Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Red River" Soundtrack

Last week I acquired a CD of the complete Dimitri Tiomkin score to the Movie "Red River (1947) staring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru and Harry Carey Sr. and Harry Carey Jr.(The only movie they appear in together)and directed by Howard Hawks. The movie is about a cattle drive from South Texas to the railroad in Abilene Kansas on the old Chisholm Trail. It takes place in Texas in the years after the Civil War when rancher John Wayne is rich with cattle but no one has any money to buy them so he comes up with the idea to drive them north to Missouri (later Kansas)to the railroad so they can be sold in the east. No one has ever done it before and it is a desperate move on his part in hard economic times. There are Indians and border outlaws in Missouri that would love to kill the cattle herders and steal their cattle. Wayne's adopted son Montgomery Clift has just returned from the Civil War to help with the cattle drive. John Wayne give one of the best performances of his career as Tom Dunson, a self-made cattle baron who'll do anything to protect his way of live. It's one of the finest westerns ever made and is sweeping in scope.

Until I bought the CD of the score I had never realized how much the musical score adds to the movie. I have been playing the score all week and last night re watched my DVD copy of the movie. The CD is a recreation of the score done by the Moscow Symphony Choir & Orchestra. Lest you think what do they know about American Westerns , Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian immigrant.The score Restoration was done by John Morgan who had access to the original orchestrations by Tiomkin's long-time associates. They also had most of the vocal arrangements by Tiomkin's choral director, Jester Hairston.The also make careful comparisons to the film's soundtrack and surviving acetates of the music alone.The sound on the CD is rich and full and in comparing the movie to the CD they got it right.It's is one of Dimitri Tiomkin's best.If you want a copy go to