Ben Hur:  A Tale of the Christ (soundtrack) by Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens

 

 

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Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Miklos Rozsa

Faith and Film Music - The Music and the Meaning


Ben Hur:  A Tale of the Christ  - D1 One sheet Poster

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Ben Hur:  A Tale of the Christ (Soundtrack) by Mikos Rozsa

Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Composed by Miklos Rozsa
Rhino Movie Music (1996)

Rating: 10/10

Buy Ben Hur:  A Tale of the Christ by Mikos Rozsa  from Amazon.com

 

Listen to this soundclip of Ben Hur:  A Tale of the ChristOverture (414 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of Ben Hur:  A Tale of the ChristEsther (451 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of Ben Hur:  A Tale of the ChristThe Miracle (356 kb)


More clips from Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ at Amazon.com

 

“Rozsa’s score for the epic 1959 remake of “BEN-HUR” is a score that is an epic unto itself. The music is legendary, and until 1996 had never had a full release on compact disc.”

An Epic Classic
Review by Steve Townsley


Miklos Rozsa (1907-1995) fashioned a career--and subsequent legend--in film music, by often providing the grandiose score to several productions of epic scope, and while it seems unfair to label him “the John Williams of his time”, that may give some younger readers an idea of the strength and impression of his musical signature. His career as a film composer spanned 70 years, a landmark that few composers have matched. “BEN-HUR” was written in the late middle of his career, already following previous popular “sword-and-sandal” epics of the 1950’s, including “JULIUS CAESAR” and “QUO VADIS”. Already showing that the Biblical epic was a strong genre for film, Rozsa would return again to the genre for 1961’s “KING OF KINGS”, and 1962’s “SODOM AND GOMORRAH.”

Rozsa’s score for the epic 1959 remake of “BEN-HUR” is a score that is an epic unto itself. The music is legendary, and until 1996 had never had a full release on compact disc. Rhino rectified this with an incredible double disc, featuring a massive 88 track set that covers more than 2 hours of Rozsa’s score, including extended cuts, outtakes, and a fantastic booklet of liner notes, introduced by Charleton Heston, that detail the production and story of the score.

Disc One of the Rhino set launches into a six-and-half minute overture, and proceeds to cover much high and low ground, included several snippets of source music, like the 11-second “Shofar Call”—nothing more than a signaling horn, though its inclusion here may give you some idea of the thoroughness of this collection. More musically noteworthy, perhaps, is the 32-second “Salute for Gratus – Extended Version(!)

These curiosities however, do not detract from the general power of the listening experience, for they serve as garnishes to a much larger banquet of sound. Track 14, “Love Theme”, may start simple and low, but it soon warms to a blanket of loves strings and soft winds sweeping gently along. The first disc works up to an action filled climax, following with several battle and preparation cues, and culminating in a two-part Victory Parade. And that’s just disc one.

Disc two is of an ultimately more pensive nature, even though it features the iconic Chariot Race cues so immediately associated with the story of “BEN-HUR”, aims to resolve in a more spiritual climax. Perhaps this is due to the Intermission and Entre’acte cues falling at tracks 16 and 17, breaking the mood of the music just slightly. However, with the incredible amount of music to be featured, there is no easier way to separate the music, and this is eminently forgivable.

There have been several releases of portions of this score on many releases before and since this release, and all certainly have their value. In fact, most film music lovers who are simply curious about Rozsa’s music would be encouraged to seek out a “smaller meal” to digest. For die-hard film music devotees and completists, there is no better representation of Rozsa’s music than the Rhino set. This score, and this collection itself is a 10-out-of-10 in terms of quality and musical coverage. Most scores never warrant, let alone garner this kind of lavish edition, and it is a real jewel for collectors. The review you have read here will likely not do the service of replicating the experience of hearing this magnificent compilation, but I hope it will compel you to seek it out for yourself, if larger-than-life film music is what you seek.

Rating: 10/10

Got a comment?  Discuss this music here!


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
Disc 1      
1 Overture 6:32  ****
2 Anno Domini 1:32  ***
3 Star of Bethlehem (ext. ver.) 1:33  ****
4 Adoration of th Magi (ext. ver.) 2:04  ****
5 Shofar Call 0:11  *
6 Prelude (Main Title) 2:10  ****
7 Marcia Romana (ext. ver.) 1:56  ***
8 Spirit and Sword 0:51  **
9 Friendship (ext. ver.) 4:23  ***
10 The House of Hur (ext. ver.) 1:41  ****
11 The Conflict 1:42  ***
12 Esther 2:35  ****
13 The Unknown Future (outtake) 0:43  **
14 Love Theme 2:11  ****
15 Ring for Freedom 2:39  ***
16 Salute for Gratus (ext. ver.) 0:33  **
17 Gratus' Entry to Jerusalem 1:57  **
18 The Arrest (outtake) 1:18  **
19 Reminiscences 1:47  **
20 Revenge (outtake) 1:21  **
21 Condemned (outtake) 0:55  **
22 Escape (outtake) 2:06  ***
23 Vengence 0:45  **
24 The Prison (partial outtake) 0:39  *
25 The Desert (ext. ver.) 2:14  ***
26 Exhaustion (ext. ver.) 2:08  ***
27 The Prince of Peace Pt. 1 (ext. ver.) 3:07  ****
28 The Prince of Peace Pt. 2 (ext. ver.) 1:49  ****
29 Roman Galley 0:57  **
30 Salute for Arius (ext. ver.) 0:22  *
31 Quintus Arrives (ext. ver.) 0:40  *
32 Roman Fleet (ext. ver.) 1:05  ***
33 The Galley (Rowing of the Galley Slaves), Pt. 1-4 3:14  ****
34 Rest (ext. ver.) 1:27  ***
35 Battle Preparations, Pt. 1 & 2 1:59  **
36 The Pirate Fleet 1:06  ***
37 Attack! (ext. ver.) 1:27  ***
38 Ramming Speed! 0:18  **
39 The Battle, Pt. 1-3 3:05  ****
40 Rescue 1:53  ***
41 Roman Sails 0:48  **
42 The Rowers 0:25  *
43 Victory Parade, Parts 1 & 2 2:50  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 74 minutes  

 

     

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
Disc 2      
1 Fertility Dance 0:59  **
2 Arrius' Party, Parts 1 & 2 1:30  ***
3 Nostalgia (ext. ver.) 0:35  **
4 FArewell to Rome (ext. ver.) 1:39  ***
5 Judea, Pt. 1 (outtake) 2:55  ***
6 Judea, Pt. 2 0:24  **
7 A Barren Coast (outtake) 0:27  *
8 Balthasar (ext. ver.) 2:00  ***
9 Balthasar's World (ext. ver.) 1:56  ***
10 Homecoming 1:22  ***
11 Memories (ext. ver.) 2:48  ***
12 Hatred 1:35  ***
13 Lepers (ext. ver.) 1:00  ***
14 Return (ext. ver.) 2:51  ***
15 Promise 2:29  ****
16 Sorrow and Intermission 1:24  ***
17 Enre' acte 3:47  ****
18 Panem et Circenses (Bread and Circuses) March 0:52  ***
19 Circus Fanfare 0:42  ***
20 Panem Et Circenses March 1st Reprise 0:52  **
21 Fanfare for Circus Parade 0:14  ***
22 Circus Parade (Parade of the Charioteers) 2:13  ****
23 Fanfare for Start of the Race 0:11  ***
24 Panem Et Circenses March 2nd Reprise 0:56  **
25 Victory March 0:17  **
26 Bitter Triumph 0:46  ***
27 Aftermath, No. 1 (ext. ver.) 2:06  ***
28 Valley of Lepers 1:11  ****
29 The Search 2:19  ***
30 The Uncleans 2:28  ***
31 Road of Sorrow 2:48  ****
32 The Mount 0:39  ***
33 The Sermon 0:39  ***
34 Frustration 1:15  ***
35 Valley of the Dead (ext. ver.) 2:35  ***
36 Tirzah Saved 2:22  ***
37 The Procession to Calvary (ext. ver.) 2:54  ***
38 The Bearing of the Cross (ext. ver.) 2:46  ***
39 Recognition 1:27  ***
40 Aftermath No. 2 2:22  ***
41 Golgotha 0:52  ***
42 Shadow of a Storm (outtake) 1:00  ***
43 The Miracle 1:46  ****
44 Finale (ext. Choral track) 3:07  ****
45 Star of Bethlehem (atl. choral track) 1:33  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 72 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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