Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Jerry GOLDSMITH The 13th Warrior   OST   VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6038 [55:06]




(US cover differs)

The 13th Warrior, based on a novel by Michael Crichton, is about an elegant Arab emissary (Antonio Banderas) who is abducted by a band of cruder-cultured Vikings and forced to join their quest to battle mysterious creatures legendary for consuming every living creature in their path. So Jerry Goldsmith had to not only forge a grand heroic theme in the grand traditional manner but also show the contrast between the two cultures. 'Old Bagdad' immediately suggests all the exotic colour of the locale and the heroic nature of the Banderas character in striking strongly rhythmic music. The mood of Arabian exoticism carries over into the second cue 'Exiled' beginning in more subdued and pastoral/elegiac mood before the tempo quickens and the music grows more agitated and excited. Goldsmith's textures are dense and most interesting to the ear and his ethnic orchestrations very vivid. If you remember his score for The Mummy, then you will know what to expect. There are also some extraordinary synth birdsong-like effects prominent in the third cue 'Semantics' as well as the usual array of ethnic percussion and male chanting voices. 'The Great Hall' impressively introduces archaic religious chants and church bell tollings to the Moorish modes in a mysterious/mystical mix before the heroic material asserts itself. Another richly textured track is "Eaters of the Dead" eerie and repulsive with sudden staccato shocks and particularly sour brass snarlings and glissandos.

Viking heads is a powerful orchestral outburst suggesting the strident might and brute strength of the Vikings; massive timpani and anvil hammerings support crude but thrilling brass fanfares. In 'The Sword Maker' we hear the might of Thor again plus the heroic theme which is richly developed. 'Horns of Hell' is another showcase for sets of timps across the sound stage and steel upon steel with stalwart men's chorus and the threat of mysterious creatures in the background and suspense and chase music. I think I have written enough to convey the gist of this score. The remaining tracks develop this basic material with Goldsmith's usual ingenuity.

If it is colour and excitement you want, it is here in abundance - a rich, thick-textured score with enough variety to hold the attention; however, apart from the newer synth elements, the overall impression is of familiar territory being revisited. Having said that, this score is definitely a cut above similar work from the competition


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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