The Film Music of Miklos Rozsa

The Film Music of Miklos Rozsa

by Rumon GambaRumon Gamba


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The Chandos label has issued some fine recordings of classic film music, and this release featuring scores by Miklós Rózsa is especially nice. The BBC Philharmonic under Rumon Gamba outdoes itself; the MediaCity sound is superb; and the notes by Andrew Knowles are unusually detailed. But the real attraction is the music of Rózsa himself, which is well represented by these four scores that cover a two-decade period. What's striking is how timeless his scores seem. The earliest of the four, The Thief of Baghdad, was finished in 1940 but has any number of features that, with very slight tweaking, would make it suitable for a film released today. Rózsa combined percussion-heavy sounds influenced by Bartók and Stravinsky with expansive pure Romantic melodies for the scenes of love and sentiment, a combination unlike anything being done in concert music at the time. The mix had unusual flexibility, enabling Rózsa to evoke the swashbuckling Thief of Baghdad, the still more exotic Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, the dramatic adventure of Sahara, and the epic Ben Hur, a film that truly would not be imaginable without its score, all without having to depart from his basic idea. It is not formulaic but rather original enough to encompass many strands of film in the middle 20th century, and there's a great deal of satisfying listening to be had here for film music fans.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/25/2014
Label: Champs Hill Records
UPC: 0095115180624
catalogNumber: 10806
Rank: 178468

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rumon Gamba   Primary Artist,Conductor
BBC Philharmonic   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

Miklós Rózsa   Composer
Ralph Couzens   Executive Producer
Christopher Palmer   Arranger,Orchestration
Brian Pidgeon   Recording Producer
Stephen Rinker   Engineer
Stephanie Wollny   Liner Note Translation
Francis Marchal   Liner Note Translation
Mike George   Recording Producer
Sussie Ahlburg   Back Cover Photo
Andrew Knowles   Liner Notes
Yuri Torchinsky   Orchestra Leader
Christopher Palmer   Arranger,Orchestration

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Film Music of Miklos Rozsa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
lollidamaAC More than 1 year ago
Miklos Rozsa was involved with the famed Korda brothers for several decades during his career as a composer of film scores. This is a relationship that commenced with the composer’s first major assignment in 1937, Knight Without Armor, a prestige Korda production which starred Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat. It is fitting that three of the four films represented in this collection are products of this unique affiliation. Gamba and the BBC PO do an admirable job with this material. Clearly the conductor fully understands the ebb and flow of Rosza’s distinctive style. While it’s wonderful to have new recordings of The Thief Of Bagdad and The Jungle Book in rich, detailed sound, courtesy of Chandos, it’s a treat to have an extended selection from Sahara (1943), one of the composer’s most underrated scores. Until now we’ve had to settle for Charles Gerhardt’s tantalizing version of the main title. The suite included here was prepared by the late Christopher Palmer and premiered in the US in 1986 at the Meadow Brook Music Festival. Roughly 8 minutes in duration, it’s brimming with inspired rhythmic and coloristic touches as well as Rozsa’s singular lyrical gift. A few quibbles. As good as the Ben Hur Suite is, it would have been nice to include some other under represented scores. Sadly, the 30 second opening fanfare for the The Thief Of Bagdad was not included possibly due to time constraints (the disc clocks in at 80 minutes and 37 seconds!) Albeit brief, it does contain important thematic material. These are minor issues. This is a major addition to the Rozsa discography and deserves the broadest dissemination.