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The Prodigal (1955)
Music by Bronislau Kaper
The Prodigal The Prodigal
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: July 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 9
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music.

Bronislau Kaper (1902-1983) was a splendid and widely admired Golden Age film composer who succeeded on a variety of films, from comedy (1937's A Day at the Races) to science fiction (1954's Them!) to the unique and broadly appealing Lili (1953), for which his song "Hi Lilo, Hi Lo" won the Academy Award. Born in Poland, he got his start as a songwriter in the European film industry and graduated to full scores at M-G-M in Los Angeles, where he was under contract for most of his career. He worked on two versions of Mutiny on the Bounty (the 1935 production with Clark Gable and the 1962 remake starring Marlon Brando) and tackled films like The Swan (1956), The Brothers Karamazov (1958), Lord Jim (1965) and Tobruk (1967).

In 1955 Kaper provided an ornate and gorgeously melodic, symphonic score for The Prodigal, a gargantuan biblical epic starring Lana Turner. The film recounts the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which a wealthy young Hebrew trader, Micah (Edmund Purdom), throws away his fortune and freedom in pursuit of a pagan priestess, Samarra (Turner), eventually returning home to the forgiveness of his father. Kaper provided a rich, reverent theme for male chorus for the Hebrew people; a seductive theme for female chorus for Samarra and her following, alternately a siren song and pagan march; uptempo action music for fights and chases; Middle Eastern source cues; and elegant, tuneful scoring under dialogue, often favoring woodwinds. It has all the pomp, glory and choral reverence collectors expect from the biblical genre.

FSM's CD of The Prodigal is the premiere release of this important score by Bronislau Kaper. The work is presented in complete, chronological form, including alternate versions, which are explained as always in the liner notes. The M-G-M orchestra was conducted by the legendary Andre Previn.

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

Comments (8):Log in or register to post your own comments
The most valuable part of this disc, to me, is the non-spectacle music, written for the scenes not asking for the whole orchestra and chorus.

Kaper could write beautiful intimate music and there is plenty of it here.

Thankyou Dave. I've been doing a little bit of hopping around lately, only to find you've been one step ahead. Not fair ;)

This one's coming directly from the UK, so should not have long to wait.

What a lovely cover too!

1400 x 1400 version:

http://www.albumartexchange.com/covers.php?id=205031&q=the+prodigal

all sizes:

http://www.albumartexchange.com/covers.php?sort=4&q=the+prodigal+kaper&fltr=1&bgc=&page=

A lovely score.

The most valuable part of this disc, to me, is the non-spectacle music, written for the scenes not asking for the whole orchestra and chorus.

Kaper could write beautiful intimate music and there is plenty of it here.[/endquote]

I'm revising my opinion! After hearing this cd again, the spectacle music really has its own style, different from the historical/biblical sounds I'm used to, and is unique for it.

it has a wonderful piece with cello for the main theme, plus terrific dance sequences. a great score all around.

For a non-Rozsa biblical type epic, not too shabby. Kaper could do nearly everything.

Having just seen the film for the first time from a TCM video recording in 4:3, I think I can safely say the music is the best thing about it. Once upon a time that aspect would have been strictly incidental (seen and not heard :rolleyes: ). I thought the way the statue toppled at the end was very well done (a bit like a rocket launching, but completely in reverse - if you've seen the film you'll know what I mean.) The liner notes are very informative, even going so far as to give acting plaudits on behalf of Purdom's fake beard!

My absolute favourite tracks are the last two - the celebration followed by end credits. I've become very fond of that delightfully playful tune Kaper wrote, however, the segue to the vocalists at the end is a breathtaking affair.

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

Leader (Conductor):
Andre Previn

Violin:
Sam Fiedler, Sam Freed, Jr., Werner L. Gebauer, Sidney Greene, Mort Herbert, Arnold T. Jurasky, Bernard Kundell, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Albert Saparoff, Byron Williams

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

Cello:
Alexander Borisoff, Julian Kahn, Edgar Lustgarten, Michel Penha

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

Flute:
Arthur Gleghorn

Oboe:
Arnold Koblentz, Philip Memoli, H. Vincent Schipilitti

Clarinet:
Gus Bivona, Alex Gershunoff, Don Lodice (Logiudice), Hugo Raimondi, Andrew Young

Bassoon:
Charles A. Gould

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

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

Trombone:
Walter Benson, Herb Taylor, Simon Zentner

Piano:
Max Rabinowitsh, Robert Van Eps

Organ:
Chauncey Haines

Guitar:
Jack Marshall, Danny Stewart

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

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

Orchestrator:
Robert Franklyn

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

Copyist:
Joseph Adam, John C. Caper, Jr., Maurice Gerson, Edward E. Ocnoff, Richard Petrie, Oscar Radin, Fred Sternberg, Harry Taylor, Robert Van Eps

Librarian:
George G. Schneider

Assistant Librarian:
Jules Megeff

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