Ten Commandments

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)
The Ten Commandments – Prelude
(arr: Erick Debs)

American composer and conductor Elmer Bernstein is best known for his many film scores. Amongst his most popular is The Ten Commandments, the 1956 religious historical epic directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Bernstein’s score is grandiose and simple at the same time, betraying a musical style which became very characteristic of the biblical blockbusters of the mid-20th century. The soundtrack’s Prelude is a musical gem in itself: a hauntingly lyrical principal melody is metamorphosized into a brassy fanfare with which it is often juxtaposed, a continuously fresh harmonic language permeates a rather dense texture, and an effective use of the whole dynamic gamut compliments a colourful instrumentation which fully exploits the various instrumental groups.