The 13th Warrior

Jerry Goldsmith

" Not containing the energy of The Mummy, but another warrior worth fighting for "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Adventure Goldsmith returns in 1999 with high anticipation, delivering the energetic The Mummy and the stylish The 13th Warrior to let fans know that he is still at the top of his game. This could have been more or less the phrase for the summer of 1999. Because both scores deliver the same feeling, exemplifying the western adventurous mood of both movies. Honestly, you can do no harm with The 13th Warrior because it listens like pure Jerry Goldsmith. If I need to chose one however, it has to be The Mummy. It shows something different than we have gotten used to. Because upon hearing this score, it is simply such an effort that bares all the trademarks of a typical Goldsmith composition.

Meaning the good adventurous feel is here, but he already tried it somewhere before, at least it feels that way. Still, this score doesn't destroy the ultimate end result and the fans will gladly accept the available material coming their way.

The main theme isn't the biggest winner in the Goldsmith book but acceptable and still the missing piece that binds the entire concept together. It gets its best treatment during the begin track "Old Bagdad". This opening piece receives a rather impressive feeling when the dark choir supports it lightly, while the choir itself gets its finest moment during "Semantics". Short but impressive when it rises above everything else.

The main action and adventure music misses that driving energetic tempo I loved so much in The Mummy, but contains the typical stylish note that we can find back in many Goldsmith scores today. This makes The 13th Warrior still the strong attractive listen, melodically giving us the usual standard of Goldsmith's action music. The best moments of this kind of action music are the longest ones that Goldsmith throws at us, "The Fire Dragon" and portions of "Valhalla / Viking Victory" contain enough spirit to entertain you endlessly. The 10 minute piece contains a rather First Knight approach at the end if I may say so.

Still, it isn't the biggest action adventure score of Jerry Goldsmith that strikes up lately. To be honest it misses the energy of The Mummy and the pure pleasure of Mulan. It may fall at second place, but is miles above anything written today in comparison.

The 13th Warrior remains the attractive listen, consisting of much more spirit than what other composers would have come up with. Film music fans can rest assured because Goldsmith wasn't the washed out composer that brought a flat and boring result. To the end of his career, his music contained the standard complexity and the themes that drove the tempo. Only in inspiration it couldn't be as good as always. I place this one behind some better adventure soundtracks, but it nonetheless offers the exact Goldsmith fun we have gotten used to of hearing these last couple of years. The 13th Warrior is a good and attractive adventure score and it will amuse a lot of fans from start to finish, no matter how time will age it.

Track Listing

1. Old Bagdad (2.01) Excellent track
2. Exiled (3.41)
3. Semantics (2.38) Excellent track
4. The Great Hall (5.20)
5. Eaters of the Dead (3.32)
6. Viking Heads (1.29)
7. The Sword Maker (2.06)
8. The Horns of Hell (3.24)
9. The Fire Dragon (4.53) Excellent track
10. Honey (2.36)
11. The Cave of Death (3.00)
12. Swing Across (1.49)
13. Mother Wendol's Cave (4.11)
14. Underwater Escape (1.36)
15. Valhalla / Viking Victory (10.35) Excellent track
16. A Useful Servant (1.18)

Total Length: 55.06
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 60 votes - average 4.45/5)

Released by

Varèse Sarabande VSD 6038 (regular release 1999)

Conducted by

Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations by

Alexander Courage