Gertrud Huber

The Third Man

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AllMusic Review by

In a way, you have to pity the poor score to The Third Man; the music by Anton Karas was some of the most distinctive and important -- as well as popular -- film music of the whole 20th century, but thanks to the film's copyright protection being damaged (but not obliterated) in America, U.S. audiences have mostly had to put up with substandard issues of the movie (and, by extension, the music) since the early '80s. There was a CD in the late '90s that was identified as a soundtrack and was just that, an audio transcription of over an hour's worth of the movie's audio track. This disc transcends all of the competition, however, being a painstakingly produced new recording of Karas' complete music for the film by zitherist Gertrud Huber, using state-of-the-art technology and also re-creating the sonic tricks that Karas used to make sure that his zither sound was unique. The first thing that one discovers, along with the fact that the score contained a lot more than just the famous "Harry Lime Theme," is precisely how varied the sound and texture of the single solo instrument was in that score -- the playing goes through myriad changes, and it must have been a draining experience for Huber to match the original, nuance for nuance. The audio quality is astonishingly good, and in this setting one doesn't even mind that the CD is slightly padded out with brief excerpts of dialogue from the film (all separately indexed and carefully labeled so that the listener can skip them if desired). The annotation gives as full an account of the origins of the score as one is ever likely to find, and the disc comes with a very enjoyable CD-ROM enhancement function (which might require two or three tries in order to use it successfully) depicting the artist at work in the studio and with the orchestra playing the score.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Bells
1 0:18
The Third Man, film score
2 2:21
The Third Man, screenplay
3
0:14
The Third Man, film score
4 2:24
5 5:58
The Third Man, screenplay
6
0:09
The Third Man, film score
7 3:01
The Third Man, screenplay
8
0:35
The Third Man, film score
9 2:31
The Third Man, screenplay
10
0:20
The Third Man, film score
11 6:15
12 4:56
The Third Man, screenplay
13
0:45
The Third Man, film score
14 3:33
The Third Man, screenplay
15
0:23
The Third Man, film score
16 4:10
17 1:59
18 2:19
The Third Man, film score
19 2:35
The Third Man
20 3:12
blue highlight denotes track pick