"I can't remember when this film score was out of print. The LP sold well, and I still have mine. But after listening to the score, I was always left with a longing for more. This double CD set grants a wish I had many years ago: to have the entire score. It is certainly one of the greatest film scores ever written and after each new listening, I find more things I like about Ben-Hur. There are Yiddish themes, religous themes, brutal Roman march themes, choral themes. It is another film score, that if taken away from the movie, I couldn't imagine watching the movie, the way the themes are introduced, lost, only to reappear later on. I have many favorites but the Love Theme is gorgeous. Rozsa uses brass instruments to portray the colonial power of Rome. The chariot race music is rousing and perfect. It is tough writing themes for Christ but Rozsa comes through with truly inspiring work, and with this entire score you can relish the more subtle effects he gets. There are some echoes of King of Kings but this is the film score Rozsa I feel will be best remembered for; it has wonderful scope, great story-telling power, flexibility, and beautiful melodies. It is so powerful, that when I first saw the movie, the music seamlessly blended and when the film was shown (back then on a large screen) the overall effect was overwhelming. The chariot race and the afterwards show Rozsa at his best, bringing all his many themes together, and at the climax of the film, we know we have experienced a great movie and great music. Highly recommended. This is the ultimate set for fans of Ben-Hur and Miklos Rozsa, the grand wizard of epic film music."
Totally Unsurpassed Film-Score Music!
William F. Flanigan Jr. | North Potomac, MD USA | 12/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This dual CD set unambiguously deserves many more stars than just a puny five! I have heard none finer. And only a few CDs of equal quality. The legendary Miklos Rozsa is the film's composer. This is the inaugural release of Rozsa's complete score for the 1959 film BEN HUR (BH). The CDs contain 88 tracks in the same order as in the composer's original score. By "complete," I mean there is more music here than there was actually in the film. This is because the CDs include unedited cues and music from film outtakes plus one alternative track. The vast majority of tracks were recorded on the M-G-M sound stage with sizable orchestras of up to 75 performers. The result is sound of intense richness, but not to the point where ensembles over whelmed individual instruments (of which there were quite a few "unusual" ones). Not surprisingly, Rozsa won an Academy Award for BH (his third). While you can debate which of Rozsa's score is his best (my personal favorite is his music for the 1947 film THE RED HOUSE), there is no debate over the undisputed fact that ALL his 90 or so film composition are simply (or very close to) magnificent. The CD booklet is over-the-top outstanding, and easily the most extensive ever created. More of a book than a booklet, it's authors, Marilee Bradford (Ms. Bradford is also produced the CD set) and the late Tony Thomas, have provided us with a definitive source of reference. Rozsa was probably the only composer of his time who could create the score for BH. This CD set is probably the only recording of our time that demands to be in your collection.
William Flanigan, Ph.D."
Finally on CD: The greatest film score ever composed!
William F. Flanigan Jr. | 07/26/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Miklós Rózsa was, in my opinion, the finest film composer who ever lived. And his score for BEN-HUR is the finest film score ever written. This release is superb in every way: the recorded sound, the packaging, the liner notes. Until this Rhino release was issued, there existed no actual "original" soundtrack! There were only the volumes released by MGM well over 35 years ago, conducted by Carlo Savina and Erich Kloss, and a Rózsa-conducted performance on London (1977) which doesn't touch these original sessions in power and resonance. Every collector of film music should obtain this release before it's gone! The score represents Rózsa at the very peak of his illustrious career. It is filled with melody, majesty, drama, and the excitement of the "Golden Age of Hollywood" at its zenith.My everlasting thanks go to Marilee Bradford, who has since unfortunately left Rhino, for producing this wonderful recording, taken from the actual Rozsa-conducted masters. Truly a soundtrack to marvel at!"
A Great Soundtrack
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 08/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This soundtrack was issued by Turner Classics Movies and Rhino and is sized like a book. In fact, a very informative 52-page booklet (with some wonderful pictures) comes with the CDs, making this an invaluable set. The two CDs contain all of the music (including outtakes) from the soundtrack played in the order it appears in the movie. The sound has been beautifully remastered. This is the kind of soundtrack that so many movies deserve but few get. An outstanding tribute to the novel by Lew Wallace and how it has been presented over the years on stage and film, culminating in the 1959 movie."