A suite from Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for The Sundowners will receive its world premiere by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) on Saturday, March 5, at Federation Concert Hall at 1 Davey Street in Hobart. The Showcase series concert, “Australians at the Movies,” will be conducted by Brett Kelly. Kelly is artistic director and chief conductor of the Academy of Melbourne, Australia, and principal trombonist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. His long association with the Australian new music scene has resulted in his conducting the premieres of numerous new works. Hosted by Australian actress Sigrid Thornton, best known for her role in The Man from Snowy River films, the concert will feature music from a number of Australian films, including The Sundowners, an international co-production filmed on location in Australia and at Elstree Studios in London.
The 1960 Warner Bros. film received five Academy Award® nominations, including best picture, and stars Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, and Peter Ustinov. Adapted from Jon Cleary’s novel, Back of Beyond, “Sundowners” is Australian for “someone whose home is where the sun goes down” and serves as a metaphor for someone who doesn’t have a home. Director Fred Zinnemann, who previously collaborated with Tiomkin on The Men and High Noon, counted the underappreciated critically acclaimed film among his favorites. Tasmanian-born Dorothy Hammerstein suggested setting a film in her homeland when Zinnemann was collaborating with her husband, lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, on Oklahoma! (incidentally filmed in similarly rugged southern Arizona).
Tiomkin’s original orchestration did not require violins or violas and was supplemented by accordion and guitar. The twelve-minute suite, arranged by Patrick Russ and Jon Kull for full orchestra, is in five parts, Main Title, Mad Dog, The Fire, Dingo, and End Credits. The music is available for rental from John Waxman’s Themes and Variations. This is the first time music from the film has been performed in concert since the music was written some forty-five years ago. In addition to live concerts, the highly regarded TSO has a long history as a studio orchestra, excelling in the area of radio (it was the first Australian orchestra to have a weekly program) and television music.
For more information: www.tso.com.au.