Ben Hur

(Niblo, 1925). Music composed and compiled by William Axt and David Mendoza

One of the silent film era’s biggest epics, the battle scenes, the chariot race, and the road to Calvary are still immensely affecting as are the technicolor sequences.
Ben Hur, a young Jew in Roman conquered Jerusalem, inadvertently knocks a brick from the roof of his home and kills the Roman governor of the city.
A childhood friend, Messala, a Roman officer, arrests him and sends his mother and sister to jail.
Ben Hur is sent to be a slave on a Roman galley. On his way to the ship his path crosses that of Christ who offers his partched lips water.
When the slave galley is attacked by pirates, Ben Hur saves the life of the Roman captain of the ship. He is adopted as the Roman's son.
After an unsuccessful trip to locate his mother and sister, Ben Hur wants revenge against Messala. But he falls in love with the daughter of his mother's steward who has saved the Hur fortune.
Ben Hur wins a chariot race against Messala, who is killed, and he finds his mother and sister who have leprosy.
Their illness is cured by Christ on his way to the cross. The music by William Axt, dean of silent film accompanists, makes the film even more penetrating.


Performing forces
11 players (violin I and II, cello, bass, flute/piccolo, clarinet I, trumpet I, trombone, percussion/timpani, piano, organ/synthesizer)
Performing forces
45 players (strings 7,7,6,5,4, flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet I & II, bassoon, 2 Fr. Horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, 2 percussion, tympani, harp, organ, piano).
Percussion Bass drum, cymbals, gong, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, grand cassa, glockenspiel, woodblock, soft mallets, anvil, soft sticks, petite cymbale, tamb. Basque, tenor drum, xylophone with soft mallets, cymb. frappée, chimes, 3 timpani
Rehearsals Two 2 ½ hour rehearsals with orchestra
One 2 ½ hour tech rehearsal
One 3 hour 10 minute dress rehearsal
Performance time 2 hours, 10 minutes plus 15 minute intermission
Film speed 24 frames per second
Projection 35 mm film projector
Rights Turner Entertainment (negotiable)
artwork:Lidia Bagnoli