Question, how do you review a film score that is already a classic, already evergreen and already loved by many? Well that’s a difficult question, unless of course you happen to have a copy of the new re-recording of BEN HUR by Tadlow music. BEN HUR the music has played a big part in my life, it was along with EL CID. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and ZULU among the first ten or twenty soundtrack LPs that I had in my collection, it was also a film that I loved and a book that I read over and over as a child. In later years too, the music played a big part as I used it in a school nativity which was staged at the local Church, where my youngest son played the angel Gabriel and did his lines to a soundtrack of the MOTHERS LOVE music. This superbly wonderful music has endured the years and has maintained its standing as a firm film music great with fans of movie scores and lovers of music alike. This is a score that dreams are made of, filled with melody, themes, glorious pomp and highly emotive musical nuances. The new recording from TADLOW is itself a triumph and a stirring piece of musical history. So, should I try and review it or should I simply just listen to it, well I suppose I will do both. At the fans of music from the movies gathering on September 9th, 2017, James Fitzpatrick of Tadlow, was kind enough to show the gathered audience a film of the recording, the cue which he played to us was ENTR’ACTE the original version, which I think I can say blew everyone away.
The quality of the recording, the high standard of the performance and the impeccable reconstruction work all made this one of the highlights of the day. Listening to this track again on the recording through my hi fi system just confirmed that this is a thing of beauty and quality. Right from the proud opening brass flourishes it is a piece of music that one straight away associates with Dr Rozsa and with BEN HUR, this is the sound of the Biblical epic, the sound of Hollywood and the sound of the Golden age of film scores. Emotive and poignant, dramatic and rousing, epic and grand, fragile and intimate, it has all of these attributes, and more. To examine the tracks and analyse each of them would I feel be wrong, as my opinion of the score is very, very biased, maybe all I will say is you really need to get this release when it is available, if you do not add this to your collection, then you and that collection will be poorer for it. So, order it now. Have you done it yet, available for pre-order now from Tadlow, released on October 3rd.
The release contains 157 minutes of music some of which has not been heard before, performed by the excellent CITY OF PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC and CHORUS conducted by Maestro, Nic Raine. This 2-compact disc set, comes with a full colour 16, page booklet. With highly informative notes by Frank K DeWald. New Score & Orchestration Reconstructed by Rozsa Expert Leigh Phillips.
What! Have you not ordered it yet??????
1. OVERTURE (6:17)
2. ANNO DOMINI / STAR OF BETHLEHEM / ADORATION OF THE MAGI (5:09)
3. FANFARE & PRELUDE / MARCIA ROMANA / SPIRIT & SWORD (5:04)
4. SALUTE FOR MESSALA / FRIENDSHIP / FRIENDSHIP CONTINUED (5:00)
5. THE HOUSE OF HUR (2:24)
6. CONFLICT (1:54)
7. ESTHER / THE UNKNOWN FUTURE* (4:24)
8. LOVE THEME / RING FOR FREEDOM (5:27)
9. SALUTE FOR GRATUS / GRATUS’ ENTRY TO JERUSALEM (4:25)
10. ARREST* (1:28)
11. REMINISCENCES (2:05)
12. CONDEMNED* / ESCAPE* / VENGEANCE (3:41)
13. THE PRISON – PART 1 / BEHIND GRILLS** / THE PRISON – PART 2 / SILENT FAREWELL** (2:23)
14. THE DESERT / EXHAUSTION / THE PRINCE OF PEACE / ROMAN GALLEY (7:36)
15. SALUTE FOR ARRIUS / QUINTUS ARRIUS / THE ROMAN FLEET (2:28)
16. THE GALLEY (THE ROWING OF THE GALLEY SLAVES) / REST (4:30)
17. BATTLE PREPARATIONS / THE PIRATE FLEET / ATTACK! / RAMMING SPEED / BATTLE / RESCUE / ROMAN SAILS / THE ROWERS (11:05)
18. VICTORY PARADE / VICTORY FINALE (2:48)
1. FERTILITY DANCE (1:57)
2. ARRIUS’ PARTY (1:21)
3. NOSTALGIA / FAREWELL TO ROME (2:26)
4. JUDEA / A BARREN COAST* (3:51)
5. BALTHAZAR / BALTHAZAR’S WORLD (3:51)
6. HARUN AL ROZSAD* (2:19)
7. HOMECOMING / MEMORIES / HATRED (5:23)
8. THE DUNGEON** / LEPERS (3:22)
9. RETURN / PROMISE / SORROW / INTERMISSION (7:34)
10. ENTR’ACTE (Original Version) (3:34)
11. PANEM ET CIRCENSES (1:10)
12. CIRCUS FANFARES (0:43)
13. FANFARE FOR CIRCUS PARADE / CIRCUS PARADE (PARADE OF THE CHARIOTEERS) (3:33)
14. BEN-HUR CROWNED / BITTER TRIUMPH / AFTERMATH (2:55)
15. VALLEY OF LEPERS / THE SEARCH / THE UNCLEANS (5:42)
16. ROAD OF SORROW / THE MOUNT / THE SERMON / FRUSTRATION (5:28)
17. VALLEY OF THE DEAD / TIRZAH SAVED (4:12)
18. THE PROCESSION TO CALVARY / THE BEARING OF THE CROSS / RECOGNITON (7:56)
19. GOLGOTHA / CALVARY** / AFTERTHOUGHTS** / SHADOW OF STORM (2:35)
20. THE MIRACLE / FINALE (5:27)
21. LOVE THEME FROM BEN-HUR (3:00)
*Not in film
One thought on “BEN – HUR.”
John Stevens, who has been running the Ben-Hur (Miklos Rozsa) Society in Australia for 44 years, has asked me to send him copies of any reviews of the new Tadlow release of Ben-Hur. However, as I am unable to print your own interesting and excellent review of this new recording, I would be most grateful if you could e-mail your review to me, so that I can print it myself and send it on to John, who, believe it or not, is still not on the internet, but hopes to be this year!
Thank you very much for your kind assistance.
With Best Regards,