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Thursday, March 01, 2007

CD REVIEW - Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Digitmovies CDDM074 (Italy)
Disc 1 - 28 Tracks 57:51 mins Disc 2 - 22 Tracks 53:43 mins

To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian born Hollywood composer Miklos Rozsa, Digitmovies have released a deluxe double CD edition of his great score for the 1962 biblical epic Sodom and Gomorrah.
When the great composer's music for historical/biblical epics is discussed, Sodom and Gomorrah is often neglected in favour of his more well-known and popular scores for Ben-Hur, El Cid, Quo Vadis and King of Kings. True, the film may not have been the critical or box office success that the others were, despite being directed by Robert Aldrich (with Sergio Leone on second unit) and boasting stars of the calibre of Stewart Granger and Stanley Baker, as well as popular continental stars such asPier Angeli, Rossana Podesta, Anouk Aimee and Anthony Steffen (of Italian Western film fame), but Dr. Rozsa took the assignment just as seriously as any of the aforementioned films, studiously researching music of the time and locale.
The results are here for all to hear, and in stereo (albeit with less than state of the art sound quality), in not only the many dance sequences and religious chorals, but also informing his dramatic scoring, whilst always retaining that distinctive Rozsa sound.
The score bristles with great themes, from the power of the opening music in the "Overture" to the noble and sweeping theme for Lot that follows, to the two love themes, very different in feel, but equally gorgeous at their height, the first in "La Favorita della Regina," the second in "Risposta ad un Sogno." In fact the first of these themes is introduced in the "Prelude" in a dramatic, and powerful mood of foreboding, and it is also played in quite sinister style at times, such is its versatility.
Other great tracks include the joyous heights of "Il Giordano;" the turbulent action of "La Sconfitta di Astaroth;" the bombastic "Marcia degli Elamiti;" the beautiful "Pastorale del Fiume;" the exciting conflict of "La Battaglia della Diga;" the anguish and anger of "Gelosia;" the dark and dramatic "La Disfatta di Astaroth;" the triumphant "Esodo;" and the three cues that make up the finale of the picture, the drama and excitement of "Destruction of Sodom" and "Statue of Salt" and the powerful "Epilogue."
Listening to this fine music only make one long for the days when composers were given the time to produce such memorable scores that not only fit the film like a glove, but spawned many memorable themes to treasure thereafter.
The score for Sodom and Gomorrah has been previously released in several versions, both on LP and CD, but this is the definitive version, featuring the complete score, plus six previously unreleased unused source music tracks, mostly featuring a capella choir.
As well as the deluxe packaging, the two discs are accompanied by a splendid 20-page booklet, featuring many colour stills and poster artwork from the film, together with informative notes by Claudio Fuiano.
Miklos Rozsa's many fans will no doubt be delighted to add this most complete version of Sodom and Gomorrah to their collection, but for those of you less familiar with the composer's work this may well be a good place for you to start your appreciation.


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