1954, 1999, Music

The Egyptian (1999) by Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, performed by Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Choir conducted by William T. Stromberg

This is a weird one.

Not an actual collaboration between two film composers, this is actually, essentially, two separate scores to the same movie, and one scene is scored by one man, another by the other.

Newman was much more established in the film world at the time – Herrmann had just entered the film world via radio – but both were experienced conductors and composers.

You have to pay attention to distinguish who did what. Herrmann is more responsible for the final score by a count of 19 cues vs 11 cues from Newman. Newman’s score is a little more romantic, a little less risky, to my ears. Newman was a little bit more of a traditional composer than Herrmann, far as I know. Though he (Newman) scored more prolifically than Herrmann, Newman definitely has not been remembered as fondly – though upon his death in the ’70s, he was considered one of the Great Film Score Compoers – and this score gives us a good idea why. Herrmann’s work is far more alive, far more indicative of the tenor of the film, than Newman’s. (It’s almost as if they divided up scenes between them, based on their strengths.)

And really, that’s the only reason to recommend what is otherwise a fairly traditional score compared to Herrmann’s other highlights. It’s neat to hear two major film composers in competition, and see a fairly obvious result as to why one has been remembered as one of the Greats (Herrmann) and one has started to be forgotten (Newman).

7/10

  1. Prelude
  2. The Ruins
  3. The Red Sea And Childhood
  4. The Nile And Temple
  5. Her Name Was Merit
  6. The Chariot Ride
  7. Pursuit
  8. Akhnaton – One Deity
  9. Taia
  10. Party’s End
  11. Nefer – Nefer – Nefer
  12. The Rebuke
  13. The Deed
  14. The Harp And Couch
  15. The Perfection Of Love
  16. Violence
  17. Valley Of Kings
  18. The Homecoming
  19. Hymn To Aton
  20. Sights, Sounds And Smells

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