Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW
BARGAIN OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

 

alternatively
CD: MDT

Miklos ROZSA (1907-1995)
Ben Hur (1959) (Fanfare to Prelude; Star of Bethlehem and Adoration of the Magi; Friendship; The burning desert; Arrius's Party; Rowing of the galley slaves; Parade of the charioteers; The mother's love; Return to Judea; Ring for freedom; Lepers' search for the Christ; Procession to Calvary; Miracle and Finale) [47:10]
Quo Vadis (1951) (Prelude; Marcus and Lygia; Fertility hymn; The burning of Rome; Petronius’s Banquet, Meditation and Death; Ave Caesar; Chariot chase; Assyrian dance; Aftermath (Death of Peter – Death of Poppaea – Nero’s suicide); Hail Galba; Finale; Epilogue) [40:09]
Julius Caesar (1953) (The Ides of March; Caesar’s ghost; Approach of Octavian’s army and death of Brutus) [12:24]
National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus (Ben Hur) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus (Quo Vadis)/Miklos Rozsa
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernard Herrmann (Caesar)
rec. London, 1974-77. ADD
DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 3790 [47:10 + 52:47]

Experience Classicsonline



These re-recordings of extended sequences from three Rozsa-scored epics of the 1950s were landmarks of the LP era. They rode a little to the rear of the vanguard of film re-recordings established by RCA's and Charles Gerhardt’s Classic Film Score series. They did however, in the case of Ben Hur, use the same orchestra as Gerhardt. They have a special cachet because they were conducted by the composer in two cases.

As for Julius Caesar I recall seeing that film while attending Homelands Technical High School in Torquay in the 1960s – it was notable for its Hollywood accents. That play was part of the then O Level syllabus at a time when recalling great speeches was part and parcel of taking the exam. Truth to tell I don’t recall much about the music. That came to mean more a decade later when my interest in classical and film music began to burgeon.

Here at last we can enjoy again these three recordings without the anxiety of LP ticks and scratches. They still sound voluptuous and affluent. The brass work is gloriously clear and whoopingly golden in tone. This is accentuated by the harp slashes and parries for example at Friendship in the Ben Hur score. The lightly erotic dances for Arrius’s Party recall the music for Basil Poledouris’s Conan satyricon orgy and Herrmann’s Sinbad dance music. The timpani reflect the hortator’s relentless trireme oar-beat tempo and are capped with ragged brass fanfares. Parade of the charioteers is suitably brash and vainglorious. Return to Judaea carries all the burden of a lifelong quest, hope borne down with despair and a skirl that cannot help but be Hungarian. Ring for Freedom has that trademark sighing sway and poignant high-probing violin glow that eloquently bespeaks love and melancholy. We’ll draw a veil over the fact that the booklet refers to the Procession to Cavalry when it means Calvary. The final track is Miracle and Finale and here Hollywood style meets Cathedral choral vocalise and alleluias. It’s tremendous as the brass and bells ring out.

Quo Vadis
is another epic with more abrasive barbarity and less heavenly saccharin than in Ben Hur. There are, on the other hand, more idyllically pastoral references and some gentle easy-going melodies as in Petronius’s Banquet which continues with a shade more exoticism in Assyrian Dance even if it does drift into Iberian regions. Rozsa’s researches in Italy are said to have assisted with the scoring. Interesting that Rozsa’s string quartet (presumably the First of the two) was dedicated to his friend Peter Ustinov who played Nero. The Finale is very delicately scored with the choir magically poised and distant. The Epilogue is vintage Rozsa – having the great unhurried stride of his best epic scores – still so fresh. For this project Rozsa and Universal switched to the Royal Philharmonic.

Rozsa stands down as conductor and we next hear Herrmann’s tribute to Rozsa in three scenes from Julius Caesar, a film starring James Mason and Marlon Brando. Here the sound seems somewhat stressed when loud but the portentous atmosphere can be cut with a knife. Predictably Herrmann chose the Caesar’s Ghost music and this does indeed come across with lustrous creepiness. We return to epic heartland with the Approach of Octavian’s army and the death of Brutus. This is music relentlessly freighted with tragedy.

Magnificent performances and recordings complemented by really good notes by Raymond Tuttle who evidently takes time to enhance the listening experience with the right words.

Rob Barnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.