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Friday, September 04, 2009


Music by Ernest Gold & others
Tadlow Music TADLOW007 (UK)
Disc 1 - 19 Tracks 61:44 mins
Disc 2 - 20 Tracks 70:46 mins

I trust many of you will have invested in Tadlow Music's splendid recording of Miklos Rozsa's El Cid. Now, the same label has treated us to a complete recording of Ernest Gold's score for 1960's Exodus. Otto Preminger's sprawling film about the events leading to the founding of Israel stars Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, and is one of few films that is possibly best remembered for its theme music, a brilliant composition by the Vienna-born Gold, which has enjoyed great popularity over the years.
I have long been disappointed by the original soundtrack recording of the score, not only for its poor sound, but also for its content, and so was delighted to hear of this project. The result is a much more satisfying presentation, even including music not used in the film, reconstructed from the composer's original sketches and by ear by the label's talented team of orchestrators, and faithfully played by the City of Prague Philharmonic, under the baton of Nic Raine.
Although, in his research for the project, album producer James Fitzpatrick discovered that Gold had extensively researched the music and instruments of the region, the composer was obviously discouraged from taking this approach and the resulting score, though with a recognisable middle-eastern lilt at times, is largely composed for traditional orchestra, with a few exceptions. And originally envisaged as a single disc release, on completing the recording sessions, Fitzpatrick found that he had some 90 minutes of music. Therefore, whereas some labels might just spread the music over two CDs, showing that he is also a film music fan with a fan's sensibilities, Fitzpatrick scheduled a couple more sessions to record selections from a number of films linked to the founding of Israel, as well as a couple more tracks from Gold's scores for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Ship of Fools.
Disc One is totally devoted to Exodus and opens with Gold's famous theme in the "Prelude," though the inclusion of a piece not used in the film, where the composer's martial theme is briefly introduced, is somewhat jarring. "Summer in Cyprus" opens exotically, but soon becomes more downbeat, representing the oppression of the Jews. An exciting burst of action introduces "The Escape," which ends quietly, before lush strings introduce "The General." The martial theme from the "Prelude" returns for "Ari" and the track, not used in the film, also includes the main theme and that for the Jews, introduced in "Summer in Cyprus," here initially played very passionately. The Cyprus theme returns for "On the Beach," but the sunny feel is lost to a sorrowful variation on the Jewish theme. A new folk-like tune for solo accordion is introduced in "The Tent(Karen)," which gives way to brisk martial music for "Lorries/The Convoy." The determined "The Star of David" introduces a triumphant variant of the folk song "Hativkah," which of course was later to become the Israeli national anthem. Things turn appropriately downbeat for "Odenheim's Death," including a sensitive flute variation on the main theme; the track ending with an orchestral playing of Karen's theme.
"Approaching Haifa/The Oath" opens quietly expectant, with variations on the Jewish and martial themes, but a spirited burst of the main theme burst forth, before the track again ends quietly. A source cue for violin and piano follows in "Kitty," then it's back to the score proper with "Arkiva's Hideout" and a new, busy woodwind theme, which gives way to a dissonant motive, very reminiscent to one heard in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky score, ending with a brief quote of the main theme. "Love is Where You Find It" introduces the love theme, though it remains somewhat tentative here, giving way to first exuberant, then passionate, variations on the main theme, which is then taken up by solo oboe and merged with the love theme. "Yad El/He is Dead" features some charming scoring, with variations on the main theme, including a folk-styled version for treble recorder.
It's a pity the next cue was unused in the film, as Gold composed another charming piece, again merging the main and love themes for "Goodbye," the big conclusion of which gives way to a strident variation on "Hativkah" for the "Intermission Music." "Karen's Father (In Jerusalem)" features a number of themes in its foreboding opening, but Kitty's theme emerges delicately for string sextet, only to turn dark at its conclusion.
Some welcome action returns to open "Akiva's Arrest," though the track is tense for a large part, and the Nevsky-like motive also makes an appearance. "Execution Chamber/Don't Let My Brother Die" follows, opening darkly as one might expect, before developing into something of a lament. Treble recorder, imitating the the call of a muezzin, backed by bursts of bongos, tambourines and orchestra accompany "Acre Prison;" a brief burst of urgency following on in "The Chess Game." The concluding cue on Disc One, "D-Day/The Bombs" is a lengthy affair, building to an action-packed ending, encompassing several themes and motives along the way.
Before turning to Disc Two, I should say that you can access two videos from the recording sessions if you pop Disc One into your PC.
The Exodus score concludes on Disc Two, with six more cues, commencing with "The Arsenal," which mixes variations on the main theme with largely martial material. The largely tense "The Operation" follows, the love theme releasing the tension at its conclusion. But more tension follows in "Children on the Hill," leading to "Dawn/Finale - The Fight for Peace," which winds up the score with largely low-key variations of the main, martial and Kitty themes, turning quite tragic before the main theme returns in all its glory. The "Exit Music" presents a somber, yet ultimately triumphant arrangement of "Hatikvah."
Though not featured in the film, and without the composer's consent, popular singer Pat Boone gave his main theme lyrics, making a huge hit of it as "This Land is Mine," here presented in a choral arrangement by Adam Saunders, faithful to Gold's original orchestration. It's a very impressive and welcome inclusion.
The two previously mentioned Gold selections follow and after that there is Sol Kaplan's "Main Title Music" from 1966's Judith, which is cast in much the same mold as Gold's Exodus theme; a suite of five themes from Jerry Goldsmith's great score for the 1973 miniseries QBVII, including the, by turns, exciting and charming "Main Title" music, and the powerful and moving "Kaddish for the Six Million;" the principal themes from John Williams' Schindler's List, featuring Lucie Svehlova on violin; and a couple of pieces from Elmer Bernstein's score for 1966's Cast a Giant Shadow, the weighty and somewhat ominous, but eventually more triumphant "Prelude" and much lighter, dance-like treatment of the main theme in "Land of Hope."
The album concludes with Gold's concert hall presentation of his theme from Exodus, turned into a "Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, which I have to say is not much to my liking. Rather, I prefer the "Concert Overture," specially created by James Fitzpatrick, that follows.
Accompanying all this fine music is the usual quality booklet, which features Gold's ex-wife, Marni Nixon's (the singing voice of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady) reminiscences of the original recording sessions; a remembrance of the composer by Kathleen Mayne (known for her association with Monstrous Movie Music); plus a track-by-track guide by Frank K. DeWald, and album producer James Fitzpatrick's notes on the project.
Another fabulous release from Tadlow, which is surely a must for your collection. Order your copy of this limited edition release by going to, where you can also listen to samples and get instructions on how to access the aforementioned session videos.


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