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Comments about the soundtrack for Dragonslayer (Alex North)

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Easily Norths last big score...
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• Posted by: SolarisLem
• Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2007, at 12:54 a.m.
• IP Address:

...among other, even less known scores which even more faded into obscurity, like 'Under the Volcano', 'The Dead' or his last score 'The Last Butterfly' from 1990.

Among the other fantasy-scores of the time 'Dragonslayer' is somewhat of an anomaly. It is much different from its relatives in the genre, from Poledouris 'Conan'-Movies, Goldsmiths 'Legend', Morricones 'Red Sonja' or Horners Masterpieces 'Krull' and 'Willow' exept, that is, if you put the darker, loud and brutal pieces from these scores together. That said, 'Dragonslayer' is neither an uplifting nor an pleasant listening experience. In this regard it is similar to Rosenmans 'Lord of the Rings'. But even that score, despite its fair share of chaotic and terrifing Action and Suspense-Music was more listenable because of its upbeat and adventurous main theme. Dragonslayer has no such theme, where the listener can cling itself to.
There is not much listenable material here. Exeptions include the two chase-cues 'Forest Romp' and 'Galens Escape', a nice Love Theme in ' Valerian & Galen's Romance' and a happy end of sorts in ' The White Horse; Into the Sunset'
The mass of the remaining material is easy to admire due to its technical qualities (and the score is excellent in this regard, much like Cleopatra) but difficult to enjoy. Its dense, complex, loud, atonal, dissonant, and full of brutal orchestral noise and thus a fitting piece of music for the era where the Film itself is set. Obviously, Norths Intention was mainly not to represent the characters and their heroism whith his music but to musically approach the setting, the era and the athmosphere. In this regard the score more than fullfils its duty. As an result, the score ended up as fascinaing but unenjoyable for most fans exept those who cherish the work and style of North and Composers with a similar interest in dissonant, dark music like Rosenman and Goldenthal.
The score is also very intelligent, mostly in case of which instruments and strucural methods North used. As such, North made a score which is a bit too intelligent for this rather stupid film, something what Goldenthal would do 10-15 years later whith his own assignments.
Compared to his other works and scores of a similar dissonant style, this is easy a ****-score. But overall, compared to the other scores in the genre, which may be less complex but are more listenable, I should give it a ***-Rating.
Personally, as I like both melodic and atonal styles, I tend to swing between both ratings.

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