King Arthur's Long Reign

For a while know, King Arthur has remained a popular medieval story in books and films. In fact, maybe a little too popular. There have been quite a few remakes of the story of King Arthur. I will be briefly analyzing the three soundtracks that came out as a result of three King Arthur films.

Knights of the Round Table
Knights of the Round Table Suite
The movie released in 1953 and boasted of being filmed in the new CinemaScope  The score was composed by the late and great Hungarian maestro; Miklos Rozsa. His bold and brassy main theme is quite catchy and the soaring love theme performed by the strings is very enjoyable. It's reminiscent of the golden age of scores and is definitely another Rozsa classic. Even though it's rare, and quite hard to find; this score comes highly recommended.
Rating: ***1/2

First Knight
Camelot Lives
Ah, Sean Connery, how you surprised me! I don't know about you, but Sean Connery's role as King Arthur in First Knight came as shock to me. Maybe it's his accent or characters from other films that didn't seem to fit, but he did not come across to me as a great choice to play King Arthur. Oh well, the director did make a superb choice by choosing Jerry Goldsmith to compose this 1995 Camelot/King Arthur film. Goldsmith weaves together a wonderful score ranging from beautiful love themes, to choir filled, battle music. It's the kind of score that was only made back in the early 1900s; a true action score. Goldsmith avoided using synthesizers (a pit many composers fall into when trying to compose a period piece), and he stuck to using a classical orchestra. The cue, Arthur's Farewell, is the final action cue on the album and Goldsmith spares no instrument! The cue is brassy and action-filled as the choir chants on:
"Hoc regnum meum est (The kingdom is mine)!
Adorate me (Pay me homage)
Dominus deus noster (Lord our God)
Deus solus est (the only true God)
deus in cado (God in Heaven)!"
Rating: ****

King Arthur
Now we move on to a modern retelling of King Arthur. A King Arthur movie from 2004 to be precise. Hans Zimmer takes the "Camelot scoring wheel" handed down from Rosza and Goldsmith, and decides to utilize his synthesizers (We are talking about Hans Zimmer here, a man who revolutionized the synthesizer sound, and began using it in many period pieces). It has the stereotypical "Media Ventures" sound to it, but it does stand on it's own. Zimmer uses his well known, deeply masculine men's choir, the same sounding one from Crimson Tide, an older scoring project that he had. But wonder of all wonders, admidst the deep masculine overtones, we have a cue that the whole score's theme is based on, sung by none other than; really feminine sounding Moya Brennan?! The cue is called, Tell Me Now , and it is a powerful song! I found this song (and the whole album), growing on me the more I listened to it. For a period score, I had higher expectations, but overall, the soundtrack is pretty enjoyable, if Zimmer's "stereotypical sound" doesn't bother you.
Rating: ****

So, that is the three King Arthur scores, each original and unique. It's been a long reign for King Arthur, but a strong one, and I won't be surprised if another return to Camelot is made during the coming years. Will I be overjoyed? We'll just have to see!


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