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No Lamentations Here: Intrada Unveils Triple-Disc Expansion of “Conan the Barbarian”

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maf7123Trays.indd“Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what’s important! Valor pleases you, Crom…so grant me one request: grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!”

-Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Conan The Barbarian (1982)

Consider the prayer to Crom answered. Intrada last week unveiled an expansive deluxe edition of Basil Pouledoris’ ambitious soundtrack to John Milius’ sword-and-sorcery epic. The original master recordings, thought by many to be lost for years, have been fully located for this release, providing the definitive word on this most excellent of film scores.

First appearing in the pages of Weird Tales in 1932, Robert E. Howard’s Conan character was a wandering warrior from the land of Cimmeria in the fictional Hyborian Age. As a young boy, his parents are murdered by the necromancer Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and he is sold into slavery; earning his freedom as a gladiator years later, Conan (Schwarzenegger) embarks on an expansive quest to avenge his parents and defeat Doom.

Produced by Raffaella de Laurentiis (for her father, the impresario Dino) and co-written by Milius and Oliver Stone, Conan was quite the cult vehicle for Schwarzenegger, known more at the time for his bodybuilding achievements than his acting; it wasn’t until 1984’s The Terminator that he’d ascend to the upper echelon of box-office superstars. While critics had much to say about the film’s violent content and certain performances (particularly Schwarzenegger and surfer Gerry Lopez as Conan’s companion Subotai), the film was a worldwide success both in theaters and on video. (A sequel, Conan The Destroyer, followed, as did a 2011 film with Jason Momoa as the titular hero; in October, Universal announced plans for another film, The Legend of Conan, to star Schwarzenegger once more.)

The late, great Basil Pouledoris, a friend and collaborator of writer-director Milius, enjoyed several firsts on the Conan score – a project Milius invited him to partake in before a single foot of film was shot. Conan was his first large-scale orchestral score, and one of the first to extensively use music-editing software (the Musync program) in its creation. Recalling classical works by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Wagner and Carl Orff, the ambitious Conan – recorded with a 90-piece orchestra and 24-member choir in Rome – has rarely been heard as the composer intended: De Laurentiis balked at the cost of a stereo soundtrack, so Conan was originally released in mono. Furthermore, few releases bypassed the 48 minute LP running time as originally issued by MCA at the time of release. (There was a slightly expanded CD from Varese Sarabande in 1992, featuring extras from an incomplete two-track 1/4″ master from Pouledoris’ personal collection, and a complete re-recording by Tadlow Records a few years back.)

Now, though, Intrada presents just about everything you could want of the original Conan score on three discs: two containing the original film score, mastered from the original 2″ 24-track & 1/2″ three-track stereo session masters; eight early and alternate takes, and even the remastered MCA LP. It’s some three hours of music, sounding fresher than ever and available as an unlimited pressing for all to enjoy. Nick Redman and Intrada head honcho Douglass Fake provide liner notes.

Order the deluxe Conan and check out its contents after the jump!

Basil Pouledoris, Conan The Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Expanded Edition (Intrada MAF 7123, 2012 – original film released 1982)

Disc 1: Original score

  1. Prologue/Anvil of Crom
  2. Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom
  3. Gift of Fury
  4. Column of Sadness/Wheel of Pain
  5. Pit Fights
  6. The Discipline of Steel/Freedom Council
  7. Atlantean Sword
  8. Warm Welcome
  9. Wolf Witch
  10. Theology/Civilization
  11. Street of Deviants
  12. Hopefuls At the Tower of Set
  13. The Tower of Set
  14. The Snake/Infidels
  15. The Tavern
  16. Wifeing (Theme of Love from Conan The Barbarian)
  17. Indulgence/Mettle
  18. The Hall of King Osric
  19. The Leaving/The Search

Disc 2: Original score continued and extras

  1. The Mountain of Power Procession
  2. Capture
  3. Tree of Woe/Recovery
  4. Warpaint
  5. The Kitchen/The Orgy
  6. The Defilers
  7. Funeral Pyre
  8. Battle of the Mounds – Part I
  9. Battle of the Mounds – Part II
  10. Battle of the Mounds – Part III (Revised)/Night of Doom
  11. Head Chop
  12. Orphans of Doom/The Awakening
  13. Conan The King/End Title
  14. Prologue (First Version)
  15. Anvil of Crom (First Version)
  16. The Tower of Set – Part I (First Version)
  17. Battle of the Mounds – Part II (First Version)
  18. Battle of the Mounds – Part III (First Version)
  19. Orphans of Doom (Orchestra & Solo Voice)
  20. Orphans of Doom (Chorus & Harp)/The Awakening (First Version)
  21. Las Cantigas de Santa Maria (The Snake)

Disc 3: Original LP (released as MCA Records 6108, 1982) and extra track

  1. Anvil of Crom
  2. Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom
  3. Gift of Fury
  4. Wheel of Pain
  5. Atlantean Sword
  6. Theology/Civilization
  7. Wifeing (Theme of Love from Conan The Barbarian)
  8. The Search
  9. The Orgy
  10. Funeral Pyre
  11. Battle of the Mounds
  12. Orphans of Doom/The Awakening
  13. Prologue (with Narration)/Anvil of Crom

Written by Mike Duquette

December 3, 2012 at 12:18

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