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Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro): The Original Sound Track From The Film Soundtrack

4.2 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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This impressionistic score from Marcel Camus's 1958 cinematic retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus was most Americans' introduction to the Brazilian musical style called bossa nova. As it became a nationwide craze that featured both Brazilian samba and U.S. cool-jazz participants, the names of Black Orpheus composers Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa became familiar far beyond the hi-fi set. Along with the haunting theme song, "Manha de Carnaval," and several Jobim compositions are the vibrant street sounds of the pre-Lenten festival Carnaval, which provides the backdrop to the tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The score is awash with percussive samba rhythms and the laughter and chanting of the annual festival melee. This is a great disc to play when the day needs a parade. --Lois Maffeo
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 5, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: December 21, 1959
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Verve
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • ASIN: B000004726
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,966 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 31, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This "soundtrack recording" is a work of art in its own right. There are many details here that I don't remember from the movie. For instance, Manha de Carnaval begins with a long instrumental with tropical bird songs - very beautiful (like a jungle orchestra), but the birdsong wasn't that noticeable in the movie. Likewise, there is a reprise of it sung by Euridyce, something I certainly don't remember.

No matter, it works very beautifully this way, And it's useful to hear the music presented for its own sake - so you should have both the movie and the soundtrack. Forget about this thing stating the bossa nova fad, it's gorgeous just for itself.
If you enjoy this, you'll probably enjoy Forest of the Amazon (by Villa-Lobos).
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Format: Audio CD
The scene in the movie when the village boys sing "Samba de Orfeo" is a transcendently beautiful religious moment. If the boys don't sing, the sun might not rise! Bonfa's samba lives up to the burden of the occasion -- joyous, passionate, unstoppable. The rest of the soundtrack, if you can believe it, lives up to THAT. Bonfa's lovely "Morning of the Carnival"; several of Jobim's lovely, sophisticated compositions in sparkling, minimal arrangements; and the awesome street Carnival percussion and singing.
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Format: Audio CD
Orpheus, a tragic Greek character who travelled to the land of the dead to charm Hades with his music for the return of his true love. (Though he wins her back the story ends badly... but the music must've been damn GOOD!)
And this collection from these champions of the "Bosstown Sound" bears testament to that... Almost their entire eponymous first album (with the exception of the surprisingly omitted, "Lesley's World") is included on Disc One. It might have been nice to include the radio edit of their one hit, "Can't Find The Time To Tell You" on this collection, but, hey... it took 'em long enough just to make these selections available.
Spectacular production values for 1967! WOW! Great, imaginative arrangements contributing to an almost dreamlike wash of sound, these guys blew the doors off Mike Brown's "Left Banke" with the depth of their musings and the quality of their music. They chose unusual harmonies, Major 7th chords, were influenced by the French impressionists, Satie and Debussy, and by the more modern American sounds of Aaron Copland, in formats of sudden and unusual key changes and modulations, which demanded full orchestration.
It's too bad the double disc set meant that many gems could not be included, like Steve Martin's "Big Green Pearl" from the fourth album. Never-the-less, this double disc is a worthy addition for any collector of melodic pop!
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By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is the album that helped launch bossa nova as an international phenomenon. If you haven't seen the movie yet, it's a truly moving experience. The soundtrack has some inconsistent points, and the recording quality isn't terribly great, but the beauty of Jobim and Bonfa's compositions overcomes it all. Best tracks: "Manha de Carnaval," "O Nosso Amor," and of course "A Felicidade."
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Format: Audio CD
The "oldies" station I listen to features a daily "lost oldie", one that you don't hear very often. One day they played a scratchy version of "Can't Find The Time", and it brought back great memories. Back in the spring of 1969 Orpheus performed at my Senior Prom. I owned their first two albums, and really liked them a lot. Unfortunately, most people never heard of Orpheus.
Some of the material sounds dated but this set picks the cream of the crop, with heavy emphasis on the first two albums. It also includes a couple of rarities. I must admit that I found myself singing along just as I did thirty years ago.
If you remember Orpheus, you won't be disappointed. If you're looking for some history of the "Bosstown Sound" this is a good place to start.
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Format: Audio CD
Orpesus produced three albums. All sold out in days. The albums are impossible to come by. The gentle sound and meaningful words bring back a memories of a happier time in the listeners life. This group could've been huge, but kept the quality great and their principles intact. Everyone should enjoy their mellow, loving sound.
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Format: Audio CD
I liked very much the film Black Orpheus, but when I bought this record I hoped to listen the music, not the movie. Most of the tracks has sounds of the movie overimposed to the songs, as would be heard in the movie. Then why not buying the movie? When I listen a cd I care about music, that is contaminated in this record.

And doesn't help neither that songs are changed abruptly frequently.

Besides, the art of the cover is very poor, dishonors the movie, and the written comments claim that the sounds of the movie are a plus, recalling the scenes of the movie were the sounds appear, improperly: the "Oh No!" sound of "Frevo" that is commented does not apear in the movie as said.

As a summary, Verve did wonderfull editions of jazz, but this edition falls far behind the standards of both Verve and the film; clearly, Brazilian music doesn't seems to be Verve territory judging buy this edition.
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