Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Agony And The Ecstasy (1965 Film - 1997 Score Rerecording)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
Under Jerry Goldsmith's baton, Alex North's soundtrack for Carol Reed's 1965 film about the life and artistic conflicts of Michelangelo gets a second wind. North's epic sweep and his mixture of Renaissance musical forms, s... more »
Under Jerry Goldsmith's baton, Alex North's soundtrack for Carol Reed's 1965 film about the life and artistic conflicts of Michelangelo gets a second wind. North's epic sweep and his mixture of Renaissance musical forms, somber religious chords, plainsong melody, and march beats congeal into a symphonic grandeur faithful to the film's equally larger-than-life subject matter--inspiration's heavenly spark. Like the story, the creative energy needed to make this music has its own divine conflicts. North was already challenged by composing in the shadow of the great painter; Goldsmith, who in turn subordinates himself to reworking another composer's score, delivers a noble show of functional competence that, while less than inspiring, is nonetheless a faithful re-creation that should please connoisseurs of classic movie music. --Joseph Lanza
MUSIC LANDMARK OF 2004!!
mike3255 | 05/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
"...This is one of the landmark film music releases of 2004, arguably the finest. The score has been released on CD twice before - the original album on Cloud Nine Records, and a re-recording of some 40 minutes of North's score conducted by Goldsmith on Varese. This is undoubtedly the recording of choice however, combining Goldsmith and North's works for the first time, and adding some additional tracks as well. It's one of North's finest scores (and therefore one of the finest scores), demonstrating once more (as if such demonstration were needed) that his music has a timeless quality quite unlike any of his Golden Age peers. Sound quality of this album is acceptable rather than exceptional, but that doesn't detract from the sheer genius of the music. Simply magnificent..."
Some of the best Italian Renaissance music written during th
Stuart M. Paine | Arlington, VA USA | 11/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of a series of rerecordings of Alex North's music Jerry Goldsmith conducted for Varese Sarabande - some others being VIVA ZAPATA!, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and the rejected score for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. It was a welcome series and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is a very, very good orchestra - IMO much better than the one which recorded the OST. In another realm and with Neeme Jarvi conducting, they've done some of my favorite recordings (Glazunov's ballets, RAYMONDA and THE SEASONS). Goldsmith gets a good sound out of them, too. It's a pretty sound, a concert hall sound, unlike the drier sound of the original soundtrack conducted by North himself.
The liner notes for this rerecording identify three composers who worked on the film. In addition to North, none other than Jerry Goldsmith himself did the nearly 13 minutes of music heard behind the narration to the film Prologue, "The Artist Who Did Not Want to Paint". That music is not on this disc, but IS included on a 1989 Intrada disc, conducted by Goldsmith himself, which features his score to RIO CONCHOS. That is a beautiful recording. The Prologue is also on a 2004 Varese Club disc of much of the original soundtrack.
North's score is touched by Renaissance practice. Parts sound a little like Gabrielli (his intent) and there's a feel to it that it really is of the Church and meant for presentation in the round with choirs answering one another (antiphony), their "voices" reverberating throughout the structure. Track 8, "Festivity" is different but complementary. It could almost be a transcription of one of the old (1480-1520) Italian lute pieces I used to play myself. But of course this is not actually music of the period. North's fusion of the old with the new is so adept that one might not initially realize it is new. For THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, he captured the spirit of Pope Julius's II's Vatican in a language that recalls the time but speaks directly to us.
This is my favorite of North's works. Highly recommended."
A Big Shame That A Masterpiece Like This Is Ignored
Robert Pollock | Durham, NC USA | 12/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alex North is probably the John Williams of his time besides Bernard Hermann. All of his works were great and his effort put into them was enormous. The Agony And The Ecstasy is one of his great scores besides that of Spartacus and Cleopatra and was nominated for best score. What sets it apart is the style. The style was based on the music of the movie's setting and the instruments used were very medieval and religious-sounding, obviously requiring Alex to do much research. The main title for the film sounds majestic and as beautiful as the painting on Sistine Chapel. The pope's theme is majestic and the music describing the chapel is epic and religious in quality. The battle scenes actually sound like what they would in their time, a unique treat to listen to. The only thing missing was the beautiful choral pieces in the film but they were done by someone else so I don't blame Varese. The liner notes were extremely helpful and the performance made me forget about the difference between the original and the rerecording. I very, very strongly recommend it. It is very unique, ambitious, and one of the best things I've ever heard since Star Wars A New Hope."