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El Cid Complete by Miklos Rozsa

El Cid Complete

Buy online

 El Cid Complete (Soundtrack) by Miklos Rozsa
El Cid (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Cid Complete (Soundtrack) by Miklos Rozsa

El Cid Complete
Composed by Miklos Rozsa
Silva America (2009)

Rating: 8/10

Buy El Cid Complete:  Prince Caspian (soundtrack) by Miklos Rozsa from Amazon.com 

 

 

“This score represents classic ROZSA at his best, weaving romance and tenderness, suspense and tragedy, action and fanfare, into a grand, operatic tapestry. That we have his complete score as originally written is a rare treasure, both as a classical composition and as a collector's item.”

Return of The Cid
Review by Helen San

A three time Oscar winner for Best Music (SPELLBOUND, A DOUBLE LIFE, and BEN-HUR), MIKLOS ROZSA (1907 - 1995) is one of the most renown composers of Hollywood's golden age. Trained at the Leipzig Conservatory, ROZSA started out as a classical composer until he found his calling in film music in 1937. ROZSA brought the best of his classical underpinnings to film and enriched the medium with consummate sophistication. Since then, he has composed over 100 film scores, receiving 16 Oscar nominations, including one for EL CID.

If the timeless classic, BEN-HUR, is famous as ROZSA's piece de resistance, then EL CID can be thought of as BEN-HUR's little brother, bearing the same strikingly handsome features (incidentally starring the same lead, Charlton Heston), but holding his own with a distinctive personality and irresistible charm. Only 2 years younger than BEN-HUR (1959), EL CID (1961) has the same epic panorama, but one embellished with Spanish romanticism. In fact, to prepare for EL CID, ROZSA spent a summer in Spain to research Spanish poetry, medieval music, and folk songs, while composing on location. The Spanish influence is prominent and unmistakable, though not as pervasive as that heard in HORNER's THE MASK OF ZORRO.

With 140 minutes of music, this 2 disc collection is a work of love and dedication. Until now, EL CID had only been available on the original LP (40 minutes) and a 1996 release (66 minutes) that was considered "not a terribly successful interpretation" by ROZSA fans. [1] In 2007, a film music producer named James Fitzpatrick decided to undertake a complete re-recording with his own money and his own label, Tadlow Music. After getting the legal blessing and original music notes from ROZSA's children, Fitzpatrick first recorded half of the music (70 minutes) that was readily available with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Nic Raine. The second half of the music (another 70 minutes) required substantial reconstruction of music that was not previously recorded or had been cut from the film. Raine, who had previously reconstructed another ROZSA score and was considered a ROZSA expert, delivered a completed composition as ROZSA intended it to be heard. In 2008, Tadlow Music released the historic recording in a 3 disc set, complete with a 28 page color booklet.This 2009 release, available in both CD and MP3 format, is the same Fitzpatrick recording, marketed now by Silva Screen to reach a wider audience. It leaves out the third disc, which had alternate versions of select tracks with different tempos and instruments, along with a suite from ROZSA's DOUBLE INDEMNITY. In addition, the booklet was cut down to 8 pages, but the original 28 page liner note can be freely downloaded at the Silva Screen's website.

The original insert includes glowing introductions from daughter Juliet Rozsa and director Martin Scorsese, as well as a detailed account of both ROZSA's composition and Fitzpatrick's production efforts. Above all, it has a remarkably informative blow-by-blow description of each of the 47 tracks, including which instruments were used, how the themes fit within the plot, and where the recording departed from the music heard on film. A review just doesn't get better than that.

While I can't emphasize enough my admiration for both the album and the composer, the culture of film music has evolved worlds away from the vintage sound of BEN-HUR and EL CID. In contrast to  HERMANN'S more abstract style, which has a more timeless quality, ROZSA's storytelling is more emotive and more specific to scenes and periods. One has to be in the mood for bombasting brass and lengthy woeful strings to fully appreciate EL CID. It is more likely that I would pick several favorite tracks to put into a playlist than listen to the entire opus in one sitting. There is enough repetition that over two hours of the same several themes, no matter how artfully varied, may not be enjoyable all at once.

There are several tracks to choose from to represent the score's best moments. Any playlist would have to include the main theme for El Cid, the love theme, action sequences, and dramatic layers. "Overture" (1:1) introduces the main triumphant theme of El Cid, which reoccurs copiously throughout the score, but rarely with the same gusto. The exception is "Entr'acte: El Cid March" (2:6). If one track had to be picked to represent El Cid's theme, it would be the enthusiastic intermission music. "Prelude" (1:2), "The Wedding Night" (1:21), and "Banishment/ Forgiveness" (2:2) all capture the bittersweet passion of the love theme that emotionally ties the entire score together. No other track features this theme with more clarity and longing than "The Barn - Love Theme" (2:4), complete with solos on clarinet, oboe, violin, and cello. Like a powerful ingredient in cooking, the love theme is best when balanced with other emotions and contexts, and in "The Barn," it felt slightly too extravagant without the film's images. Although "Banishment/ Forgiveness" also features an instrument solo (oboe), it is woven with other strong emotions such as grief and hope; the texture makes the cue that much deeper and richer.

Indeed, all the best cues are those which are multi-dimensional rather than focused on one specific emotion. A great example is "Gormaz / Courage And Honour/ Gormaz' Death/ Honour And Sorrow" (1:10), which layers confrontation, vengeance, dignity, grief, courage, and love, while still allowing us to identify each individual sentiment. This is part of ROZSA's genius. Other good examples are  "Betrayal/Ambush" (1:18), "For Spain!/Farewell" (2:5), and "The Arrow/The Promise" (2:19).

For action music fans, there is no shortage of magnificent heart-pounding adventure and battle as heard in "The Road To Asturias/ Thirteen Knights" (1:22), "Ride To Valencia" (1:23), "Battle Preparations/ Starvation/ Revolt" (2:15) and "Valencia For The Cid!" (2:16). Much of this music is quintessential grandeur that easy to listen to irrespective of style and age.  That EL CID is technically masterful, there is no question. This score represents classic ROZSA at his best, weaving romance and tenderness, suspense and tragedy, action and fanfare, into a grand, operatic tapestry. That we have his complete score as originally written is a rare treasure, both as a classical composition and as a collector's item.
 

Rating: 8/10

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
Disc 1      
1 Overture 3:41  ****
2 Prelude 2:53  ****
3 Ben Yussuf 5:23  ***
4 Destiny/ Burgos 3:11  ***
5 Palace Music 1:26  ***
6 Bad news 4:52  **
7 Entry of the Nobles 2:17  ***
8 The Meeting 4:34  ***
9 The Slap 0:48  **
10 Count Gormaz/ Courage and Honor/ Gormaz' Death/ Honor and Sorrow 7:44  ****
11 The Court of Ferdinand 1:21  ***
12 The Gauntlet 0:31  ***
13 The Fight the Calahorra 3:34  ***
14 The King's Champion 1:30  ***
15 Chimene's Decision 1:58  ***
16 Investiture 0:34  **
17 The Expedition 1:46  **
18 Betrayal/ Ambush 3:59  ****
19 The Wedding 0:44  **
20 Wedding Supper 1:36  **
21 The Wedding Night 5:39  ****
22 The Road to Asuriaas/ Thirteen Nights 2:56  *****
23 Ride to Valencia 1:45  ****
24 Al Kadir's Delights 0:37  ***
25 Sancho's Demand 2:10  ***
26 Dolfos' Mission/ Sancho's End 6:02  **
27 Coronation 2:24  ***
       
Disc 2      
1 Alfonso's Oath 0:39  ***
2 Banishment/ Forgiveness 6:13  *****
3 Friendship 1:34  ***
4 The Barn - Love Theme 5:06  ***
5 For Spain!/Farewell 6:47  ****
6 Entra'cte: The El Cid March 4:04  *****
7 Rodrigo's Men 1:10  ***
8 The Twins 2:41  ***
9 Rodrigo's Doubts 1:54  **
10 Unity 1:27  ***
11 Moorish Feast 1:27  ***
12 The Siege of Valencia/ Rodrigo's Encampment 2:35  ***
13 Desperate Love 1:53  ***
14 United Again 1:21  ***
15 Battle Preparations/ Starvation / Revolt 7:38  ****
16 Valencia for the Cid! 3:21  ****
17 Ordonez' Death 0:53  **
18 For God and Spain!/ Teh Battle of Valencia 8:46  ****
19 The Arrow/ The Promise 4:17  ****
20 The Cid's Death 4:14  ***
21 The Legend and Epilogue 5:43  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 149 minutes  


 
   

 

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