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Section Header
The 13th Warrior
1999 Varèse (American)

1999 Colosseum (European)

2000 Goldsmith Bootleg (sample)

2000 Revell Bootleg (sample)

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Alexander Courage

Rejected Score by:
Graeme Revell

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(August 10th, 1999)


Also See:
The Mummy
First Knight
Ghost and the Darkness
The Haunting
The Shadow

Audio Clips:
1999 Varèse:

1. Old Bagdad (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (160K)

2. Exiled (0:33):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (263K)
Real Audio (164K)

8. The Horns of Hell (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

16. A Useful Servant (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

The 1999 album is a regular U.S. release (though Varèse and their European partner, Colosseum, offered different cover art). The bootlegs for both Goldsmith's expanded score and Revell's rejected score began circulating on the secondary market in 2000. The tracks for the Revell bootlegs are somewhat consistent, though the arrangement of the Goldsmith bootlegs can differ substantially. Many variations on the bootlegs' artwork exist.


The 13th Warrior

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Buy it... if you like getting slapped across the face for an hour by some of the most ambitious and uncomplicated action material ever produced in Jerry Goldsmith's career.

Avoid it... if you expect any true sense of ethnic diversity or thematic nuance, in which case you'd be better served by the bootlegs of Graeme Revell's rejected score for the film.

The 13th Warrior: (Graeme Revell/Jerry Goldsmith) Oh boy, what a mess. Perhaps there is no better example of $100 million poured down the drain than The 13th Warrior, a film with so many artistic and production problems that it may have been worth leaving it in the cans. The concept was promising on paper, with veteran action director John McTiernan breathing life into Michael Crichton's 1974 novel "Eaters of the Dead," which was the original title of the film. McTiernan finished the film 18 months before its eventual release; due to poor screenings, Crichton (also a co-producer along with McTiernan) decided to use his muscle to alter the film significantly. McTiernan, known for his tireless detail in crafting his films, walked out on the production. Surprisingly, Crichton himself took the helm of the flailing film and used the remainder of its vast budget to re-shoot and edit parts of the film, as well as replace the entire musical score. Touchstone Pictures finally flushed the film through theatres late in the summer of 1999, with poor reviews and audience indifference both expected and received. The story of the film merged Arabic and Viking elements, taking the real-life 10th century Arab poet Ahmed Ibn Fadlan, an ambassador to the Viking culture, and combining his experiences in the North with elements of the Old English poem Beowulf. The culture-clash produces both humor and respect, and the Arab, played here by Antonio Banderas, eventually finds himself in the honorable position of fighting the (not-so-) mythical beasts that inspired Beowulf alongside his new Viking comrades. The lavish production was an exhibition for extreme gore, with headless corpses sometimes more common than living people, and anyone who has seen McTiernan's Predator can appreciate the director's willingness to glorify graphic carnage. None of this really ultimately matters, however, because The 13th Warrior is so thoroughly disappointing in its final form that no further thought should be given to its few merits. This is, of course, except for the film's music, which has a saga all its own.

That saga began a few years earlier, when the production was still titled Eaters of the Dead. A distinctly multicultural score was the intent, and among the scores used as temp tracks were James Newton Howard's The Postman and Waterworld, James Horner's Braveheart and Apollo 13, Ennio Morricone's The Mission, and, most importantly, Graeme Revell's The Crow and Peter Gabriel's The Last Temptation of Christ. With the film taking on many of the characteristics of Conan the Barbarian, McTiernan reportedly sought the services of Basil Poledouris, with whom he had collaborated on The Hunt for Red October. Poledouris, however, reportedly declined the offer in favor of Les Misérables. Attention then shifted to Graeme Revell, an interesting and adept choice of composer for Eaters of the Dead due to his distinct ability to merge different genres of music into one worldly sound. The original cuts of the film were far longer than the eventual release, and Revell wrote and recorded music for a significant portion of those early edits. He completed his work in February of 1998, recording mostly in London and enlisting a vast array of specialty instruments for the task. These accents include a duduk, pan pipes, shakuhachi flute, uilleann pipes, whistles, ney, and several other exotic wind instruments. Along with a full orchestral ensemble (with diverse percussion section) and a few choice infusions of heavier electronics, these elements create a striking environment that most definitely serves the concepts of both antiquity in general and the two specific cultures. The uilleann pipes are somewhat odd at times, showing the direct influence of Braveheart, though most of the score's personality is better guided by both The Crow and The Last Temptation of Christ. Only one jarring electronic cue stands at odds with the character of the score, with its two minutes seemingly lifted from his own The Negotiator or The Saint. The brass motif performed over the distinctly modern pop rhythm is enjoyable, though completely out of place.

On the whole, however, Revell's score would seem like a good technical match for the story. The use of Lisa Gerrard's voice is somewhat eerie given her eventual popularity with Gladiator. Her timeless performances here, as a layered accent to the orchestra, are frightfully similar in parts to her tones in Gladiator. Deep voices are used to amplify the power of some sequences. The stylistically different choral accompaniment that weaves in and out of Gerrard's contributions, though, have a harsh edge to their enunciation, forming a balance that Gabriel Yared would achieve well in his rejected score for Troy several years later. There are lengthy passages of minimalistic or dissonant material in Revell's Eaters of the Dead, however, that also mirror the weaker portions of Yared's Troy. Revell's work takes quite some time building its themes. The primary idea for the 13 warriors chosen to battle the supernatural beasts is well conveyed by horns in the latter half of the score. Also evident in the middle passages is a secondary romantic motif, highlighted by Gerrard's unfortunately infrequent performances. If you attempt to enjoy Revell's score in film order, it would be easy to dismiss the work based on the first eight or nine cues (clearly the weakest set). According to Revell, Michael Crichton possibly didn't listen to the finished score when he took over the production in 1999. Crichton apparently had his own preconceived notions of how he had wanted the production to progress, and that plan had never involved Revell. The composer eventually stated, "What happened was John McTiernan, the director, who I had been working with not closely, didn't get involved in the music very much, and pretty much removed himself from the movie during post production. Michael Crichton took it over, and I don't think he even listened to my score. When he took it over, I think he just decided his friend Jerry Goldsmith should be the composer and that was the end of that. I never really counted that as a rejection and I don't think there was anything inferior about that score, and I'm quite happy to still own it."

And thus, Revell's work was done. To the surprise of nobody, over an hour of the mastered score was quickly leaked in bootleg form to the soundtrack collecting market; whether or not Revell did this himself is unknown, but if so, he had little to lose. The prospect of a commercial release for this music has always been non-existent, and various versions of the same 27-track bootleg have circulated through the soundtrack collecting marketplace since. There has always been a higher level of respect for the rejected score for Eaters of the Dead than you'd normally see. The score isn't really accessible, but its sound quality is superb and those fans who bother to find it are the same ones more likely to appreciate its finer details. The correct consensus has been that Revell's score would have been adequate, if not strong when placed in the film itself. But that consensus is also quick to add the fact that Jerry Goldsmith's replacement score is even better. While nobody condones Crichton's behavior, his instincts in relation to Goldsmith on this production proved to be correct, and nearly any collector will admit that Goldsmith's work is superior. In response to the replacement work, Crichton wrote, "It's all that I ever hoped for - and just what I expected. It's absolutely terrific: by turns rousing and heroic, ominous and lyrical, defeated and triumphant." One thing clearly made evident by that statement is the obvious fact that Goldsmith wrote a far more accessible and straight-forward Hollywood score for the film. Indeed, while Revell's work is something to appreciate, Goldsmith's is more readily enjoyable. As proved customary throughout the composer's work, the London performers on Goldsmith's hastily written replacement gave him applause at the sessions. The rapid, last minute effort by Goldsmith continued to the recording of some additional percussion music in Los Angeles even closer to the release date. All around, despite the fuzzy feeling that Crichton got with Goldsmith conducting the replacement, the entire production was a nightmare.

Goldsmith was experiencing the last truly great year of his career in 1999, with both The Mummy and The Haunting giving his collectors plenty of strong material to enjoy. His hiring on the renamed The 13th Warrior had all the promise of extending his exotic sound from The Mummy and combining it with the epic grandeur of Lionheart and the percussive brutality of The Wind and the Lion. His score initially failed to live up to those expectations, falling behind The Mummy in fans' attention. One critic even summarily dismissed this music as "an ethnic action score whipping into the scoring fast food drive-thru window." There is some truth that notion, due mostly to the fact that Goldsmith doesn't try to dig too deeply into the historical sound of either culture the way Revell did. You have to take The 13th Warrior at face value, accept the stereotypes Crichton was obviously looking for, and recognize that the score is ear candy in its most basic form. Absent of rich ethnic complexities or unique personality outside of its brute force, Goldsmith's score never does attain the status of Lionheart or The Wind and the Lion. But it's both loud and fun, and to those ends, the score succeeds exceedingly well. It has the undeniable energy of The Ghost and the Darkness, the rhythmic movements of Mulan, the grand chorus of First Knight, the percussive power of The Mummy, the instrumental creativity of The Shadow, the lack of subtlety of Small Soldiers, and the thematic bravado of Rambo: First Blood Part II all rolled into one consistent and enjoyable package. Its summary of trademark Goldsmith mannerisms from the 1990's is likely due to the haste with which it was assembled (originality was not likely possible, nor likely desired by Crichton), and The 13th Warrior is, in retrospect, given a higher level of respect because it realistically represents the last really strong and distinctive score from the composer before his death five years later.

Two primary themes depict the contrasting ethnicities that factor in the story. A third theme of a romantic, silver-screen nature develops at the end of the film, and lesser ideas do mingle with the two main themes for the film, but on the whole, Goldsmith's use of those two themes is relatively uncomplicated. The dominant theme of The 13th Warrior represents the Viking culture, and is introduced immediately and repeated often in the film and on album. Its robust horn performances, with a minimal amount of fluff employed for counterpoint, follow the usual Goldsmith format of repeating the first stanza of the theme twice before offering a secondary interlude and then leading out with another statement of the first stanza. There has been much academic debate both in an outside the film score community about exactly what Viking music should sound like, and Goldsmith takes the safe route by fleshing out the theme with harmonic horns, pounding percussive rhythms, and deep male chanting. It's a far cry from Mario Nascimbene's famous adaptation of a folk song for The Vikings many decades earlier, but in 1990's Hollywood, nothing less than the maximum of pomp would likely suffice. The structure of the theme for the Vikings doesn't deviate much throughout the score, with frequent references of equally forceful rhythm and brass. Its performances are impressive if only because of their magnitude, valiantly charging through many overwhelming, chest-beating cues of defiant attitude. The secondary theme for the Arabs, weighted early in the film (and occasionally repeating in lesser guises thereafter), is heard in "Exiled," the actual opening cue of the film's Baghdad scenes. It's equally stereotypical in its Middle-Eastern sensibilities, and strays the closest of any material in this score to The Mummy, though for consistency it employs the same rowdy percussion and brass depth as the Vikings theme. Wild string counterpoint is a highlight of this cue, as are many of the synthetic sound effects that tie this score to The Ghost and the Darkness, and each element is piled on to the mix with no reservations.

Outside of the two main themes, which are at battle with one another throughout the album (with the Arabic one in lesser tones), there is lack of the usual, obvious secondary romance theme that graces most Goldsmith scores. The closest thing to such a theme is a string affair that is touched upon at the start of "Exiled" and receives marvelous treatment in the last minute of "Valhalla - Viking Victory" and "A Useful Servant." This theme most likely represents Banderas' Ahmed Ibn Fadlan, though given that the melody closely resembles parts of "God Bless America" (heard frequently in the Unites States after September 2001), there's a distinctly odd feel to it no matter what or whom it represents. Another motif in The 13th Warrior is a call to arms signal for the Vikings, heard most prominently at the outset of "The Horns of Hell." The upward slurring of the conclusion to the first stanza is used as an abbreviated representation of Viking heroism and sacrifice in several other cues, most obviously in "Viking Heads." The slurred movements in this cue are interestingly an inverted form of a similar idea used for mystery and brainwashing in The Shadow. The numerous battle sequences in The 13th Warrior rotate between these and several other ideas, some of which are as simple as the banging of chimes to represent the clanging of swords. Instrumentally, everything in The 13th Warrior exists in the low and medium ranges of the orchestra. You won't hear much work for the trumpets or flutes here. Nor do you get a significant dose of electronics (outside of the standard effects that Goldsmith used in every score other than The Edge at the time). The percussion section receives an awesome workout, and is responsible for most of the ethnicity conveyed in the score. While Goldsmith offers some token elements of ethnic diversity in the score, he by no means approaches the level of worldly authenticity of Revell's work. Goldsmith rarely used choirs in his works, but his employment of deep male chanting in this score is both monumental and harmonically pleasing.

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On the whole, the score isn't a technical masterpiece, but it's a guilty pleasure in the highest sense. A lengthy action cue like "The Fire Dragon" is irresistible in its explosively tonal progressions, and when the chorus joins in the fun, fans are treated to extended variations on the climax to First Knight. Goldsmith emphasizes long thematic development, with few of the random ensemble blasts that existed more frequently in his other 1999 scores. Since most of this score was recorded in London instead of Los Angeles, the cheaper production fees led to a very generous release of 55 minutes by Varèse Sarabande. While twenty additional minutes from the London sessions were left off of the product, the unyielding nature of the score makes the commercially available 55 minutes almost too tiring. The sound quality of the recording is once again stellar; the recording and mixing work of Bruce Botnick for Goldsmith's scores of 1998 and 1999 offers the perfect blend of detail and reverb, and the dynamic soundscape only serves to extend the impressively resounding size of Goldsmith's music for The 13th Warrior. The clarity of the choir and percussion in this recording is just as impressive as the drum pads and other electronics were in Small Soldiers, and unfortunately, the quality of Goldsmith's recordings would start to diminish to previous levels after The 13th Warrior. Fans who can't get enough of this adventurous music slapping them on the face for only an hour have long circulated bootlegs that include those other twenty minutes of material from the London sessions. The last minute Los Angeles recordings were not included with these leaks. In some cases, film and album versions are different, likely due to more last minute editing demands by Crichton. Interestingly, as if the situation couldn't get any more complicated, director Ridley Scott used parts of the "Valhalla" cue underneath a key speech in 2005's Kingdom of Heaven. It's mind-boggling to try to sort out the mess that this production caused, and the endlessly varying bootlegs don't help. For most casual listeners, the commercial release of Goldsmith's score is all you really need. If you seek the bootleg for only one of the two scores to accompany the Varèse album, go for the more intriguing work by Revell. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Graeme Revell's Rejected Score: ***
    Jerry Goldsmith's Score: ****
    Overall: ****

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,497 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.91 Stars
Smart Average: 3.71 Stars*
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   Re: 13th warrior expanded/bootleg
  Mark Malmstrøm -- 4/17/09 (3:36 a.m.)
   An excellent score
  Sheridan -- 6/30/06 (3:15 a.m.)
   Re: What about Graeme Revell's rejected Sco...
  Justin Boggan -- 1/12/06 (12:29 p.m.)
   Re: "13th Warrior" in "Kingd...
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 Track Listings (1999 Varèse/Colosseum album): Total Time: 55:06

• 1. Old Bagdad (2:01)
• 2. Exiled (3:41)
• 3. Semantics (2:38)
• 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 (3:25)
• 9. The Fire Dragon (4:53)
• 10. Honey (2:36)
• 11. The Cave of Death (3:00)
• 12. Swing Across (1:49)
• 13. Mother Wendol's Cave (4:12)
• 14. Underwater Escape (1:36)
• 15. Valhalla/Viking Victory (10:35)
• 16. A Useful Servant (1:18)

 Track Listings (2000 Goldsmith bootlegs): Total Time: 72:45

• 1. Old Baghdad/Exiled (3:41)
• 2. Viking Ceremony* (1:34)
• 3. Thirteen Warriors* (0:57)
• 4. The 13th Warrior* (1:19)
• 5. Semantics (2:38)
• 6. Drawing Sounds* (0:59)
• 7. Arabian Horse* (1:59)
• 8. The Great Hall (5:20)
• 9. Eaters of the Dead (3:32)
• 10. The King* (0:43)
• 11. Night Attack* (1:33)
• 12. Viking Heads (1:30)
• 13. The Sword Maker (2:06)
• 14. A Lesson* (1:31)
• 15. Thunder Cliffs* (2:05)
• 16. The Horns of Hell (3:25)
• 17. The Fire Dragon (4:52)
• 18. Honey (2:37)
• 19. The Search* (1:23)
• 20. The Cave of the Dead (2:59)
• 21. Swing Across (1:50)
• 22. Mother Wendol's Cave (4:10)
• 23. Underwater Escape (1:37)
• 24. Valhalla/Viking Victory (10:39)
• 25. A Useful Servant (1:18)
• 26. End Credits* (4:27)
• 27. The 13th Warrior Theme (2:01)

* commercially unreleased cue
(these listings are only a sample; many variations exist)

 Track Listings (2000 Revell bootlegs): Total Time: 65:02

• 1. Track 1 (1:27)
• 2. Track 2 (3:59)
• 3. Track 3 (1:26)
• 4. Track 4 (0:47)
• 5. Track 5 (3:58)
• 6. Track 6 (1:01)
• 7. Track 7 (1:25)
• 8. Track 8 (5:27)
• 9. Track 9 (1:38)
• 10. Track 10 (1:52)
• 11. Track 11 (3:08)
• 12. Track 12 (0:55)
• 13. Track 13 (3:32)
• 14. Track 14 (1:31)
• 15. Track 15 (10:42)
• 16. Track 16 (1:11)
• 17. Track 17 (1:00)
• 18. Track 18 (2:21)
• 19. Track 19 (1:18)
• 20. Track 20 (2:23)
• 21. Track 21 (1:35)
• 22. Track 22 (1:23)
• 23. Track 23 (2:12)
• 24. Track 24 (4:32)
• 25. Track 25 (1:49)
• 26. Track 26 (1:29)
• 27. Track 27 (1:01)

(most listings for this bootleg contain no track names; some variations exist)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The Varèse album's insert contains a note from Michael Crichton and pictures of Goldsmith at the recording sessions (with Crichton hovering closely by his side). The packaging for the bootlegs is typically sparse or non-existent.

  All artwork and sound clips from The 13th Warrior are Copyright © 1999, Varèse Sarabande, Bootlegs. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/11/99 and last updated 4/20/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.