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FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Remastered Film Soundtrack Released For 50th Anniversary

The enduring film version of Fiddler on the Roof premiered in November 1971

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Remastered Film Soundtrack Released For 50th Anniversary

The enduring film version of Fiddler on the Roof premiered in November 1971 and became one of the year's biggest hits, earning Academy Awards for Cinematography, Sound and Best Adapted Score. The winner in the latter category was the legendary John Wiliams, soon after to become the world's most famous film composer and win Oscars for his own now-classic music for Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler's List.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary, La-La Land Records has released a 3-CD expanded and remastered limited edition of the Fiddler soundtrack album. Produced under license from MGM and Capitol Records and approved by Mr. Williams, the set offers fully restored, remixed and remastered audio, alternate versions, early "playback" renditions of the songs, selections of Williams' underscore, and other musical material released for the first time. Williams soundtrack reissue producer Mike Matessino handled the restoration as well as the extensive liner notes. Two full-color deluxe essay booklets provide a detailed account of the creation of the music and feature photos from the recording sessions. The release is available for purchase here.

The film soundtrack, under the supervision of Maestro Williams, was recorded in London and featured an ensemble of top instrumentalists, including some who'd played for The Beatles and on the scores for the James Bond films. Virtuoso Isaac Stern indelibly performed the violin solos. The lush orchestrations and expansions of the Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick songs were created by Williams in collaboration with longtime colleague Alexander Courage.

Williams is the most Oscar-nominated living person and turns 90 in early February. He is slated to appear at Carnegie Hall in April at a benefit concert featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra and violin soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, with another program in Pittsburgh a few days later. Next June he will conduct the Chicago Symphony, followed by an appearance in Milan, Italy. Williams served as a special musical consultant for longtime colleague Steven Spielberg's new film version of West Side Story. The artist played piano on the recording sessions for the 1961 original version, which, like Fiddler, was produced by the Mirisch Company and United Artists.

By 1967, when UA, Mirisch and producer/director Norman Jewison began work on the Fiddler film, the multi-Tony-winning Jerome Robbins-directed, Harold Prince-produced stage production had played more a thousand performances on Broadway and its engaging songs were everywhere, including standards such as "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset." Israel actor Chaim Topol assumed the lead role of Tevye the Dairyman in the West End that same year, and his authentic Old World persona was favored by Jewison for the film despite industry pressure to cast Zero Mostel, who'd memorably originated the archetypal Sholem Aleichem character on Broadway.

The film production of Fiddler was based in London, lensed at Pinewood Studios following location shooting in what is now Croatia during the latter half of 1970. The fictitious shtetl of Anatevka was constructed and populated authentically, the camera realistically capturing the breaking down of "tradition," a village wedding, and, ultimately, a pogrom that coerced Jewish communities out of Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century. The upcoming documentary, "Fiddler's Journey to the Big Screen," chronicles Jewison's personal journey in making the classic film.

50th Anniversary Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack now available

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