MASTER OF THE WORLD / GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (2CD)
Film Date: 1961 / 1959
Reissue of Intrada 2-CD set featuring two terrific film scores by Les Baxter, both from American International movies.
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Doug's Tech Talk
Reissue of Intrada 2-CD set featuring two terrific film scores by Les Baxter, both from American International movies. [Contents identical to earlier release.] First is actual soundtrack in dynamic stereo from 1961 Jules Verne tale, Master Of The World, starring Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, scripted by Richard Matheson, directed by William Whitney. Intrada release from 2009 was first ever presentation of music from original stereo scoring session mixes. Every cue surviving on rolls is included here. Interesting to note that 20 minutes seems cherry-picked from longer score, perhaps destined for one side of LP that never happened. Observation has validity since suite includes main title, vigorous "Topage" cue, impressive main flight theme sequence, two most prominent set-pieces, end title plus actual vocal "Exit Music" recorded for initial screenings of picture. All choice pieces! Also interesting to note film running time is approximately 102 minutes but Baxter scored 14 reels of film, suggesting it was once planned at closer to two and a half hours! Fun thought! CD also features complete original 1961 re-recorded album first appearing on Vee Jay label, presented from stereo album masters prepared subsequently in late 1970's for Varese Sarabande LP. Audio is dated with significant reverb locked in but otherwise excellent. Film itself finds monomaniacal Albatross pilot "Robur the Conqueror" (Price) launching aerial attacks on warmongering countries below. Government operative John Strock (Bronson) determines to stop him. Baxter offers incredibly tuneful score with soaring main theme, dynamic flight music, powerful battle set piece ("The Mountains" on soundtrack, "The Conquerors" on re-recording) plus many other pieces. Worthy of spotlight is lengthier battle piece from soundtrack has entirely different opening, closing as well. CD 2 features original 1959 soundtrack album from American International label, then simply called "Les Baxter's Barbarian". During heyday of Italy "peplum" series of muscle bound ancient warrior movies, Steve Reeves of Hercules fame also made Goliath And The Barbarians, launching successful Goliath franchise. Intrada presents album from pristine condition stereo master tapes vaulted by MGM. Considering age of actual recording, sonics are dynamic, superb! Les Baxter conducts soundtrack for Master Of The World, Cal Carter conducts "100 Men" for re-recorded album, Muir Mathieson conducts London Sinfonia for Goliath And The Barbarians. Music with muscle!
Tech Talk From The Producer…
Les Baxter recorded Master Of The
World early in 1961, with a “roadshow” presentation in mind.
American International Pictures budgeted for a stereophonic recording,
including special “Overture” and “Exit” music. Then, with an ear for the
pop instrumental market, Baxter oversaw the re-recording of highlights
from his score for a stereo album on the Vee
Jay label (marketed as “Original Sound Track
Music” and played by the “100 Men” with Cal
When Intrada secured the rights to present
the first-ever CD release of this classic album, a
lengthy search for the actual stereo LP masters
took place. We ultimately located transfers
made for the Varèse Sarabande label for their
own LP reissue of the late seventies. The original
source of these masters is not clear but the
tapes were reasonably clean and played back
well enough. But the real find was yet to come.
MGM undertook the search for actual
film scoring sessions, and gave us access to all
available elements. Included with a ¼” mono
copy of the Vee Jay album (taken from the vinyl) and several reels of unidentified pop music (apparently recorded at the
same time) was a solitary ¼” two-track reel of music in excellent condition.
That reel contained a full 20 minutes of stereo music from the original film
Not only were the main and end titles present, but also the vocal
“Exit” music that Baxter recorded, based on his waltz-like secondary theme
(intended for radio play, this song was ultimately cut from the film). The
tape also included the score’s finale with a choral overlay that was dropped
from the LP re-recording. Best of all, we found the complete “The Mountains”
sequence (edited and re-titled “The Conquerors” on the LP). Not only does
the original soundtrack performance reveal several changes made for the
shorter LP version, but it includes entirely different opening and closing
bars for the cue that give it extra weight. This spectacular piece, plus several
others, receive their world premiere—in stereo. So prepare to soar with Les
Baxter as he becomes the musical Master of the World!
When American International Pictures
presented Goliath and the Barbarians to a U.S. audience, not only did
they dub the film into English but they also replaced the Italian score
(composed by Carlo Innocenzi and conducted by Franco Ferrara) with a new
one composed by Les Baxter and recorded by the London Sinfonia with Muir
With popular instrumental music at the time finding big audiences,
and Les Baxter being at the forefront of numerous exotica albums aimed directly at this market, the AIP record
label prepared a thrilling showpiece for
orchestra using the new music Baxter
had written for the film. They packaged
the album with ravishing artwork (rather
than sporting a picture of Steve Reeves
flexing his pecs, the LP cover featured the
sexy dancing daughter of the barbarian)
and a truncated (albeit appropriate) title
in big letters that simply proclaimed
Barbarian. One had to look closer to find
the small, secondary billing of Goliath
and the Barbarians near the bottom of the
cover—but it was indeed the Les Baxter
As with Master of the World, a search
for the original stereo LP masters led us
to the same elements prepared for the
Varèse Sarabande label with their own
late 1970s stereo LP reissue. Also similar
to the other score in this release, MGM
retained a mono copy of the LP master
in their vaults. But, sadly, no hidden
reel of stereo surprises was to be had.
No matter—sit back and enjoy the best
possible stereo CD of that great album:
—Douglass Fake and Joe Sikoryak
Composed and Conducted by Les Baxter.
Master of the World Recorded on March 9, 1961, at Goldwyn Scoring Stage Seven, Hollywood, California.
This soundtrack was produced in cooperation with the
American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
Al Simms (Ciminelli)
G. R. Menhennick
John Bambridge Jr.
John Bambridge Sr.