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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Ben-Hur
 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2012 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   Frank DeWald   (Member)

I'm having a hard time figuring out something re 'The Prince of Peace' cue. The FSM edition features two versions but what's featured on the Rhino edition as 'The Prince of Peace, Part 1 (extended version)' sounds like yet another earlier version with an alternate ending that doesn't segue to the 'Roman Galley' cue. My guess is that the Rhino track presents the full unedited take of slate 2524. So, does that mean that the Rhino features some alternates that are NOt included on the new FSM ?

Thank you, Eric, for being such an astute listener! You are correct - the Rhino track (disc 1, track 27) is slate 2524 heard in its entirety. In creating our FSM assembly, we used that slate TWICE - but the first time (disc 1, track 22) we segued to another slate at 0:52 (replicating the film edit); the second time (disc 3, track 20) we segued at 1:53. That means the last minute or so of that slate was inadvertently left out of the FSM collection. But that is not the only good reason to keep (or acquire) Rhino's beatiful set: disc 2, track 45 features the chorus only in an alternate version of "Star of Bethlehem." We included the same version on the FSM, but with orchestra. And then there's Rhino's beautiful booklet ...

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2012 - 10:46 PM   
 By:   Eric A.   (Member)

Thanks Frank for your extremely precise answer - and your wonderful liner notes which solved quite a few Ben-Hur mysteries !

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 8:38 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Well, I finally picked it up.

What an unbelievably brilliant set of CDs. This is so good.

First impressions are that the sound is exquisite, especially light percussion and woodwinds have never sounded so great. The whole thing is bathed in a lush sheen like a rich brightly coloured carpet, but each instrument is clear as a bell.

All the cues, and stuff we never imagined existed, a great booklet, even greater when accompanied by the online notes.

Some things leap out already. Who knew the 'Haroun al Rozsad' was so splendid and sounded so great? Suddenly you see why Wyler didn't use it, it would have overpowered everything even when dialled down, but it's SO evocative. This is the ultimate. The albums sound great too. Sony did a very fine, clear job with their album remasterings, and not to be sneered at, but FSM have somehow mixed in such a way as to convey the precise mix of the original LPs and their feel.

Very well done.

(And Frank ... those 'thank yous' at the end .... you're very kind, but as the flick says, 'What has he done to merit this?' That was a surprise, and thank you immensely!)

This is one of FSM's pinnacles. And there are so many. Excellent.

P.S. The gremlins are on my side. Tight disc? Who even noticed? It would never occur to anyone, had the landslide of suggestion not highlighted it.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 9:40 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

I am thrilled to report that I have just a/b'd the first two discs of the FSM set with the original Rhino and the recent Sony re-issue of the 2 cd set and the FSM blows them away hands down! This is also, to my ears, the best representation by FSM of the bristling 'MGM sound'. They haven't rolled off too much of the high end but neither is the high end irritating. You can really turn this one up, ha!!
Can't wait to hear the Savina, Kloss and alternates! I'll be a/b'ing the Savina with a superb Japanese CD of same and the Kloss's with the older Sony issue. ONWARD!!!

p.s. And yes Disc Three was a sticky wicket - but I carefully took a fork and bent out (broke) 2 of the pegs holding the disc in and it came out fine and can still be placed in the case securely! Took me about 10 seconds. Who cares? The music is CO-LOSS-AL!!!!!!

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 2:26 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

But that is not the only good reason to keep (or acquire) Rhino's beautiful set: disc 2, track 45 features the chorus only in an alternate version of "Star of Bethlehem." We included the same version on the FSM, but with orchestra.

Actually, Frank, I believe the chorus only version appears on Disc V, track 18. Your notes state: "This alternate chorus (heard with orchestra on disc III, track 15) makes a satisfying musical experience heard a cappella."

I've just received my copy of BEN-HUR as well, and have sampled all the tracks that were literally screaming "pick me, pick me!" This set is SHEER MUSICAL GLORY. And after removing one prong from the disc III tray, I'm perfectly content with the packaging.

Now off to do some serious listening.

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   bdm   (Member)

Got mine yesterday (and Basil W suggestion for Disc 3 worked like a charm); just got through it and it's wonderful - almost too much music. Thanks Lukas and gang!

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 9:23 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

I sat and listened carefully to all of discs I and II, plus all the alternates on discs III, IV and V (I'll leave the LP material for another night).

Frank and Mike's assembly of the score is perfectly programmed and natural -- not only the program on the first two discs, but if you listen to the second halves of discs III, IV and V sequentially you are treated to an equally enthralling "alternate" score. The score has never been presented better. If in 1960 I miraculously had access to five 10-1/2-inch two-track reels of all of M-G-M's cues played on a high quality studio reel-to-reel, I doubt that the experience would surpass what I have just heard on this FSM set.

* For the first time cues are overlapped smoothly as intended by the composer (e.g. Star of Bethlehem-->Adoration of the Magi; Prelude-->Marcia Romana; Nostalgia-->Farewell to Rome) and make for a more natural listening experience.

*Mike Matessino has even corrected the "hiccup" in the "Victory Parade" when the march theme resumes after the volley of antiphonal brass.

*Mike has restored the complete "Panem and Circenses" (Track 16 on Disc IV), replicating the Syracuse source, which I always presumed was done for an intended 2-LP set that never materialized.

*The last 12 seconds of Battle Preparations-Part II (alternate on Disc III, track 24) is a revelation: Rozsa's original conception of "The Christ Theme" -- which he preserved and incorporated into the final tracks of all 3 LPs. But the quote here is musically exhilarating.

*The alternate sequence of "The Desert/Exhaustion/The Prince of Peace/Roman Galley" puts a new spin on previously available material (from Syracuse) -- it all finally makes sense. Great detective work, Frank.

*The alternate chorus+orchestra Nativity pieces on Disc III (tracks 15 and 16) are a wonderful bonus.

*And, lest I forget, not one, but two takes of the unused Entr'acte in glorious stereo!

Congratulations to all at FSM. This is a truly a magnificent achievement.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2012 - 11:40 PM   
 By:   s.tonkens   (Member)

I received my copy yesterday, I listened to all 5 discs. I know I am old fashioned, but this is a masterpiece. I loved the score since I saw the film back in the early 70s on the big screen in 70 mm widescreen. I have various lps and cds from this music. But this is the ultimate collection. The sound quality is good, the seqencesof the tracklist is great, you get a various mix of music all the time. And after 5 discs I was not bored with the music. That is the miracle in this edition. Get yours before they are sold out.
Sijbold Tonkens, The Netherlands

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 2:08 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I know I am old fashioned, but this is a masterpiece.

Er, I'm not sure what this means.

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 3:27 AM   
 By:   Senojanaidni   (Member)

Woah great, fantastic, splendid, outstanding,wonderfull, majestic, enormous, fabuleux, épatant, merveilleux, magnifique, bravo Fsm!

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 5:06 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

I think the lavish packaging is reason enough to keep the Rhino set. It's been a cornerstone of my collection for a very long time, and even though it has been supplanted by this much better-sounding and more complete edition, along with all of the album versions, it still looks quite dignified on the top shelf with the other box sets.

This release is astounding, but that's just par for the course with FSM presentations of Miklós Rózsa scores.

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 6:10 AM   
 By:   Hopkins&Sterne   (Member)

I think the lavish packaging is reason enough to keep the Rhino set. It's been a cornerstone of my collection for a very long time, and even though it has been supplanted by this much better-sounding and more complete edition, along with all of the album versions, it still looks quite dignified on the top shelf with the other box sets.

This release is astounding, but that's just par for the course with FSM presentations of Miklós Rózsa scores.


I first ordered the FSM release [51 only left at time of writing folks!] and NOW I have received the Rhino long-book set new and still sealed, direct from the UK arm of a dominant online retailer (they still have 3 left). I purposefully sought out the original 1996 Rhino set (imported into the UK) rather than the 2010 Sony re-issue, which was only pennies less. The item arrived in a large proprietary cardboard envelope (as opposed to the superb protection provided by SAE for the FSM), but thankfully postal damage to the book is insignificant. Now...

... will some kind individual reassure me that I'm no idiot...?

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 6:27 AM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

... will some kind individual reassure me that I'm no idiot...?

You're not an idiot. The Rhino is still a great package, lovingly put together by Marilee Bradford. And if I could purchase a perfectly mint (mint box, mint book and mint stereo LP) copy of the boxed Savina MGM Records S1E1, I surely would.

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 6:45 AM   
 By:   Hopkins&Sterne   (Member)

... will some kind individual reassure me that I'm no idiot...?

You're not an idiot. The Rhino is still a great package, lovingly put together by Marilee Bradford. And if I could purchase a perfectly mint (mint box, mint book and mint stereo LP) copy of the boxed Savina MGM Records S1E1, I surely would.


Thank you! Hmm. Sounds like MGM helped pioneer the "collectors' edition" record market!

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   Hopkins&Sterne   (Member)

What are you waiting four... er, three?

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 8:45 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

SAE is posting that FSM's 5CD BEN-HUR set is no longer available!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 9:06 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

Is this the quickest sell out for a golden age score?

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 9:09 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Gone.
Perhaps for- oh, never mind.

 
 Posted:   Mar 7, 2012 - 9:12 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Intrada has about 30, or so it seems.

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

'Remember what I said yesterday about how amazing the sound was on this release?

Well, yesterday, I had the private opinion that the LPs did not come across as well as the OST pieces, but then I noticed today that my subwoofer bass settings were accidentally set wrongly, so the LPs now sound grand.

In other words, if it was great yesterday it's PHENOMENALLY GREAT today!



Thees Matessino .... he is a MAJEEEEESHAN I tell you!

 
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