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Alfred Newman scored virtually every kind of film during his unparalleled Hollywood career, but one genre always brought out his very best: that of religious films. For a man with no particularly strong dogmas of his own, Newman provided the definitive musical representation for God and a peerless sensitivity to the emotions involved. His scores for The Song of Bernadette (1943), The Robe (1953), The Egyptian (1954, co-composed with Bernard Herrmann and available on FSMCD Vol. 4, No. 5) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) are all beloved by collectors for their moments of heavenly rapture and earth-shaking power.
FSM proudly adds to this collection another of Newman's greatest religious works in complete form: A Man Called Peter, the 1955 biopic starring Richard Todd as the inspiring Scottish minister who became Chaplain to the United States Senate. Unlike The Robe this is not a Biblical story but a contemporary tale of a devout man whose life is carried out in the spirit of the Lord. Newman's score is charged with reverence and joy, centering around three distinct melodies: a Scottish folk-influenced theme for Peter; a supple, heartfelt theme for Peter's wife, Catherine, who narrates the story; and a warm, emboldening theme for America. Amongst this Newman provides several moments of religious beauty—particularly for Peter's awakening of service to the Lord ("The Revelation")—and a deft appreciation for his characters' inner humanity which was perhaps his greatest strength.
A Man Called Peter is one of our "hook, line and sinker" restorations, featuring Newman's complete score and every last note of the film's source music, in chronological order. (The source music involves several church hymns and Scottish folk songs, as such essential in Peter's story.) All of this is in stereo sound newly mixed from the original multitrack elements. A Man Called Peter is an essential Newman score finally given its proper complete presentation.