Ben-Hur

(1987)

by Carl Davis

Description
MGM (1925) Director: Fred Niblo
Duration
141
Genres
Silent Film
Instrumentation
3(II=afl.III=picc).2.ca.2.bcl.2 - 4331 - timp -perc(4): xyl/glsp/bell plate/BD/2 tam-t/2 susp.cym/cyms/TD/crot/gong/bell tree/Camel bells/siz.cym/marktree/tgl/piano pins/cabassa/whip/wdbl/ratchet/guiro/ tom-t/tamb/sistrum/ch.cym/clay drum/sleigh bells/SD/finger.cyms/t.bells/gallet drum/thunder sheet/timp - organ - harp - strings (min 12.10.8.6.4). (an additional horn, trumpet and trombone player are recommended)
Commission
Commissioned by Thames Television
First Performance
1987, London
Availability

Full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Starring: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman Director: Fred Niblo Production Company: MGM USA, 1925 Film Print: restored, tinted print with original Technicolor sequences available from Photoplay Productions (Film Speed: 17-23 frames per second) Recorded for Video Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur was blessed by the Pope and sold almost as many copies as the Bible. Making the film was an epic story in itself. The first production was abandoned half-way through and MGM embarked on a new one with a new director. The spectacular sea battle, for which full-scale Roman galleys were built in Italian shipyards, allegedly led to real casualties. The Circus Maximus, where the famous chariot race was filmed, was reconstructed in Hollywood by 800 men over four months, and thousands watched the event live. Set in the time of Christ, the film chronicles the story of the Jewish prince, Ben-Hur, who embarks on a journey that leads him through betrayal, slavery, battle and revenge to love and Christian revelation. Carl Davis's huge Wagnerian score, drawing on a large orchestra with organ, unites the romantic-melodramatic and religious elements of the drama.

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