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 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   TxIrish   (Member)

Here's the question, followed by the details: I've got the Varese Sarabande CD of "Conan the Barbarian"... is it worth upgrading to either the recent Intrada 3-CD release and/or the Nic Raine 2-CD rerecording?

The details: I've been focusing on film scores for several years now, and often read around here about the love for "Conan the Barbarian". When Intrada's complete 3-CD set came out, I debated it, but I didn't feel it was worth dropping $30 for a score I didn't really know. I found a used copy of the Varese version, and for months now have been playing it often and loving it. However, I've been surprised to read on the main thread here about the Intrada release how people are griping about tracks not being split the way they'd like, or the recording sounding as warm as they thought it would, etc. Thus, I'm not sure, is it worth getting? There's also the Nic Raine rerecording, which I gather from reviews has much better sound, but I've also read reviews that mention that the tempos at time vary significantly from the original, which would bother me (having percussion experience I have an acute sense of tempo).

So, what say you all? Sorry, I'd post this in one of the longer theads, but I figured it would get missed. Thanks!

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 2:36 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

The Varese expanded edition is probably the best listening experience. It has all the major cues and then some. If you love the score how could you not get the Intrada version? (warts and all) Lots of extra material worth listening too. Though I don't think it sounds significantly better than the Varese version. The re-recording is a vastly different beast and doesn't represent the music as heard in the film or on the LP. Good if you want a new interpretation of the score.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 3:04 PM   
 By:   BackToTheFutureFan   (Member)

Intrada version is essential IMO because of The Tower Of Set music and all of the music for The Battle of the Mounds.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 3:07 PM   
 By:   General Kael   (Member)

I've got the Varese Sarabande CD of "Conan the Barbarian"... is it worth upgrading to either the recent Intrada 3-CD release and/or the Nic Raine 2-CD rerecording?

I had never heard of Conan the Barbarian until the re-recording was already old news. So I tried them all out at the same time for the first time. And man, does the re-recording blow the rest completely out of the water! Now it slightly irks me when I listen to the original with it's poor quality, lack of proper instrumentation, odd-sounding choir, mistakes, etc. etc. I think the only reason some people prefer the original is nostalgia. But if you approach them all with virgin ears, there simply is no comparison whatsoever. So glad I wasn't shackled by first falling in love with the originals, which I would have, if there wasn't such a stunning re-recording available. But you should probably buy all three in my opinion.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   danbeck   (Member)

I alternate between the original lp program (remastered with great sound at the Intrada 2cd set) and the rerecording (which sounds great). I'd recommend also the Conan The Destroyer rerecording

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   BackToTheFutureFan   (Member)

I've got the Varese Sarabande CD of "Conan the Barbarian"... is it worth upgrading to either the recent Intrada 3-CD release and/or the Nic Raine 2-CD rerecording?

I had never heard of Conan the Barbarian until the re-recording was already old news. So I tried them all out at the same time for the first time. And man, does the re-recording blow the rest completely out of the water! Now I can't stand to listen to the original with it's poor quality, lack of proper instrumentation, odd-sounding choir, mistakes, etc. etc. I think the only reason some people prefer the original is nostalgia. But if you approach them all with virgin ears, there simply is no comparison whatsoever. So glad I wasn't shackled by first falling in love with the originals, which I would have, if there wasn't such a stunning re-recording available.


It's still not Basil. Despite the new technology and bigger orchestra, who knows if Basil would have liked the presentation. I love the rerecording because it does give us what Basil had down on paper in crystal clear sound, but it's missing something. All of that weird instrumentation and odd choir is Conan.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 3:51 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I listen to the original with it's poor quality, lack of proper instrumentation, odd-sounding choir, mistakes, etc. etc. I think the only reason some people prefer the original is nostalgia.

This is where I disagree. I never thought the original was poor sounding or small. What is proper instrumentation? Did Basil use pots and pans? Odd sounding choir? Are you kidding me? The original is one of the best motion picture scores ever produced. I will concead a modern recording is going to sound much better than an older one, but that's is about it.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   General Kael   (Member)

This is where I disagree. I never thought the original was poor sounding or small. What is proper instrumentation? Did Basil use pots and pans? Odd sounding choir? Are you kidding me? The original is one of the best motion picture scores ever produced. I will concead a modern recording is going to sound much better than an older one, but that's is about it.

The original recording is actually less original than the re-recording. After Basil wrote the score, he had to modify it due to the orchestra that would be performing it. He did not use pots and pans, but they weren't able to use all of the instruments that Basil intended. The re-recording uses the exact instruments that Basil wrote for and is truer to the original score as Basil composed it. Shown also by the fact that the percussion stays with the brass in the re-recording of Anvil of Crom, amongst other technical errors that exist in the original recordings. They're both great and you really should buy both versions, but I believe that if you hear them both for the first time at the same time, there's little reason to prefer the original recordings.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 4:53 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Did Basil use pots and pans?

I hear his mixing bowl is still on display in Rome.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 4:58 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

The Intrada has a needless third disc and some parts in mono....I kept the Varese and never bothered with the Intrada.

And the rerecording is great, with the caveat that a couple places drag and there's some unfortunate recording (or possibly mastering) errors that cause the sound the 'burst' a little (there's a lot of detailed discussion about it in the thread about the set). There's no reason to keep to one or the other with music this great.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   Dyfrynt   (Member)

What all this hoo-ha comes down to is this. If you want the listening experience as you heard it in the film, the Intrada version is the best. Despite all the griping and complaining, this is what Basil had to work with at the time, and this is the incredible job he did with what he had.

If you are more interested in an alternate version that is declared to be as "How Basil Really Meant It to Be Heard", go with the Varese. I've always had a bit of a problem with the proclamations about this version as, unless one can channel the dead, it is impossible to know how Basil would have rerecorded it himself. What we actually have is an educated guess by people who knew Basil well and knew what he said about how he would change the score if he had the chance to do it over again.

Both are musically awesome scores. So this is the significance between the two.

And of course, the best of both worlds would be to get both, though isn't the Varese limited edition out of print?????

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

While personal listening satisfaction will guide most purchase decisions, I feel that another aspect also merits consideration. The people who make a new recording (I dislike the term "re-recording") have invested far more time and talent and treasure in their effort than those who issue the existing tracks. I don't mean to denigrate projects in the latter category. We have all benefited from the FSM archival series and those of the other labels. But think of what Prometheus or Tadlow or Tribute have accomplished. They have rescued or re-created the composer's original music. They have made future performances possible. They have secured performing rights. They have reviewed the scores and documents for errors in the original. They have gone to the enormous expense of hiring a symphony orchestra and recording facility and executing all the editing and packaging that go into the final product. I always go out of my way to support such ventures. Only our support will ensure that they continue.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:38 PM   
 By:   BackToTheFutureFan   (Member)

If you are more interested in an alternate version that is declared to be as "How Basil Really Meant It to Be Heard", go with the Varese. I've always had a bit of a problem with the proclamations about this version as, unless one can channel the dead, it is impossible to know how Basil would have rerecorded it himself. What we actually have is an educated guess by people who knew Basil well and knew what he said about how he would change the score if he had the chance to do it over again.

I agree completely. If Basil had the means the re-recording had...our ears would explode.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:43 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

The Intrada has a needless third disc and some parts in mono....I kept the Varese and never bothered with the Intrada.

And the rerecording is great, with the caveat that a couple places drag and there's some unfortunate recording (or possibly mastering) errors that cause the sound the 'burst' a little (there's a lot of detailed discussion about it in the thread about the set). There's no reason to keep to one or the other with music this great.


WHERE EXACTLY?

Don't be vague, where exactly are these "unfortunate recording (or possibly mastering) error(s)"?

Just because some clueless fanboy says that these exist, don't mean they do beyond their the voices they hear in their head that they do!

Ford A. Thaxton

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:52 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Oh, good, this again. Hot recording meets hot air. frown

On topic, my favorite is the Varèse, probably largely because I know it inside and out -- it's the score that made me a film score fan. The Intrada didn't do much for me at first because hearing the same music mastered so differently just sounded strange and off to me, but I've been revisiting it lately and liking it. I also love the Tadlow/Prometheus recording. There are some bits that are a little off what I recognize as "right," but so many bits where the different performance or improved clarity contrasts with what I'm used to and allows me to appreciate the music all the more.

The one choice that I really really hate in both the Intrada and the Prometheus was the decision to present "Tree of Woe" and "Recovery" in a single cue, since I don't much care for the former and the latter is one of my favorite cues on the score.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 5:52 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

I've always had a bit of a problem with the proclamations about this version as, unless one can channel the dead, it is impossible to know how Basil would have rerecorded it himself.

Not really because I was in the ROOM when I put both Basil and James Fitzpatrick together on the day that this project started.

James an Basil had a number of discussions about his project prior to Basil's death.

Jame's blueprint was Basil's very detailed scores that he had a chance to discuss with Basil before he passed.

His family and many of the folks who worked on the score in the first place were very helpful as well.

The man wanted to do a new recording of this score right up until he passed away and made his feelings quite clear on the topic.

Ford A. Thaxton

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 6:00 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Oh, good, this again. Hot recording meets hot air. frown


Quite right.
Some things seemingly will never change.
Fortunately, we don't have to tolerate looking at it.
Button pressed.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 6:04 PM   
 By:   General Kael   (Member)

I've always had a bit of a problem with the proclamations about this version as, unless one can channel the dead, it is impossible to know how Basil would have rerecorded it himself.

Not really because I was in the ROOM when I put both Basil and James Fitzpatrick together on the day that this project started.

James an Basil had a number of discussions about his project prior to Basil's death.

Jame's blueprint was Basil's very detailed scores that he had a chance to discuss with Basil before he passed.

His family and many of the folks who worked on the score in the first place were very helpful as well.

The man wanted to do a new recording of this score right up until he passed away and made his feelings quite clear on the topic.

Ford A. Thaxton


Wow. WOW! It sure is nice to have somebody who can serve as a primary source of information for topics like this. Thanks Ford.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 7:01 PM   
 By:   Matt B   (Member)

The man wanted to do a new recording of this score right up until he passed away and made his feelings quite clear on the topic.

Ford, your point is taken that the late, great Mr. Poledouris had a lot to say about the project before he passed, but I still think the point stands that no one knows what he might have said / done / changed on the recording stage. He was an artist, and who knows what he might have changed his mind about on the day, when it mattered most. It is a tragedy he didn't live to see the rerecording, and a tragedy that we all lost him so young.

(ducks, preparing for abusive, dismissive comeback)

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2013 - 7:10 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

My point is no one, (other than Basil in private to friends or associates, apparently) EVER complained about the Conan score. Never did I hear a score fan say, he used the wrong instruments, or it sounds too small, the chorus sounds weird, what ever. It's great there is a re-recording for those to enjoy, and one is free to choose one recording as their favorite. But the original is nothing short of a masterpiece and perfect for many of us.

Edit: Dyfrynt and Matt B are factually correct. Picasso could tell me how to paint like him, but it still wouldn't be a Picasso.

 
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