Miklós Rózsa

At Metro Goldwyn Mayer

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This is a dazzling two-CD set, representing 13 of the nearly 40 scores that Miklos Rozsa (1907-1996) composed in 14 years at MGM. Some of these movies are not among the best remembered that Rozsa worked on, but they all hold up well musically, in well-edited suites derived from the original 35mm film recordings for the movies themselves. Part of Rozsa's success was rooted in his ability to write in a wide variety of musical idioms, albeit largely centered and all shaped by the Romantic tradition in which his musical vocabulary was born. The 17-minute suite from Madame Bovary that opens the collection, and the producers have selected a generous portion of its highlights, including the ravishing waltz and the darker, more passionately dramatic passages. It is followed by one of Rozsa's most rousing action film scores, Ivanhoe. Knights of the Round Table, Beau Brummell, Valley of the Kings, and Moonfleet fill out the first disc, in a dazzling display of orchestral color. Disc two is devoted to Green Fire, The King's Thief, Tribute to a Ban Man (a rare example of Rozsa dealing with a western subject), Diane, The World, The Flesh and the Devil (one of two Rozsa forays into science fiction), Lust For Life, and King of Kings. Producer George Feltenstein has done a decent job of distilling the essentials of each score, all but one of which are represented by suites running at least ten minutes, and often double that. The content of the 13 scores here is so rich in musical ideas, and the latter range so widely, that even the listener who is less than wholeheartedly devoted to movie music will find plenty to enjoy and replay, for weeks at a time, on this set.

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