by Warren M. Sherk
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin opened the Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies today to high acclaim. An international audience was treated to nearly 10 minutes of thematic music Tiomkin composed for the Hollywood films It’s a Wonderful Life, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Giant. During the latter, what will probably be the most talked about moment occurred as the creators poked fun at the highly-publicized light malfunction at the Opening Ceremonies when the fifth Olympic ring failed to light.
The music was from the Silva Screen recording, “Dimitri Tiomkin: The Essential Film Music Collection,” produced by James Fitzpatrick, featuring arrangements by Patrick Russ and Christopher Palmer.
Stage director Daniele Finzi Pasca said, “We wanted to start the ceremony with a piece of music that sounds very much like Hollywood music; music written for a Western.”
READ MORE: “Olympics close with tribute to Russian artists…” by Kathy Lally, Washington Post, February 23
News outlets around the globe, from Classic FM in the U.K. to the Hollywood Reporter, mentioned the use of Tiomkin’s , mentioned the use of Tiomkin’s music, as did social media from Twitter to Facebook. Classic FM wrote: “Celebrating Russia’s classical history, Rachmaninov, Tiomkin, Schnittke and Khachaturian stole the show at the Winter Olympics closing ceremony.”
Tiomkin’s music was accompanied by a cast of thousands of performers. Interestingly, most of Tiomkin’s earliest music compositions came into being in the 1920s as works to be choreographed by his wife, Albertina Rasch. As a result of the broadcast, visitors to this site increased tenfold for the day.
The Olympics Staging Agency, on behalf of Finzi Pasca, contacted us this past October using the Contact form, above. With little more than 100 days before the games were set to open, Patrick Russ and Olivia Tiomkin reached out to work on the details. Today the circle was completed, Tiomkin’s own Olympic ring, as the composer’s music returned to his homeland to be beamed out to a global audience with a new generation of choreography and high-tech floor projections.
See the page on Tiomkin from the VIP program, courtesy of Olivia Tiomkin Douglas who attended the Ceremonies, here.