Dramatic Vocalise Database

Steiner, Max (1888–1971)

Dark Victory (1939)

Dark Victory, Max Steiner’s second score from 1939 (see Gone with the Wind), also includes dramatic vocalization. At the end of the movie, Judith Traherne (Bette Davis), now blind and dying of a brain tumor, is accompanied by disembodied angelic voices, evoking a sense of sorrow before leading into the ending credits. The music is similar to the accompaniment of Melanie Wilkes’s death in Gone with the Wind and expresses the same sentiment.

(Nauman 2009, 238–39)

Hugo Friedhofer, orchestrator for Dark Victory composed scores for The Bishop’s Wife (1947), Joan of Arc (1948), and Boy on a Dolphin (1957), all of which include dramatic vocalization. He contributed to Steiner’s Gone with the Wind (1939), although uncredited, and also was an orchestrator for The Sea Hawk (1940), The Sea Wolf (1941), Kings Row (1942), and The Constant Nymph (1943), all composed by Erich Korngold. In addition, Friedhofer, along with Fred Steiner, helped to complete the final score for The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).



Judith’s Death and Transcendence