Rome Symphony Orchestra / Miklós Rózsa / Singers of the Roman Basilicas

Rósza: King of Kings

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The original MGM Records soundtrack album from Nicholas Ray's 1961 religious epic King of Kings was a decidedly uneven release. Composer Miklos Rozsa had not been happy to be assigned the scoring of the movie by MGM, which had taken on an equity position in its production; he had just come off of over a year working on Ben-Hur, a film (and a much better one) set in the same period and dealing with some of the same subject matter. He did his best, and some parts of the resulting score had merit, but it was not a project that he enjoyed, and that seemed to come out in the recording of the album soon after in Italy. The performance here was pretty ragged compared with the original soundtrack on Ben-Hur, and the album never became the same kind of hit that its predecessor did. It's a nice collector's piece to have, but there were better versions of this score to come in the ensuing decades.