Dramatic Vocalise Database

Rózsa, Miklós (1907–95)

El Cid (1961)

Rózsa also used dramatic vocalization in the scores to The Thief of Bagdad (1940), The Red House (1947), Quo Vadis (1951), Julius Caesar (1953), Knights of the Round Table (1953), Ben-Hur (1959), and King of Kings (1961).

El Cid (1962) [sic] remains, to date, the last of the great Rózsa epics . . . ” 1



Final Scene and Credits

“The hero has died after being struck by a Moorish arrow at the height of the battle of Valencia. . . . His death is kept a secret in order not to demoralize his army on the eve of their final stand against the fanatical Ben-Yussef. So the following morning his body is propped up and strapped to his horse, and lance in hand he leads his men to victory in absentia. The huge Moorish gates are swung open; light reflected from the dead warrior’s shield fills the screen and we hear the narrator’s words ‘And so the Cid rode forth from the pages of history into legend.’ Thereupon the full organ sounds, solo, ablaze with the Cid’s theme in all its power and glory. This sudden burst of sound is the more effective for the enormously long tension-fraught silence, broken only by the sounds of wind and sea, the clink of armour and clip-clop of horses, which have preceded it. The organ is engulfed in a fiery sortie of battle-music as the black-robed Moorish hordes are flung back into the sea; but it returns in company with a wordless chorus to close the picture as the figure of the Cid reappears galloping along the shoreline and is finally lost in the immensity of sea merging with sky (‘Almighty God, open Your Arms to receive the soul of one who lived and died for Spain, the purest Knight of them all.’) It is a grand romantic finale, and one of the greatest in film music.” 2


1 Christopher Palmer, The Composer in Hollywood (New York: Marion Boyars, 1990), 225.

2 Ibid., 227.