Cleopatra - Original soundtrack of the film featuring Elizabeth Taylor (2CD) (OST) Soundtrack
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Twentieth Century Fox and Varèse Sarabande Records present one of the most colossal film score restorations of all time! Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison star in one of the most breathtaking epics in motion picture history the story of the Queen of the Nile's tumultuous love affairs with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar. Directed by the great Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve), CLEOPATRA's astounding recreation of the eighteen years leading up to the formation of the Roman Empire makes for one of the most lavish productions in Hollywood history. Equally historic is this first-ever presentation of over 150 minutes of Alex North's glorious and Academy Award-nominated film score. The composers own score for Spartacus and Miklós Rózsa's magnificent Ben Hur are perhaps this score s only peers. Recorded with an orchestra of unprecedented size, it is truly one of the most extraordinary scores ever composed for a film. CLEOPATRA has never before been available on CD. An LP of recorded highlights of North's music spent some six months on the charts and was in the US the countrys number 2 album for three weeks. Now, for the first time ever, the complete original soundtrack from the film, digitally re-mastered and sounding better than ever, is presented on this elaborately packaged double CD.
Finally available after four decades, this complete two-CD set of Alex North's monumental two-and-a-half-hour score for Cleopatra (1963) is a dream come true for serious film music aficionados. The story of the restoration of this music is an epic in itself, well told in the excellent accompanying 24-page colour booklet. The score is a landmark in film composition, combining elements of the bold militarism of Miklós Rózsa's Ben-Hur (1959) with North's own much more modernistic style to create a work which ranges from cold menace and atonality to the deep lyricism and romance. Considering the overlapping subject matter it is unsurprising to find references to North's own music for Spartacus (1960), though the material here is almost entirely new and is based on separate themes for Cleopatra's relationships with Anthony and Caesar, together with an "ambition" theme. Around these North weaves an extraordinarily complex fabric, interspersed with such bold set pieces as "Moon Gate" and the 14-minute "Sea Battle". Use of percussion, from the savagely warlike to the glitteringly mysterious is always imaginative, never resorting to Hollywood cliché. The restored sound, while lacking the impact of more modern recordings, is full and highly detailed. This is probably the most essential archive soundtrack release since John Williams' Superman. --Gary S Dalkin
Top Customer Reviews
The recording is crisp and the double disc set comes with a 24 page booklet crammed with information about the film and the music.
This is a must for anyone who claims to be a serious collector of film music, or indeed for those who just love music.
I have great difficulty when attempting to sum up this mammoth effort in a few words. Is the music eerie, hypnotic, and haunting? Absolutely. Is it mysterious, evocative, and beautiful? Definitely. Indeed, when listening to this score, I'm struck by how subtle and sophisticated it is. So what do I actually mean by that? Well, the primary aim of a film score must be to augment the subject of the film itself, thus enhancing the viewing experience of the audience, and here, North succeeds admirably. However, the music has a freshness and vitality, a sort of "timeless" quality, which gives it a life of its own beyond the boundaries of the film.
I must admit that I'm not an admirer of all of North's work, some of which I find to have too "abstract" a quality about it. Of course,this is purely subjective, and comes down to a matter of personal taste. Objectively, anyone who listens to his music for the likes of "Virginia Woolf", "Spartacus", "Cheyenne Autumn" and "The Agony and the Ecstasy" can only acknowledge the man as a master craftsman, and "Cleopatra" as his masterpiece.
Finally, thanks to Varese Sarabande for making this double cd available.
Its a long album though. Both disks are in excess of 70 minutes, so I'm still working my way through them.
If you are a fan of Alex North's music or a film score collector, then you need to hear this two CD set from Varese Sarabande.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
excellent sound,considering the age of the recording,well packaged and the booklet that is with it is first class great detail into the recording and information on the cast is... Read morePublished on 1 July 2013 by chrisrogers
What a great soundtrack. The music is spot on and great to hear. What else can I say about this?Published on 27 Mar. 2013 by Joe
Not played it yet but arrived well packaged and in great nick. very quick also. would do business with again.Published on 25 Jan. 2013 by John Denham