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 Posted:   Feb 14, 2013 - 3:21 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

I always thought "Ben-Hur" was Rozsa's Magnum Opus, but after listening to this "Quo Vadis" several times. I now think maybe it is a tossup?? Rozsa wrote so many brilliant scores that it is difficult to pick the best.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2013 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   paul rossen   (Member)

I always thought "Ben-Hur" was Rozsa's Magnum Opus, but after listening to this "Quo Vadis" several times. I now think maybe it is a tossup?? Rozsa wrote so many brilliant scores that it is difficult to pick the best.

I still believe that Ben-Hur is Rozsa's magnum opus. That said this is truly a superior release of the Quo Vadis ground breaking score.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2013 - 5:15 PM   
 By:   Merkel   (Member)

Can't agree about the "dances" -- by which term I think you mean all the incidental source music. These pieces (some never heard before) form a fascinating cornucopia of antiquarian exotica that I could not do without. If I were making a condensed version, I think I would trim some instances of the Lygia theme. It's one of Rozsa's most beautiful melodies, which is saying a lot. And the theme is subject to interesting variation over the course of the whole. But there's just too much of it for one listening session. I feel the same way about the Tadlow EL CID and the love theme of that score. This is not a criticism of the modern recordings; they were designed to document the entire scores. Nor is it a criticism of MR's originals. In the films there are large swaths of dialogue and action between recurrences of these themes. But in some listening contexts, less may be more.

My thoughts exactly (gee, we don't often agree, John). When I made up my vase display (see above), the Lygia theme is one of those cuttings that got trimmed. It IS a great melody, but as with Rozsa's other epic scores I feel these themes become more interesting the further we get into the film, when he begins to expand and develop them. Their first statement is usually rather plain and simple, which is appropriate but doesn't always hold interest for home listening.

For the rest, I've found the dances amongst the more interesting parts of the score. But my favourite track is 7 on Disc 2. I love that march.


100% agree about that Ave Caesar March on track 7 in Disc 2. How I wish Rozsa had developed it further. It deserves a concert suite of its own

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2013 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I still believe that Ben-Hur is Rozsa's magnum opus.

I'm not sure that can really be questioned. Rozsa was nearly 10 years further into his mature style by the time of B-H, and it's clear from his comments that he was rather more deeply committed to that film, which in any case is on a different plain altogether. QV certainly provides the same opportunities for marches, dances and romance, but has little of the emotional depth of B-H, and the inherent tragedy of the situation is treated rather uninspiringly by comparison. I've quoted Steven Speilberg's remark about Rozsa's whole career being a rehearsal for B-H, and if taken in the right spirit that can be applied above all to QV. The surprising thing perhaps is that he didn't rehash more of QV in B-H, as most other composers would have been tempted to do, particularly as so much of the former score is inaudible in the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2013 - 6:11 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

Just finishing a first listen. God, this is glorious. While 'Ben-Hur' remains my favourite film score of all time, this is mighty close. That 'Prelude to Second Part' is stunning. So many wondrous tracks. Thanks James and Prometheus - again.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2013 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   eggerty31   (Member)

Just finishing a first listen. God, this is glorious. While 'Ben-Hur' remains my favourite film score of all time, this is mighty close. That 'Prelude to Second Part' is stunning. So many wondrous tracks. Thanks James and Prometheus - again.

I was listening to this again just the other evening. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
Then tonight I am just coming to the end of Tadlow's El Cid. Another fantastic score by Rozsa and re-recording.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2013 - 5:44 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Just finishing a first listen. God, this is glorious. While 'Ben-Hur' remains my favourite film score of all time, this is mighty close. That 'Prelude to Second Part' is stunning. So many wondrous tracks. Thanks James and Prometheus - again.

I was listening to this again just the other evening. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
Then tonight I am just coming to the end of Tadlow's El Cid. Another fantastic score by Rozsa and re-recording.


Actually it's easier to pick faults with El Cid, which departs from the original quite significantly at several points, and is perhaps not quite as well played as QV (the Prague players just seem to get better with each recording). I'm not as familiar with the QV score, but I have the sense that it's note-for-note with the source--maybe someone will correct me there.

As for the quality of the music, the thing that strikes me about Rozsa's epic scores is their diversity, even when the subject matter is identical. Not only does he not often use the same themes, he gets a different sound and feel to each score. One would expect El Cid to sound different to Roman empire scores, but that King of Kings has such a different texture and timbre to Ben-Hur is as much testament to Rozsa's talent as the quality of the scores themselves. A good composer can write two or three themes, a very good composer can write a half dozen or more, but only a great composer can develop his themes within the story arc in such a way as to tell the story better and still manage to achieve a different sound score-to-score within the same genre.

I know some will take issue with this. We've all read comments about all Rozsa scores sounding the same. Certainly his style is very distinctive and instantly recognisable, but that's a different thing; he can't suddenly change styles mid-career, though there was certainly an evolutionary element involved. But really--does anyone else agree?--he didn't just churn out the same kind of score for the same kind of film. He clearly thought about his approach to each individual film and tailored the score to fit its look and feel. So Ben-Hur is kind of sombre browns--Autumn colours--much of the time; King of Kings is bright sunlight and Hallelujahs, while El Cid is of course burnished brass and castanets. I'm being a bit flippant, but you get the idea. Quo Vadis being an earlier effort doesn't have quite the distinctive personality of the others, so fewer metaphors come to mind; but in its way it's no less brilliant, and for such a generally uninspired film the committment of some of the music is astonishing (it's hard to listen to one or two tracks without a tear in the eye).

I'm rambling really. Just wanted to provoke some reaction, as I think this thread should be kept alive.

 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2013 - 6:04 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

Quo Vadis being an earlier effort doesn't have quite the distinctive personality of the others, so fewer metaphors come to mind; but in its way it's no less brilliant, and for such a generally uninspired film the committment of some of the music is astonishing (it's hard to listen to one or two tracks without a tear in the eye).

I'm rambling really. Just wanted to provoke some reaction, as I think this thread should be kept alive.


QUO VADIS ... uninspired? Are we talkin' the same flick here?


... just trying to keep the thread alive! ;-)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2013 - 6:48 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Yep. Same flick, different viewers. smile

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2013 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

Just finished listening to this recording for the first time earlier today. What a stunning recording. What a great score. Congrats to James, Nic, and Luc for this release, it will get many, many plays in the weeks to come.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2013 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

Totally agree, another brilliant must have re-recording!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2013 - 5:34 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Which reminds me: I wrote of Rozsa in a post above,

"But really--does anyone else agree?--he didn't just churn out the same kind of score for the same kind of film. He clearly thought about his approach to each individual film and tailored the score to fit its look and feel. So Ben-Hur is kind of sombre browns--Autumn colours--much of the time; King of Kings is bright sunlight and Hallelujahs, while El Cid is of course burnished brass and castanets."

I'll have you all know I was expecting answers to that question, and none were forthcoming. I hope you don't think you're going to pass the FSM Finals at the end of the year with performances like this. I expect answers, and I expect in the margin an explanation of how you arrived at those answers.

So get to it.

smile

 
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