2010 is the Centenary of the Birth of David Rose

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When you appreciate a composer’s work, it is always disappointing to discover that your admiration is not always shared by members of his or her family.

There have been many instances in recent years where we have been contacted by grandchildren (and even a great-grandchild in one case) who suddenly discovered that they had a famous ancestor in music circles. Quite why their parents hadn’t told them often remains a mystery.

Happily this is not the case with David Rose, one of the greatest Light Music composers and conductors of the last century. We were delighted to learn recently that celebrations are planned throughout his centenary year, and the following information has been kindly supplied to us by Barry Smith, of SWPR Group, Studio City, California.

In honour of the late David Rose’s 100th birthday on June 15, 2010, David Rose Publishing Company has launched a year-long salute to the award-winning composer and his works.

This centennial year will focus on a variety of projects, including the recording of a series of previously unexploited works, the first-time release of new tracks of Rose’s more popular themes and the continued promotion of his works for licensing and performances.

While the music of David Rose was created decades ago, it remains popular today in film and television and with orchestras of all sizes.

"Even 20 years after my father passed away, it’s great that his music is still requested and performed. We are regularly licensing his music and renting his scores," says Angela Rose White, chief operating officer of David Rose Publishing, and daughter of David Rose. "As part of his Centennial celebration, it’s also really exciting to take his music into the digital age. I think he would be thrilled that we are opening up his music to even more generations who can enjoy and be inspired by it."

Through digital distributor BFM Digital, David Rose Publishing’s year-long birthday celebration kicked off with the release of a new recreated master of Rose’s television theme "Little House on the Prairie" (1974). BFM also will distribute an EP digital release showcasing four separate tracks of Rose’s original television show theme "Highway to Heaven" (1984), including long and short instrumental versions and vocal recordings featuring lyrics by Hal David.

The centennial coincides with the first commercial recording of Rose’s composition "Le Papillon," written in 1980 especially for the expertise of one of the most widely heard classical flutists, Louise DiTullio. She has performed the piece live on very limited occasions during the past 30 years, and has now recorded it for the first time as part of her new CD, "The Hollywood Flute of Louise DiTullio," released in 2010 by Cambria and distributed by Naxos.

According to White, plans during the Centennial year celebration include the promotion of the David Rose rental catalogue to orchestras Rose guest-conducted during his 60-year career, and those that have rented his scores over the last two decades. Additionally, the company is working with ASCAP to launch a tribute in recognition of Rose during his Centennial year celebration.

Rose (1910-1990) helped establish the golden age of American instrumental pop and few artists have managed to equal his output in terms of innovation, diversity and volume. Dubbed "The King of Strings," Rose created his signature employment of pizzicato strings and melodic octave doubling over block chords which is clearly audible in his most popular works.

Rose is best known for his massive hits "The Stripper" (1958) and "Holiday for Strings" (1942), the latter serving as the theme song for Red Skelton’s long-running television show. Rose had a lucrative 23-year association with Skelton, writing numerous leitmotifs of Skelton’s many characters, including the clip-clop theme for Freddy the Freeloader that Rose titled "Lovable Clown."

In addition to Skelton, Rose enjoyed a long-term relationship with Michael Landon, working on three of Landon’s popular television series ("Little House on the Prairie," "Father Murphy" and "Highway to Heaven") and two Landon films. Rose’s scores for "Bonanza," "Little House on the Prairie" and "The High Chaparral" series have been regarded as some of the finest in television history and serve as a benchmark for all contemporary Western themes.

Composing music until his death on August 23, 1990, the British-born composer recorded over 5,000 hours of music and 50 albums, scored 36 films and composed the background music and themes for 24 television shows. In addition, he received four Emmy Awards and nine nominations, three Grammy Award nominations and two Academy Award nominations, as well as one gold record, two bronze records and several recognitions of repeated performances from ASCAP. He was also honoured as one of the original 1500 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and "Holiday for Strings" also was inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame in 2004.

To this day, Rose's music is at the forefront of Hollywood's consciousness as evidenced by its most recent use in TV shows such as "Two and a Half Men" (2009), "Ugly Betty" (2010) and "Scrubs" (2003), and films such as "Hot Tub Time Machine" (2010) and "The Full Monty" (1997) and among countless others. His legacy lives on not only through his brilliant compositions, but also through his innovation in the field of sound recording as he pioneered the use of the echo chamber and 21 channel separation in orchestral recording.

The Robert Farnon Society was proud to count David Rose as one of its members towards the end of his life. Today his music continues to appear on new CDs, especially in the Guild "Golden Age of Light Music" series where the following recordings are currently available:


American In Paris, An (George Gershwin) (GLCD5120)
Bad And The Beautiful, The (Raksin) (GLCD5105)
Bewitched (From "Pal Joey") (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) (GLCD5123)
Bordeaux (David Rose) (GLCD5146)
Butterfly And The Alligator, The (David Rose) (GLCD5174)
Christmas Tree, The (David Rose) (GLCD5169)
Come Rain Or Come Shine (from the musical "St Louis Woman") (Harold Arlen) (GLCD5158)
Concerto (David Rose) + Don Ferris (Piano) (GLCD5173)
Dance Of Fury (Nacio Herb Brown) (GLCD5142)
Dance Of The Spanish Onion (David Rose) (GLCD5101)
Deserted City (David Rose) (GLCD5112)
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (from "The Wizard Of Oz") (Harold Arlen; E.Y. Harburg) (GLCD5174)
Falling In Love With Love (From "The Boys From Syracuse") (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) (GLCD5123)
Fiesta In Seville (David Rose) (GLCD5161)
Firebird Ballet : Dance Of The Princesses; Dance Of Kastchei; Berceuse & Finale (Stravinsky, arr. Rose) (GLCD5172)
Flying Horse, The (David Rose) (GLCD5114)
Holiday For Trombones (David Rose) (GLCD5154)
How High The Moon (Hamilton, Lewis) (GLCD5156)
Humoresque (Antonin Dvorak) (GLCD5171)
I Get A Kick Out Of You (From "Anything Goes") (Cole Porter) (GLCD5127)
I’ll Take Romance (Ben Oakland / Oscar Hammerstein II) (GLCD5170)
Intermezzo From "Escape To Happiness" (Souvenir de Vienne) (Provost) (GLCD5124)
It’s Only A Paper Moon (from the film "Take A Chance" 1933) (Harold Arlen) (GLCD5152)
Last Night When We Were Young (Harold Arlen) (GLCD5133)
Laura (From the film "Laura") (Johnny Mercer / David Raksin) (GLCD5114)
Liza (I & G Gershwin / Kahn) (GLCD5103)
Majorca (David Rose) (GLCD5165)
Manhattan Square Dance (David Rose) (GLCD5102)
March Of The Pretzels (David Rose) (GLCD5162)
Moon Of Manakoora (Alfred Newman / Frank Loesser) (GLCD5151)
October Mist (Fiorito / Webster) (GLCD5145)
One Love (David Rose) (GLCD5136)
Pam Pam (David Rose) (GLCD5177)
Peppertree Lane (from "Hollywood Bowl Suite") (David Rose) (GLCD5174)
Roman Holiday (David Rose) (GLCD5161)
Satan And The Polar Bear (David Rose) (GLCD5105)
Stars Shine In Your Eyes (from "La Strada") (Nino Rota) (GLCD5160)
Sweet Sue (Will Harris / Victor Young) (GLCD5133)
That Old Black Magic (Harold Arlen) (GLCD5119)
Waltz Of The Bubbles (David Rose) (GLCD5103)
What’s Good About Goodbye? (From the film "Casbah") (Leo Robin / Harold Arlen) (GLCD5114)
Why Do You Pass Me By (Hess / Misraki / Carter) (GLCD5155)
Why Was I Born (Jerome Kern) (GLCD5148)

Dance of the Spanish Onion (David Rose) (GLCD5139)

Holiday For Strings (David Rose) (GLCD5120)

My Dog Has Fleas (David Rose) (GLCD5143)

Parade of the Clowns ((David Rose) (GLCD5104)

Stringopation (David Rose) (GLCD5135)

Autumn Leaves; Music from "Gigi" (Vocalion CDNJT5206)

This feature originally appeared in ‘Journal Into Melody’, December 2010

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