A really pleasant surprise this- the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, who re-recorded the complete Conan the Barbarian score several years ago, return with a new recording of Mario Nascimbene’s magnificent score to the 1958 film The Vikings. I reference their earlier Conan album deliberately because this in many ways is its second cousin, a great old-Hollywood epic score full of emotion and grandeur- Nascimbene’s score sounds very akin to the Poledouris opus. Readers of my post last year regards The Vikings on blu-ray will remember how fond I am of both the film (a childhood favourite when it used to air on tv all the time) and its music. This album sounds fantastic, rich and clear and a very modern, faithful recording with a deep and wide stereo soundfield that the original score itself cannot match. Indeed, I well recall buying the original soundtrack on CD many years ago and being quite appalled by its awful, scratchy and weak sound, in mono no less and possibly one of the worst-sounding discs I ever bought (wouldn’t have surprised me if it had come from a very bad vinyl). For many years I have hoped that someday someone might do a re-recording of the score (particularly, funnily enough, back when the Conan re-recording came out (itself prior to Intrada’s ‘proper’ expanded original soundtrack that is still inferior in parts to the Prague version).
Oh well, it does seem that sometimes all things come to he that waits (hint- you reading this, Vangelis?). Its simply brilliant to be listening to this wonderful music in such great audio quality. It remains a genuinely great score that tells the story of its film without needing any visuals, utterly timeless and quite stirring. That Viking main theme gets me everytime, especially in tracks such as Regnar Returns. The sequence is one of my very favourite film moments, Pure Cinema, the gorgeous cinematography with the music making something special- a genuine piece of art, timeless and haunting.
Anyway, this is one of the music releases of the year. A The Vikings re-recording finally happened. Somebody pinch me. Hail Regnar!