Skip to content

Ben Hur (Miklos Rozsa)

October 7, 2017


Tadlow Music to release the classic film music event of the decade! The world premiere digital recording of the complete score to Ben Hur, composed by Miklos Rozsa to be released October 3rd. Premiere recording of the complete 157-minute score from one of the greatest films of all time; includes previously unrecorded music.

I don’t think I will actually be reviewing this release, but I will say that it is absolutely brilliant. The film, the music and the composer really should not need any introductions. All three are part of film and music history. The film is utterly spectacular, the score is brilliant and so is this recording. Whether you are, or are not famililar with this score, this release is worth delving into. So instead of a review, I will leave you with the details of the press release. –Pete Simons.

(September 12, 2017- Cambridge, UK) – Tadlow Music is proud to announce the release of the classic film music event of the decade – a special collector’s edition 2-CD set of one of the greatest film scores of all time – Ben-Hur composed by Miklós Rózsa.  The complete 157-minute score, including previously unreleased music, has been re-recorded in stunning and dynamic 24-Bit 96kHz digital sound, performed by the award-winning City of Prague Philharmonic, conducted by Nic Raine and produced by label founder James Fitzpatrick.

Hearing many full versions of the film cues and some that were never recorded before, generations new and old will be exposed to my father’s epic masterpiece in its entirety for the first time,” said Miklós’ daughter Juliet Rózsa. “Ben-Hur was one of my father’s favourite scores; he worked on it for over a year – mostly in his beloved Italy. He won the richly deserved Academy Award® (his third) for Best Music score. He would have been ever so pleased with this new CD – as am I – and I thank Tadlow Music and James Fitzpatrick for producing my father’s magnum opus, recorded in rich digital 21st-century sound, in all its majestic glory.  Bravo!!

I consider it a magnificent privilege to be able to contribute both this audio recording and the new computer-printed scores and parts to posterity,” said Fitzpatrick.  “It is what myself and Tadlow Music are all about: the preservation of outstanding music for future generations to enjoy and study.

Much has been said through the years of the, then record-breaking, 11-time Academy Award winning film Ben-Hur, initially a remake of a very successful silent film from 1925. After his boyhood friend Messala’s fanatic loyalty to Rome makes him a powerful enemy, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is found guilty of an attempted murder he did not commit. His family is banished and he is enslaved on a warship. Through his ferocity in a raging sea battle, he is able to escape and become a horse trainer. To exact his revenge, Ben-Hur decides to compete against Messala in the Roman chariot races. They race, locked in a battle to the death. Barely surviving, Ben-Hur forsakes the sword for Christ and finally finds redemption.

MGM assigned the composing task to Rózsa, who they had under an exclusive contract, customary practice at the time.  Since he had previously composed music for the studio’s epics Quo Vadis and Julius Caesar, Rózsa seemed the perfect choice for this William Wyler-directed epic. He worked on the film for well over a year, traveling back and forth to the set in Rome from Rapallo (Italy) where he was working on other non-film commissions.  Upon the film’s release it and Rósza’s score became almost instant classics.

This premiere recording features Rózsa’s score in the most complete form to-date.  The music is presented as heard in the film, but without the edits to the music, which were required for the picture.   Tadlow Music has become one of the preeminent record labels producing and releasing newly reconstructed versions of classic film music, including Rózsa’s El Cid, Sodom and Gomorrah, Quo Vadis and The Thief of Bagdad.

The reconstruction of the music started with the original version of the sheet music registered by MGM with the Library of Congress.  Reconstructionist and Rózsa expert Leigh Phillips combed through these ‘sketch scores’ – the hand-written music Rózsa would have provided to his orchestrator.  He looked at the copious notes written on its pages, and began to both interpret the notes and condense them into new, computer-generated sheet music for the musicians to play.  In addition to the cues recorded for the film, Phillips included music which was written for deleted scenes as well as pieces composed, but ultimately not used in the final version of the film.  Guided by Rózsa’s sketches, he orchestrated the music for what would ultimately be 96-piece orchestra and an 80-voice choir, with additional ethnic instruments.

The recording dates were divided into two periods, four days in January and four in April of 2017.  Well-versed in recording Rózsa’s music through the years, Tadlow Music founder and this albums producer James Fitzpatrick turned to one of Europe’s most outstanding and virtuoso orchestras, the City of Prague Philharmonic and Choir, under the direction of Nic Raine (who actually orchestrated for Miklos Rozsa on some of his later film scores) for this very special recording.

Perhaps Fitzpatrick summed it up best “I want to present the score as Rózsa wanted it … in all its majestic glory.”  Tadlow Music presents the Ben-Hur 2-CD set available on October 3rd from Screen Archives at:

CD 1 (total time 78:16):
1. Overture (6:17)
2. Anno Domini / Star Of Bethlehem / Adoration Of The Magi (5:09)
3. Fanfare & Prelude / Marcia Romana / Spirit & Sword (5:04)
4. Salute For Messala / Friendship / Friendship Continued (5:00)
5. The House Of Hur (2:24)
6. Conflict (1:54)
7. Esther / The Unknown Future* (4:24)
8. Love Theme / Ring For Freedom (5:27)
9. Salute For Gratus / Gratus’ Entry To Jerusalem (4:25)
10. Arrest* (1:28)
11. Reminiscences (2:05)
12. Condemned* / Escape* / Vengeance (3:41)
13. The Prison – Part 1 / Behind Grills** / The Prison – Part 2 / Silent Farewell** (2:23)
14. The Desert / Exhaustion / The Prince Of Peace / Roman Galley (7:36)
15. Salute For Arrius / Quintus Arrius / The Roman Fleet (2:28)
16. The Galley (The Rowing Of The Galley Slaves) / Rest (4:30)
17. Battle Preparations / The Pirate Fleet / Attack! / Ramming Speed / Battle / Rescue / Roman Sails / The Rowers (11:05)
18. Victory Parade / Victory Finale (2:48)

CD 2 (total time: 78:33):
1. Fertility Dance (1:57)
2. Arrius’ Party (1:21)
3. Nostalgia / Farewell To Rome (2:26)
4. Judea / A Barren Coast* (3:51)
5. Balthazar / Balthazar’s World (3:51)
6. Harun Al Rozsad* (2:19)
7. Homecoming / Memories / Hatred (5:23)
8. The Dungeon** / Lepers (3:22)
9. Return / Promise / Sorrow / Intermission (7:34)
10. Entr’acte (Original Version) (3:34)
11. Panem Et Circenses (1:10)
12. Circus Fanfares (0:43)
13. Fanfare For Circus Parade / Circus Parade (Parade Of The Charioteers) (3:33)
14. Ben-Hur Crowned / Bitter Triumph / Aftermath (2:55)
15. Valley Of Lepers / The Search / The Uncleans (5:42)
16. Road Of Sorrow / The Mount / The Sermon / Frustration (5:28)
17. Valley Of The Dead / Tirzah Saved (4:12)
18. The Procession To Calvary / The Bearing Of The Cross / Recogniton (7:56)
19. Golgotha / Calvary** / Afterthoughts** / Shadow Of Storm (2:35)
20. The Miracle / Finale (5:27)
21. Love Theme From Ben-Hur (3:00)

*Not in film
**Premiere recording


From → News

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: