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The Prince of Egypt
(1998)
Album Cover Art
1998 Original
1998 Collector's Edition
Album 2 Cover Art
Sample Bootleg
Album 3 Cover Art
Score Composed and Co-Produced by:

Score Co-Produced by:
Adam Smalley

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Yvonne S. Moriarty

Songs Composed by:
Stephen Schwartz

Songs Produced by:
Hans Zimmer
Harry Gregson-Williams
John Powell
Gavin Greenaway

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway
Harry Gregson-Williams
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Dreamworks Records (Original)
(November 17th, 1998)

Dreamworks Records (Collector's Edition)
(November 24th, 1998)

Bootleg
(2001)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The original three soundtrack albums ('Soundtrack,' 'Nashville,' and 'Inspirational') are regular U.S. releases. The Collector's Edition was readily available at Walmart in late 1998 and 1999, fetching prices as high as $50 on the secondary market after selling out. The mass quantities available for this short album, however, have caused it to become a cheap used-CD find. The first bootlegs that circulated in 2001 featured terrible sound quality, but by 2004, better sources for the material began to leak and these 2-CD bootlegs were more tolerable.
Awards
AWARDS
The song "When You Believe" and the score were both nominated for Golden Globes and Academy Awards. That song, as well as the primary album, were also nominated for Grammy Awards.




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the commercial album if you seek only a survey of the film's cast songs and half of Hans Zimmer's occasionally epic score.

Avoid it... on all of the commercially available albums if you want a truly loyal representation of the music you actually hear in the film.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #33
WRITTEN 12/20/98, REVISED 3/25/08
Zimmer
Zimmer
The Prince of Egypt: (Hans Zimmer/Stephen Schwartz) The biggest question about Dreamworks' 1998 venture into animation was how exactly the studio could base a children's musical on the first chapters of the Book of Exodus without offending half of the world's population (if not more). Several careful consultations with religious historians and delicate liberties taken with the story led to a product that worked surprisingly well, intelligent enough to impress adults (including critics) and with vivid colors and compelling emotional relationships to keep the kids interested. Regardless of the sticky subject matter, the animated musical genre had been dominated by Disney throughout the 1990's. In 1997 and 1998, however, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bothers, and Dreamworks were all reaching into that same well of vast potential earnings. While Fox had mostly succeeded with Anastasia, Warner's The Quest for Camelot was a monumental failure (despite some outstanding music). Dreamworks would easily exceed both in competition, matching Disney's Mulan in 1998 with immense praise and surprising financial returns given the topic of the story. Dreamworks decided to stay true to the structure of the typical musical for the era, meaning that the tunes for the songs would need to be written early enough in the production process to properly synchronize the story with its singing. Broadway songwriter and lyricist for the recent Disney musicals by Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz was finally given the opportunity to write his own songs for a major feature. The scoring duties were the assignment of Hans Zimmer, who had not only won an Academy Award for The Lion King, but was involved with the early Dreamworks production The Peacemaker the previous year. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these two artists' involvement with the songs and score for The Prince of Egypt is the fact that Zimmer seemingly came on board as early as Schwartz did in order to arrange the film's songs. He asserted late in 1998 that he had been involved with small portions of the song creation as early as 1995 and had even contributed suggestions to help shape the film's story.

Unlike The Lion King, Zimmer's involvement at the very start of production for The Prince of Egypt gave him a more integral attachment to the concept. While touting his own work on the songs, he is not quick to mention the collaboration with Schwartz, who is solely credited as the writer of each of the six cast songs. The balance between Schwartz's writing of the melodies and their instrumental arrangements by Zimmer and a vast collection of Media Ventures talent has always been somewhat nebulous, due in part to the large quantity of contributing talent in the editing and recording process. The project caused Zimmer significant anxiety, for his determination to avoid offending viewers caused him to fret about the appropriateness of his music for the daunting Biblical story. He intentionally whipped through the process of writing the hour of underscore for the film in just one month, quickly handing the score over to his assistants after years of stirring the pot of ideas for the production. As Zimmer told Film Score Monthly at the time of the film's release, "While recording in London, I was the most miserable I have ever been. I was so grumpy because I thought I ruined the whole movie. I dropped into a complete insecurity. I was convinced none of the music would fit the action. Then, I became more and more panicked and didn't tell anybody. I was impossible to be with." The scene addressing the burning bush was particularly troublesome for Zimmer, but after assurances from his staff, he later said, "I think I pulled it off." Unlike the rest of the score for the film, the "Burning Bush" cue was one instance in which Zimmer did not have any visuals to write for, a situation that resembled the uncertainty over synchronization with The Lion King. Like the songs, Zimmer's music for the scene would guide the animators' pacing. The Media Ventures staff proved to be more crucial in the recording and editing process of The Prince of Egypt than perhaps ever before or since. One of these members, and the most likely candidate is Jeff Rona (who had both performed on woodwinds for Zimmer's scores and arranged his commercial albums), took Zimmer's 88 recorded tracks for the film and finally organized them into the final product.

The performing ensemble for The Prince of Egypt is staggering, which is likely part of the reason the production of the score and the songs' instrumental arrangements was a nightmare for Zimmer. Orchestral players making up several of London's notable ensembles were combined with familiar soloists from earlier Zimmer projects and the usual Media Ventures clan who, inevitably, helped the composer lend the music its familiar masculine edge with a host of synthetic accents and mixing techniques. Israeli chanteuse Ofra Haza was the first choice by Zimmer to contribute to The Prince of Egypt. "I have always loved Ofra and asked for her," Zimmer recalled. "She is tremendous." When Zimmer first sat down to tackle the score's content, he claimed that the score he consulted with, interestingly, was John Williams' Schindler's List (with the common denominator being the treatment of religious persecution, of course) and, after studying it closely, claimed that "The one thing I didn't want to do is go anywhere near that music." Indeed, Zimmer had to deal with the same tricky balance of addressing the weight of the religious story with the PG rating of the film. Schwartz faced the same dilemma as well, and he arguably achieved a better result. His six songs followed the pattern of most musicals, with heroic ballads of hope, a fierce vocal battle with the villain, and even a variation on the usual comedy relief piece. Perhaps one of the reasons Zimmer was worried about the viability of his work on the score was because of the success of Schwartz's contributions. There was much disagreement with this point at the time, with reviewers all choosing different songs as the highlight of the music. The magazine Entertainment Weekly wrote at the time that "No amount of positive thinking can make Schwartz's quasi-religious show tunes fly." Audiences chose their own overwhelming favorite, however, with "When You Believe" earning accolades ultimately resulting in another Oscar for Schwartz. The pop variation of that song, performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, sustained itself on Billboard's charts for a while, though Schwartz's refusal to give Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds co-writing credit for that version of the song for the purposes of the Oscar nomination caused significant controversy (and boycott threats) before the ceremonies in 1999.

Despite a somewhat muddled response from critics, The Prince of Egypt's songs remain a crowning mainstream achievement for Schwartz, every one featuring uniquely positive attributes. Each of them manages to balance the religious gravity of the story with the innocence of the children's genre. His melodies are attractive and the instrumental accompaniment by Zimmer's staff offers strong connections to the style of the surrounding underscore. The opening of the film features the powerful and compelling song "Deliver Us," an ensemble expression of persecution with heartbreaking lyrics and two gorgeous lead female performances in its middle sections. The uplifting and buoyant "All I Ever Wanted" is the closest Schwartz comes to emulating the hero's song of aspiration that Alen Menken made famous throughout the decade. The determination in this short song is convincing and the queen's reprise is elegantly merged with the river melody from "Deliver Us" at its conclusion. While "Through Heaven's Eyes" is a common favorite for listeners, its folk rhythms betray the resounding voice of Brian Stokes Mitchell. The Steve Martin and Martin Short song "Playing With the Big Boys" is surprisingly sinister, with tones similar to the villain's song from Anastasia. One of the more terrifyingly effective songs of recent animation history comes with "The Plagues," which challenges the lyrical nature of the film's early songs with deliberately harsh chanting that battles quite strikingly with a pseudo-reprise of "All I Ever Wanted" (performed by Amick Bryam). Ralph Fiennes's contribution in the last 45 seconds is intentionally mixed at a distance, likely to hide the lack of power behind his voice. The primary song from the film is "When You Believe," the sorrowful but optimistic equivalent to "God Help the Outcasts" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A graceful duet between Sally Dworsky and Michelle Pfeiffer yields to children's voices and a highly percussive rhythmic presence in the last minute to address the victorious stance reprised at the film's finale. It is "When You Believe" that went on to Grammy and Oscar recognition in its radio-blitzed pop variant, despite terrible editing that places percussion on top of both voices and wastes the precision of those singing talents with an ambiguous mix.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
13,343 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 4.08 Stars
***** 6,644 5 Stars
**** 3,394 4 Stars
*** 1,790 3 Stars
** 839 2 Stars
* 676 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
98 TOTAL COMMENTS
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The Score on Torrent?
movie_Fan - May 3, 2009, at 5:32 a.m.
1 comment  (1670 views)
Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review #2
Cap Stewart - March 25, 2008, at 8:50 a.m.
1 comment  (1748 views)
Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
Christian Kuehn - March 25, 2008, at 8:44 a.m.
1 comment  (1915 views)
Complete Edition
Thom Jophery - March 23, 2007, at 9:03 a.m.
1 comment  (2643 views)
Excellent music
Sheridan - January 1, 2007, at 1:00 p.m.
1 comment  (1825 views)
song Better Than I
antnet - July 9, 2006, at 7:40 p.m.
1 comment  (1186 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Original 'Soundtrack' Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 54:27
• 1. The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe) - performed by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (5:05)
• 2. Deliver Us - performed by Ofra Haza and Eden Riegel (7:16)
• 3. The Reprimand* (4:05)
• 4. Following Tzipporah* (1:01)
• 5. All I Ever Wanted (With Queen's Reprise) - performed by Amick Byram and Linda Dee Shayne (2:51)
• 6. Goodbye Brother* (5:34)
• 7. Through Heaven's Eyes - performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell (3:42)
• 8. The Burning Bush* (7:18)
• 9. Playing with the Big Boys - performed by Steven Martin and Martin Short (2:53)
• 10. Cry* (3:50)
• 11. Rally* (0:43)
• 12. The Plagues - performed by Amick Byram and Ralph Fiennes (2:40)
• 13. Death of the First Born* (1:08)
• 14. When You Believe - performed by Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky (4:05)
• 15. Red Sea* (5:15)

• 16. Through Heaven's Eyes - performed by K-Ci and Jo Jo (5:05)
• 17. River Lullaby - performed by Amy Grant (3:57)
• 18. Humanity - performed by the actor and singer ensemble (4:33)
• 19. I Will Get There (A Capella) - performed by Boyz II Men (4:21)
* exclusive track from Hans Zimmer's score (Total: 29:10)
Collector's Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 26:51
Sample 2004 Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 118:52

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert for the 'Original' commercial release includes a lengthy list of performers, both instrumentally and vocally, as well as lyrics for the songs. The 'Collector's Edition' contains only a single-page slip insert with no extra information about the music. The bootleg covers vary widely.
Copyright © 1998-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Prince of Egypt are Copyright © 1998, Dreamworks Records (Original), Dreamworks Records (Collector's Edition), Bootleg and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/20/98 and last updated 3/25/08.
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