I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack for a while, but kept not finding it. A few weeks ago, we were listening to a copy of Holst’s The Planets we had just picked up. I’d heard the whole suite before, but had only heard “Mars” recently, so one section of “Jupiter” just leaped out at me. I was absolutely certain I had heard something very like it, but not exactly the same, in a movie, probably sword-and-sorcery. I tried several net searches, but had no luck – it’s not as if you can plug a few notes into Google and search for pieces containing a melody.
A while later it occurred to me that it might have been from Conan, so I tried to find it online, only to learn it was out of print. This looks like a job for eBay! It took a couple of auctions to get it (I really hate snipers), but I did, and the CD showed up in the mail a few days ago.
And sure enough, the piece I couldn’t help but think of while listening to “Jupiter” was there: track 12, “The Kitchen/The Orgy.” Interestingly the liner notes go into how Basil Poledouris constructed the piece, but don’t make a single mention of Holst, despite other tracks acknowledging influences such as Orff’s Carmina Burana, or the Gregorian chant “Dies Irae.” But the similarity is undeniable – even more similar than “Charging Fort Wagner” from James Horner’s Glory soundtrack or Joel McNeely’s battle music from the Verdun 1916 episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is to Orff’s “O Fortuna” (neither of which credits that influence either).