Jerome Moross

The War Lord [Original Soundtrack]

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You can sort of tell by the stats -- especially the running time -- the origins of the movie behind this score. Thirty minutes of music seems awfully paltry for a film with the scope and ambitions of The War Lord -- but then, considering the circumstances of the production, we're lucky to have gotten anything from Jerome Moross on this movie. When originally engaged to score the film, he had ten weeks to write the music -- but the ten weeks were soon cut to five, when a behind-the-scenes fight began at the studio over the film's final edit (which precluded any work being done on the music). When the smoke cleared, Moross's time has been cut in half and the existing deadline so close that he was forced to rely on longtime Universal music hand Hans J. Salter, working from themes devised by Moross, to finish what score we do have here. The resulting soundtrack isn't too long, but it is memorable, showing a surprising degree of subtlety as well, the latter element due in part to Moross's familiarity with the play that the filmmakers had adapted. Much of the score does try to utilize elements of antiquity in the music, giving those portions a vivid period quality, while other sections have a surprisingly contemporary feel. It's all well-written and even better performed, however, and the 1994 CD reissue through Varese Sarabande offers excellent sound as well as in-depth annotation.

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