Home > Greatest Scores of the Twentieth Century, Reviews > ANOTHER DAWN – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

ANOTHER DAWN – Erich Wolfgang Korngold


Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1935 Warner Brothers Studio executive Jack L. Warner decided that the 1919 play “Caesar’s Wife” by W. Somerset Maugham offered opportunity for a big screen adaptation. He purchased the film rights, provided a budget of $552,000, and would personally join Harry Joe Brown and Hal B. Wallis in producing the film. William Dieterle was tasked with directing and sought to capitalize on rising star Errol Flynn by casting him as Captain Denny Roark. Bette Davis was originally cast to play Julia Ashton Wister but her suspension by the studio resulted in Kay Francis winning that role; they were joined by Ian Hunter as Colonel John Wister.

The story is set in the Saharan Desert outpost of Dukit. While on leave British Colonel John Wister meets and falls in love with American Julia Ashton. She has recently lost her fiancé in a plane crash but nevertheless decides that John is charming enough, and agrees to marry him. After their honeymoon they return to John’s post at Dukit. Well complications arise when Julia meets John’s best friend Captain Denny Roarke who reminds her of her dead fiancé. They fall in love; John becomes aware of it and is willing to let her go. Complicating matters even further is that Denny’s sister Grace secretly falls in love with John. Yet fate intervenes calling on a volunteer to fly a suicide bombing mission to suppress a Berber uprising. Denny volunteers, but as he bids farewell to Julia, John takes off, willing to sacrifice his life so his friend and Julia can be together. The film was a commercial success, earning a profit of $493,000. Critics were not praiseworthy and the filmed failed to earn any Academy Award nominations.

Jack L. Warner was very much impressed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s 1935 score to Captain Blood and wanted to pair him up again with his rising star Errol Flynn. Upon viewing the short 73-minute film, Korngold quickly realized that it was flawed and that music would be needed to try and rescue it. The setting was the desert and he understood that he would have to infuse his soundscape with the exotic Berber auras of the Sahara. He also had to speak to cultural dynamics to support the conflict between the British overlords and the aggrieved indigenous Berbers. Love themes would also be needed with the primary love theme attached to the love triangle of John, Julia and Denny, and an unrequited love theme for Grace’s love for John.

To support his soundscape, Korngold composed four themes and a motif including; the English Theme, which supports the British soldiers. It serves as the score’s main theme and offers a rousing declaration by horns eroico. It exudes British pride and offers a sunny confidence and self-assuredness. Masterful is how Korngold militarizes it during battle as well as shifting its articulation during times of stress and sadness. The theme is often buttressed by martial drums and fanfares, which further empowered the British military presence. The Love Theme for John, Julia and Denny is one of his finest, a melody that Korngold would repurpose for his Violin Concert in D Major, Opus 35 (1945). It offers a romance for strings with a classic ABA construct. The A Phrase emotes sumptuously by strings d’amore, while the B Phrase speaks of her yearning heart, which longs for love as she has been recently widowed. The concluding A Phrase speaks of hopefulness, a crowning touch to this very expressive theme. Worth noting is that the theme emotes from both men’s perspective as Julia does not truly love John, and resists Denny. A second Love Theme is unrequited, emoting from Grace’s perspective who has silently loved John for a long time only to face the bitter reality that she waited too long when he returns to Dukit married to Julia. Strings romantico bear its tender melody, but it is clearly tinged with sadness as well as regret. Achaben’s Theme embodies the fierce and rebellious warlord who controls water rights for the valley tribes. Korngold supports him with a forceful, exotic, and ferocious drum and horn empowered theme borne with strength and menace. An exotic arabesque Berber Motif supports the desert locality as well as the indigenous culture. Also, Korngold composed a title song for the film with lyrics by Al Dubi, which he intended to be sung during the party scene, however Dieterle dialed it out of the film. Lastly, cues coded (*) feature music found in the film but not the album.

“Main Title” offers a powerful score highlight in which Korngold masterfully establishes the tone of the film. It opens boldly with rousing fanfare dramatico, which supports the roll of the opening credits that flow across a background of endless sand dunes. The fanfare ushers in a rousing horn empowered extended statement of the English Theme, which abounds with forthright British pride, strength, confidence and heroism. The orchestration and dramatic development of the musical narrative offers classic Korngoldian opulence and eloquence. At 0:48 we segue into “The Outpost” where a British calvary patrol is seen returning to its fort as script reveals their difficult and bloody mission to preserve the peace. Korngold supports their progress with the Main Theme rendered not as a march, but instead with an ornate free flowing danza graziose. At 1:53 rousing horns support the arrival of Captain Roark who soars dramatically with bravado in his biplane. The music softens to support dialogue by his men, assuming comedic auras as the Sergeant tasks his men to clean the artillery barrels thoroughly. At 3:04 we meet Roarke for the first time as he leaves his plane’s cockpit supported by a bright and confident quote of the Main Theme. Comedy joins when he answers the Sergeant that the bullet holes in his wings were caused by moths.

“Dukit” (*) reveals a bustling town, which Korngold supports with spritely strings draped in exotic Berber auras. “On the Ocean Liner” offers a romantic score highlight. We see a passenger liner sailing on the open seas with the beautiful and alluring Julia lying on a deck lounge. Korngold graces us with one of the finest Love Themes of his canon with a sumptuous romance for strings. At 1:15 an aggrieved rendering of the B Phrase of the Love Theme enters as an insufferable Frenchman attempts to woo her, but his intrusion is unwanted and she is decidedly cool and distant. At 1:34 John, who was seated nearby has seen enough and rescues her from the lech, escorting below deck supported by a muted, yet thanks Love Theme. At 2:09 the Love Theme blossoms for a beautiful exposition as John and Julia take air on the deck at sundown. He is clearly enamored with her, but she remains wounded by the death of her husband and so graciously thanks him for the evening and departs to pack and turn in.

“The Golf Course” reveals that Julia and he are staying with mutual friends the Bentons and he decides to join her on the golf course. The Bentons tell him that the reason she seems closed is due to the recent death of her husband. Korngold offers a delightful and playful musical narrative with spritely strings and bubbling woodwinds of happiness as John is ‘coached’ by his caddie, and flails at the first tee shot. At 0:39 he is struck by a golf ball and a gentile rendering of the Love Theme supports the apologetic arrival of Julia, which immediately diffuses his anger. We close at 1:19 with a resumption of the playful musical narrative as Julia agrees to join him for a round and his first shot goes awry. “Evening Scene” offers an exquisite score highlight full of romanticism. It reveals Julia and John strolling the estate grounds, which Korngold supports with a gorgeous nocturne. A romantic rendering of the Main Theme returns as they gaze upon a biplane soaring above. As she recalls her late husband strings tristi voice her sorrow and wistfulness as she remembers him fondly as John attempts to console. The B Phrase of the Love Theme joins as we see a yearning in her, which blossoms atop the A Phrase as she relates the love, she experienced in those precious three years. Her words move John, and it is clear that she has stirred feeling in his heart as they depart for cocktails.

The next day in “Afternoon Tea” offers another romantic score highlight. Jon and Julia spend time together and take in some tea. Bubbling woodwinds of delight create a wonderful ambiance and usher in at 1:14 an extended sumptuous rendering of the Love Theme full of longing, which clearly emotes from his perspective. Yet its lyrical flow descends into sadness and disappointment as he professes his love for her, and she declines, saying she cannot love him as she still loves her departed husband. Korngold’s music and the film’s narrative achieve a stirring cinematic confluence, which elicited tears. “The Cable” offers yet another beautiful score highlight. John has received a cable, which requires he return to Dukit. He makes an impassioned plea to Julia to come with him as his wife, saying that even if he could not win her love, just her presence and respect would suffice. Seeing that his love was genuine, Julia at last succumbs to his wishes as she has nothing to return to in America. He kisses her hand in gratitude hoping that someday love will blossom in her heart. A strolling woodwind carried statement of the Main Theme opens the scene. At 0:22 we flow into a wondrous danza gentile, and the musical narrative slowly develops a romantic yearning, clearly emoting from his perspective. The way Korngold weaves the music for this scene is exquisite.

“The Arrival” reveals Dukit with John and Julia disembarking from the train. Korngold supports the ambiance by bathing us the exotic auras and textures of the Berber Motif. At 0:17 happy rendering of the Main Theme carries their walk through the station. John departs to attend to the bags, Denny arrives, and immediately notices Julia. At 0:46 a romantic surge carries us as the smitten Denny introduces himself to Julia and asks if he can render assistance. She is curt and says no, suggesting he turn left about, to which he complies. We segue at 1:09 into “The Meeting” with some tension as John returns and introduces Denny to his wife. Denny is clearly uncomfortable, and Korngold speaks to this musically with nervous woodwinds and strings. At 1:39 John introduces Grace, Denny’s sister to his new wife Julia. She is taken aback but recovers to welcome her. A new Love Theme supports the moment, and it emotes from the perspective of Grace as she has borne silently for some time a hidden love for John. At 2:08 we return to the bustling Berber Motif as the men carry the luggage to the car.

“Talk in the Bedroom” was dialed out of the film. The scene reveals Grace assisting Julia unpack as John and Denny join to deliver sad news; John is going out on a mission for a week. Korngold chose to support with a pleasant ambiance carried by a solo flute delicato dancing over strings felice. We close with sadness as John again makes a testament to be a husband Julia can admire supported by the yearning B Phrase of the Love Theme. In “The Ride-out” Colonel Wister leads a mounted patrol out on a mission, leaving Denny in command. Korngold supports the departure with a determined marcia bravura. At 0:38 strings romantico join as Julia asks Denny for a horse. He offers his but when it rears up, he calms it and laughs. Julia freezes, stares, and then apologizes, saying his laugh reminded her of someone else who laughed just like that. After an uncomfortable pause borne by woodwinds of uncertainty, she mounts the horse and at 0:50 rides out propelled by trumpeting fanfare and a robust English Theme. We crest magnificently at 1:36 as she waves goodbye to John from a hilltop. Regretfully the rest of the cue, which includes an awesome rendering of the English Theme as a march was evidently cut with a film edit. It features a sweeping orchestral romance, which is severed at 2:03 by woodwinds of tension. At 2:23 we conclude with a rousing, bravado marcia inglese, a score highlight for me.

“The Stars” was attached to a scene edited out of the film. The eloquent short cue offers beautiful shifting orchestral auras with romanticized interplay of the Main and Love Themes. “The Arabian Love Song” provides a beautiful score highlight that offers an extended rendering of the Love Theme, which finds a beautiful confluence with the scene. It reveals them smoking cigarettes as they listen to a Bedouin love song, which is supported by the exotic rendering of the Main Theme draped with Berber auras. As they talk of love conceptually, the Love Theme enters at 0:34, the first allusion of a nascent love developing between the two. The theme transforms into a danza romantico as their conversation flows. Slowly her speaking of love becomes passionate, reflected in the music, until she abruptly stops, realizing that she is speaking of her dead husband. Denny says he wish he was like him, to which she says, I am afraid you are. At 2:10 a diminuendo of on the theme with a tinge of sadness supports their handshake and her departure to turn in. Yet as we see shots of both of them looking out a window, clearly affected by thoughts of each other, the Love Theme again blossoms on a solo violin d’Amore adorned with harp glissandi.

“The Cricket Game” music was dialed out of the film. We see the British soldiers relaxing playing a game of cricket in the fort courtyard. Korngold supports with a robust rendering of the English Theme. At 0:11 three Berber riders enter the fort and ride to the command building carried by a fierce and kinetic Berber Anthem. At 0:41 we segue into “The Bow Tie” atop a playful rendering of the English Theme as Denny struggles tying his bow tie and eventually gets assistance for Wilkens. “Garden Love Scene” a stirring romantic score highlight and masterpiece cue. It reveals Denny and Julia attending the gala held by the local clan leader. As they stroll together Korngold renders a languorous Love Theme draped with Berber auras. As they enter a fountain garden at 0:35 the Love Theme blossoms for a molto romantico statement, which culminates grandly on a crescendo appassionato as they embrace and kiss. At 2:00 the music demurs and the B Phrase of the Love Theme saddens as both confess to feeling guilty for their betrayal of John. They promise to not take it any further, and to never disclose it to John. We close with the Love Theme embellished with ethereal harp glissandi with interplay of the Main Theme, which ends with unresolved yearning as she enters her room, with him remaining outside, both contemplating what has stirred to life in their hearts.

In “The Ride-out Continued” John has returned but confides that in the morning he rides out on a new mission. Julia convinces him to send Captain Roarke and, in the morning, he takes command of the patrol and departs on horseback. Field drums militare and martial trumpets propel the departure and launch a resolute marcia inglese, yet the march dissipates and the Main Theme assumes a romanticized rendering as Julia looks out through her shutters, her eyes revealing love. The following three cues offer the score’s premier battle cues, with “The Battle” providing a powerful tour de force with some of the best action writing of Korngold’s career. “The Desert” reveals script stating that the rebellious warlord Achaben controls water rights for the valley tribes. Korngold supports with a forceful introduction of his exotic and ferocious drum and horn empowered theme borne with strength and menace. Achaben has agreed to a truce and Denny leads his patrol ride home, carried by the English Theme. Yet in the distance we see men sent by the duplicitous Achaben, hiding in the dunes preparing for an ambush. Tension seeps into the English Theme as the patrol rides on unaware into the trap. At 1:19 we segue into “The Battle” as a shot takes down one of the soldiers. Korngold whips his orchestra into frenzy, driving the battle with kinetic ferocity, with the English Theme dominant as the Brits dismount and form a defensive position. A pitched gun battle ensues with the British suffering another casualty at 2:23, where defiant fanfare resounds and drives the fire fight joined by energetic horns bravura and the English Theme. They set up a radio station and at 3:09 we segue softly atop xylophone into “Radio Station” where John orders a rescue mission. At 3:33 trumpets militare sound the alarm as the regimen assembles and mounts their horses empowered by a grand exposition of the English Theme. John divides his force to pincer the Berbers from two sides. At 3:56 a diminuendo of tension supports Julia’s very overt concern to John regarding Denny’s chances. We conclude full of foreboding as they message that the end is near and the radio goes dead.

“The Battlefield” reveals five men left, very little ammo and outnumbered six to one. The English Theme supports with a grim and dispirited statement. At 0:28 strings affanato emote a lament with religioso auras as Sergeant Murphy is shot and says his last goodbye to Hawkins. At 0:56 menace begins to surge as we see in the distance, that the Berbers are advancing because the Brits have not shot back for some time, as they are out of ammunition. Yet at 1:10 an orchestral shriek supports the sight of a machine gun ammo box in the distance. Strings and horns of alarm resound and launch desperate strings of flight and a ferocious English Theme, which propel Wilkens to retrieve the ammo. He succeeds but, on the return, run he is shot down by a sniper. Denny retrieves the ammo, loads the machine gun and they pummel the Berbers in a hailstorm of bullets, which Korngold empowers with a ferocious driving English Theme. We end sadly as Wilkens dies in Denny’s arms. “Aftermath” (*) reveals only Captain Roarke and Hawkins left. Although wounded, Denny order Hawkins to prepare the horses as they will be proceeding to Achaben’s camp. A sorrowful English Theme emotes as a lament to support the scene.

“The Sandstorm Starts” reveals the fort engulfed by a sandstorm. Korngold uses swirling strings with the Berber Motif to express the blowing sand. At 0:12 a tender Love Theme enters as John joins Julia for tea. He notices that she is pensive and asks if she is happy. She answers yes, but we see in her face that this is not true. He encourages her to visit Denny and she agrees. At 1:22 we return to the swirling strings of the Berber Theme as winds sweep over the residence. Fragments of the Love Theme join as Julia drives into town to visit Grace, where Denny is recuperating. We end on a diminuendo as Grace departs and Julia enters Denny’s room. There is a palpable discomfort as he asks her to sit and join him in conversation. “The Kiss” reveals him asking why they could not have met earlier as he reminisces about his life in Ireland. Slowly we see love rising up in the two of them. Korngold offers a dance like romance for strings d’amore from which arises at 1:05 the Love Theme, culminating at 1:19 with a passionate kiss. At 1:20 we shift outdoors as we see the ferocious sandstorm buffeting the fort as soldiers baton down the hatches and secure their equipment. Korngold unleashes his own storm with a dramatic statement of the English Theme. A diminuendo follows to support John being advised that Julia is safe at the Roarke residence and that the telephone lines have just gone down. At 1:42 we shift back to our lovers atop surging strings irato as Julia storms away saying that they cannot see each other again. She tries to leave but upon opening the door fierce winds blow her back empowered by a torrential statement of the Main Theme. The Love Theme joins, offered with sad recognition as Denny closes the door, and Julia realizes she must remain.

“The Next Morning” was dialed out of the film. The opening music 0:00 – 2:49 is attached to a deleted scene and features a dramatic statement of the Main Theme. At 0:48 the theme’s articulation becomes grim until 1:24 when martial drums commence a warlike escalation. The music then demurs on forlorn woodwinds, from which arises a brief quote of the Love Theme before once again shifting to warlike drama draped in ominous shifting chromatic auras. At 2:50 we flow into florid and eloquent romanticism that features an exquisite solo violin d’Amore, which I believe was intended by Korngold to support this following scene; It reveals Denny informing Grace that he is applying for a transfer as Dukit has become stale. She stuns him by saying that what he is really doing is running away from Julia. He admits he cannot bear not loving her with Grace again stunning him with her revelation that she has been in love with John for quite some time. She counsels that she has learned to live with it, and that he could too. At 3:48 we segue into “The Order” at John’s command office where he received grave news that Achaben has built a damn that threatens the lives of 500 people and the cotton harvest. Korngold sow warlike menace as John contemplates a likely disaster as it would take troops four days to reach the dam.

“Another Dawn “Finale” offers a cue with the album’s creative team providing the unused, original film ending, which featured Denny flying the mission and dying. In the actual film, studio executives insisted on an alternate ending where John dies, and Errol Flynn, their rising star, get the girl. I will review both endings; “Ending with Denny Dying” (unused film ending) offers a glorious score highlight, which opens with ethereal twinkling as Denny wins the coin toss as to whether he or John will fly the suicide mission. The musical narrative becomes grave as John concedes and orders Denny to prepare the plane, after he first says goodbye to Julia. At 0:38 we flow into the Love Theme, which supports Denny feigning that he was going on a routine mission and would be back soon. At 0:52 a forceful and dramatic declaration of the Main Theme resounds with pride to empower Denny’s departure and then assumes a glorious aerial sense of wonder, no doubt to support his flight to destiny. At 2:33 the Main Theme assumes a warm and wistful articulation, no doubt to support John and Julia’s reminiscence of Denny, whom they both loved. At 3:08 we conclude the film boldly with a proud declaration of the Main Theme, which ends in a glorious flourish! “Ending with John Dying” (*) (the actual film ending) opens with ethereal twinkling as Denny wins the coin toss as to whether he or John will fly the suicide mission. John concedes and orders Denny to prepare the plane. The musical narrative transforms into a misterioso full of unease and foreboding after Denny says goodbye to Julia. A heartfelt Love Theme joins, led by a solo violin d’amore as his smile and assurance disarms her, saying that all will be fine. They hear the roar of the plane’s engine and rush out to see John fly off to his destiny. Denny then informs her that he has gone out there to die for me and will not be coming back. The next day at sunrise a news cable is handed to Denny who is with Julia on the roof. A heartfelt and endearing Main Theme emoted as a threnody carries the news that the dam has been destroyed and one plane shot down in flames. When she asks why he did it, the Main Theme rises with a thankful and heart felt statement as Denny embraces her, and states as the dawn sun rises behind them, that he did it so they could have another dawn. We conclude with a glorious flourish as the film ends and the cast credits display.

I would like to commend the production team of William Stromberg and John W. Morgan for this premier release of the score to Erich Wolfgang Korngold masterpiece, Another Dawn. The audio quality is excellent and the performance of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra under Stromberg’s baton, superb. For his soundscape Korngold composed four primary themes and a motif. He masterfully juxtaposed the cultural dynamics between the occidental British Theme, fanfares and marches, against the exotic oriental auras, textures, and rhythms of Achaben’s Theme and the Berber Motif. His Love Theme for the love triangle of John-Julia-Denny offers one of the finest in his illustrious career, a timeless melody that would later be repurposed for his famous Violin Concert in D Major, Opus 35 (1945). The romanticism of his two love themes brought passion and intimacy to the film’s narrative, with cues such as “The Garden Love Scene” and “The Kiss” offering extraordinary eloquence and melodic beauty. The four battle cues offered what I believe is the most kinetic and ferocious action music in Korngold’s career. Folks, the film ended up being a complete mess, and so to fix it, the studio cut it down to a mere 73 minutes, which resulted in much of Korngold’s magnificent score being butchered on the editing block. He even had to write a new ending after it was determined that Flynn needed to end up getting Julia. What Morgan has done is to restore the score as originally conceived and intended, which truly offers a testament to Korngold’s genius. I consider this early opus score one of the finest in his career and a gem of the early Golden Age. I highly recommend this as an essential album for your collection as it also contains the eight-minute ballet and fantasy from Korngold’s final Hollywood score, Escape Me Never.

For those of you unfamiliar with the score, I have embedded a YouTube link to the Finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGdWsTNVGNE

Buy the Another Dawn soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Escape Me Never – Ballet/Fantasy (7:41)
  • Main Title/The Outpost (3:45)
  • On the Ocean Liner (3:36)
  • The Golf Course (1:36)
  • Evening Scene (2:29)
  • Afternoon Tea (1:33)
  • The Cable (2:24)
  • The Arrival/The Meeting (2:47)
  • Talk in the Bedroom (2:00)
  • The Ride-out (3:19)
  • The Stars (1:35)
  • The Arabian Love Song (2:50)
  • The Cricket Game/The Bow Tie (1:02)
  • Garden Love Scene (3:24)
  • The Ride-out Continued (0:50)
  • The Desert/The Battle/Radio Station (4:39)
  • The Battlefield (2:42)
  • The Sandstorm Starts (2:23)
  • The Kiss (2:23)
  • The Next Morning/The Order (4:38)
  • Another Dawn – Finale (3:43)

Running Time: 61 minutes 19 seconds

Marco Polo 8.223871 (1937/1996)

Music composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Conducted by William Stromberg. Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Original orchestrations by Hugo Friedhofer and Milan Roder. Recorded and mixed by Edvard Shakhanazarian and Vitaly Ivanov. Score produced by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Leo F. Forbstein. Album produced by William Stromberg and John Morgan.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: