Dimitri Tiomkin

Lost Horizon [1937 Score]

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This CD is a surprise, not only for its content but also as one of Soundtrack Factory's better efforts in connection with a '30s film. There was, of course, no inkling that there would ever be a commercial market for a free-standing recording of the music from Lost Horizon or any other '30s film, so no effort was made to assemble anything of the kind, or even to preserve the materials from which such a release could have been made. That said, this CD, apparently drawn from the original 1937 Columbia Pictures sound department master discs (there was no audio tape at the time), is a real treat. True, the sound is compressed by modern standards and there's more noise and distortion than anyone from and of that period would have picked up (especially with digital audio resolution at work), but this is the Dimitri Tiomkin score as heard in the film, and it does have a lot of fascinating and rousing passages (some of which were so good that Tiomkin used them again when he was scoring Howard Hawks' Land of the Pharaohs 17 years later). The music is filled with elements of Eastern-sounding grandeur and characterized by a faux Orientalism, but also reveals the early manifestations of the orchestral growls and snarls that Tiomkin would use in such action-based dramas and thrillers as Champion (1949) and The Thing (1951). The sound quality is only fair by modern standards, but almost miraculous for '30s vintage studio masters. The score has appended to it several songs used in the movie, transferred off the finished soundtrack.

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