January 10, 2011
Genghis Khan (1965), a new DVD soundtrack release from Kritzerland (#20017-7), features composer Dusan Radic (1929-2010), not a household name for soundtrack collectors. My LP collection of Radic consisted of a Liberty (LRP 3412) of this film and a Colpix CP517 of the film The Long Ships (1963). Both recordings have now legally been remastered to CD with Film Score Monthly coupling The Long Ships with Lord Jim (FSMCD Vol. 8, No. 11) in August of 2005. This is the output available for this Yugoslavian composer who spent most of his time composing for films for his country. He is a lesser composer who is well worth exploring.
Bruce Kimmel, owner/producer of Kritzerland, was quite kind to the film in his liner notes, much more so than this reviewer. The epic, directed by Henry Levin, starred Omar Shariff, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and numerous others in a very Hollywood epic production that was not well received by either the critics or the general public. Typical Hollywood glitter quite far from the real truth, one could spend two hours watching any number of other films. Khan was hardly a swashbuckling figure and perhaps there will be a film showing him for what he really was.
While the film failed the music certainly didn’t. “March of the Mongols” (clip included) is a pentatonic style played by the strings alerting the listener to the orient yet Dusan with his use of the brass also incorporates a strong military presence resulting in a blending of the Far East with American West. This sound is what makes this recording so unique and one that should be in your collection. This main title is a prevalent theme that is used on several tracks in this short 32+ minute score. Other tracks include “Escape from Slavery,” “Bath a la Chinese,” “The Emperor of China,” and a final restatement in the “Finale-March of the United Mongols.” “Always Your Hand (Love Theme),” has a long introduction from the flutes and woodwinds which leads us into the highly melodic lush theme. It is a tune that will stick in your head and you’ll remember it well. The love theme is also repeated in “The Long Road to the Great Wall,” “Death of Genghis Khan,” and a short version of the “Love Theme,” an audio clip I’ve included complete. “Return to Peking” could have very easily been in a cowboy/Indian western with the cavalry leading the charge. American sounding yet completely appropriate for this film. “Bath a la Chinese” is very pentatonic in nature.
This is a mono/single track recording so don’t expect high definition quality with extended range. I have found in my listening experience that listening to this kind of score through a mono system produces superior sound. This was exactly the case with this soundtrack. Remember a single channel speaker only requires a 30-14,000 range. A subwoofer wasn’t used in the 60’s. Listening to equipment that was made at the same time of the recording enhances the listening experience. Always remember that most of the Kritzerland recordings are limited to a pressing order of 1000 copies, this being no exception. Many times they sell out so if you have any interest do not delay. Recommended.
Unknown orchestra conducted by Muir Mathieson
1. March of the Mongols (Main Title Theme) (02:14)*
2. Always Your Hand (Love Theme) (02:30)
3. Escape from Slavery (01:50)
4. The Long Road to the Great Wall (02:57)
5. Bath à La Chinese (02:53)
6. Parade of the Mongol Horde (02:29)
7. Return to Peking (03:46)
8. The Emperor of China (04:59)
9. The Great Battle (03:11)
10. Death of Genghis Khan (02:30)
11. Finale-March of the Mongols (01:08)
12. The Yesugai Battle (bonus track) 1:26
13. The Love Theme (:046)*
* Clip included
All selections conducted by Muir Mathieson
Total Duration: 00:32:27