|Mortimer Wilson|| |
The Thief of Bagdad, Op. 74
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
The 1924 score of The Thief of Bagdad was written by the American composer Mortimer Wilson at the request of the film’s producer and star Douglas Fairbanks. Written nearly 100 years ago, this masterpiece of cinematic composition appears here in its first ever recording.
Written almost 100 years ago, The Thief of Bagdad is one of the greatest ever film scores and incredibly, has never been recorded until now FHR are honoured to be able to release the first recording of this wonderful score. Recorded in 2019, this recording features one of greatest European orchestras, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, along with conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald who has an unparalleled reputation for performing the very specialised task of accompanying silent films live with orchestra.
The score was written by the American composer Mortimer Wilson at the specific request of the film’s main star actor Douglas Fairbanks. The Thief of Bagdad is now widely considered one of the great silent films and Fairbanks’s greatest work. For the first time, Fairbanks recognised the composer as a creative collaborator from the start in the overall composition of his film (Wilson spent many hours in the projection room working out precise timings for every scene). Wilson was essentially a classical composer. Indeed, you can hear influences of Puccini’s aria Vissi d’arte from Tosca, hints of Wagner’s Valkyrie, along with moments of Alban Berg, Reger and Tchaikovsky.
Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance writes, “An epic romantic fantasy-adventure inspired by several of the Arabian Nights tales, The Thief of Bagdad is the greatest artistic triumph of Fairbanks’s career. The superb visual design, spectacle, imaginative splendor, and visual effects, along with his bravura performance (leading a cast of literally thousands), all contribute to making this his masterpiece.”
“…this really is one of the finest examples of early original film music. Wilson’s score is evocative and thrillingly performed” (* BBC Music Magazine)
“A lovely recording of Wilson’s score for a Douglas Fairbanks epic” (MusicWeb International)
“fantastic soundtrack” (ABC Radio, Australia)