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July 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /July01/



Miklós RÓZSA
El Cid  
  CHAPTER III CH 37502-2   [42:43]

El Cid

Another very welcome return, courtesy of Chapter III, for this brilliant Miklós Rózsa score from the 1961 Samuel Bronston historical epic set in medieval Spain. It has all the composer’s renowned heroic sweep and grandeur. Charlton Heston in top form as the legendary hero overcomes the dominance of the Moors culminating in the wonderful set piece of the Battle of Valencia.

Once again we have to fault Chapter III for the paucity of its line notes (we only had a promotional copy consisting of only one sheet with a picture of Heston and Sophia Loren on one side and the 11 track titles on the other). This soundtrack recording is by the composer himself conducting the Graunke Symphony and it crackles with verve and energy -- and the sound quality is stunning.

The opening Overture (partially reprised in the El Cid March) has great rhythmic impetus, in a proud heroic Spanish idiom with tambourines adding extra colour. The other tracks mix thrilling music of battle and chivalry (like ‘Fight for Calahorra’ and ‘Battle of Valencia’) with more tender, intimate moments (like ‘Palace Music’ and the sumptuously sweet ‘The Twins’) for the Cid’s chequered love that is only too frequently interrupted by his campaigns.

The good news is that this edition of the score includes the tracks that were omitted from the Sony edition of the of the MGM soundtrack. Reinstated are: ‘Thirteen Knights’ and ‘The Twins’.

Readers might also like to seek out the splendid Koch recreation of the score that includes several previously unrecorded cues with James Sedares conducting the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

For Rózsa enthusiasts this is a compulsory purchase

Ian Lace

***** (packaging **)

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