Quartet Records and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer present the world-premiere release of the classy, unforgettable music composed by Miklós Rózsa for Billy Wilder´s classic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
Wilder’s unique take on the world’s greatest consulting detective was meant to explore previously dark corners of Homes’ life—including his addiction to cocaine and his troubled relationships with women. Last-minute studio jitters forced Wilder to make massive cuts, shortening the running time from 210 to 125 minutes. The resulting film, in spite of great performances by Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Geneviève Page and Christopher Lee, failed to catch fire at the box office.
For music, Wilder turned to his friend and past collaborator (Five Graves to Cairo, The Lost Weekend, Double Indemnity) Miklós Rózsa, asking him to adapt his Violin Concerto, Op. 24, for the film. Rózsa obliged, augmenting the concert work with a number of evocative new themes for the picture. The music for Holmes anticipates the elegant but autumnal mood of such later scores as Providence, Time After Time, Fedora and Last Embrace, while simultaneously combining the compassion and wisdom of experience with the wit, charm and joie de vivre of youth.
The soundtrack album of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was never issued on LP. Rózsaphiles were thus understandably ecstatic when, in 2007, James Fitzpatrick reconstructed and recorded the entire score for Tadlow Music. That superb recording remains an essential touchstone in the Rózsa discography. Still, fans have continued to hope for a release of the original tracks.
Quartet Records spent almost three years searching for the best possible sources, but the original masters are, unfortunately, forever lost. (A tech note included in the booklet explains the lengthy and frustrating process in greater detail.) We have used three different monaural music-only stems from the MGM vaults for this release—none of which was in ideal condition. Engineer Jose Luis Crespo has minimized the changes in level necessitated by the addition of dialogue and effects and meticulously blended the best sources for each cue. The resulting CD, in spite of its less-than-ideal sound, preserves the composer’s own irreplaceable interpretation, bringing this marvelous music back to life more than 40 years after it was written.
All of Miklós Rózsa’s music is worth preserving. This premiere “archival edition” of the original tracks of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, extraordinarily performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the composer’s baton, was a labor of love for everyone involved. The immortal music of Rózsa deserves nothing less. The lavishly designed package includes a 28-page booklet with liner notes and track-by-track analysis by Frank K. DeWald.