THE QUEST

September 3, 2013 – 5:12 am

Music has always played an integral role in war and its preparations and aftermath. From organizing formations to launching cavalry charges, the sounds of bugle calls, drumming and marching bands have marked routine, coordinated maneuvers, underlined ceremony, celebrated victory and mourned losses. But when it comes to war in music, the two rarely mix. In comparison to its prevalence in theatre, painting and movies, surprisingly little music actually depicts or refers to war itself. Even so, given their stock in trade, composers naturally have been attracted to the sheer sound of war. After all, the explosive power of munitions must have packed a huge visceral thrill in the prehistoric era before rock concerts, home theatres, mega-watt amps and subwoofers.

- Peter Gutmann, March 2003 on the eve of the Invasion of Iraq (click here)
Is it time yet for another war in the Middle East?

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There’s always justification to start a war.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

TREVOR JONES
Excalibur OST [Lancelot 600700, 1CD]

Sourced from silver disc bootleg. Ex stereo.

The many bootlegged album releases of the score for Excalibur include at least two alternative tracks at the end of their presentations, both of which extensively conveying the primary fanfare intended by Jones to bring some cohesion to the film. The latter of these two standard, unused cues, ‘Alternate End Titles’, is the better developed, though this recording is highlighted by an absolutely gorgeous woodwind interlude performing a 30-second theme that is far superior to anything else in the score.

Other secondary ideas in the work include a striking fantasy/mystery theme performed in eerie tones by a female vocalist in ‘Merlin’s Spell’ and ‘The Lady of the Lake’ and several rhythmic dance-like songs or processional chants throughout the remainder of the score.

The light drums, harpsichord, harp, guitar, chimes, and flutes (among other more exotic items, including what sounds like a kazoo) of the many source cues in Excalibur extend to repetitious performances of period detail in the two dance cues (’Igrayne’s Dance’ and ‘A Dance at the Court of King Arthur’) and the duo of ‘Camelot’ and ‘A Challenge to Honour’. These spirited, but still rather unsubstantial source-like cues dominate the tone of Jones’ score for much of the soundtrack’s length.

The cues of suspense and nobility are surprisingly drab upon an overdue revisit to the score, with only a few hints of life in ‘The Land and the King’ to save the listening experience. On album, ‘The Wedding’ seems less impressive than it sounded in the film. Ironically, the longer Wagner selections on the album are the easiest to digest, sending any collector of Jones’ music in search of The Dark Crystal to purge this failed combination effort from the system.

That said, Excalibur has always remained both respected and admired for its music, including lingering fondness from Jones’ enthusiasts. The score has thus been bootlegged extensively since the one commercial release of the soundtrack (on LP) contained only Orff and Wagner material, some of which not even in the film.

In between the original Old World Music release of 1994 and a slightly longer 2001 ‘Excalibur Enterprises’ bootleg, a supposedly commercial remastering in the form of a 1998 ‘Dandalf the Dragon’ album from Amsterdam is most likely a bootleg as well. No truly official release of Excalibur has ever existed, however, meaning that any one of these decent-sounding bootlegs will have to carry the load for the time being.

Be sure to limit your expectations if you’re approaching this score based solely on hype; it’s better tailored to the generation of fantasy enthusiasts that enjoyed the music upon the film’s debut. - Filmtracks 2010

Long story short, Trevor Jones’ score for Excalibur has yet to have an official release. Director John Boorman, like Stanley Kubrick, preferred the music he had fitted into the movie while waiting for the score. Kubrick paid off Alex North for a score he commissioned but did not use for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick wisely stuck with Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, forever identified as the theme for 2001.

A comparison of Jones’ score against the Wagner and Carl Orff themes lends weight to the latter pair’s martial music. Wagner’s Siegfried’s Funeral March off Gotterdammerung is the stirring finale of the film. Whille Carmina Burana is the theme used for Arthur’s knights as they ride into battle.

Excalibur, the movie about idealism, honor, chivalry and knights in shining armour also tried hard to present movie fans of the ’80s with the painful reality of war: death and destruction. It isn’t a pretty sight. Best to leave the fighting on your screen. War lovers should turn to Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for inspiration. Place your order now before the next war commences.
- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Siegfried’s Funeral March (Extract) (Theme From Excalibur) 2:50 (4.8MB)
Track 02. Igrayne’s Dance 2:07 (3.6MB)
Track 03. Merlin’s Spell 3:14 (5.4MB)
Track 04. O Fortuna (The Siege Of Camylarde) Composed By - Carl Orff 2:36 (4.4MB)
Track 05. A Dance At The Court Of King Arthur 1:17 (2.2MB)
Track 06. The Lady Of The Lake 1:33 (2.6MB)
Track 07. Tristan And Isolde (Prelude) (Lancelot And Guinevere) 10:33 (17.7MB)
Track 08. The Wedding 1:05 (1.8MB)
Track 09. Camelot 3:27 (5.8MB)
Track 10. Knights Of The Round Table 0:42 (1.2MB)
Track 11. A Challenge To Honour 3:04 (5.2MB)
Track 12. Quest For The Holy Grail 3:56 (6.6MB)
Track 13. Mordred’s Lair 1:49 (3.1MB)
Track 14. Parsifal (Prelude) (Percival) 11:50 (19.9MB)
Track 15. The Land And The King 4:10 (7.0MB)
Track 16. Siegfried’s Funeral March (The Death Of Arthur) 6:37 (11.1MB)
Track 17. Alternate Theme 1:28 (2.5MB)
Track 18. Alternate End Titles 3:27 (5.8MB)
TT: 60 mins

Tracks 17-18: Unreleased Bonus Tracks.

Music from John Boorman’s movie “Excalibur” (1981)

Composed By - Richard Wagner (tracks: 1, 7, 14, 16), Trevor Jones (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 to 13, 15, 17, 18)
Conductor - Norman Del Maur*
Orchestra - The London Philharmonic Orchestra

The bootlegs of Excalibur

   

Trevor Jones’ score for John Boorman’s 1981 movie has never been officially released. The vinyl release offered the classical music of Wagner and Carl Orff used in the film’s score and is out-of-print. The first bootleg on the Old World imprint arrived in 1994, followed by Dandalf’s bootleg in 1998 and in 2001 the Excalibur Enterprises CD bootleg made its appearance.

Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung performed by Vienna State Opera Chorus and Vienna Philharmonic conducted by George Solti is a giant 4CD set released in 1997. Buy it here.

Eugen Jochum conducts the Schoneberg Boys’ Choir and the Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana released in 1995. Buy it here.

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  1. 11 Responses to “THE QUEST”

  2. one of the funniest double features i ever saw was “monty python and the holy grail” followed by “excalibur”. “excalibur” is a fine film but seeing it after “holy grail” makes it an unintentional comedy. “Run away!!”

    By barth on Sep 3, 2013

  3. im a huge collector of original score soundtracks and to have one that is unreleased and therefore more difficult to obtain makes it even more precious. thank u so much.
    i remember seeing this film in a times square movie theater of all places when it first opened of all places. i couldnt understand why it would be there and so cheaply when it was a brand new movie. the seating was like 4 seats across and 50 rows. i went in the middle of the day at like 430pm. i dont remember there being more than 5 or 6 other people in the entire theater. it wasnt opening day i dont believe but it was within a week im sure. the music was so important to me even back then. again thank u.

    By darth on Sep 3, 2013

  4. tell it to someone who gives a shit darth.

    By billyjojimblob on Sep 4, 2013

  5. Though I saw the film only once, and that during its first run, it remains a special warm memory because of the artist-girlfriend I saw it with. Like the legend itself, she’s long gone… and yet our saga remains in my soul, and continues even to this day to shaping me, and guiding some of my steps.

    Billy, my friend, take a hike. Sometimes music is more than the sounds, the instruments, the musicians themselves. With charms to soothe the savage beast, it can also ensnare the heart. And long after love has died, those same notes can restore it even for just a gentle moment in that heart, ages later.

    Bigo, thank you for this wonderful discovery!

    By A. Gene Childe on Sep 4, 2013

  6. billy - if u didnt give a shit u wouldnt have read my posting. keep reading. thanks.

    By darth on Sep 4, 2013

  7. “im a huge collector” = hoarder

    “times square movie theater” = porn house

    “i went in the middle of the day” = no job, no prospects

    “5 or 6 other people in the entire theater” = circle jerk

    “the music was so important to me” = no one could hear me moaning

    By Everyone Else On bigO on Sep 4, 2013

  8. Everyone Else On bigO=lame handle or turd w. corn

    By bootlick sarge on Sep 4, 2013

  9. but never a bootlicker: a noun, meaning: sycophant, toady, lickspittle, flatterer, flunky, lackey, yes-man, spaniel, doormat; informal brown-noser, brown-nose, suck-up.

    By Everyone Else On bigO on Sep 4, 2013

  10. but never a bootlicker: a noun, meaning: sycophant, toady, lickspittle, flatterer, flunky, lackey, yes-man, spaniel, doormat; informal brown-noser, brown-nose, suck-up.’

    no…I think that would describe you perfectly.Good on ya!

    By bootlick sarge on Sep 4, 2013

  11. always been a big fan of this soundtrack and here it is!

    By dakker on Oct 8, 2016

  12. thanks for this big o, much appreciated

    By dakker on Oct 8, 2016

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