January 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Ernest GOLD
Exodus: Music from the film.  
  Ernest Gold conducting the Sinfonia of London.
  BUDDHA 74465 99833 2   [34:22]


Ernest Gold’s Oscar-winning music for Exodus is a classic score. It’s main theme is probably one of the best known in the whole cannon of film music. Otto Preminger’s Exodus, released in 1960, was the story of the historical events that led to the creation of the state of Israel. Its all-star cast included Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson, Peter Lawford, and Lee J. Cobb. In addition to that unforgettable main theme.

Gold was clearly moved by the subject matter of Exodus, he was inspired to write a score that was as intense as it was sincere. His Arab and Israeli and other traditional ethnic orientated music is not only exceedingly colourful but it also has a greater ring of authenticity than one meets in 90% of Hollywood epics – listen to ‘Conspiracy’ for example. It is clear, here, Gold has done a lot of homework in getting the rhythms and harmonies just right and the exotic orchestrations and the Muslim call to prayer. ‘Karen’ has a golden nostalgic glow that speaks of the Parisian boulevards. Touching moments of tenderness and pathos stop short of being cloying. ‘In Jerusalem’ is an object lesson in combining atmospheric tone painting and screwing up tension. The military music has a nobility as well as a swagger that impresses; and the combat music eg. ‘Prison Break’ is savage and strongly propulsive with a peppering of nobility as the main theme is counterpointed.

The original Exodus album garnered Grammy awards for Best Song and Best Soundtrack album. The album was at the top of Billboard’s charts for fourteen weeks. A welcome return to a classic album.

Ian Lace


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