16, 2021 - 4:44 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Down t'pub last night, here in Spain with some (other) ex-pat tax dodgers, I hit on the idea that Miklós Rózsa's Main Theme for A TIME TO LOVE AND A TIME TO DIE may have been conceived with a song in mind. I can find no evidence of there ever having been a vocal version, but the contours of the melody would fit some lyrics - and vice versa - to perfection.

I did an internet search and the only thing I came up with was a thread on this very board, from 2013, in which I asked the same question. I was also reminded by that old thread that I imagined the lyrics having been written by a Scotsman, perhaps along the following lines -

A time to love
And a time to die
A time to love and a time to die
Och aye

It was amusing (to me) when I sang that at the bar last night, unaware that I had had the same idea eight years ago.

So, although this post may seem jocular, it is deadly serious, I warn you. Does anyone know if Rózsa composed the theme with a song in mind (possibly under duress)? Was a vocal version ever actually recorded? The melody seems to by crying out for it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 16, 2021 - 6:15 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Ah, I see that the IMDb credits Charles Henderson as lyricist for "A Time to Love", sung by "an uncredited blonde in a cabaret scene". I can imagine that this might indeed be the melody heard as the Main Theme. Can anyone confirm that?

And if that's the case, what's the story behind it? Was Rózsa asked to write the theme so that it would work nicely as a song? As sung by an uncredited blonde in a cabaret?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 16, 2021 - 6:41 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Ah, I see that the IMDb credits Charles Henderson as lyricist for "A Time to Love", sung by "an uncredited blonde in a cabaret scene". I can imagine that this might indeed be the melody heard as the Main Theme. Can anyone confirm that?


Yes, it is the melody of the main theme which can be heard. But the lyrics are only "A time to love" without the following "A time to die". It is an easy listening version of the main theme which is heard as background vocal of a rendezvous scene between Liselotte Pulver and John Gavin in a cabaret. I doubt that Rozsa himself did the arrangement for this - it was certainly the work of someone else - probably a musical assistant - at the studio.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2021 - 11:29 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

A Time To Love /
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Words by Charles Henderson
Northern Music Corporation 1958
(From the movie "A Time To Love and A Time To Die"

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2021 - 11:31 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

Charles Henderson was, of course, a major music director, music arranger, vocal arranger, and composer, from the 30s through the 50s, and particularly at Fox under Alfred Newman, in the 1940s. He has screen credits on many of the important Fox musicals.

I feel certain I've heard a recording of the song, but it was never anywhere near being a hit on the jukeboxes of the day, and it's more than 60 years ago so I have no memory of who recorded it. Sorry.

(Who was Northern Music publishing company???)

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 1:29 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

There you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE5aduLGWr0

There was also an earlier recording by "Ricardo Santos" (a pseudonym of arranger Werner Müller who - among many other things - did the famous "Malaguena" arrangement for Caterina Valente):

https://www.discogs.com/Ricardo-Santos-And-His-Orchestra-Die-Ohayos-Im-Filmstudio/release/8934262

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 2:51 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Thanks to both (I mean the three of you - I didn't realise that there were two Stafans).

Stefan H, that first clip is certainly not the Rózsa theme. I think it's actually mentioned in the YT comments - it's Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur". I couldn't find the Ricardo Santos version, but your Discogs link does list it as 1959 and credits both Rózsa and Henderson, so I suppose that must indeed be a cover of the song heard in the cabaret.

I'm still interested in how Rózsa came up with the melody for the Main Theme. It doesn't ring true that he would have done a James Bernard, basing the theme around the syllables of the title of the film/novel. Did they need a song for the cabaret scene before he wrote the complete score, and with Henderson exploited the idea of fitting words to the contour of the title? Is any of this covered in liner notes (I only have the old LP - was there anything else?) or mentioned perhaps in Rózsa's autobiography?

It's not of great importance, but since ever hearing that theme for the first time, perhaps forty-five years ago, I've always sung those lyrics which I embarrassingly posted here at the outset.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 3:39 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

The Youtube clip that Stefan posted has nothing to do with the "A Time to Love" song which appears in the movie iself.
However, there has apparently been an instrumental cover version of the song on a Decca LP in 1960 by Wayne King and His Orchestra:
https://www.discogs.com/de/Various-Invitation-To-Listening/release/5560562

Keep in mind that oddly enough Henderson didn´t fit the words to the contour of the film title at all as the words "And a time to die" are not included in the song. However, in the film the second line after "A time to love" is a bit hard to understand as it is heard far in the background and there is also some overlapping of dialogue in the foreground. Anyway, it is for sure that the line "And a time to die" is not part of the song itself.

In his autobiography Rózsa doesn´t write anything about the main theme of the score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 4:15 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

And in a twist stranger than fiction itself, the song posted of Bechet's "Petite Fleur" includes the lyric, "A time to love, and a time to cry".

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

I found this in TCM's notes on the movie: "Although an October 1957 Hollywood Reporter article noted that Sammy Fain and Paul Webster were writing the film's title song, no song of that name is heard during the film. Universal borrowed Miklos Rosza [sic]from M-G-M to compose the film's score." Obviously the producers envisioned a song at some point, and it's not unlikely that Rozsa found a way to provide a singable melody that could serve his own dramatic purposes as well. Contrast THE GREEN BERETS, where Rozsa surely knew they wanted the popular ballad for the credits. So he simply turned to Ken Darby for a choral arrangement and then ignored the simplistic tune in his score.

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

I was also unable to find the Wayne King or the Werner Müller recording. The strange thing here is that Rozsa is credited on the Damita Jo song:

https://www.discogs.com/Damita-Jo-If-You-Go-Away/release/11035743

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 11:15 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

https://www.discogs.com/es/Damita-Jo-If-You-Go-Away/release/3626059

Stefan, that's strange, because the above is what I got when I did a search.

Rozsaphile's info is interesting, about a proposed song by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. I'm still wondering if it was a prerequisite for Rózsa to make the title of the film workable for a song (which, as we know, did appear in the film - at least partially). In fact, isn't that what you're saying, Rozsaphile?

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 11:20 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

https://www.discogs.com/es/Damita-Jo-If-You-Go-Away/release/3626059

Stefan, that's strange, because the above is what I got when I did a search.


Must really be just an editing error then. I'm sorry for the confusion. If you look at the label in the link I've provided Rozsa is credited there. It seems as if somebody (fortunately) noted that mistake and corrected it on later pressings.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2021 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Rozsaphile's info is interesting, about a proposed song by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. I'm still wondering if it was a prerequisite for Rózsa to make the title of the film workable for a song (which, as we know, did appear in the film - at least partially). In fact, isn't that what you're saying, Rozsaphile?

It would seem like a reasonable request from the producers and one that Rozsa was able to fulfill without compromising his style. He had previously provided a (rather vapid) title song for GREEN FIRE. I'm sure he was glad that Universal didn't recruit some pop star to croon the tune over the main titles. This was, after all, the height of the "title song" era. I think Universal was nervous about the release. There were title changes at the last minute, and complaints about the grim ending as well as the portrayal of "good Germans." The picture was banned in Russia and Israel.

To the best of my knowledge, Rozsa's sole comment about the film concerned the question of directorial influence. He was often asked about working with Douglas Sirk, especially as the director's auteurist star began to rise in the 1960s, and had to reply that he had never even met the man. Here and elsewhere in the studio era, the producer and the studio music director usually had more influence on the score than the director -- who was likely off shooting another picture at the time of scoring.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 19, 2021 - 7:04 PM   
 By:   RonBurbella   (Member)

For what it's worth, there is published sheet music with Miklos Rozsa's theme and with lyrics by Charles Henderson. The 1958 copyright in the USA is with Northern Music Corporation, New York, NY.

I don't have a copy of the USA issue, but I do have a copy of the UK issue published by the Sydney Bron Music Co.

The (ahem) Lyrics:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Moderately, with great expression)

A TIME TO LOVE

A Time To Love is at our command
And who's to blame if a hungry flame is fanned?
Our lips aglow can't let this moment die.
This breathless moment I have always dreamed of

A Time To Love won't be ours for long,
It's much too late to debate what's right or wrong.
So take me now from earth to heav'n above.
And make this lovely time A Time To Love.......A Time To Love.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, what's the verdict: A timeless Classic - a golden oldie - a sappy contract requirement.

Ron (with great expression) Burbella


 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2021 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

There are been many times when a composer wrote a "Main Title" that he thought would fit the movie he was scoring, and then other people would decide to make it a song with lyrics. Rozsa's "Main Title" sounds like a typical Rozsa "Main Title" to me -- not one where he necessarily changed his style so it could be turned into a song. If he had, one would think he'd certainly have mentioned it in his autobiography, but I don't recall him doing so.

 
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