Memorable movie music is baked into the Twilight Time DNA, so today’s birthday convergence of four mighty maestros is duly and worthily noted…and notated.
Equipped with a deep background as an opera composer and lyric tenor, Joseph Carl Briel (1870-1926) devised a rousing compilation score for D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), which became an undeniable component of that Civil War-era spectacular’s storytelling power, as well as an auspicious pioneering effort in film scoring in general.
A two-time Academy Award® winner for the Bob Fosse-directed musicals Cabaret (1972) and All That Jazz (1979), Ralph Burns (1922-2001) provided zippy orchestrations for Marvin Hamlisch’s offbeat score for Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971).
Master of multiple genres and All That Money Can Buy/The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) Oscar® winner Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) demonstrated his career-long commitment to versatility in his rich and intriguingly orchestrated work on an underwater adventure, Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953); an emotional “social problem” drama, Blue Denim (1959); a burly, adult Western, Garden of Evil (1954); and a family-friendly fantasy, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960).
Oscar®, Tony® and Pulitzer Prize-winning Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley giant Frank Loesser (1910-1969) diverted and delighted the brotherhood of humankind with his song score of the fabulously funny stage-to-screen How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967), and since music aficionado Woody Allen knows a timeless tune when he hears one, the writer-director includes a sprinkling of Loesser compositions on his soundtracks of September (1987) and Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993); in fact, the merrily muddled mystery solvers in the latter title take in – at least momentarily – the 1992 Broadway revival of Mr. L’s Guys and Dolls.
Should these gifted gents convene for a group birthday celebration in the heavenly afterlife realm, vocal entertainment of a supremely silken kind might be provided by tomorrow’s natal day honoree, the incomparable chanteuse Lena Horne (1917-2010), a headliner in virtually everything she did, but particularly in the tremendous talentfest called Stormy Weather (1943). All the above left sweet music in their wake, all accessible via sparkling TT hi-def Blu-rays.