Laurence Rosenthal

If I recall correctly the first encounter, I had with the music of composer Laurence Rosenthal was when I got the soundtrack for Meetings with Remarkable Men which was released on a Varese Sarabande LP back in 1979 or thereabouts. The score was by Thomas De Hartman and Rosenthal the latter acting as more or less conductor and arranger the soundtrack utilizing the music of De Hartman who had died in 1956. After liking what I had heard on the score and not really considering that most of the music was not by Rosenthal I purchased Brass Target, which was totally the opposite to Meetings with Remarkable Men, but nevertheless an atmospheric and effective score, after this I did not really go out of my way to consciously collect the music by Rosenthal but every time I saw an album I would at least consider adding it to my collection.

Return of a Man Called Horse and Clash of the Titans instantly come to mind when thinking of this composer, and in later years his award winning scores for the Young Indiana Jones series were also a welcome addition to any film music collection.

He also worked on the TV mini-series Peter the Great, providing the somewhat troubled production with a suitably epic sounding soundtrack. But as far as this composer was concerned I kind of came late to the party as he was already an established name in the world of both TV and film music and not just as a composer but as a gifted and in demand conductor, arranger and orchestrator.

He acted as orchestrator and conductor on the film version of The Man of La Mancha in 1972 which garnered him an Academy Award Nomination as did his score for the movie Becket in 1964.

He also worked on the TV series Logans Run which was a popular spin off show from the motion picture of the same name during the 1970’s. He started to write music for film and TV back in 1952, one of his first assignments being a documentary entitled This Is Russia. With this being followed by Yellowneck, in 1955 and Naked in the Sun in 1957 Some of his early scores such as Requiem for a Heavyweight and The Miracle Worker have now attained the status of being iconic within the film music and film music collecting community.

He was it seems particularly in demand during the 1970’s, when he penned the music for over forty assignments, some of which were TV series such as The Rookies and Hec Ramsey which were multiple episode projects. His work in the 1970’s was mainly confined to the small screen scoring TV Movies, but he did also work on a handful of motion pictures Rooster Cogburn, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and A Gunfight being three of them. In the 1980’s he was just as industrious scoring Clash of the Titans, episodes of the series Fantasy Island and George Washington for television as well as working on numerous TV movies.

Born in Detroit USA on November 4th 1926, he began to study piano as a child and attended the Eastman school of music. After which he headed to Paris where he continued to study music under Nadia Boulanger, after two years of studying in France he then went to Salzburg where he studied conducting.

After enlisting in the US Airforce, Rosenthal became the principal conductor for the Air Force Documentary Film Squadron. After he left the Air force the composer went to New York where he began to work on stage productions and writing for the theatre would eventually lead him to become a composer of music for film. In New York he composed the incidental music for a production of Becket and worked on A Patriot for Me, as well as arranging and conducting the ballet music for The Music Man.

To say that Rosenthal is a multi-talented composer and conductor/orchestrator would I think be an understatement.

His efforts writing scores for TV have not gone unnoticed or unrewarded as he has won the Emmy seven times for his music to productions such as the historical epics Anastasia and Peter the Great, the documentary for NBC Michelangelo the last Giant, with his music for the Bourne Identity also winning three years in a row.

His musical entitled Sherry was based upon the novel The Man who came to Dinner, but the music was lost for over thirty years, and has recently been discovered and new recordings have been made of it.  Rosenthal also writes for the concert hall and has had several his pieces performed including his chamber music.

Laurence Rosenthal is one of the busiest and most talented composers to work in Hollywood but still it seems remains underrated. He was not only prolific but consistently very good, creating supportive and theme laden works for both the small and big screen.

One thought on “LAURENCE ROSENTHAL.”

  1. Jon, thank you for taking me down a Rosenthal musical memory lane. I have quite a few of his record albums with two of my favorites being PETER THE GREAT and CLASH OF THE TITANS. I missed out on getting the YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES on cd and hope it’s re-released again.

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