Friday, March 23, 2012

Stephen Oliver's Main Theme for Laurence Olivier, A Life

Laurence Olivier, A Life (1983) was the extraordinary opening gambit of the BBC's South Bank Show presented by Melvyn Bragg. Stephen Oliver's music was a big part of that film's success, and never more so than when the main theme returns at the end of the first episode, when (in the show's chronological tracking through Olivier's career) Olivier is on top of the world (before, e.g., Vivien Leigh's desperate mental and physical ill health take their toll). You can watch the whole of the great documentary on youtube starting here.

Oliver died in 1992 of AIDS-related complications at the age of only 47. Read Simon Callow's lovely tribute to his brilliant friend here. Film scores have become increasing anonymous and unmemorable over the last 20 years. I dare say that if Oliver had lived he would probably have had something to say about that.

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