I just found out this morning, that a rerecording of Basil Poledouris’s amazing 1982 score for Conan the Barbarian was released in 2010! And it is, quite frankly, a revelation of a score. A ‘complete’ two-disc soundtrack, featuring music taken from the film itself, Destroyer and the Adventures of Conan animated series, has floated around for years, but it suffers from horrible audio quality in places, even more so than previous recordings, whereas this new recording, 100 minutes long, is astounding in its clarity and depth.
Here a sizable excerpt for the splendid Filmtracks review of said score:
Poledouris himself had never been pleased with how his score was performed and preserved, fueling some of the aforementioned discussions about re-recording the entirety of the soundtrack. Through a partnership between James Fitzpatrick and Luc Van de Ven in 2010, Tadlow Music and Prometheus Records were able to give this monumental score a second life. The assembly of the score included the use of Poledouris’ original manuscripts and a precise, careful assembly of the right instrumentation, including percussive effects not rendered as intended in the original recording, to constitute the City of Prague Philharmonic (joined by its usual choral supplement). The Eastern European tone of the 100 singers of the chorus was an additional fortune given the weightier force of sound they could naturally supply to the Latin texts. The reconstruction of the actual lyrics used by Poledouris was another painstaking detail not overlooked for the recreation. [...] It is often said in reviews of music from the fantasy renaissance of the 1980’s that a precise re-recording of the full scores would be their own form of fantasy, and Conan the Barbarian has always been among such deserving candidates. To actually hear such an endeavor executed so well is stunning in a practical sense, not only from the technical performance aspect, but also given how expensive such prospects are. Thankfully, the 2010 re-recording of Conan the Barbarian is everything you could hope it to be. It’s a rare case in which your high expectations are actually exceeded, with perfect execution across the board and a collection of extras on the second CD of its set that includes a fantastic hidden gem in the form of seven minutes from Conan the Destroyer. To hear over two hours of Poledouris’ music for the franchise in this fashion is the kind of treat that every film score should greet with an open wallet. Simply put, no better film score album has debuted in 2010. More than ever before, now is the time to appreciate the music of Aquilonia.