Search - Jerry Goldsmith, Morton Stevens :: Masada (1981 Television Mini-series)

Masada (1981 Television Mini-series)
Jerry Goldsmith, Morton Stevens
Masada (1981 Television Mini-series)
Genre: Soundtracks
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Jerry Goldsmith, Morton Stevens
Title: Masada (1981 Television Mini-series)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Varese Sarabande
Original Release Date: 4/5/1981
Re-Release Date: 2/2/1990
Album Type: Soundtrack
Genre: Soundtracks
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 030206524925

CD Reviews

Epic and Rare!
Amer K. Zahid | Karachi, PAKISTAN | 01/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 1981 'Masada' marked Jerry Goldsmith's brief return to the small screen, who after all, started his career with television in the 1950's. Masada is regarded as one of the finest scores of television by Goldsmith which is regarded more epic and grand in scale to that of an biblical epic reminiscent of the Golden Age period. Masada's premise is based on a jewish uprising at the fort of Masada against the oppression of the Roman armies which led to a massive suicide as a form of retaliation. This dramatic six hour mini-series starred Peter Strauss and Peter O Toole in a epic David versus Goliath like dramatic confrontation.

Goldsmith's score is lighthearted and yet robust with bristling rhythms and movements and like its Golden Age predecessors the score succeeds on a more mature level. Not to mention, the familiar extrapolations of Hebraic and ancient melodies are well immersed in the score giving it an organic feel throughout.
The "Main Title" starts quietly before it develops into a musical yet triumphant like march theme for the jews. This melodic material is by far the primary theme which Goldsmith consistently develops as a recurring motif in the remaining fabric of the score. The theme is also heroic and contemplative of the legacy of the new religion - which represents the plight of the trapped jews. The story takes place after the recent crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There is also an tragic poignancy which can be felt in the score such as in The "Old City" where cello combined with wind instruments and strings conjure a moving set piece. Here Goldsmith introduces a secondary contemplative motif. Vibrant ethnic music with full orchestral support is represented in "The Planting'. The strings in the latter part of the score evoke the delicacies of Miklós Rózsa's religious type of scoring.

By far the BEST and most engaging music is the superbly heroic and violent battle-charge like march in "The Road to Masada". This 7 minute piece opens with a new fanfare transcription (a variation of the Masada theme) with slicing strings and trilling brass in the foreground giving the music a very harsh and hostile impetus which then builds to a powerful crescendo. In between, Goldsmith introduces the Masada march and the secondary theme. This music is befitting as it underscores the march of the Roman Armies against the fortress of Masada. This kind of scoring for a television production is extremely rare and unprecedented. I consider this to be one of the finest stand alone cues in Goldsmith history! While, 'Night Raid' highlights the typical action material from Goldsmith's repertoire. The music is intense but easily correlates to his writing from "The Wind and The Lion." Fans familiar with Goldsmith's orchestral moments from The Final Conflict will find some affinity to some of the writings here. "The Slaves" features a heartfelt rendition of the secondary theme which is more solemn and poignant in texture and concludes on a tragic note.

Unfortunately, this 37 minute CD is is only a half representation of Goldsmith's full score. The truth is that this album (recorded at EMI studios in London) is basically a re-recording with slight development of some of the music cues. Goldsmith himself arranged and supervised the recording superbly engineered by Eric Tomlinson. The two page liner notes by Kevin Mulhal are adequate but the overall packaging is sparse. Due to other film commitments Goldsmith did not completely score the series and the task was handed over to Morton Stevens who scored parts 3 and 4 only. This album was released during 1990 by Varése Sarabande and is now sadly out of print. Although one can still find copies at and at ebay...

The original score as recorded is more varied and developed with greater infusion of ethnic music. It is hoped Varése would release the complete score as a part of their deluxe expanded CD editions in the future, as this is a gem of a score and one that should belong in every film music buff's collection. Of note: In 1981 Goldsmith incidentally wrote a fuller adaptation of the main March and the secondary theme into a rousing concert arrangement which he now routinely performs in concert - Its recording is separately available on a Goldsmith compilation CD titled "Goldsmith conducts Goldsmith" and comes recommended as well
Your Methods of Deterrence Will Not Deter Us
gobirds2 | New England | 08/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a powerful soundtrack composed by Jerry Goldsmith from the Television Mini-series. Its beautifully melodic structure is moving, inspirational and above all powerful. The Main Title is a rousing tour-de-force and is a testament to the unbridled notion that no nation on earth can enslave the people of another physically or spiritually. This is one of the best pieces of music that Jerry Goldsmith ever composed."
Still Powerful After Many Years
Stephen Kaczmarek | Columbus, Ohio United States | 07/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I was a child, mini-series were all the rage, but while so many people talked about "Shogun" (for all the wrong reasons -- it is a magnificent work, but I recall people being most dazzled because it showed beheadings on TV), another one better captured my attention: "Masada." The story of defiant Jews holed up in a mountain fortress while a Roman legion lay siege was riveting, not just for its great script and the stunning performances by Peter Strauss and Peter O'Toole, but because of Jerry Goldsmith's epic soundtrack. Even as a child, I recognized the quality of this work, rather moreso than most TV of the time, and the noble overture of "Masada" has stayed with me all these years. So it was with trepidation that I acquired the soundtrack recently. Sometimes revisiting what impressed you in childhood is better not done.

Not in this case, as I was pleased to find that not only did the music still give me chills, but it was actually even better than I remember. Here there is sweep, beauty, courage, mystery, tragedy, redemption, and legend, all in musical form, and there is not a weak link on the entire CD (which, as others have posted, unfortunately does not contain all of the music of the mini-series). In fact, it is my favorite of Goldsmith's many, many wonderful soundtracks. A close listen might reveal moments that are reminiscent of or forecast his tracks for "In Like Flint," "Star Trek," "The Wind and the Lion," "Conan, the Barbarian," and "Total Recall," with a bit of Jarre's "Lawrence of Arabia" and other influences, but for my money, this is Jerry Goldsmith's warhorse, his most realized musical vision, and if he had done nothing else in his brilliant career, not "Patton," or "The Edge" or even "The Man from UNCLE," I think he could have rested quite comfortably on the merits of this one composition. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but listen and judge for yourself."