Alex North

Cleopatra [Deluxe Edition]

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The deluxe CD package on Varese Sarabande (all two and a half hours) is always the first recommendation for this classic soundtrack, but budget-minded film-music buffs will still find plenty of pleasures on this, the original LP release. Readily found in top-quality used bins, Alex North's imposing but always intriguing backdrop to the 1963 Liz Taylor vehicle mixes its measured bombast with plenty of methodical mystery (dark, tomb-issue gems like "A Gift for Caesar" and "Taste of Death"), snake-charmer kitsch ("Caesar's Assassination"), and sweeping romanticism ("Dying Is Less the Love"). North executes each of these moods with the taste and restraint of the best soundtrack composers, dropping in enough left turns to keep even the more progressive listeners enthralled. That trip to Egypt on wax is just waiting on your needle to drop. ~ Stephen Cook, Rovi

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