Rhino Movie Music (R2 75723)
Release Date: 1999
Best of 1999: Best Compilation Album
|3.||Knights of the Round Table||11:59|
|5.||Valley of the Kings||13:25|
|2.||The King's Thief||10:10|
|3.||Tribute To A Bad Man||10:37|
|5.||Lust For Life||13:58|
|6.||The World, The Flesh, and The Devil||11:19|
|7.||King Of Kings||13:00|
|Total Album Time:||156:23|
|by Dan Goldwasser
on October 21st, 1999
Miklos Rozsa was without a doubt one of the great film composers of yesteryear, having worked on over one hundred films including Ben Hur, The Thief of Bagdad, Julius Caesar, and many many more. Some of the great scores he worked on came from the time he worked at MGM Studios, during Hollywood's "Golden Age". Rhino Records has recently released a two-CD compilation album focusing on 13 scores that Rozsa wrote at MGM, comprised almost entirely of never-before-released original recordings.
The first disc begins with a suite of music from Madame Bovary. Instantly one can get a sense of Rozsa's scoring style, which was heavy on the strings, and heavy on the themes. At 17:30 in length, this suite must satisfy anyone who has clamored for music from Madame Bovary. In fact, all of the suites on this album are extensive enough to keep most people happy. The first two tracks, Bovary and Ivanhoe, are presented in mono - but there is a nice little surprise. The last part of the suite from Bovary is presented in stereo - something that the engineers had decided to try while recording the score! While the quality falls short of today's technology, it's still pretty amazing to hear a stereo score from 1949. The remainder of the disc is full of suites from Knights of the Round Table, Beau Brummell, Valley of the Kings, and Moonfleet.
The second disc starts out with the rousing opening title song from Green Fire, and takes us through The King's Thief, Tribute To A Bad Man, Diane, Lust For Life, The World, The Flesh and The Devil, and the masterpiece, King of Kings. It is interesting to see the changes in Rozsa's style throughout the various films, and the suite from King of Kings, which has no unreleased material, is a fitting way to end the album. The inclusion of a 45-page booklet on Rozsa and the film scores presented here is a delightful inclusion to the set. Filled with tidbits and facts about the scores, it makes for a wonderful companion to the CDs themselves.
One might complain that the lack of Ben Hur, probably Rosza's most memorable MGM score, is a detriment to the album. Not so. Rhino has already released a 2-CD set of Ben Hur's complete score, and there is no way they could possibly fit any more music on this set without making it go to 3-CDs! Overall, this CD is an excellent way to introduce someone to Rozsa who was unfamiliar with his work. For those who are familiar with his work, they will no doubt be delighted in the sheer amount of previously unreleased music that is presented on this album.
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