David Rose and His Orchestra Play Music From The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and Other Motion Picture Favorites

MGM Records issued two LPs upon the release of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, but neither used the original film recordings. The first was a deluxe boxed set (S1E 3 ST) complete with souvenir book, titled Music and Voices From The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, a storytelling album for children with narration performed by Charles Ruggles that incorporated versions of Merrill’s themes arranged by Gus Levene. No master could be located for this album and hence it is not included on this 2CD set.

Leading off disc 2, however, are the contents of the second LP (E/SE 4077), a single disc by MGM Records artist (and veteran film composer) David Rose. The album consisted of easy-listening versions of five of Merrill’s themes on side one, with six popular themes from other films on side two. We present it here from ¼″ stereo masters in the Warner Bros. vault.

David Rose (1910–1990) was a songwriter, composer, arranger and orchestra leader. He received an Oscar nomination for his first film score—The Princess and the Pirate (1944)—and another in 1945 for the song “So in Love” from Wonder Man. Rose scored a number of films in the 1950s and ’60s, including Hombre (FSMCD Vol. 3, No. 6). He served as musical director for The Red Skelton Show during its 21-year-run on CBS and NBC and won Emmy Awards for his music for Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. Today, music buffs remember him for his easy-listening arrangements of popular songs.

Rose’s Brothers Grimm album provides an example of the typical easy listening style that made up much of Rose’s output on LP. In a spotlight review of the album, Billboard offered, “This one should be a winner for Rose.” Side one features Rose’s renditions of five of Merrill’s themes from the film:

1. The Theme From The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
Rose arranged a straightforward version of the “Wonderful World” theme with flutes and banjo substituting for the whistling and zither.
2. Above the Stars
Lush strings accompany an accordion solo. With its trombones and muted trumpets, the arrangement veers into “Stripper” territory midway before returning to the syrupy strings from the beginning.
3. Ah-Oom
Rose scores this song as an easy-listening march in which muted trumpets sub for the voices of the Puppetoons.
4. The Dancing Princess
This string-heavy arrangement (with piano) features a slower waltz tempo than is heard in the film.
5. Gypsy Fire
Rose captures the fire of the Gypsy melody with only an accordion to add a hint of ethnic flavor.

The B-side of the David Rose Grimm LP features a half-dozen popular numbers from stage and screen:

6. Till There Was You
Warner Bros. released the film version of Meredith Willson’s hit Broadway musical The Music Man in 1962, the same year as Grimm. “Till There Was You” is sung by Marian the Librarian (played by Shirley Jones in the film) to Prof. Harold Hill.
7. Ebb Tide
Such artists as Vic Damone, Frank Sinatra and The Righteous Brothers have recorded this 1953 song, written by Robert Maxwell (with lyrics by Carl Sigman). At the time Rose recorded his Brothers Grimm album, M-G-M was featuring it in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). Today, the song is a Muzak staple. Rose orchestrates the popular tune with a Summer Place-style triplet accompaniment, and the tide rushes in with harp glissandi.
8. Around the World In Eighty Days
Victor Young’s score for Around the World in 80 Days earned him a posthumous Academy Award. Rose’s arrangement of the title tune sticks close to Young’s original orchestrations through much of the track, adding ascending chromatic scales in the winds and strings.
9. Spellbound Concerto
Shortly after scoring Spellbound, Miklós Rózsa turned themes from his Oscar-winning music for the film into the popular Spellbound Concerto for piano and orchestra. In Rose’s arrangement, syrupy strings focus on the love theme aspect of the piece rather than the drama. Rose also backpedals the requisite piano, thereby negating the “concerto” aspect of the piece.
10. Thank Heaven for Little Girls
Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner won an Oscar for their title song to 1958’s Best Picture winner, Gigi. “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” bookends the film with Maurice Chevalier’s memorable vocals. The musical was later adapted for the stage, and while the show only lasted three months on Broadway, it won Lerner and Loewe a Tony Award for Best Original Score. With pizzicato strings and muted brass, Rose taps into his inner Leroy Anderson for this arrangement.
11. Exodus
Ernest Gold found Oscar and Grammy gold with his hit theme from 1960’s Exodus, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for “Song of the Year.” Rose gives the famous theme a gentle beat in the string bass and a gentle touch of ethnicity from crotales. — 

From the original MGM Records LP…

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is a feast for the eyes and ears and imagination. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Cinerama presentation of the George Pal Production more than fulfills every promise made for Cinerama when the remarkable screen process was introduced. The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm has panorama after panorama of color, romance, action, and—for the first time on the Cinerama Billboard ad screen—a warm and wonderful story.

Complementing the dazzling feast for the eyes and imagination is one for the ears. Bob Merrill, whose bright music brought Carnival! to life and made it the brightest light on Broadway, has composed a charming and witty score for The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.

David Rose, master of orchestral color and mood from his earliest days as a recording artist and Hollywood film composer, has added to Merrill’s music for this record the unmistakable David Rose touch. It’s light and charming, and filled with the colors and rhythms that have made such world-wide favorites of his own compositions, such as “One Love, Our Love,” “Holiday for Strings” and “Dance of the Spanish Onion.”

The other movie songs included in this album have become popular classics. The David Rose style brings them to light in a new and sparkling setting. “Till There Was You” from Meredith Willson’s Music Man takes on an added wistful note in Rose’s arrangement. The surging melody of “Ebb Tide,” from the M-G-M film Sweet Bird of Youth, receives dramatic treatment, while “Around the World in Eighty Days,” from the film of the same name, is handled with verve and vitality. “Spellbound” tingles with the eerie mystery of that Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” sparkles and bubbles like Gigi, itself. Rose brings to “Exodus” a treatment as big and powerful as the film that blazed across the screen.

Whether a film is bold and dramatic or light and romantic, David Rose makes its music an unforgettable listening experience.

From the deluxe boxed set…

Once upon a time in far away Bavaria there lived two brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Jacob was the older, and he was very studious. In fact, he was writing a dictionary of the German language. Wilhelm was also studious, but not very. He preferred to be with his pretty wife and his happy children. And he spent his time writing fairy stories filled with dragons and fairies and magic. Wilhelm’s children loved his stories, just as all children love them today.

But the brothers worked for a mean old Duke who wanted them to write a story about his life, instead of writing their dictionaries and fairy tales. As you listen to the record, you’ll find out how difficult this Duke made life for the Brothers Grimm.

One of Wilhelm’s favorite stories was “The Dancing Princess.” It has everything in it that children love. It has a lovely princess and a poor woodsman who wants to marry her. It has magic in a cloak that makes everyone who wears it disappear. It has a king who chops off people’s heads. And it has a mystery that the woodsman has to solve to save his head and win the princess.

“The Cobbler and the Elves” is another wonderful story because, at the end, a good and kind man receives a magical reward. If you believe in elves, then you’ll love this story because there are four wonderful elves in it, and they save the day for the kind old cobbler.

On side two of this album you’ll hear a story about a dragon, a cowardly knight, and the knight’s brave servant. Hans, the servant, kills a huge dragon, but Ludwig, the cowardly knight, kills Hans so the servant can’t get the reward for slaying the dragon. You’ll be thrilled to learn how Ludwig is punished for his deed, and how the brave Hans is rewarded.

While gathering his beloved fairy tales for his book, Wilhelm caught a bad cold and it appeared that he might die. While he lay in his bed with a high fever, he was visited by all the famous fairy tale characters who would never be born if Wilhelm didn’t live to put them into a story book. These characters inspired Wilhelm to live. And, even better, the King soon sent the Brothers Grimm a message telling them that they were to be given a great honor for writing their wonderful books. But imagine their dismay when they learned that the honor would be for their dictionaries and not for their fairy tales. However, Jacob and Wilhelm received the greatest honor of all for their stories when they arrived in Berlin. They were greeted by thousands and thousands of children who begged the brothers to tell them a story.

So the Brothers Grimm knew that they had pleased children everywhere, and, as they used to write at the end of their stories, they lived happily ever after…

About the Motion Picture
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is the first film in Cinerama that tells a dramatic story. In magical Technicolor, the story of the Grimm Brothers and the truly wonderful world that they created with their fairy tales comes to vivid life on the immense Cinerama screen.

About the Album
MGM Records presents this album proudly because it captures on records the air of enchantment that makes The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm such a completely captivating motion picture. The songs by Bob Merrill were especially adapted for this album by Gus Levene, who also conducted the orchestra. David P. Harmon, who wrote the screen story, also wrote the narration for Charles Ruggles, and directed the recording. The album was produced by Jesse Kaye.

From the hardcover souvenir book…

Two of the brightest names in the world of music share honors in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm—Bob Merrill for his themes and songs—both words and music—and Leigh Harline for the music score.

Merrill, whose Carnival! is a recent Broadway hit, began a show business career while still in his teens and today holds the astounding record of having more than 20 tunes on the national “hit parade.” In addition to Carnival! he has written music for two other Broadway attention-getters—New Girl in Town and Take Me Along.

It was in 1950 that Merrill first startled the music world with his song “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d Have Baked a Cake.” This he followed with a parade of popular favorites—among them “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?,” “Sparrow in the Tree-top” and “My Truly, Truly Fair,” to mention but a few.

For The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm Merrill penned words and music for the four songs, “Ah-oom,” “Christmas Land,” the humorous “Dee-Are-A-Gee-O-En (Dragon)” and “The Dancing Princess.” His themes are “Gypsy Fire,” “Above the Stars” and “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.” The music for “The Singing Bone” was written by Bob Merrill with words by Charles Beaumont.

Leigh Harline, another musician well known to Hollywood, adds a new highlight to his musical career with his music score. A double Academy Award winner in 1940 for his song “When You Wish Upon a Star” and his score for Pinocchio, Harline has such top musical credits as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pride of the Yankees, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Miracle of the Bells, Broken Lance, Susan Slept Here, Facts of Life, The Honeymoon Machine and many more.

Appearing with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Symphony Orchestra is Ruth Welcome, zither stylist and Capitol recording star. Miss Welcome, the only woman in America to play the zither professionally, learned the instrument as a child in Freiburg in the Black Forest country of Germany and in Basle, Switzerland.