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Ben Hur

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Prolific film composer Carl Davis scored MGM's 1925 silent film Ben-Hur in 1987, and in 1989 recorded the music with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. More than two decades later, after taking the music on tour around the world, Davis has released this vivid performance as part of the comprehensive Carl Davis Collection, and the album is sure to be a treat for his fans. In keeping with the film's New Testament narrative framework, the music has many sections that are reverent in tone and evocative of familiar religious movie music, including an overt borrowing of the Dresden Amen, orchestrated in full Straussian grandeur. But as important as the religious ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Prolific film composer Carl Davis scored MGM's 1925 silent film Ben-Hur in 1987, and in 1989 recorded the music with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. More than two decades later, after taking the music on tour around the world, Davis has released this vivid performance as part of the comprehensive Carl Davis Collection, and the album is sure to be a treat for his fans. In keeping with the film's New Testament narrative framework, the music has many sections that are reverent in tone and evocative of familiar religious movie music, including an overt borrowing of the Dresden Amen, orchestrated in full Straussian grandeur. But as important as the religious themes are to Ben-Hur, the intimate music for Ben-Hur's family life and the violent and heroic passages that accompany the action sequences play a crucial part in setting the scenes, and Davis provides the full range of moods, from private expressions to epic struggles. The most striking movement from a dramatic viewpoint is "The Chariot Race, with its relentless drumbeat and grim dissonances, and this is undoubtedly effective when played with the film. Overall, the music is delivered with rhythmic vigor and vivid sonorities, and the orchestra under Davis' direction has a presence and richness on CD that is extraordinary, particularly for the time when it was recorded. Ideally, one should see the film and hear the music together to appreciate them as Davis intended, but in the absence of the former, the latter is still one of his most important efforts and his pride in presenting this score is justified.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/29/2012
  • Label: Carl Davis Collect
  • UPC: 845458000147
  • Catalog Number: 14
  • Sales rank: 218,501

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–18 Ben-Hur, film score - Miklós Rózsa & Carl Davis (71:33)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Carl Davis Primary Artist
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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    Prince Of Hur

    Carl Davis’1987 score for the silent MGM Ben Hur has more than sufficient interest to stand on its own merits quite distinct from its cinematic genesis. Proponents of the Late Romantic School especially its German/Austrian variant will find much to admire here. Carl Davis has done a superb job of organizing and developing his fecund array of ideas. With respectful nods to Wagner, R. Strauss, Mahler, Mussorgsky, the ubiquitous Dresden Amen and even Dr. William Axt and David Mendoza (composers of the original score), Davis has fashioned a moving, exciting piece of music in the finest tradition of the symphonic poem. The spacious, lush acoustics of Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool beautifully complement the epic, inspirational orientation of the material. The lavishly illustrated booklet is replete with fascinating anecdotal information recalling the rigors of mounting the massive 1925 production as well as a detailed essay by Davis regarding his compositional decisions. Plaudits to the Carl Davis Collection for restoring to circulation this marvelous 1989 Silva Screen production.

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