MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1



Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995)
Film Music
Suite from The Thief of Bagdad (1939-40) [19:46]
Suite from ‘Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book’ (1942) [31:12]
Suite from Sahara (1943) [7:46]
Suite from Ben-Hur (1959) [21:17]
BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba
rec. Media City, Salford, UK, 1 and 20 July, 2013. DDD.
Reviewed as a download in 16-bit lossless sound.
CHANDOS CHAN10806 [80:07]

The story of how Miklós Rózsa left his native Hungary and brought his talents as a composer of film music to the West is well known. He went first to London and then to California, when the outbreak of war necessitated moving Jungle Book lock, stock and barrel to Hollywood. Though there have been some fine recordings of his more ‘serious’ music - Chandos themselves have made three of them (see below) - it’s for his film music that he will be most remembered.
The BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba were the performers on those three earlier Chandos recordings. This orchestra and conductor also has a long-established history of fine recordings of film music for the label, so it’s only fitting that they should be chosen for this new project.
For all that I enjoyed the earlier albums, I shall be very surprised if this recording of the film music doesn’t outsell all three of them put together. It certainly deserves to be very successful. At least two of the films are all-time classics and I greatly enjoyed this evocation of The Thief of Baghdad and Ben-Hur. In case the music doesn’t quite do the trick for you, there are still photos in the booklet. I don’t think I ever saw Sahara and I’d forgotten Hugh Griffith’s part in Ben-Hur until I saw the photo, though I certainly remember his hell-raising Falstaff on, and reputedly off stage, at Stratford in the early 1960s.
It may seem odd to spend more time on the booklet than the performances but I found the notes most enlightening while I can be short and sweet concerning the performances and say that, short of someone brushing up the original film scores in modern digital sound, they are unlikely ever to be bettered. Rumon Gamba and his team capture the tender aspects of the music just as well as its more dramatic moments.
The recording, to which I listened in CD-quality 16-bit sound, is very good indeed. It captures the colourful nature of the music without ever being over the top or as brightly lit as the composer’s own Phase 4 recordings (see below). Movements such as the Parade of the Chariots, however, which concludes the album on track 24, are suitably Technicolor, though you may well find that you need to turn up the volume to hear the recording at its best.
Other download sites offer Chandos recordings but these are best obtained from their own They also offer a 24-bit version and if you purchase either the 16-bit or 24-bit the mp3 comes free for your personal player. I wouldn’t suggest trying to listen to the mp3 while out and about - you might find yourself getting too carried away. Subscribers to the Naxos Music Library can sample there but be aware that once you have listened you are likely to want to purchase.
Try some of Gamba’s other film music recordings for Chandos, too. The original music for Scott of the Antarctic is one of my favourites - it makes a fascinating comparison with the Sinfonia Antartica into which Vaughan Williams later shaped most of the material. (CHAN10007: A Recording of the Month - review - review - November 2011/2 DL Roundup - or 3-CD set CHAN10529).
The chief rival to this new recording comes from Australian Decca (Eloquence 4803790, 2 CDs at budget price: A Bargain of the Month - review) with Rózsa himself in the late 1970s conducting the music for Ben Hur and Quo Vadis and Bernard Herrmann the music for Julius Cæsar. Dutton have also given us a 2-CD release of the two composer-conducted recordings, originally made in Phase 4 (CDLK4332). The Ben-Hur suite, which forms the climax of the new recording stands up against even that competition. While the album is not qualified with a ‘Volume 1’ addition, I do hope that Chandos will give us the BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba in the Quo Vadis music, too, as a sequel.
Brian Wilson 

Chandos Movies series review index

Reviews of earlier Rózsa releases on Chandos
Volume 1 CHAN10488: review ~ DL Roundup October 2011/1
Volume 2 CHAN10674: review ~ review ~ DL Roundup October 2011/1
Volume 3 CHAN10738: review ~ review ~ DL Roundup 2012/19