Tone Poem Tuesday

Here’s a suite of Max Steiner’s music from Casablanca, one of the most accidentally-great works of art ever made. The movie went into production without a finished script, the ending was only determined as the need to film it came near, and even then the ending was almost undone by editing mistakes. Also, the film’s score had to revolve around a song called “As Time Goes By”, which composer Max Steiner hated and wanted to replace with a song of his own. Only the fact that Ingrid Bergman had moved on to her next movie, and cut her hair to do it, made the reshoots that would have been necessary to change the song impossible.

That’s one of my favorite “Golden Age of Hollywood” anecdotes. The Casablanca score really demonstrates the professionalism of those great composers: Max Steiner wrote one of the great movie scores of all time, centered on a tune he didn’t like and didn’t want to use.

Anyway, here’s the suite. Note the conductor’s dress coat; he looks like a monk.


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