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The Harry Lime Theme

[Anton Karas]

This signature theme from The Third Man was played by Martin Carthy on his album Waiting for Angels. The track had been released in advance on the Free Reed compilation The Carthy Chronicles. He also played it live at Ruskin Mill in December 2004.

Martin Carthy commented in the sleeve notes of Waiting for Angels:

I think that there can be very little doubt but that The Harry Lime Theme is just about the greatest piece of film music anyone ever wrote in an English language film. That's the objective me. The subjective me says it's simply the best of the lot. Ever and anywhere. So there. It was written by Anton Karas, who was a jobbing zither player until he played at a party for the cast and crew of the 1940s Carol Reed film The Third Man. He was a part of the package offered by the catering company who provided the food - the sort of package offered at the time by most of the catering companies in Vienna - and that gig must have changed his life. It's sort of nice that now and again things really do happen in the right way and that the goodies win. Anton Karas died in the early 1990s at a ripe old age having become internationally renowned for the music which he made for that film.

Martin Carthy also recited Miles Wootton's poem Aux Anciens Parapets to the music of the Harry Lime Theme, e.g. on the BBC album The Kershaw Sessions and on The Best of the Cambridge Folk Festival.