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Lust for Life (1956)
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Lust for Life Lust for Life
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: February 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 1
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music.

FSM's first release by Miklós Rózsa is a colorful masterpiece from the composer's long tenure at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer: Lust for Life (1956), the acclaimed biopic starring Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh. The film is a top-notch production which reached new heights in historical accuracy and in honest treatment of its subject, a wildly talented but emotionally tortured artist.

Central to the film's power is the exuberant and melodic score by Rózsa. The composer not only had to underscore the film's drama—a skill at which he excelled, having written such probing psychological scores as Spellbound and The Lost Weekend—but find an appropriate voice for some of the most revered works of the art world. He eschewed the late romantic music Van Gogh himself would have known in favor of the impressionist styles of Debussy and Ravel which followed Van Gogh historically, but most appropriately evoke his dynamic paintings. Rózsa's music for Van Gogh's art is not only great film scoring, but a fitting tribute from one artist to another.

Lust for Life is also the story of a man and Rózsa's score features several fully fleshed-out melodies. Vincent himself receives a questing theme of yearning and achievement, with a dark variant as the painter is gripped by loneliness and depression. His brother Theo is underscored by a compassionate, calmer theme; his prostitute lover Sien an equally soothing one of longing; and his friend and fellow artist Gauguin receives a theme of stolid determination. Even the jovial postman Roulin is given a comical theme for bassoon.

Rózsa was greatly fond of his score for Lust for Life and recorded a short concert suite of it for Decca, released on CD by Varese Sarabande. FSM's CD is the premiere release of the complete original soundtrack as recorded for the film, newly remixed from the original three-track stereo masters. Alternate takes and source cues are included as bonus tracks, and the entire package is given FSM's deluxe treatment, with liner notes by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall, and art direction by Joe Sikoryak.

Miklos Rozsa Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Hungarian-born Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995) is a titan of film music. Responsible for such classic scores as Spellbound, Ben-Hur, King of Kings, El Cid and many others—from biblical epics to 1940s films noir to historical dramas—his signature style is one of the most pleasing and dramatic in film. He was under contract to M-G-M from 1948 to 1962 and FSM has released a great deal of this classic music; also available are his latter-period scores such as The Green Berets and Time After Time.IMDB

Comments (25):Log in or register to post your own comments
I'm listening to this again right now with headphones, and the sound quality is amazing. It's hard to believe it was recorded in 1956. This release introduced me to what is now one of my favorite Rózsa scores, and my appreciation of it still grows with every listen. What a knockout.

It's quite good, but Fox Studio orchestra recordings sound better than MGM scoring stage. At least that is what I believe I hear according to those know. Ben-Hur is not terrible but I don't think it is good either. They just didn't know better.

My favourite Rozsa is Providence now, but before that, Tribute To A Bad Man ... oh Ponderosa.

..... At least that is what I believe I hear according to those know.....

I'm sorry to have to take issue with your comments, but.....

Who exactly ARE "those who know"? Any names you care to bandy about so we can get
a handle on your claim?

John Williams spoke of his preference of recording on MGM's stage. Is he one who knew?

Alfred Newman recorded on MGM's stage as well as Fox's and Universal's and Paramount's and United Artists. Did he ever speak specifically to this?

Rozsa recorded at Denham, Paramount, United Artists, Universal, and MGM, among others.....did he ever comment on how poorly he felt his MGM scores were recorded as compared to the others?

The legend I've always heard was that the old Goldwyn recording stage on the United Artists lot was the best in town. Where does this fit into your Fox and MGM theory?

The reality is that all the stages were acceptable to excellent and the engineers acceptable to excellent---but they were all different and unique---just as the makeup of the orchestras, the conductors, and the composers and orchestrators were.

Every day on this board we hear that Jerry Goldsmith was "the best".

.....John Barry was "the best".

.....Ennio Morricone is "the best".

.....Alex North was "the best".

.....John Williams is "the best".

.....Alfred Newman was "the best".

Why is it that people can't understand or accept that there are no absolutes and there is no qualitative "best" in real life?

"The Best" is simply "What You Prefer".

Every day on this board we hear that Jerry Goldsmith was "the best".

.....John Barry was "the best".

.....Ennio Morricone is "the best".

.....Alex North was "the best".

.....John Williams is "the best".

.....Alfred Newman was "the best".

Why is it that people can't understand or accept that there are no absolutes and there is no qualitative "best" in real life?

"The Best" is simply "What You Prefer".[/endquote]

Except of course--as some of us already know--that Miklos Rozsa was the best. :)

One question at a time please.

I found this CD for five bucks. I will have to spin it soon.

Has Edward Nassour returned to regale us once again with his endless aria da capo about scoring stages and studio orchestras? Since Ed had experience with audio engineering, he deserved to be taken seriously. But he really did linger on his one-note serenade.

To Manderley's point, Ken Darby (in Holywood Holy Land) claimed that Newman found the M-G-M facilities disappointing when he arrived for HTWWW in 1962. He supposedly introduced something that Darby called the "Newman pole" (for microphone placement) that resulted in a huge improvement. That statement always puzzled me, for I recall the HTWWW sound (at least on the LP) as somewhat muffled.

As for LUST FOR LIFE, I agree, the sound is extraordinarily bright and vivid -- more impressive to my ear than the later BEN-HUR or KING OF KINGS. It's almost as if they goosed the audio to suggest the razor-sharp intensity of van Gogh's psyche.

You took the words out of my mouth.
Newman certainly did not like the MGM sound.
However, do NOT use the lp of How the West Was Won to judge how a score sounds.
Do use the LP of anything, especialy MGM records. which loved to schmear all kinds of strange reverb onto their orchestral scores.

I miss Ed's talk.

We all agree Tribute To A Bad Man and Lust For Life sound wonderful. Also Raintree County has a good sound too, that's probably after stuff was fixed.

Miklos Rozsa had the thickest style I ever did hear. Not mistaking that style where ever it was employed.

Agree of course that HTWWW sounds better on CD than LP. To my ears, at least, it still lacks the vivid immediacy of LUST FOR LIFE, recorded years earlier, near the dawn of movie stereo. Nor does anything I've heard from Fox sound that brilliant. Perhaps it's just that Metro did a better job of preserving its materials.

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Miklos Rozsa

Sam Fiedler, Sam Freed, Jr., Werner L. Gebauer, Sidney Greene, Mort Herbert, Arnold T. Jurasky, Bernard Kundell, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Albert Saparoff, Byron Williams

Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus

Alexander Borisoff, Julian Kahn, Edgar Lustgarten, Michel Penha

George F. Boujie, Louis Previati, Arthur Shapiro

Arthur Gleghorn

Arnold Koblentz

Gus Bivona, Mort B. Friedman, Alex Gershunoff, Hugo Raimondi, Andrew Young

Charles A. Gould

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

Uan Rasey, Joe Triscari, James C. Zito

Nick DiMaio, Herb Taylor, Simon Zentner

Max Rabinowitsh, Milton Raskin

Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Jimmie Haskell

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

Wally Heglin

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

Robert Franklyn, Maurice Gerson, Lloyd Martin, Edward E. Ocnoff, Richard Petrie, Oscar Radin, Fred Sternberg, Harry Taylor, Eugene Zador

Jules Megeff

Assistant Librarian:
John Groomer

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