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The Alamo (The Essential Film Music Collection)

Dimitri Tiomkin

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Album Review

"'Republic' is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat." That's the sentiment of Davy Crockett (John Wayne) in The Alamo. Crockett goes on to equate the word's resonant quality with the moment when a man's young son "makes his first sound like a man," another highlight from "David Crockett's Speech," included on this soundtrack to The Alamo, Wayne's 1960 labor of love and box-office bust. Even if audiences didn't enjoy the film, they got behind Dimitri Tiomkin's score, which enjoyed a long run on the charts behind Marty Robbins' "Ballad of the Alamo" and "Green Leaves of Summer" from the Brothers Four. Of course, those are the pop entrances on the soundtrack. The majority is made up of a score that has its stirring moments (like "General Santa Anna"), but often drags along in an impersonation of the almost 200-minute film. The touches of old west/Mexican flavor are also relatively effective, yet completely typical and not very original. Fans of The Alamo or Wayne — who as Crockett contributes one other melodrama-steeped monologue — should find some interest in this soundtrack. But its hit singles are available elsewhere, and Tiomkin's score hasn't aged very well.

Biography

Born: 10 May 1894 in Kremenchuk, Ukraine

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

It was once considered cute by Hollywood wits to poke fun at Russian-born composer Dimitri Tiomkin's borscht-flavored accent. How amusing it was to hear him yell out "Switt lyand of lyaberty!" while orchestrating "The Star Spangled Banner" for Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). A graduate of the St. Petersburg Academy (where he studied under the famed composer Glazunov) and a holder of both a law and music degree, Tiomkin exhibited a fondness for Native American music early in his...
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