Bronislau Kaper (1902-1983) was a splendid and widely admired Golden Age film composer who succeeded on a variety of films, from comedy (1937's A Day at the Races) to science fiction (1954's Them!) to the unique and broadly appealing Lili (1953), for which his song "Hi Lilo, Hi Lo" won the Academy Award. Born in Poland, he got his start as a songwriter in the European film industry and graduated to full scores at M-G-M in Los Angeles, where he was under contract for most of his career. He worked on two versions of Mutiny on the Bounty (the 1935 production with Clark Gable and the 1962 remake starring Marlon Brando) and tackled films like The Swan (1956), The Brothers Karamazov (1958), Lord Jim (1965) and Tobruk (1967).
In 1955 Kaper provided an ornate and gorgeously melodic, symphonic score for The Prodigal, a gargantuan biblical epic starring Lana Turner. The film recounts the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which a wealthy young Hebrew trader, Micah (Edmund Purdom), throws away his fortune and freedom in pursuit of a pagan priestess, Samarra (Turner), eventually returning home to the forgiveness of his father. Kaper provided a rich, reverent theme for male chorus for the Hebrew people; a seductive theme for female chorus for Samarra and her following, alternately a siren song and pagan march; uptempo action music for fights and chases; Middle Eastern source cues; and elegant, tuneful scoring under dialogue, often favoring woodwinds. It has all the pomp, glory and choral reverence collectors expect from the biblical genre.
FSM's CD of The Prodigal is the premiere release of this important score by Bronislau Kaper. The work is presented in complete, chronological form, including alternate versions, which are explained as always in the liner notes. The M-G-M orchestra was conducted by the legendary Andre Previn.
Music Composed by Bronislau Kaper, Conducted by André Previn
Main Title/Chase 3:15
Window/When Daylight Comes 1:22
18 Pieces of Silver/Beard 0:54
One Piece of Silver 2:11
Terrace of Heavens 1:58
Micah's Exit/Prayer/Micah's Party Part 1 2:44
Micah's Party Part 2 1:34
I'll Break Him 0:53
Bosra's Party 2:10
She Is 1:10
It's Micah 2:01
He Is Dead/Invocation 2:30
What Is Wrong 1:14
Elissa's Death 1:36
Full of the Moon 1:42
Samarra's Death 1:01
My Son/Celebration/End Title and Cast 4:17
Celebration/End Title and Cast (alternate) 2:48
Total Time: 75:11