November 2011
Fall of the Roman Empire issued by Prometheus Records

Cover for CD booklet

Prometheus Records has released a new digital recording of Dimitri Tiomkin’s complete 140-minute score for The Fall of the Roman Empire on a double CD set produced by James Fitzpatrick. Billed as one of the film music events of the year this is the world premiere recording of the complete film score performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Nic Raine.

Buy the CD from Tadlow Music.

Produced for Prometheus, Luc Van de Ven’s Belgian soundtrack label, by veteran Tadlow Music producer James Fitzpatrick, the recording re-unites the same team responsible for the critically acclaimed release of the complete score for The Alamo (see June 2010 news). The Fall of the Roman Empire was produced by Samuel Bronston and directed by Anthony Mann. Tiomkin’s music score was nominated for an Academy Award®.

James Fitzpatrick (standing, left) and Nic Raine (standing, right) consult during a recording session in Prague.

The project came to fruition through a collaborative effort led by executive producer Luc Van de Ven and album producer James Fitzpatrick. The music was recorded in Prague in April and May. Nic Raine conducted, and Olivia Tiomkin Douglas attended the recording sessions. Orchestrator Patrick Russ prepared the scores from the original scores and parts in the Dimitri Tiomkin Collection at USC’s Cinematic Arts Library. Assisting Russ in the reconstruction were music proofreaders Paul Henning, Warren Sherk, and Alex Wurmbrand. Since the exact film tempos were not always written down, a large part of the reconstruction process involved listening to the original film soundtrack and transcribing the initial tempo and subsequent tempo changes onto the scores and parts. Further, changes and note corrections made by the players to their parts—numbering in the thousands of pages—during the original recording sessions had to be incorporated into the full scores. Music copyists Steve Biagini and Jonathan Healy were called on to recopy those cues with extensive revisions made at the original recording sessions and for some parts that were deemed too difficult to read because the staves were too closely spaced. The music, recorded by Jan Holzner, was then edited and mixed by Gareth Williams in Cambridge, England.

CD package

A full-color booklet contains a preface by Olivia Tiomkin Douglas, liner notes by Frank K. DeWald, and notes on the recording by Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick claimed new ground when more than 130 musicians were called on to perform a single cue, the “Prelude.” He also points out the challenge posed when musicians that are accustomed to playing from computer-generated parts are faced with handwritten parts. DeWald, the American composer, choir director, and frequent contributor to Pro Musica Sana, provides a lengthy historical background on the music followed by cue-by-cue summaries for the 37 tracks, a quarter of which are more than five minutes in duration.

The Fall of the Roman Empire was orchestrated by Cecil Bolton, Frank Comstock, Robert Docker, George Parrish, David Tamkin, and Herbert Taylor. “Dimitri had always wished for a recording of his complete score for The Fall of the Roman Empire,” states Olivia Tiomkin Douglas in the preface. With this recording, the 55 Days of Peking soundtrack from La-La Land Records, last month’s London Symphony Orchestra concert celebrating the music of Dimitri Tiomkin, and more concerts and CDs forthcoming, Dimitri Tiomkin’s music is reaching a new generation of music and film lovers, many of which were yet to be born in 1964 when Fall of the Roman Empire debuted on screens around the world.

VIDEO: “Pax Romana” from The Fall of the Roman Empire 2011 recording session.

Tadlow Music catalog number: XPCD 170.

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