RCA 1058
Producer: None listed

Track listing: Theme from Exodus / Summer in Cyprus / Escape / Ari / Karen / Valley of Jezreel / Fight for Survival / In Jerusalem / The Brothers / Conspiracy / The Brothers / Conspiracy / Prison Break / Dawn / Fight for Peace

Exodus

January 23, 1961
14 weeks stereo (nonconsecutive)
3 weeks mono

For the Exodus soundtrack album, two great talents joined forces. Prior to Exodus, film producer Otto Premi­nger proved that he knew the importance of a strong score by employing Elmer Bernstein on The Man with the Golden Arm and Duke Ellington on Anatomy of a Murder. Before being tapped by Preminger to score Exodus, Earnest Gold had proven his mettle with the score to Stanley Kramer’s On the Beach. The work earned him a Golden Globe and his first Oscar nomination. But it was with the Exodus soundtrack that Gold would truly shine.

The film, based on Leon Uris’s best­-selling novel, told the story of Jewish refugees trek to Palestine. It starred Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, and was shot on location in Israel and on Cyprus.

To prepare Gold for the job, Preminger asked the composer to visit the film locations to absorb an authentic fla­vor for the film. Yet Gold was at odds with some of Preminger’s ideas. “They do not trust the composer to come up with something original. They wanted Israeli folk songs for Exodus,” he told William H. Rosar in an interview conducted for The Cue Sheet, published by the Society for the Preservation of Film Music.

There was also a tight deadline for the soundtrack, which forced Gold to turn to Gerard Schurmann to orchestrate the project. “I only had four weeks and three days to write 90 minutes of music,” Gold told Rosar in The Cue Sheet. “That’s why I went for an orches­trator. Schurmann is much more than an orchestrator. He is a serious composer and a superb master of the orchestra. He is marvelous. But I’ve always pre­ferred to orchestrate my own music.”

Though he made a living making music for films, Gold joked about the lack of credit composers of film scores receive in a 1961 article he wrote for Opera News: “…first, in huge letters, the name of the company, those of the stars, and the title. This would be fol­lowed by several credit lines, such as ‘Adapted from the stage success…’ ‘Based on the book…’ Then a long, long list of all other artists, the set designer, wigmaker, hairdresser and so on. Finally (you had better get your magnifying glass) it would say ‘Music by So-and-So.’ As a fitting conclusion to the credits, the letters would revert to their former proud size and proclaim the producer and director.”

Gold did enjoy his moment in the spotlight, however. Exodus reached the top of the stereophonic album chart in its second week on the chart. The title track was covered by Ferrante & Teicher and reached number two on the Hot 100. Versions by such diverse talents as Mantovani (who attempted to cash in on the Exodus phenomenon with his own album), Eddie Harris, and Pat Boone were less successful.

The Gold rush continued on April 12, 1961, at the Grammy Award cere­monies. Exodus earned Gold the award for best soundtrack album, while “Theme from Exodus” was named song of the year.

THE TOP FIVE
Week of January 23, 1961

  1. Exodus, Soundtrack
  2. Music from Exodus and Other Great Themes, Mantovani
  3. Wonderland by Night, Bert Kaempfert
  4. Last Date, Lawrence Welk
  5. Brahms Concerto No. 2, Sviatoslav Richter; Chicago Symphony Orchestra