Master of the World, Goliath and the Barbarians/Les Baxter

May 2, 2009

master_of_world_ise1029

Les Baxter is certainly not a common known name to the younger soundtrack collector. Les in the music world was primarily known for his “exotica” music, billboard hits of his arrangements of Poor People of Paris and Quiet Village in the 50’s, his arranging and musical directing for Capitol records, and his work as a composer for AIP which included Roger Corman horror pictures, bikini beach blanket films, and any drive-in movie theme sure to attract the teenage crowd. While his name appears in the credits for over a 100 films few have reached CD releases or MP3 downloads. Intrada (ISE1029) has made available in a 2 CD limited edition release Master of the World (1961), and Goliath And The Barbarians (1959) both previously released on LP. In addition, OST recorded material from Master of the World was located and included for this release including two vocal numbers of the main title not included in the Vee Jay LP (SR 4000) of 1961 or the film. Called Come Dance With Me (nothing to do with the Sinatra classic except the name) it was a catchy lyric sung in both choral and male vocal arrangements. I can remember purchasing the LP in a mono format from a bargain cut-out bin for the ridiculous price of 3 for a $1.00 Apparently the soundtrack had about the same amount of appeal as the film.

Master of the World used Richard Matheson as a writer and he combined two of Jules Verne novels Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World to tell his story of Robur and his goal to end war in the world at any cost with his somewhat unusual craft which could fly, travel over or under the water and even perform as an automobile. Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, and Henry Hull starred in the William Witney directed film, which offered stereo sonic (?) sound and magna color (?). I noticed nothing special in the color and I certainly didn’t get the idea that this was a 100-piece orchestra, which it inferred. The name of the group could have been the “100 Men” and in reality been a 40-piece group, which is what it sounded like. No matter; it is really nice material from Les Baxter. “Overture” gives us both the main theme and the beautiful waltz, both of which are used throughout the 31+ minute score. If you like schmaltzy music sometimes, and this reviewer does, “Balloon Waltz” is a perfect example with piano and strings in just the right combination. “Master of the World” is another example of pure elevator music again using the piano and strings with the main theme from the film. “Topage” is a whimsical piece offering a little bit of a travelogue with lots of brass and percussion. “Mediterranean” is the romantic interlude music you would experience at an Italian café with a loved one. “Drifting Clouds” is another nice version of the waltz theme with full orchestral treatment giving a dose of brass and nice work from the harp in harmony. If you own this CD there is a slight drop in the left channel that lasts for a second or so, something on the master as both my LP and CD are identical. You’ll also find that the sound of the new material from the film has cleaner crisper sound with fuller dynamic range. The transfer from the LP is a bit flat at times, lacking punch.

Goliath and the Barbarians (1959) was the first in a series of Goliath vs. something from Italy. Fresh from his huge success with Hercules, Steve Reeves starred and the film was marketed in the U.S. by AIP. The original score by Carlo Innocenzi (available on Digitmovies CDDM 113) was replaced by a Les Baxter one, which was originally released by American International on LP. The design of the cover made it look like one of his Capitol ‘exotica’ releases and perhaps helped in the sale of it. The Intrada recording is a remastering and contains the same material as the LP releases. “Goliath’s March,” the main theme, is a typical one a marching band could play; a nice melodic song. “Landa,” the love theme, also repeated with more of a modern flare in “Love’s Farewell,” is a mysterious Middle Eastern one straight out of a Rimsky-Korsakov opera. There is a small blip in a transitional moment at 1:15 on the track. If you’re familiar with the music of Baxter you’ll hear the opening motif of The Pharaoh’s Curse starting the “Barbarian Games,” gladiator type music in the tradition of Rozsa. “Rape of the Village,” and “Fire Dance” is also tracks that you’d expect to hear from a period film such as this one with the difference being the playing of the London Sinfonia.

This release sold out in a relatively short period of time. As a result the speculating on E-Bay is demanding a high price, at least at the time of this writing, and frankly this material isn’t worth the amount of money they’re asking. It is nice material but nothing special. Wait and look for it in the $25.00 price range or as a possible second pressing in the future.

Track listing

Disc/Cassette 1

 

1. Main Title And Dreams Of Flight (02:24)

 

2. Topage (01:53)

 

3. Betrayed And Discipline (04:20)

 

4. Flight Concerto (02:18)

 

5. The Mountains (05:07)

 

6. End Title (01:44)

 

7. Come Dance With Me [Exit Music] (02:17)

1-7 suite from the original soundtrack (film versions)

8. Overture (02:21)

 

9. Topage (01:52)

 

10. The Albatross (02:22)

 

11. Mediterranean (02:50)

 

12. Over The Rocks (04:39)

 

13. Master Of The World (01:45)

 

14. Flight Concert (02:16)

 

15. Philadelphia (01:59)

 

16. Drifting Clouds (03:11)

 

17. The Conquerors (04:26)

 

18. Balloon Waltz (02:18)

 

19. Finale (01:47)

8-19 original 1961 re-recorded album

CD1: MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961) total time 53’16

Disc/Cassette 2

 

1. (Main Title) Goliath’s March (00:55)

 

2. (Love Theme) Landa (01:51)

 

3. (Noisy Village) Barbarian Games (03:02)

 

4. The Sacred Crown (04:22)

 

5. Sword Dance (03:24)

 

6. Mountains Of Mystery (05:00)

 

7. Ride Of The Barbarians (01:44)

 

8. Night Attack Of The Stranger (02:58)

 

9. Love’s Farewell (02:37)

 

10. Rape Of The Village (02:27)

 

11. Fire Dance (02:50)

 

12. (End Title) March Of Victory (02:52)

CD2: GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) total time 34’53

Total Duration: 01:25:51

 

CD# Intrada ISE 1029

Master of the World performed by the 100 Men conducted by Cal Carter

Goliath and the Barbarians performed by the London Sinfonia conducted by Muir Mathieson

Produced by Douglass Fake

“Come Dance With Me” performed by an unknown singer.

terrore_del_barbari_lp1001

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4 Responses to “Master of the World, Goliath and the Barbarians/Les Baxter”

  1. Martijn Says:

    Good review.
    I was rather shocked to see it gone so soon (as I -by no more than the title- was intrigued enough to be enticed to pick it up), but I’m less annoyed now.
    I’m sure I’ll come across it in some years time in some used bin sale.

  2. Dave Says:

    These are 2 soundtracks that I have been looking for for a very long time. I have the LPs to both GOLIATH and MASTER and have a copy of them on cassetts. I ordered the CD of both of these soundtracks and can’t wait to transfer them to my iPod. I guess you have to be a “babyboomer” to count these as 2 of your facorite soundtracks (laugh). Thanks for your overview of this CD.

  3. Dejael Says:

    I wish I had known about this release in time to purchase it before it was sold out! These two soundtracks are by far my favorite ones by Les Baxter, and my third favorite is “The Invisible Boy” (MGM,1957), the classic boy and his robot movie starring Robby the Robot. I don’t expect to see this one on CD anytime soon.

    If anyone finds a copy of this marvelous Les Baxter CD release for sale at a reasonable $25. or below price, please let me know! I would love to add it to my collection!
    Cheers, Dejael

  4. V.E.G. Says:

    Magnacolor is the reincarnation of Prizma Color.


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