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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Ben-Hur
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   book1245   (Member)

I am 99% sure the set will be waiting for me after work!!! Finally big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2012 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

Okay - played the whole thing against all (or most) previous CD releases.
The Savina album still suffers from the documented 'over-modulation' of
some MGM albums (most notoriously 'King of Kings').
Today we'd call it distortion or just bad engineering. I think someone was
asleep at the wheel if this is the way the mix went to master tape.
Ironically, the worst distortion is on the quietest tracks where the orchestra
swells. Still, comparing it with a Japanese and UK version of the CD - that
distortion is inherent in all. So I assume it's on the master tape. It's clear
these 3 discs were all using the same tape. Another possibility is that is
was 2nd or 3rd generation dub - but I believe FSM had access to an original
master and it's the same.
Even with that the FSM is still the best version of the Savina album we have.
The two Kloss albums sound wonderful and compared to the 1991 Sony CD
are a marked improvement overall.
As for the bonus selections - as George Komar (I think it was he) pointed out -
you can program your own complete 'alternate' score to the film.
I'd add in the 'bonus bonus' selections on Disc 5 chronologically just to make
it an even more unusual treat.
Great, great job, Lukas and company!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2012 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   Dr Lenera   (Member)

Looks like I was too late for this one, would not have been able to buy for another week anyway. I'm always been perfectly satisfied with the Rhino release, but then this IS one of the greatest scores of all time!

 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2012 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   David (Giacchino-fan)   (Member)

Looks like I was too late for this one, would not have been able to buy for another week anyway. I'm always been perfectly satisfied with the Rhino release, but then this IS one of the greatest scores of all time!

You're not too late! There's a second pressing about to happen:

www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/article.cfm/articleID/6789/

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2012 - 2:39 PM   
 By:   bhur59   (Member)

my holy grail it's at home....THANKS LUKAS FOR THAT

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2012 - 3:34 PM   
 By:   jonathan_little   (Member)

Wow, you guys weren't kidding about disc 3! That's the first one I happened to try getting out of the box and it was a challenge.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2012 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Wow, you guys weren't kidding about disc 3! That's the first one I happened to try getting out of the box and it was a challenge.

Lukas wants you to feel you've worked for this music. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2012 - 12:07 PM   
 By:   eggerty31   (Member)


Alternatively you could make a presentation of two albums, (either the Savina and the 'More Music' or the Kloss I and 'More Music') using this scheme:


Prelude
Star of Bethlehem
Adoration of the Magi
Gratus' Entry into Jerusalem
Friendship
House of Hur
Memories
Roman March
Messala's Revenge
Burning Desert
Rowing of the Galley Slaves
Victory Parade
Fertility Dance
Arrius' Party
Farewell to Rome
Return to Judaea
Love Theme of Ben-Hur
Mother's Love
Overture (to Act II)
Parade of the Charioteers
Bread and Circuses March
Death of Messala
Lepers' Search for the Christ
Sermon on the Mount
Valley of the Dead
Procession to Calvary
Golgotha
Christ Theme: 'Alleluia'
Miracle and Finale

This differs a little from the film order for the following reasons:

(a) Given there is no 'Overture' proper, and the Overture present is for Act II mostly, it's necessary to start with the Prelude... you have to have that 'Anno Domini' opening motif, the Nativity isn't dramatic enough to open with.

(b) 'Gratus' Entry' and Roman March are swapped because the Roman March is too abrupt to follow the nativity music and is too jarring. 'Gratus Entry' however starts with the same four notes as the film's title music on OST, so it sounds more fluid. Roman March works just as well in the other context, narratively.

(c) 'Memories' and 'Love Theme' are mostly (as Frank makes clear in his notes) mistitles of one another, so are reversed.

(d) The Overture, based as it is mostly on the Entr'Acte rejected, is placed at intermission.

(e) Bread and Circuses is placed after the Parade of the Charioteers since, as Rozsa makes clear in his notes, it's related in content mostly to the lap of victory scene.

(f) Since 'The Lepers' Search for the Christ' is based on four cues, and is mostly BEFORE the 'Sermon' as a cue, it fits easily here and follows on from Messala's death scene, as in the film. It segues better into the 'Sermon' with the same motif too.

(g) The 'Christ' Theme, though some think it might make a good Epilogue, belongs best before the 'Miracle', since it's clearly based on that.


Otherwise the natural sequence would be:

Overture
Star of Bethlehem
Adoration of the Magi
Prelude
Roman March
Friendship
House of Hur
Love Theme of Ben-Hur
Gratus' Entry into Jerusalem
Messala's Revenge
Burning Desert
Rowing of the Galley Slaves
Victory Parade
Fertility Dance
Arrius' Party
Farewell to Rome
Return to Judaea
Memories
Mother's Love
Bread and Circuses March
Parade of the Charioteers
Death of Messala
Sermon on the Mount
Valley of the Dead
Lepers' Search for the Christ
Procession to Calvary
Golgotha
Christ Theme: 'Alleluia'
Miracle and Finale


I can be as anal retentive as the next man.


Many, many thanks for this. Just received Ben-Hur today and have used you "album" version for the Kloss releases.
Also thanks to those who directed me towards the vinyl album covers.

 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2012 - 11:30 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Many, many thanks for this. Just received Ben-Hur today and have used you "album" version for the Kloss releases.
Also thanks to those who directed me towards the vinyl album covers.



Glad to be of service, Eggerty, but I've made a heinous error: I seem to have omitted the 'Naval Battle'. What does that SAY?

Bung it between the 'Rowing of the Galley Slaves' and the 'Victory Parade' of course. Sorry!

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2012 - 9:29 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

I am soooooo on the fence about this one. I actually have the money to get this, but I'm listening to the Rhino right now and it really sounds great to me. I really haven't given this one a listen in a while and I really forgot just how lovely it is. It's a beautiful score and I wouldn't mind having the additional stuff. But I have no negative feeling toward the Rhino release at all. Is the difference in sound quality that much greater on the FSM?

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2012 - 10:36 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

Doing some side by side comparisons, the FSM version has a much more 'open' sound as it were. The stereo separation is also cleaner (the two are connected really). And of course there's a lot of little things like the drums on Fertility Dance.
Plus I think perhaps more importantly the LPs have a few 'concert' versions that aren't on the later LP, even disregarding all the tons of alternates and stuff.

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2012 - 10:59 AM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

Great news!
Ben-Hur (with Casino Royale) finally arrive to Russia! Fantastic news. But...
I need to wait another 12-14 days till it arrive to me mad

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2012 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Dr. Lao   (Member)

-

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2012 - 9:05 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Fascinating to turn to this album after a week of immersion in Quo Vadis. What an advance the later score represents! QV has plenty of beautiful, spectacular, imaginative music. But that music, heard apart from the film, does not begin to represent the dramatic arc of the story. (Of course, the plot of QV, as handled by M-G-M, was rather loose and disjointed to start with.) B-H is so different. People who lump Rozsa's "epic" film scores together need to rethink the matter. The darkness, the intensity, the interweaving of motives -- all of these things set B-H on an entirely different level.

And what a dark story it is. Leave out that damned horse race (critical for the box office but hardly the highlight of the film), and you have almost continuous immersion in suffering, tragedy, and tangled motives from the return to Jerusalem all the way through the Crucifixion. The scenes in the ruined house are the emotional heart of the picture for me. Listen to the quiet, nearly continuous scoring of the reunion with Esther, the visit of the women, and the great first act finale. The music grabs you throughout and lends the picture an emotional depth that no actors could provide on their own. And the seemingly endless Procession to Calvary. It's much longer than the concert/album version yet it's not a moment too long. It immerses you in a seemingly endless cycle of anguish and frustration -- exactly what the characters are experiencing.

It's been over half a century since my first hearing of Ben-Hur, and I've discovered a lot of great music and opera in the interim. But Rozsa's masterwork still stands near the very summit of musical drama in my book. And this album is its best disc representation to date.

 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2012 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

And what a dark story it is. Leave out that damned horse race (critical for the box office but hardly the highlight of the film), and you have almost continuous immersion in suffering, tragedy, and tangled motives from the return to Jerusalem all the way through the Crucifixion.

That's an interesting take on the film.

And yet the chariot race sequence plays an important role in Judah's coming to terms with Rome and with Christ. The winning of the race is Judah's way of making things right, his solution, his reaction to of all of his and his family's suffering that has accumulated by the end of Act I. Of course it's a hollow victory precisely because it involves a Roman mindset to the problem; it emulates Messala's methodology: as Esther points out, "it is as though you had become Messala." The truly effective reaction to all of the tragedy that has befallen the house of Hur, he ultimately learns, is in letting go: "and I felt his voice lift the sword from my hands..."

 
 Posted:   Apr 4, 2012 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Fascinating to turn to this album after a week of immersion in Quo Vadis. What an advance the later score represents! QV has plenty of beautiful, spectacular, imaginative music. But that music, heard apart from the film, does not begin to represent the dramatic arc of the story. (Of course, the plot of QV, as handled by M-G-M, was rather loose and disjointed to start with.) B-H is so different. People who lump Rozsa's "epic" film scores together need to rethink the matter. The darkness, the intensity, the interweaving of motives -- all of these things set B-H on an entirely different level.




The thing about 'Quo Vadis?' is that Rozsa's great passion as a musicologist led him to use as many authentic melodies as he could. He claimed in a 1970s interview that he'd used eleven ancient Greek tunes in that score, (we know now what six of them were, we know there are three others whose sources he didn't identify, and that still would leave two we have no clue about at all!) and he also used at least three themes from Plainsong and Ambrosian chant, plus a mediaeval Italian tune for the Fertility Hymn.

That means that he composed very few tunes of his own as leitmotifs. There's Lygia's theme, Petronius' theme, and a load of fanfares that are truly his own, plus the marches, and Vinicius' motif. He was mostly a clever and inspired arranger on that one.

'Ben-Hur' on the other hand, also benefits from his 'Julius Caesar' experience, where a rich underlay of plush, sensual soundcarpet envelopes key scenes.

There are only three 'authentic' melodies in 'Ben-Hur', namely the Yemenite Hebrew tune for Miriam, the mother, and two melodies he had used before in 'Quo Vadis?', the 'Hymn to Helios' variation for Rome in flames that he gave to Gratus' march, and the 'Lamentation on the Death of Ajax' from the 'Nero's House of Women' cue, which reappeared in the 'B' section of 'Arrius' Party'. The latter two were exemplary of Rozsa's trick of using an authentic theme as a 'departure point' as he called it, rather than total statement of the theme.

The great plethora of themes he used in B-H were largely his own. 'Bread and Circuses' of course was a lift from 'Hail Galba' in QV, and Messala was given a main theme from 'All the Brothers Were Valiant'. Had the 'Haroun al Rozsad' been used, it'd be a lift from 'The Light Touch' and 'Valley of the Kings', but all else is original.

When Rozsa re-recorded the two scores for London Decca, he did virtually nothing to the 'Ben-Hur' material, just using stuff directly lifted from his manuscript as it was. For 'Quo Vadis?' though, he reworked the material considerably, to create the illusion of a more leitmotival, full orchestral score.

I'm sure he'd have been very excited by what Tadlow are doing, but his own approach to re-packaging this score was very different. No-one presented full scores with every cue back then.

 
 Posted:   Apr 12, 2012 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

Stupid question, but when pdf version for liner notes will be finally published?

 
 Posted:   Apr 12, 2012 - 1:48 PM   
 By:   zip-zap-pow!   (Member)

Well.... for those in the UK who have not yet picked this one up (myself included.. for now ;-) ) it is also available direct from Amazon.

However... what a surprise - the price is crazy (Amazon's I mean - I don't have a problem with the SAE / FSM retail price)

Be sure to be sitting down before opening this link!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007IPHRMO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=fsmforum-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B007IPHRMO

:-/

-John.

 
 
 Posted:   May 30, 2012 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   sotall   (Member)

When are the notes going to be available as a downloadable PDF?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 10, 2012 - 10:50 PM   
 By:   justoldbill   (Member)

A massive undertaking very well done. Now how 'bout a 5-cd release of KING OF KINGS with out-takes and including the Robert Ryan and Richard Boone albums?

 
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