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Three Choral Suites Ben-Hur/Q Hybrid SACD

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B0008191AG
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,627 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Amazing works.... truly enchanting music.

Miklos Rozsa wrote motion picture scores for many epic films on the 50s and after. Eric Kunzel has created a fabulous recording to perpetuate the beauty of this music, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, they make a fabulous recording.

I bought the CD and SACD of this selection, and each time I play it, I am more delighted by the beautiful tunes and the great rendition of the works. I am always disappointed when the CD is over, and I find myself wishing for more.

Strong recommend for those seeking beautiful, full range music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this CD because of the piece Parade of the Charioteers. I was surprise to find I liked the whole CD. The music set the moods of all three movies the music were from. I have the movie Ben - Hur . I guess I liked most were the Roman culture to which most of this movie was about. The music again sets the flow of the action and drama.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa4aaf5e8) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4894180) out of 5 stars Film Music At Its Grandest May 14 2005
By Timothy Kearney - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Miklos Rozsa is one of Hollywood's best known composers. His training was in the classical repertoire, which is evident in his scores for films. While his heart was in the symphonic and choral worlds, most of his better known music was for film. Perhaps this is why his music fits so well to some of Hollywood's greatest epic films, and why arrangements of his music seem to be at home in large symphonic halls performed by the world's greatest orchestras.

Erich Kunzel, conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform three musical suites of Rozsa's music in arrangements started by the composer. The three film scores that have been arranged in suite form are the three of MGM's greatest large scale works: BEN-HUR, QUO VADIS, and KING OF KINGS. Overall, Kunzel and the Pops do a magnificent job in this recording and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir does the job listeners have come to expect from this ensemble over the years. Kunzel, who was one of the collaborators that completed the arrangements begun by Rozsa, conveys his love and appreciation in his conducting. The arrangements also keep the spirit of the three films, and listening to these arrangements brings back scenes from these films which are examples of Hollywood at what may be its best, if not its grandest.

This recording of film music by Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops is different from his earlier recordings of Hollywood classics. The suites are arranged by composer and not the orchestra's arrangers. In this recording the music is very similar to what is heard in the films, and are not themes of the music in pop arrangements as is the case of the HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST HITS collections or the Disney collections which gives this collection more of a classical orientation rather than a pop style.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa48941d4) out of 5 stars Could have been the best.... Nov. 17 2005
By J. Bevan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
There seems to be some polarity among these reviews. I'd like to take a different point of view. Telarc started out life as an audiophile label just before the CD era. As such they were committed to top sound during a time when LPs had become shoddy. The Atlanta Firebird was used at conventions and in audio salons to show off how big a bass drum could be, for example.

In that context this recording is almost strange. To record the Tabernacle Choir separately from the Orchestra is just plain wrong. Listening to the SuperAudioCD version, the two organizations are obviously in different acoustical settings.

It is true that the Saint Saens Organ Symphony has been recorded with the organ separate from the orchestra. BUT the organ part in that work is compartively simple, chordal, and doesn't move around much -- synchronization isn't a big deal.

I know of no other recording that tries to put two very large organizations together miles and months apart. As noted it comes off pretty well (from a synchronization standpoint), but the choir is lost in an acoustic which swallows enuciation.

There aren't many "words" in these works. There's a lot of "Ah Ah" vocalizing (sometimes referred to as 'vapor singing'). The hebrew in Quo Vadis comes across nicely but it is acappella.

Bottom line: they should have either recorded it in Cincinnati with the May Festival Chorus or in Salt Lake with the Utah Symphony. Either town has acoustical settings equal to the project.

This could have been a wonderful recording. But the fact that Telarc has gotten away from its audiophile-quality roots is the culprit in this recording being less than it might have been.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa489460c) out of 5 stars A Standout Release Aug. 29 2005
By John Rappold - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I'm a film music nut, and Miklos Rozsa is by far my favorite composer. He's proven quite popular on CD, with many re-releases and re-recordings of both his film scores and his purely concert works. A release like Three Choral Suites can get lost among Rozsa recordings because most of this music has been recorded many times. However, this CD has much to offer the Rozsa fan or the casual listener.

This recording features the Mormon Tabernacle Choir united with the Cincinnati Pops and Mr. Kunzel. The choir adds a welcome dimension and breathes new life into such classics as King of Kings, where the original soundtrack recording suffered from distortion. In this reworking of Rozsa's music, one gets to hear the sheer power and beauty of the King of Kings score, and one can admire the craft that went into these influential film scores.

Speaking of craft, special kudos must be given to Mr. Kunzel for actually seeming to interpret these works, rather than perfomring a perfunctory or rushed reading as I have so often heard on Silva releases. Silva has released many re-recordings of rare film music, but I always get the feeling when listeining to them that the orchestra is almost sight reading the material and there doesn't seem to be a budget for retakes as often times mistakes are heard. Kunzel on the other hand, seems to have taken his time and has brought some fresh interpretations to this material. Sometimes this may fall flat, as in the rushed Rowing of the Galley Slaves from Ben-Hur (those slaves would have been dead from exhaustion long before the piece is over), but most times the fresh perspective works.

As a Rozsa fan, I really love the Quo Vadissuite. In fact Marcus and Lygia is for me the standout piece on the CD, bringing forth music that hasn't been heard apart from the film before, and which was buried way down in the mix of the film; a trait common to MGM. The piece has absolutely beautiful phrasing, and foreshadows Rozsa's techniques for his Ivanhoe score, which he would compose two years later. The Fertility Dance and Finale from Quo Vadis are also standouts.

Even Rozsa's most recorded score, Ben-Hur, has beautiful perfomances, and one gets the feeling that the choir and orchestra are performing with real passion.

The recroding itself is very clean, but a little subdued, with a small lack of presence. I feel as though I'm sitting too far back in a huge concert hall.

Aside from the couple of quibbles above, this is one of the best releases of Rozsa film music in a long time. If you are a Roza fan or someone who wants an introduction to his music, you can't go wrong with this CD.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa48949cc) out of 5 stars Best of the Best April 27 2005
By G. Piercy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
What a wonderful tribute to such a great composer as Rozsa. I have listened to this compilation several times now and the sound sequencing and voicing is spectacular. What a wonderful team of having The Cinncinatti Pops and the 360 voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir together. There music and their performance is inspiring. If you like big movie music this is surly the one you want. This was the golden age of Hollywood.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4894ab0) out of 5 stars Pretty good collection doesn't compare to composer's own work Sept. 29 2005
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This collection of choral and nonchoral bleeding chunks from Miklos Rozsa film scores is tastefully performed with sensitivity from Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, which is the Cincinnati Symphony with some other players.

The performances comprise extended suites of music from the three films represented -- "Ben Hur", "Quo Vadis" and "King of Kings". The orchestra plays well throuhout and the spoken, sung and wordless choirs add aura to the music. There are no texts included, however, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir elocution is not always so superb that you know what they are singing...or in what language they are singing.

Where this recording is not distinguished is in its sound and in its comparison to the composer's own recorded scores. The sound on this CD, which is a hybrid Super Audio CD, is nothing special in traditional stereo. The sound picture is good with a wide spectrum but not especially brilliant or highly punctuated. It seemed homogenous to me in comparison to the composer's own recording of these scores.

In that recording, Rozsa and an unnamed orchestra outperform Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops in the pieces they both recorded, which include all the Roman marches such as the "Parade of the charioteers" from "Ben Hur". Rozsa's performances are more full throated with greater thrust and vigor than those led by Kunzel, who seems to take a more legato view of the goings on.

In summary, this recording presents a nice review of music from the three films but does not fare well against the composer's recordings, which may or may not be available but were still listed in the BMG inventory when I last looked (September 2005). So even though Kunzel and his group do nicely, I'd advise you listen to the composer's recording to get a better overall idea of the way this music should be performed.