I have vivid memories of seeing ROSEMARY’S BABY. It was a classy movie as far as I was concerned; it dealt with the occult but was an intelligent and informed take on the subject of Satanism and devil worship. Polanski’s direction, as always, was good and the script etc all stepped right up to the mark and made it an entertaining experience. One vital component of the movie was the music score. Krzysztof (Christopher) Komeda was a highly original composer who sadly died far too early in 1969 after an accident involving a head injury. Komeda was, as they say, in advance of his time in the music world. His combination of jazz, dramatic and mood music within the context of a movie was quite breathtaking and for ROSEMARY’S BABY the composer certainly wrote an inspired and highly original soundtrack. One cue in particular “What Have You Done?” has always stood out for me and that comes near the end of the movie when Mia Farrow’s character says those immortal words, “What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes?”
Komeda’s music is chilling and harrowing with a near frantic ambience as he utilizes forceful strings to underscore a mutated sounded trumpet which fades to be overridden by a hypnotic piano solo, backed up by bass and even more hypnotic strings, acting as a backdrop to a chilling soprano saxophone, played in unison with synthesisers. The opening theme or “Lullaby” is also hauntingly outstanding; the use of Mia Farrow’s wordless vocal is stunning and almost calming. This understated rather frail sounding vocal, sets the scene perfectly for the remainder of the score and immediately creates the atmosphere required for the story. We have the innocence of Rosemary but at the same time there is an underlying sense of unease and uncertainty, relayed perfectly to the listener or the watching audience via this cue which tells them that all is maybe not well or as it should be.
This latest incarnation of the soundtrack from La La Land Records contains approximately 72 minutes of music which includes material from the original DOT records 1968 LP (DLP 25875) plus two cues tracks 1 and 36 which are versions of the lullaby arranged by George Tipton a performance by Tommy Morgan on harmonica, originally issued on a 45rpm single. Then we have cues from the film score plus source music. So, when they say this is a full release of the music from the movie they are not kidding. Considering that the score was written in 1967/1968 it is certainly one that has real originality to it and the music would not be out of place in any of today’s chillers or horror movies.
The music has worn well throughout the years. I found myself discovering the score all over again and it was like listening to it for the first time. As I listened I could visualize scenes from the movie and hear the dialogue which was quite an uncanny experience. I enjoyed ROSEMARY’S BABY when I first saw the film and have enjoyed it even more over the years on revisiting it. The score too is a personal favourite because of its originality and the ingenuity of the composer.