Rozsa: Ben Hur (original motion picture soundtrack) (2CD)

Sony Classical
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MGM Symphony Orchestra, Miklos Rozsa

Miklos Rosza's Academy Award-winning score to the 1959 blockbuster, on CD and in its entirety for the first time!


Rózsa conducted research into Greek and Roman music of the period to give his score an archaic sound while still being modern. Rózsa himself directed the 100-piece MGM Symphony Orchestra during the 12 recording sessions (which stretched over 72 hours). The soundtrack was recorded in six-channel stereo. More than three hours of music were composed for the film, and two-and-a-half hours of it were finally used, making it (as of 2001) the longest score ever composed for a motion picture. The score contains no leitmotifs for the main characters except for a phrase (5-#4-2-3-1) in the Lydian mode whenever Jesus Christ is seen or alluded to. This Lydian phrase is also fully orchestrated triumphantly in the closing scene of the movie.


The Ben-Hur score is considered to be the best of Rózsa's career. The musical soundtrack to Ben-Hur remained deeply influential into the mid 1970s, when film music composed by John Williams for films such as Jaws, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark became more popular among composers and film-goers.

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