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Three Choral Suites: Ben-Hur / Quo Vadis / King of Kings

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ben-Hur: Overture
  2. Ben-Hur: Star Of Bethlehem/Adoration Of The Magi
  3. Ben-Hur: Rowing Of The Galley Slaves
  4. Ben-Hur: Alleluia
  5. Ben-Hur: Parade Of The Charioteers
  6. Ben-Hur: Miracle And Finale
  7. Quo Vadis: Prelude
  8. Quo Vadis: Ave Caesar March
  9. Quo Vadis: Fertility Hymn
  10. Quo Vadis: Assyrian Dance
  11. Quo Vadis: Marcus And Lygia
  12. Quo Vadis: Miracle And Finale
  13. King Of Kings: Overture
  14. King Of Kings: Roman Legions
  15. King Of Kings: Nativity
  16. King Of Kings: The Feast Of Passover
  17. King Of Kings: Herod's Feast
  18. King Of Kings: Miracles Of Christ
  19. King Of Kings: The Lord's Prayer
  20. King Of Kings: Pieta
  21. King Of Kings: Resurrection And Finale


Product Details

  • Performer: Morman Tabernacle Choir
  • Orchestra: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Conductor: Erich Kunzel
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B0007ZEQA8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,652 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Miklos Rozsa is one of Hollywood's best known composers. His training was in the classical repertoire, which is evident in his scores for films. While his heart was in the symphonic and choral worlds, most of his better known music was for film. Perhaps this is why his music fits so well to some of Hollywood's greatest epic films, and why arrangements of his music seem to be at home in large symphonic halls performed by the world's greatest orchestras.

Erich Kunzel, conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform three musical suites of Rozsa's music in arrangements started by the composer. The three film scores that have been arranged in suite form are the three of MGM's greatest large scale works: BEN-HUR, QUO VADIS, and KING OF KINGS. Overall, Kunzel and the Pops do a magnificent job in this recording and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir does the job listeners have come to expect from this ensemble over the years. Kunzel, who was one of the collaborators that completed the arrangements begun by Rozsa, conveys his love and appreciation in his conducting. The arrangements also keep the spirit of the three films, and listening to these arrangements brings back scenes from these films which are examples of Hollywood at what may be its best, if not its grandest.

This recording of film music by Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops is different from his earlier recordings of Hollywood classics. The suites are arranged by composer and not the orchestra's arrangers. In this recording the music is very similar to what is heard in the films, and are not themes of the music in pop arrangements as is the case of the HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST HITS collections or the Disney collections which gives this collection more of a classical orientation rather than a pop style.
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Format: Audio CD
There seems to be some polarity among these reviews. I'd like to take a different point of view. Telarc started out life as an audiophile label just before the CD era. As such they were committed to top sound during a time when LPs had become shoddy. The Atlanta Firebird was used at conventions and in audio salons to show off how big a bass drum could be, for example.

In that context this recording is almost strange. To record the Tabernacle Choir separately from the Orchestra is just plain wrong. Listening to the SuperAudioCD version, the two organizations are obviously in different acoustical settings.

It is true that the Saint Saens Organ Symphony has been recorded with the organ separate from the orchestra. BUT the organ part in that work is compartively simple, chordal, and doesn't move around much -- synchronization isn't a big deal.

I know of no other recording that tries to put two very large organizations together miles and months apart. As noted it comes off pretty well (from a synchronization standpoint), but the choir is lost in an acoustic which swallows enuciation.

There aren't many "words" in these works. There's a lot of "Ah Ah" vocalizing (sometimes referred to as 'vapor singing'). The hebrew in Quo Vadis comes across nicely but it is acappella.

Bottom line: they should have either recorded it in Cincinnati with the May Festival Chorus or in Salt Lake with the Utah Symphony. Either town has acoustical settings equal to the project.

This could have been a wonderful recording. But the fact that Telarc has gotten away from its audiophile-quality roots is the culprit in this recording being less than it might have been.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm a film music nut, and Miklos Rozsa is by far my favorite composer. He's proven quite popular on CD, with many re-releases and re-recordings of both his film scores and his purely concert works. A release like Three Choral Suites can get lost among Rozsa recordings because most of this music has been recorded many times. However, this CD has much to offer the Rozsa fan or the casual listener.

This recording features the Mormon Tabernacle Choir united with the Cincinnati Pops and Mr. Kunzel. The choir adds a welcome dimension and breathes new life into such classics as King of Kings, where the original soundtrack recording suffered from distortion. In this reworking of Rozsa's music, one gets to hear the sheer power and beauty of the King of Kings score, and one can admire the craft that went into these influential film scores.

Speaking of craft, special kudos must be given to Mr. Kunzel for actually seeming to interpret these works, rather than perfomring a perfunctory or rushed reading as I have so often heard on Silva releases. Silva has released many re-recordings of rare film music, but I always get the feeling when listeining to them that the orchestra is almost sight reading the material and there doesn't seem to be a budget for retakes as often times mistakes are heard. Kunzel on the other hand, seems to have taken his time and has brought some fresh interpretations to this material. Sometimes this may fall flat, as in the rushed Rowing of the Galley Slaves from Ben-Hur (those slaves would have been dead from exhaustion long before the piece is over), but most times the fresh perspective works.

As a Rozsa fan, I really love the Quo Vadissuite.
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