Lust for Life

Miklós Rózsa wrote a magnificent score for Lust for Life (1956), the acclaimed biopic of Vincent van Gogh starring Kirk Douglas, directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by John Houseman. Rózsa’s score surges with the artist’s passion, creative triumphs and ultimate madness, and characterizes his art (and inspirational scenery) with luscious impressionism as well as the composer’s inimitable romanticism. The original soundtrack was released on FSMCD Vol. 5, No. 1—our first title upon beginning a licensing relationship with Turner Classic Movies Music and Rhino Entertainment Company in 2002. A handful of previously unreleased and corrected cues (see below for explanation) are presented on disc 13 of this box set.

22. Romance
This Rózsa piano nocturne appears in Lust for Life during tavern scenes while Van Gogh is in the town of Arles. The film version can be found on track 37 of the original Lust for Life CD. This is a previously unreleased “pre-recording” made on March 15, 1956, under Rózsa’s supervision, two months before recording of the score proper.
23. Pain
This short cue introducing the “madness” theme (for Van Gogh’s eventual deterioration) was missing from the film’s stereo master tapes, but is included here from a monaural acetate stored at USC. (See track 9 of the Lust for Life liner notes for more information about the cue.)
24. Plein Air
An earlier recording of “Plein Air” (separate from “Contentment,” from which it segues in the finished film—see track 11 of the Lust for Life notes) was likewise missing from the stereo masters, and is included here from a monaural acetate. The content is virtually identical to the previously released film version.
25. Inertia/Reaper/Seizure
This track corrects an error of the presentation on the 2002 FSM CD. Lust for Life was our first Turner license and we failed to notice a “sampling rate” error on the digital media (an eight-track digital audio tape called a DA-88 created from the original 35mm three-track masters) from which the CD was mixed and mastered. Listeners may know that CDs are sampled at 44.1 kHz but that videos are sampled at 48 kHz; if a transfer is made with machines at different settings, the resulting music will sound either too slow (and pitched too low) or fast (and too high), depending on the nature of the misalignment. The Lust for Life DA-88 was created with the settings misaligned for the cues “Reaper” and “Seizure,” with the result that the cues sound too slow (and are pitched too low) on the FSM CD. (We have since learned to watch for and correct these errors.) The cue “Inertia” was transferred correctly, but is included here so that this track can replace the entirety of track 28 on the original Lust for Life CD.
26. False Hopes
This track corrects a similar error with track 29 on the original FSM release of Lust for Life. (It should be noted that in the seven years since the Lust for Life CD was released, not one listener commented on the error.) —