Total Time: (54:58)
|Composition/Conducting: Jerry Goldsmith|
Orchestration: Alexander Courage
1999 was a glory year for Mr. Goldsmith as he turned out three of his best scores in ages: This, The Haunting, and The Mummy. All offered something from the past yet tied in with the new. In 2000, Mr. Goldsmith finally returned to modern atonal scoring with Hollow Man which unfortunately did not recieve much critical reception, but was a real treat for fans of classic Goldsmith. The 13th Warrior lies somewhere between the two, with rough and booming orchestration, yet little to no atonality or dissonance. If there were any other scores to compare this one to, it would have to be Poledouris' Conan the Barbarian, yet there's something in the overall makeup of the score that echos more of a realistic style than a fantasy, and I like this a little more.
A story concerning an Arabian getting mixed up in Viking affairs is certainly intriguing, and ripe for experimentation musically, though this takes more of a traditional, and even somewhat cliched view of Viking deeds. The theme representing the Vikings is probably my favorite from Goldsmith in years, I think it may rival his main theme from Star Trek in power and memorablility. The opposing Arab theme is somewhat overshadowed, but sounds decent and is worked well into the score.
It would be a sin for me to not mention "Vallhala/Viking Victory," which has quickly become one of my favorite Goldsmith cues, and is probably in my own top ten tracks of the 1990s. Right up there with "To the Stars" from Dragonheart and "The Transformation" from Beauty and the Beast. It's odd that the album ends with such an inconclusive cue though, with "A Useful Servant," which is really the only weak link in the entire score. Listening all the way through and hearing this tacked on to the end may leave some listeners hungry for more, as it left me.
Though it (and not to mention every other score that exists) has faults, this is what really hailed Jerry Goldsmith's return to the top ranks of film scoring, and is one of the best scores of its decade. Buying this won't leave any fans of film music dissapointed.