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  Special Merit 

MIKLOS ROZSA: A CENTENARY CELBRATION (2007)

Compilation Produced by Robert Townson. Mastered by Erick Labson. Cover Design and Paintings by Matthew Joseph Peak. CD notes by Robert Townson and Jerry McCulley.

3 CD Set

Varese Sarabande 302 066 810 2

Rating: ****

Disc One (Playing Time = 75:23):

1. EL CID: Overture (3:33) -- Hamburg Concert Orchestra and Chorus, Richard Muller-Lampertz
2. EL CID: Palace Music (1:17)
3. Legend and Epilogue (5:04)
4. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: The King's Fanfare/The Harbor of Bagdad (3:07)-- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Miklos Rozsa, conductor,
5. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: Eternal Love (4:46)
6. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: Gallop of the Flying Horses (1:40)
7. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD: The Marketplace of Basra (2:59)
8. THAT HAMILTON WOMAN: Love Theme (4:29)-- Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Joel McNeely
9. JUNGLE BOOK: The Jungle/Life in the Jungle (6:05) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Klauspeter Seibel, conductor
10. JULIUS CAESAR: Caesar Now Be Still, Finale (6:32) -- Royal Scottish N.O., Cliff Edelman
11. BEN-HUR: Parade of the Charioteers (3:37)
12. TRIBUTE TO A BAD MAN: Suite (4:51) -- London Symphony Orchestra, Morton Gould
13. EYE OF THE NEEDLE: Prelude (2:15) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orch, Miklos Rozsa
14. EYE OF THE NEEDLE: English Wedding (1:58)
15. EYE OF THE NEEDLE: Passion/ Love Theme (4:34)
16. EYE OF THE NEEDLE: The Fight (3:08)
17. EYE OF THE NEEDLE: Finale/Epilogue (3:21)
18. KING OF KINGS: Main Title (2:40) -- Hamburg Concert Orch. & Chorus, R.Muller-Lampertz
19. KING OF KINGS: Nativity (2:50)
20. Miracles of Christ (3:08)
21. Resurrection and Finale (3:31)

Disc Two (Playing Time = 74:02):

1. THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL: Overture (3:36) -- Utah Symphony, Elmer Bernstein
2. NEW ENGLAND CONCERTO (14:58) -- Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas, pianists; Utah Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein, conductor
3. BECAUSE OF HIM: Overture (3:25) -- Utah Symphony, Elmer Bernstein
4. SPELLBOUND CONCERTO (22:45) -- Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas, pianists; Utah Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein, conductor
5. FEDORA: Prelude and Fedora Appears (1:19) -- SymphoniepOrchester Graunke, Miklos Rozsa
6. FEDORA: Souvenir De Carfu (1:48)
7. FEDORA: Rain (4:37)
8. FEDORA: Search in the Villa (7:08)
9. FEDORA: Finale (1:37)
10. LAST EMBRACE: Prelude - Memories (4:05) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchstra, Miklos Rozsa
11. LAST EMBRACE: Goodnight Ellie (2:34)
12. LAST EMBRACE: Niagrara Falls (2:26)
13. LAST EMBRACE: The Tunnel - Finale (3:43)

Disc Three (Playing Time = 75:02):

1. BEN-HUR: Prelude (3:39) -- Hamburg Concert Orchestra, Richard Muller-Lampertz, conductor
2. BEN-HUR: Love Theme (2:51)
3. BEN-HUR: Victory Parade (2:23)
4. BEN-HUR: Miracle and Finale (3:32)
5. EL CID: El Cid (3:36)
6. ED CID: The Coronation (2:22) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
7. THE STORY OF THREE LOVES: Paganiniana/The Eternal City/ Boccaccio March and Finale (12:51) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
8. QUO VADIS: Quo Vadis Domine (5:29) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, E. Bernstein
9. THE LOST WEEKEND: Prelude/ New York Skyline/ Alcohol/ Love Theme (5:34) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
10. PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE: The Mayflower (Symphonic Picture)(12:01) -- Nurnberg S.O.
11. THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: English Waltz (Vienna in Scotland)(2:30) --Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
12. THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS: Prelude and Love Theme (6:18) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
13. KING OF KINGS: Entr'acte (7:23) -- Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra, Elmer Bernstein
14. DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID: Finale (4:33) -- Nurnberg S.O., Elmer Bernstein

This is a most worthy celebration compilation of film music by one of the greatest of all past Hollywood composers, Miklos Rozsa.

With three CDs and themes or suites from 21 Rozsa film scores, this is a real treausre box representing most of his best known film music. Naturally some Rozsa themes had to be left out and that would include mainly some of his great film-noir film scores, such as: DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE KILLERS and BRUTE FORCE.

It is too tedious to touch on each of the film scores, so I'll just make some general comments.

Rozsa is probably best known for his historical epics such as BEN-HUR, EL CID, QUO VADIS, and KING OF KINGS. They are all included in this set, though none of them are as good or better than te original soundtrack recordings.

Yet it is the less commonly recorded film scores which make this compilation especially worthwhile. They include: EYE OF THE NEEDLE (Disc One), FEDORA and LAST EMBRACE (Disc Two), THE LOST WEEKEND, PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE and THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (Disc Three). Of these the glorious PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE score stands out as the most convincing performance of them all and just as effective as the original soundtrack. Elmer Bernstein deserves much of the credit for this achievement. He is the one who conducts the best of the six different symphony orchestras featured in this CD set: the Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra. This same orchestra is also conducted by Rozsa for THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (Disc One) and LAST EMBRACE (Disc Two). Rozsa also conducts the Symphonie-Orchester Graunke in excerpts from FEDORA (Disc Two).

There are two longer concertos featured on Disc Two (tracks 2 and 4), performed by duo pianists Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas, with the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Elmer Bernstein's direction. These are both worthy additions to the compilation.

Naturally with a compilation this big not every track is of equal brilliance. The opening tracks of both Disc One and Three are rather plodding and without enough emotional intensity by the Hamburg Concert Orchestra and Chorus under Richard Muller-Lampertz's direction. They are the weakest tracks of the set. But they are only a small segment of the 48 total tracks on the 3 CDs.

In the CD booklet is a brief personal remembrance of Rozsa by producer Robert Townson and 8 pages of interesting notes by Jerry McCully. The cover design painting by Matthew Joseph Peak is very appealing. But what film is the illustration of the back of CD booklet representing? It would be helpful if the film title were listed somewhere in the booklet.

These 3 CDs provide many examples of the greatness of this composer in the centennial year.

All in all this is an outstanding compilation of Rozsa score themes and well worth adding to your collection, even if you already have some or many of the complete soundtracks.

 

--Roger Hall, 12 July 2007

 

See also these links:

100th Birthday Tribute to Miklos Rozsa

Rozsa Tribute Concert in Washington, DC

Remembrances of Rozsa

 


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