Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Ben-Hur
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2012 - 10:11 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)



Ah... You live on dead dreams. the myths of the past. The glory of Camera65 has gone– do you think it will return? Heston will not rise again to save us, nor Wyler!


That should be "...no, not Wyler!" Get it exact, Basil! smile


Originally... "Joshua will not rise again to save you, nor David".

Have you checked it? I recall it as "Joshua will not rise again to save you, no not David".

(And it's very important we get it right, as this is deathless prose to me. smile )

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2012 - 11:21 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

I have no idea what's "right." Given the multiplicity of manuscripts and film edits, the question may well be unanswerable. I must say that I liked what I heard in the Turner telecast the other day. Chorus was from the rear and relatively soft. It seemed like a gentle musical enhancement rather than an obvious statement that this is going to be a Religious story.

Its simple to compare. on all older, pre dvd videos, the chorus makes the correct entrance and in the theater it was very loud. the orchestra accompnanied the chorus, not the other way around, On all dvds, including the blu ray, the chorus arrives late and not loud enough.




The best way to compare is to look at MR sketches which itself was changed when the orchestrating began


Sorry, NO. The final film should be what it has always been since 1959. its very simplem.


Joe is right. The soundtrack should be the same as when the film was originally released. I saw the film about four times theatrically between 1960 - 1970 (it was always the same version - the UK never had any edited versions) and it seems to me that the chorus was louder. The change seemed to come when Warner Bros remixed the sound for DVD around about 2001 and at the same time centered most of the dialogue.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 16, 2013 - 6:38 PM   
 By:   pkinsley1   (Member)

If anyone has hesitated to order this cd I urge you to take the plunge. The sound quality on this
recording is every bit as good as any new, state of the art recording could have been. Smooth mid-range and wonderful base. Amazing transparency. I am hearing instruments that I never heard before. The 1995 Rhino recording was good for it's time but this new recording is a revelation. I would even say that the sound quality on this cd exceeds that of the recent Bluray release of Ben Hur that hit the shelves in late 2011. You won't find a better price than what is offered by FMS either.
Buy this superb restoration of a superb film score.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 16, 2013 - 9:28 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Does anyone know how sales of the second pressing are going? I recall the first pressing sold out in two weeks or so.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 16, 2013 - 10:47 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

The sound quality on this
recording is every bit as good as any new, state of the art recording could have been.


Well, no it's not unless what you use to listen to sucks.

That's not to say it's bad, as most of it is really good (though not all...especially the March of the Charioteers, and the Fertility Dance), but it clearly shows its vintage.

 
 Posted:   Mar 17, 2013 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   jeremy_johnson_7   (Member)

Love this - best big buy soundtrack of the year.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 18, 2013 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   pkinsley   (Member)

My review from 3/17 was based on a comparison with the new recording of "Quo Vadis" from City of Prague Philharmonic as well as many other high quality recordings in my collection. The newly restored "Ben Hur" soundtrack sounds every bit as good as this except for "Parade of the Charioteers" which does suffer from some compression problems. The only difference I can discern is that it has the sound and character of a "movie soundtrack" recording as opposed to a modern studio or concert hall recording. I have the Rotel RSX 1560 AV receiver, Denon Universal CD Player and Phase Tech Premier front speakers. I realize that everyone's listening experience can vary but sometimes it takes good equipment to bring out the best in a recording.

 
 Posted:   Mar 18, 2013 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

My review from 3/17 was based on a comparison with the new recording of "Quo Vadis" from City of Prague Philharmonic as well as many other high quality recordings in my collection. The newly restored "Ben Hur" soundtrack sounds every bit as good as this except for "Parade of the Charioteers" which does suffer from some compression problems. The only difference I can discern is that it has the sound and character of a "movie soundtrack" recording as opposed to a modern studio or concert hall recording. I have the Rotel RSX 1560 AV receiver, Denon Universal CD Player and Phase Tech Premier front speakers. I realize that everyone's listening experience can vary but sometimes it takes good equipment to bring out the best in a recording.




Reading the notes works wonders. Frank's notes are very good. Reading them is the thing.

The brass parades were recorded in Rome before any of the main leitmotif score was laid down. The recording conditions were different. The parades were played by the Brass Band of the Carabinieri cops and the wind section of the National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. Rozsa went out there early to record these pieces for what he considered an on-scene outdoor ambience apart from that of the main score. Whether he recorded outdoors I can't recall but they weren't done at Culver City.

The difference in sound quality is referred to in the notes. Cinecitta didn't record with the same finesse then, as any Nascimbene release will tell.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 18, 2013 - 11:12 AM   
 By:   pkinsley   (Member)

Actually I had read all the notes before my first listening and was totally aware of the different recording locations. I make a practice of this with any new recording I receive. However I still am hearing better sound quality with the other marches, particularly the "Victory Parade" march than with the "Parade of the Charioteers". I noticed it during my first hearing. Another member pointed this out yesterday. Doesn't change a thing for me. I totally love this new recording of my all time favorite film score.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 18, 2013 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   pkinsley   (Member)

My review from 3/17 was based on a comparison with the new recording of "Quo Vadis" from City of Prague Philharmonic as well as many other high quality recordings in my collection. The newly restored "Ben Hur" soundtrack sounds every bit as good as this except for "Parade of the Charioteers" which does suffer from some compression problems. The only difference I can discern is that it has the sound and character of a "movie soundtrack" recording as opposed to a modern studio or concert hall recording. I have the Rotel RSX 1560 AV receiver, Denon Universal CD Player and Phase Tech Premier front speakers. I realize that everyone's listening experience can vary but sometimes it takes good equipment to bring out the best in a recording.




Reading the notes works wonders. Frank's notes are very good. Reading them is the thing.

The brass parades were recorded in Rome before any of the main leitmotif score was laid down. The recording conditions were different. The parades were played by the Brass Band of the Carabinieri cops and the wind section of the National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. Rozsa went out there early to record these pieces for what he considered an on-scene outdoor ambience apart from that of the main score. Whether he recorded outdoors I can't recall but they weren't done at Culver City.

The difference in sound quality is referred to in the notes. Cinecitta didn't record with the same finesse then, as any Nascimbene release will tell.


I realize now that you thought that my comments about the recording having the sound of a "movie soundtrack" had to do with the sound quality of the marches. I was actually using that term to compare this new restoration with a contemporary recording done in a studio or a concert hall and not specifically referring to the "Parade of Charioteers" march.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2013 - 7:00 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Just thought I'd throw this quote in as a point of interest:

"It's not particularly well-written. The music is heavy-handed and grates on the ears. The story is far-fetched and lacks proper editing."

Anyone guess what film this refers to? Well, since this is a B-H thread, no, you don't get a toffee apple for getting it right. But yes, folks, a genuine, bona fide reviewer (Christopher Null--filmreviewer.com) actually typed those carefully-considered musings onto a computer screen for our edification, and I didn't want you to miss them.

Of course there are any number of crap reviewers out there writing...well, crap. What got me about this one was that he trashes what for me are the two strongest points of this film without providing a single example. I know some people do hear Rozsa's music as heavy-handed, and there are one or two instances where I would agree--but B-H is certainly not one of them. Rozsa's music needed a strong structure to support it, preferably a slightly melodramatic structure (in the best sense of the word), and B-H provided it in spades. Nowadays it's hard to think of a more perfect marriage than B-H and its music--to the extent that one gets a shock to realize there are those who hear it differently and would actually contemplate divorce. I know there's room in the world for divergent opinion, but sometimes the divergence just seems straight out perverse.

 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2013 - 7:11 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I realize now that you thought that my comments about the recording having the sound of a "movie soundtrack" had to do with the sound quality of the marches. I was actually using that term to compare this new restoration with a contemporary recording done in a studio or a concert hall and not specifically referring to the "Parade of Charioteers" march.

I could understand this better if the old Ben-Hur recording exhibited sound congestion to match that of the recent Conan the Barbarian re-recording that I find unlistenable during it's many overloaded sections.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2013 - 8:15 PM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

I'm a rabid completist when it comes to 'Ben-Hur'. Yesterday I finally obtained the old UK 'Hollywood Collection' CD of the Savina recording. It was last on my list to a/b with other releases and especially the FSM 5 disc set. (The 'Hollywood Collection' editions of 'Dr. Zhivago' and 'How the West Was Won' are the most sonically satisfying of those two releases to date).

I'm happy to report that the FSM release blows it out of the water. So it's now official - FSM's 5 disc set of 'Ben-Hur' truly is definitive from a sonic perspective. Happy. Content.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 21, 2013 - 3:08 AM   
 By:   VampyreDjango   (Member)

So it's now official - FSM's 5 disc set of 'Ben-Hur' truly is definitive from a sonic perspective.

Oh, so now it's official? Good to know.

Just messin' wink

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 21, 2013 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

So it's now official - FSM's 5 disc set of 'Ben-Hur' truly is definitive from a sonic perspective.

Oh, so now it's official? Good to know.

Just messin' wink


Been burned by so many 're-masters' that I'm highly skeptical until I've done thorough comparisons to previous releases. So yes, for me - it's now official. A recent case-in-point (and this is the first I've mentioned it) is the new 'Hoosiers'. The sound quality is quite inferior to the old That's Entertainment U.K. release. It's maddening.

 
 Posted:   Mar 21, 2013 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Not to derail the thread but what's wrong with Intrada's mastering in your view?

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2013 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

Not to derail the thread but what's wrong with Intrada's mastering in your view?

Yavar


I set up both discs and a/b'd them in synch, by comparison the Intrada was weak, thin-sounding, compared to the UK release. I expect decent re-masters to have a more expansive sound field. The only way I could make a personally satisfying edition was to combine all the tracks from the UK release with the unreleased tracks from the Intrada and when those tracks appear in sequence they are rather lacklustre.

And to further demonstrate how unpredictable and inconsistent these so-called re-masters can be, Intrada's own expanded 'Explorers' is wonderful when a/b'd with the original Varese CD.

Perhaps I'm a re-mastering engineer's worst nightmare because I will compare editions of great scores with as many older releases as possible. It seems to me they don't do this themselves. As someone who has spent much of his life inside recording studios, I wouldn't even begin or undertake such a project without all previous editions at my fingertips and if I couldn't improve upon it - I'd leave it alone - let alone weaken it. (The best engineers I've worked with are constanlty a/b'ing their mixes where necessary and also switching back and forth between various sets of speakers to check consistency from one set to another). The only justification I can find is re-releasing for those who missed out on the previous limited editions. Nothing justifies taking the wind out of the sails of a great recording though. ('Sand Pebbles' and 'Blue Max' are other examples - the Varese and old Sony versions blow the newer releases away respectively). Just my opinion, of course, and what my ears tell me when comparing directly.

They are, for the most part, The Emperor's New Re-Masters to me.

p.s. It's not really derailing the thread because the subject really is definitive editions of great original recordings like 'Ben-Hur'.

 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2013 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

They are, for the most part, The Emperor's New Re-Masters to me.




To put this in perspective, you also told us the Gerhardt Classic Film Scores series sounded much better in the relatively muddy surround-sound CDs than in the excellent newer edition.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2013 - 11:11 PM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

They are, for the most part, The Emperor's New Re-Masters to me.




To put this in perspective, you also told us the Gerhardt Classic Film Scores series sounded much better in the relatively muddy surround-sound CDs than in the excellent newer edition.


And I stand by what I said. A simple a/b reveals that the Gerhardt's have been re-eq'd extensively and I much prefer the purity of the original job. It's not as glamorous but sounds truer.

...and you help my case because = many of the titles I mentioned can be perceived as sounding 'muddier' than the newer releases for the following reason: the bottom end is either no longer present in the source material (if from tape - tapes DO wear out) or has been largely dialed out (in their efforts to sound 'crisp' engineers often remove bottom end).

'The Blue Max' has been so treated. If you listen to the older Sony release, the cellos and bass instruments (including percussion) SOUND LIKE BASS INSTRUMENTS. The Intrada release posits the cellos eq-wise so that they sound like viola or violins. The bass is absent. There's a furious and relentless drive in cues like 'Bridge' and 'Retreat' which is fueled by the bass instruments. You won't 'feel' it in the later release.

The Sony release sounds the way it was meant to sound - compared to the Intrada which is crisp as toast and completely missing lower frequencies.

If your hearing is gone - or partially gone - or if you're just wired to like things 'high-endy' the newer releases will sound great to you expressly because of the treble because you probably can't hear the bottom end anyway. You'll call it muddy.

 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2013 - 12:18 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)


To put this in perspective, you also told us the Gerhardt Classic Film Scores series sounded much better in the relatively muddy surround-sound CDs than in the excellent newer edition.


And I stand by what I said. A simple a/b reveals that the Gerhardt's have been re-eq'd extensively and I much prefer the purity of the original job. It's not as glamorous but sounds truer.





How can you talk about purity of sound and then maintain you prefer the wholly synthetic surround-sound Classic Film Scores to the newer releases that sound much closer to the LPs? Doesn't make sense.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.