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Charles Gerhardt

Gerhardt was the first conductor to treat film soundtracks in the same manner as fine concert music. He re-recorded the music with a professional orchestra, thereby encouraging awareness of the many composers writing for the medium.

He began to play the piano at the age of five and was already composing and orchestrating his scores at nine. His formal studies were undertaken at the College of William and Mary and the Juilliard School of Music. During World War II, Gerhardt, known to his friends simply as Chuck, was a chaplain's assistant. At the conclusion of the conflict, he enrolled at the universities of Illinois and Southern California. Upon graduation, he was hired by RCA Victor to transfer old recordings by legendary artists such as Enrico Caruso and British pianist Artur Schnabel for issue on the new LP-formatted vinyl records. He soon advanced to the mixing and the assembly of new recordings by such artists as Sir Adrian Boult, Leopold Stokowski, Massimo Freccia, Alexander Gibson, René Leibowitz, Erich Leinsdorf, Charles Münch, Fritz Reiner, and James Levine. Gerhardt met and became friends with many of these legendary conductors. Arturo Toscanini, who had created the NBC Symphony for RCA Victor, worked with Gerhardt for several years and encouraged him in the direction of a conducting career.

In 1955, Gerhardt left RCA Victor and began production work for the American Westminster Company in London and Vienna. When the company went bankrupt, Gerhardt worked briefly for Bell Sound producing the recordings of several pop music artists like Eddie Fisher.

In 1960, Gerhardt returned to RCA Victor and, together with Kenneth Wilkinson, produced a series of classical music albums that featured well-known artists for Reader's Digest. The first series of 12 LPs was entitled The Festival of Light.

In 1961, Gerhardt began the work that was to make him legendary when, substituting for a contracted conductor who had to cancel at the last moment, he led the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with a pencil at a recording session in the Walthamstow Assembly Hall. By 1964, Gerhardt had assembled, together with Sydney Sax, an orchestra they named the National Philharmonic, which brought together many of the finest musicians in London. With this group, Gerhardt created more than 600 albums for Reader's Digest over the next 12 years. In 1968, Gerhardt recorded the first of his albums of film scores, entitled Great Music from the Movies, which included a 17-minute suite arranged by Gerhardt of Korngold's music for the film King's Row. In 1972, because of the success of the film music arrangements, RCA contracted Gerhardt to produce a series of recordings, entitled Classic Film Scores. The first of these was the music for the film Sea Hawk by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The composer's son, George Korngold, became the producer for the 12-album series, which included music by Alfred Newman, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Bernard Herrmann, and John Williams. Gerhardt used the National Philharmonic and prepared suites of the music when the original composer had not done so. Gerhardt would meet with the composers and discuss with them the forms these arrangements should take, to remain faithful to their intentions. Many of Gerhardt's suites continue to be used in concert performances. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Reader's Digest Music: Car Tunes: Classical Hits The Highway

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Track List: Classic Film Scores: Sunset Boulevard

1. Prince Valiant: Suite

2. A Place In The Sun - Suite

3. The Bride Of Frankenstein: The Creation Of The Female Monster

4. Sunset Boulevard - Suite

5. Old Acquaintance - Elegy For Strings

6. Rebecca - Suite

7. The Philadelphia Story

8. Taras Bulba - The Ride To Dubno

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Track List: Classic Film Scores: Bette Davis

1. Fanfare/ It Can't Be Wrong (From "Now Voyager")

2. Blindness (Judith's Theme)/Winter/Resignation (From "Dark Victory")

3. Main Title (From "A Stolen Life")

4. Elizabeth (From "The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex")

5. Forsaken (From "Mr. Skeffington")

6. Main Title/Stanley And Roy; Finale (From "In This Our Life")

7. Main Title (From "All About Eve")

8. Waltz (From "Jezebel")

9. Main Title/Rosa Moline/The Train/Rosa's Death (From "Beyond The Forest")

10. Carlotta (From "Juarez")

11. Main Title (From "The Letter")

12. Main Title/Henriette And The Children/Love Scene/Finale/End Cast (From "All This, And Heaven Too")

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Track List: Classic Film Scores: Now, Voyager

1. Now, Voyager

2. King Kong

3. Saratoga Trunk: As Long As I Live

4. The Charge Of The Light Brigade: Forward The Light Brigade

5. Four Wives: Symphonie Moderne

6. The Big Sleep

7. Johnny Belinda: Suite

8. Since You Went Away (Main Title)

9. The Informer

10. The Fountainhead

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Track List: Classic Film Scores: Spellbound

1. Prelude (From "The Red House")

2. The Morgan Farm, The New Hired Hand, Swimming Scene (From "The Red House")

3. Meg Finds The Red House (From "The Red House")

4. Teller Shoots At Meg (From "The Red House")

5. Pete's Death And Finale (From "The Red House")

6. The Love Of The Princess (From "The Thief Of Bagdad")

7. The Bottle, First Meeting (From "The Lost Weekend")

8. The Mouse And The Bat, Nightmare (From "The Lost Weekend")

9. Love Scene And Finale (From "The Lost Weekend")

10. Sunstroke, River Journey (From "The Four Feathers")

11. Mrs. Dietrichson, The Conspiracy (From "Double Indemnity")

12. Scherzo: Hawks In Flight (From "Knights Of The Round Table")

13. Song Of The Jungle (From "The Jungle Book")

14. The Dream Sequence, The Mountain Lodge (From "Spellbound")

15. Overture (From "Ivanhoe")

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Track List: Classic Film Scores: Gone With The Wind

1. Main Title: Dixie, Mammy, Tara, Rhett

2. Opening Sequence: The Twins, Katie Bell, Ashley, Mammy

3. Driving Home, Gerald O'Hara, Scarlett, Tara

4. Dance Montage: Charleston Heel And Toe Polka, Southern Belle Waltz, Can Can

5. Grazioso, Mammy, Ashley, Ashley And Scarlett, Scarlett, Ashley And Melanie Love Theme

6. Civil War, Fall Of The South, Scarlett Walks Among The Wounded

7. True Love, Ashley Returns To Tara From The War, Tara In Ruins

8. Belle Watling

9. Reconstruction, The Nightmare, Tara Rebuilt, Bonnie, The Accident

10. Mammy And Melanie On The Staircase, Rhett's Sorrow

11. Apotheosis: Melanie's Death, Scarlett And Rhett, Tara

x

Track List: Classic Film Scores: Casablanca

1. Casablanca

2. Passage To Marseille: Rescue At Sea

3. The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

4. The Big Sleep: Love Themes

5. The Caine Mutiny: March

6. To Have And Have Not: Main Title: Martinque

7. The Two Mrs. Carrolls

8. Sabrina: Main Title; The Larrabee Estate

9. The Left Hand Of God: Love Theme

10. Sahara: Main Title

11. Virginia City: Stagecoach; Love Scene

12. Key Largo

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