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The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
Music by Bronislau Kaper
The Brothers Karamazov The Brothers Karamazov
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: October 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 16
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement With Turner Classic Movies Music.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov has long been considered one of the world's greatest works of literature. In 1958, M-G-M and director Richard Brooks mounted an impressive film version of the story of hedonistic Fyodor Karamazov (Lee J. Cobb) and his four sons: dashing but corrupt military officer Dmitri (Yul Brynner); atheistic journalist Ivan (Richard Basehart); pious monk Alexey (William Shatner); and epileptic bastard son Smerdyakov (Albert Salmi). Maria Schell co-starred as the pivotal "femme fatale," Grushenka, while Claire Bloom played Katya, a beautiful socialite.

One of the The Brothers Karamazov's most enthusiastic fans was its composer, Bronislau Kaper, who had been captivated by the novel as a child and had regretted his inability to score a 1931 production while in Berlin. By 1958 Kaper was one of M-G-M's top composers in Hollywood, and fulfilled his ambition by providing the Brooks film with a rich and varied dramatic score, drawing upon gypsy melodies but also Prokofiev as a symphonic model for 19th century Russia. The dense nature of the story mandated sophisticated music, but also dynamic cues that could act as a kind of shorthand for the complicated character relationships.

Kaper responded with a fateful waltz for the love story between Dmitri and Grushenka and a melancholy tune for Illusha, a sickly young boy. Other cues utilize colors to convey moods: bells for the religious and philosophical issues essential to Dostoevsky's work; frenzied orchestral writing for the violent passion tearing the family apart; and eerie, dissonant strings for the murderous character of Smerdyakov. A highlight is the arresting main title, where tolling bells, then a violent orchestral frenzy presage a wild gypsy love song.

This premiere CD of The Brothers Karamazov features the complete underscore followed by bonus tracks of source music—various folk tunes recorded by Kaper, as well as gypsy dances recorded on the film's set. The CD is entirely in monaural sound (save one source cue), as it was recorded.

Bronislau Kaper Scores on FSM
About the Composer

The Polish-born Bronislau Kaper (1902-1983) parlayed a successful stint in the French film industry (1933-1935) into a longtime Hollywood contract at M-G-M (1935-1962), where he was an indispensable member of the music department and wrote many famous songs and scores (Green Dolphin Street, Invitation, Lili). He capped his M-G-M career with his mammoth symphonic score to Mutiny on the Bounty, a fan favorite. He worked in the 1960s as a freelancer, scoring Lord Jim among others. Thanks to our relationship with Turner Classic Movies Music, we have brought a significant amount of Kaper's M-G-M music to CD—with more to come. IMDB

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Johnny Green

Violin:
Sam Fiedler, Elliot Fisher, Sam Freed, Jr., Werner L. Gebauer, Mort Herbert, Arnold T. Jurasky, Bernard Kundell, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., William Miller, Lisa Minghetti, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Albert Saparoff, Herman Seidel, Albert Steinberg, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel), Byron Williams

Viola:
Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Jan Hlinka, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus

Cello:
Alexander Borisoff, Adolph Frezin, Julian Kahn, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Michel Penha

Bass:
George F. Boujie, Mario Camposano, Louis Previati, Arthur Shapiro

Flute:
Arthur Gleghorn

Oboe:
Gerald Fried, Arnold Koblentz, H. Vincent Schipilitti

Clarinet:
George Auld, Gus Bivona, Alex Gershunoff, Don Lodice (Logiudice), Hugo Raimondi, Howard P. Terry

Bassoon:
Charles A. Gould, Howard P. Terry

French Horn:
John W. "Jack" Cave, Vincent DeRubertis, Herman Lebow, Arthur Maebe, Jr.

Trumpet:
Uan Rasey, Joe Triscari, James C. Zito

Trombone:
Nick DiMaio, Herb Taylor, Simon Zentner

Piano:
Max Rabinowitsh, Milton Raskin

Guitar:
Joseph Robert Gibbons

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Cymbalom:
Jack Hill

Accordion:
Dominic Frontiere

Drums:
Frank L. Carlson, Jack Hill, Mel Pedesky, D. V. Seber

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.