1 800 222 6872

Basil Poledouris (1945-2006): Conan the Barbarian, transcribed for organ / Philipp Pelster, organ

Album Summary

>Poledouris, Basil : Conan the Barbarian, film score
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 adventure film, directed and co-written by John Milius. It was his intention to create an opera in the form of a film. Since the opera contains very little dialogue, he used the music to support the story line. The music composed by Basil Poledouris (1945-2006) conveys a sense of power and energy but also expresses many tender moments. The superb Glatter-Götz/Rosales organ in Claremont, California was designed to inspire creativity and innovation, and Philipp Pelster's vision in making a complete film-score transcription especially for the unique possibilities of this instrument transforms the orchestral colors of the original to generate a completely new and richly rewarding musical experience.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Claremont United Church of Christ, Claremont, Californi (05/19/2014/05/20/2014).


"Anvil of Crom"
You have to applaud the scope and audacity of this idea: 64 minutes of a classic film score transcribed for organ. The music Basil Poledouris composed for Conan the Barbarian is one of the most memorable efforts of the 1980s. It has stood the test of time far better than the film it was intended to accompany. Is it derivative? Somewhat: Orff and Prokofiev immediately come to mind. No matter, it’s inspired. This transcription by organist, Philipp Pelster succeeds handily. The conjuring of the composer’s myriad and complex textures and sonorities (including 24 horns and chorus) is highly skilled. Familiarity with the film’s narrative is not crucial in appreciating this work as pure, absolute music. Indeed, there are passages where one feels as though they might be in the presence of some newly unearthed organ mass. Such is the special tenor of Poledouris’ writing. What of the playing? Overall it’s quite accomplished: firmly articulated and rhythmically supple. Here and there, a little more “juice” would have been in order. That aside, Mr. Pelster’s command of color and dynamic shading is strong. The production team does a laudable job in capturing a convincing sonic image of the Glatter-Gotz/Rosales organ at Claremont United Church of Christ in California. The notes include complete specifications and technical details regarding the instrument.
Submitted on 09/18/15 by Allen Cohen 
Satisfying realization of the Conan the Barbarian score on the organ!
This CD is a the film score of the movie “Conan the Barbarian” (score by Basil Poledouris) transcribed for organ by Philipp Pelster. As indicated by the brief liner notes, director John Milius’s intention was to create an opera in the form of a film, and toward that end Mr. Poledouris’ score is well suited. And this transcription definitely works to bring back the feelings and emotional content of the film.

The first track “Anvil of Crom” demonstrates what the organ is capable of bringing to the music of the score, while at the same time making evident that portions of the original music that were particularly percussive must be adjusted since the organ is not a percussive instrument. The transcription handles this particularly well by giving us notes in the bass that substitute for the drum beats and force present in the film. The organ also serves as a gentle messenger in track 7 “Theology/Civilization”, conveying wonder and positive feeling sequences of notes that are pleasing to both the ear and the reminiscing mind of the listener. Track 13 “The Orgy” was a highlight for me, though, with Mr. Pelster playing the delightful waltz rhythm with a sense of joy and playfulness that was infectious.
All in all, the music on the disc speaks for itself. It is obvious that Mr. Pelster was having a great time bringing this project to fruition, and you can hear it in his performance. If you fondly remember the music to “Conan the Barbarian” and appreciate the majesty that an organ can bring, then you should enjoy this CD very much. Recommended!

Submitted on 10/07/15 by KlingonOpera 
Login or Create an Account to write a review

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Poledouris, Basil : Conan the Barbarian, film score
  • Performer: Philipp Pelster (Organ)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1982