The Hungarian composer Miklós Rózsa began writing film music at the suggestion of Arthur Honegger after achieving only moderate success with his early concert music. He went on to score ninety-five films, including some of the most famous cinematic works of all time. Here Rumon Gamba, a great champion of film music, conducts the BBC Philharmonic in some of Rózsa’s best-loved scores.
The music composed for Alexander Korda’s London Films Company between 1937 and 1942 is imbued with an amazing freshness and magical melodic expression. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the colourful scores for The Thief of Bagdad and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, suites from which are presented on this recording. The first encompasses the major events of the plot in its seven movements.
The second abounds with leitmotifs, the score being more than just background music as each character has its own theme. Rózsa’s score for the World War II film Sahara is appropriately hard-hitting and the suite encapsulates all the major themes of the film. The music for Ben-Hur is regarded by many as the composer’s magnum opus among the film scores, winning Rózsa an Oscar in 1960. Befitting the epic film production, it features a large orchestra and the suite comprises six key moments from the film.