Max Steiner Corner at JB

Dark Victory (BYU FMA-MS 116)

In a way, the inclusion here of the Dark Victory score seems an anomaly in the company of the earlier titles; it suggests Steiner’s work of the 1940s far more than that of the ’30s. And, in fact, Dark Victory did initiate the long series of “women’s pictures” Steiner would score for Warner Bros. during the coming decade. But I can legitimately claim it as a Steiner score of the 1930s, and in any case it’s an outstanding piece of music: tender, richly textured, and unmistakably Steiner. This lovingly produced CD captures it in its entirety (complete with Vera Van’s short vocal rendition of “Oh! Give Me Time for Tenderness,” bursting into the otherwise all-instrumental score in a way that will surprise some listeners). If any further proof of the composer’s versatility were needed, this score provides it: Steiner can score both Errol Flynn adventures and Bette Davis romances with equal effect and inventiveness.