If you’re a composer going into battle with one of the worst sequels of all time to protect the sanctity of your original masterwork, then you might as well hold your sword high, scream “Crom!” and produce such symphonic blood and thunder that the one thing to come out of the destruction will be your music. Such was the power of Basil Poledouris as he swung his mighty CONAN into DESTROYER‘s woeful death pit.
The fact that Nic Raine and The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus are back nearly thirty years later to re-perform Poledouris’ gloriously manly score says something about the quality of DESTROYER‘s music, not to mention their desire to do an equally worthy follow up to their rendition of CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Here it’s fixing the original’s flawed Italian recording with the chorus and real, orchestral muscle the original budget wouldn’t allow, making this complete CONAN THE DESTROYER score the true warrior Poledouris had dreamed of.
While Poledouris reprised his mighty themes from the first CONAN, the composer also came up with several new ones, all of which treated the film’s absurd kid’s stuff as a true clash of the titans, all while doing its best to acknowledge this film’s campier tone in a way that wouldn’t condescending to it. Poledouris also relies more on his own voice here than the Russian masters he paid tribute to the first time out, with the Prague Philharmonic giving real, pounding weight to the brass-heavy orchestrations, as well as conjuring the silky percussion and strings for a story that placed equal emphasis on sorcery as swordplay.
Prometheus’ two-disc set also offers all of Poledouris’ soundtrack for THE ADVENTURES OF CONAN. With its swirling nobility, it’s music that comes across as being as Arthurian as it is Cimmerian. Though ADVENTURES offers none of the familiar CONAN themes, the barbarian’s spirit is more than there. You couldn’t imagine stunt people swinging their plastic broadsword about Universal studios three times a day to better, more committed music. It’s a determination, and quality that Poledouris’ work and life were all about, especially on those occasions where he was dealing with a less than worthy cinematic opponent. It’s a legacy that’s paid proud tribute to by album producer James Fitzpatrick, along with perceptive liner notes by Frank K. DeWald.
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Article: CD Review of CONAN THE DESTROYER soundtrack