King of Kings
Rhino Movie Music (R2 78348)
Year Released: 1961 / 2002
Conducted by Miklos Rozsa
The MGM Studio Orchestra
Released: September 11, 2012
Formats: CD, Digital (39 min)
The Lion's Roar: Classic MGM Film Scores 1935-1965Rhino Movie Music (R2 75701)
Format: CD (156 min)
Review: King of Kings
4.5 / 5 Stars
As one of the slew of classic Biblical epic films, King of Kings stands out as an exemplary example of the story of Jesus Christ translated to film. MGM decided as a follow-up to the phenomenally successful Ben-Hur, they would make a re-make of the 1927 silent film King of Kings. The resulting film was rather successful, and at the time, a soundtrack LP of the score was released running 40-minutes long. But it was a re-recording, and nearly 100-minutes of Miklos Rozsa's score still hadn't seen the light of day. Now, in a deluxe 2-disc edition, Turner Classic Movies Music and Rhino Movie Music has released the entire score to the film, and it sounds absolutely phenomenal.
From the moment the "Overture" begins, you'll find yourself immersed in what is arguably a classic Hollywood film score. The orchestration is lush, and Rozsa's use of multiple themes throughout the album keeps the music fresh and almost lietmotivic. The style of Roman-esque music that Rozsa established for Julius Caesar and Ben-Hur is continued in King of Kings, proving equivocally that Hollywood can indeed have an influence on how one perceives historical music to be represented. The first disc runs over 77-minutes long, and contains a mixture of dramatic underscore, tense action, and faux-source music.
The second album starts out with the emotionally moving choral work in "The Lord's Prayer". There is a lot of turbulent and dramatic music on this disc, given that the story has been heating up, and the persecution and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus has been set forward in motion. "Via Dolorosa / Christ Bearing His Cross" is a dour cue that ultimately acts as a funeral march. The finale of the album, "Last Words of Christ / Golgotha / The Pieta / The Sepulcher / Resurrection" is a 6-minute long cue that takes us through the entire emotional gamut, culminating in the angelic Hosanna in the King of Kings main theme. The "Epilogue" serves as a nice wrap up to this 57-minute long disc.
The liner notes come in the form of a 42-page booklet, filled with color photos. From recommended notable cues, to a full history of the production of the film, it's quite a chunk of information to absorb. It's great that Rhino is putting out such high-quality products, and I can only hope that they continue to do so in the future - there is a lot of un-mined material in the archives out there! This is a spectacular two-disc set, and it's sure to become a collector's item in no time. If you are a fan of classic film music, you can't pass this one up.