Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








  Special Merit 

THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD (Complete Score / 2 CD Set!) [Soundtrack]




Music Composed and Orchestrated by
Bernard Herrmann



Disc One: The Complete Score - 26 tracks (Playing Time = 70:58)
Disc Two: The Original Soundtrack Album (1958) - 12 tracks (Playing Time = 36:07)

Music performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra.
Executive producer for this release: Luc Van de Ven.
Produced for PROMETHEUS RECORDS by Ford A. Thaxton and James Nelson.
Digitally Edited and Mastered by James Nelson.
Liner Notes: Jeff Bond.
Layout & Design: GINKO DIGI

Prometheus XPCD 166

Rating: ****

For many years the original soundtrack album for THE 7TH VOYASGE OF SINBAD was a much desired collector's item going for a steep price. Now that is no longer needed because it is available as part of this most handsome 2 CD set.

The film stars the handsome Kerwin Matthews as Sinbad; the lovely Kathryn Grant (later Mrs. Bing Crosby) as Princess Parisa; and Richard Eyer as the young genie.

This film score is important for several major reasons. First, Bernard Herrmann was establishing himself in the fantasy film world. Earlier he had scored THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, but that was a sci-fi film and score, and an excellent one at that. But THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD was his first fantasy score. Second, this was his first venture with the films created by producer Charles H. Schneer and stop-motion animation wizard, Ray Harryhausen. Herrmann would continue to work with them on three more notable fantasy films: THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. And third, the tecniques employed by Herrmann in this 1958 score would be employed in later film scores, especially JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and the Schneer produced films already mentioned. So, in a sense, this was a training ground for Herrmann.

This CD is divided into the newly available complete original soundtrack recording (CD One) and the soundtrack album from 1958 (CD Two). This gives the listener an opportunity to compare the longer and shorter versions of this milestone Herrmann film score.

Of primary significance in both versions is the opening "Overture," which acts as the Main Title music. On CD One that main theme is coupled with The Fog (track 1, 3:58), and in the soundtrack album on CD Two it is joined with the cue, Bagdad (track 1, 3:50). Sometimes various cues have been altered. For example, on CD One, track 4 (Sultan's Feast/ The Vase/Cobra Dance) clocks in at 3:24, while on CD Two the same track comes in at 2:33.

What is remarkable about this score is how Herrmann makes the most of simple devices like repeated chords in the horns, tombone and tuba for The Cyclops (CD Two, 3:36). Actually, though the original soundtrack album has only a bit over thirty minutes of music, it contains most of the major cues. Yet CD One has some very significant extended versions, such as the last track on CD One (8:44), versus the same shorter cue on CD Two (3:20). In addition, on CD One there is a longer cue (track 22, 11:38) not heard on the original soundtrack album on CD Two.

On CD One, there are quite a few shorter cues, like The Skull (1:29) and The Cave (0:50). These don't add a great deal but are good to have as part of the complete score.

In some cases there are virtually identical timings, such as the best remembered and most delightful of cues: The Skeleton/ The Duel With The Skelteton/ The Sword (CD One, track 25/ CD Two, track 9).

The CD booklet is attractively designed with film scenes and Jeff Bond's liner notes are very good. He gives ample background description on how the film was made, also highlighting some of Herrmann's distinctive orchestral colorings, like his depiction of the various monsters, the giant roc and the dragon.

If I may add a personal remembrance here: I can remember how much I enjoyed THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD when it was first released in 1958. As a fantasy and sci-fi fan, I thought this was one of the best I had seen up to that time and Herrmann's music made a deep impression on me even as a teenager.

These two versions of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD should appeal especially to those who love this wonderfully entertaining fantasy film, also for Herrmann's memorable score which accompanies it.

This overall production from the Prometheus team deserves to be given extra praise for its excellent work and thus has been given a desingation of "Special Merit."

This 2 CD set of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is well worth adding to your fantasy film music collection.

An outstanding release.

-- Roger Hall, 25 June 2009


Also available and recommended is this DVD with extra features --


The 7th Voyage of Sinbad








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FMR Summer Issue 2009


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