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Artwork copyright (c) 1956 Turner Entertainment Co.; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Florid, colourful historical score


As head of music at MGM, Miklós Rózsa scored countless historical epics, all the rage at the time, and of course coming back into fashion today.  I'm sure he wouldn't have thought much of scores like Gladiator - always doing tireless research for each score he wrote, he always strived for authenticity, though in truth his musical personality was so strong that all of his scores contain considerably more Rózsa than they do any of the sources he was emulating.  While he is most often associated with the biblical historical movies (and, with Ben-Hur, King of Kings and Quo Vadis in his filmography, it's not hard to understand why), he scored so many other periods as well (El Cid, Moonfleet, Ivanhoe, etc etc).  Flippantly, I could say that it's remarkable how similar ancient Rome could be to mediaeval England in terms of music, that would be ignoring the fact that each of these times and places are given unique touches and colours by the great composer.

Diane is set in 16th century France, telling the story of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Francis I.  The title role is taken by Lana Turner, with supporting cast including a very young Roger Moore (eyebrows at the ready).  Lavish and expensive, it fulfilled the wishes of its audience at the time, but seems hideously dated today.  Rózsa, as ever, matched the opulence with a spectacular score.  His main theme is strident and forthright without offering any real hint of the period, but is elegant and beautiful at the same time, perfectly capturing the complex nature of the main character (though it has to be said that MGM probably removed most of those complexities before putting her on-screen).

Elsewhere, there is a mass of other excellent thematic material including some great fanfares and marches, and Rozsa does take the opportunity to stress the period with harpsichord and the like, and there are countless source cues as well.  One of the best of the themes is a one for the French king heard to best effect in "Royal Hunt", blessed with lashings and lashings of nobility and grace.  Despite the wealth of thematic material, it is perhaps two set-pieces which stand out most: a stirring, wonderful march in "Cortege" and a beautiful religious-sounding choral work "Crystal Ball".  And, needless to say, Rózsa rounds everything off with a rousing, powerful finale (didn't he always!?)

Diane is a lengthy score and, in fact, Rózsa recorded at least one version of many of the cues.  Consequently, this is a 2-CD set from Film Score Monthly - the first disc contains the score as intended for the film, and runs over 70 minutes, while disc two features over 40 minutes of alternate versions of cues, along with 15 minutes of source music and even some music from Plymouth Adventure and Moonfleet that wouldn't fit on FSM's releases of those two other Rózsa historical epics.  Lukas Kendall's liner notes are terrific, though sadly the sound quality is a little variable - some cues sound like they were recorded yesterday while others seem to suffer from a little mag-wow.  Is Diane Rózsa at his best?  No, probably not - but it's better than most composers at their best, and so is highly recommended. 

Disc One

  1. Prelude (2:38)
  2. Decision / Change of Mind (1:32)
  3. Royal Chambers (3:18)
  4. Home Again / Dejected (:49)
  5. Royal Command / Royal Palace (4:04)
  6. Pastorale / Gaillarde (2:00)
  7. Consternation / Wedding Rehearsal / Reality (2:37)
  8. Cortege (3:23)
  9. Warning (3:03)
  10. Diana / Peephole / Hate (5:40)
  11. Crystal Ball (2:32)
  12. Prophecy / Bugle / Royal Hunt / Wild Boar (3:24)
  13. Desperate Ride / Fanfare to Forgiveness / Forgiveness / For King and Country / Viva la Guerra March / Love Letter (4:37)
  14. King's Return / Souvenirs / Death of Francis I (4:36)
  15. Suspicion (2:27)
  16. Confession / Revelation (1:54)
  17. Jealousy (1:03)
  18. Banquet Music / Forbidden Fruit (2:01)
  19. Lists / Knights and Horses / Jousting Fanfares (1:31)
  20. Lance / Cage of Gold / Revenge (4:13)
  21. Last Journey (2:16)
  22. Requiem (1:47)
  23. Retribution / Private Audience (1:27)
  24. Finale / End Cast (5:07)
  25. Diane (2:40)


Disc Two

Diane (alternate cues)

  1. Prelude / King's Messenger / Riding (4:15)
  2. Royal Command / Royal Palace (4:13)
  3. Reality (1:19)
  4. Warning (2:09)
  5. Diana / Peephole / Hate (5:39)
  6. Bugle / Royal Hunt / Wild Boar (3:46)
  7. For King and Country / Viva la Guerra March (:58)
  8. Death of Francis I (2:25)
  9. Suspicion (2:18)
  10. Revelation (alternate #1) (1:10)
  11. Revelation (alternate #2) (1:09)
  12. Lists / Fifth Jousting Fanfare / Revenge (2:59)
  13. Last Journey (2:05)
  14. Retribution / Private Audience (1:32)
  15. Finale / End Cast (5:07)

Diane (source cues)

  1. Royal Gardens (2:35)
  2. Royal Gardens (alternate) (2:09)
  3. Love Song (2:21)
  4. Pavane du Rois (:16)
  5. Gaillarde (pre-record) (1:28)
  6. Pavane (pre-record) (2:13)
  7. Chanson Populaire (:19)
  8. Banquet Music (pre-record) (1:35)
  9. Requiem (film version) (:45)
  10. Fanfare for Cortege (pre-record) (1:27)

Plymouth Adventure (alternate cues)

  1. Main Title (1:47)
  2. Greensleeves (1:13)
  3. Old Hundred (1:40)
  4. Plymouth Rock / Confess Jehovah (3:00)

Moonfleet (additional cues)

  1. Guitar Improvisations (3:56)
  2. Gypsy Dance (5:28)
  3. Bouree (pre-record) (2:42)