Episode 22: Conan the Barbarian

In Episode 22 we travel to the distant Hyborian era with Basil Poledouris’ muscular score for 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. As the gold standard for high fantasy prior to Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings epics, Poledouris’ lush and orchestral score creates entire musical worlds and carries much of the emotion in this sparsely-dialogued film. Join us as we take a journey with the Riders of Doom and listen to this fantastic work of musical fantasy.


Episode notes:

5:35 – The secrets to Conan’s success
9:22 – John Milius’s machismo
13:38 – Basil Poledouris’ score
19:54 – Conan’s canon – what era does the music come from?
22:45 – Anvil of Crom: the Hyborian rhythm and Nick’s rave remake
30:20 – Twenty-four French Horns and Total Recall’s Barbaric Recall
38:28 – Conan’s theme
48:10 – Double reeds and the passing of time
58:21 – The love theme, and saying more than Arnold through music
1:10:00 – The Riders of Doom theme
1:14:55 – O Fortuna’s influence on Conan (and film music generally)
1:19:34 – Conan’s Battle on the Ice
1:21:44 – The Wheel of Fifths
1:24:51 – Doom’s Dies Irae
1:38:16 – The Wheel of Pain’s ostinato
1:43:06 – Waltzing through theology
1:47:42 – The villain’s music for the hero’s journey – in the kitchen
1:49:28 – Waltzing through an orgy
1:57:07 – The Pit Fights and the Mountain of Power, via 1950s sword and sandal epics
2:03:49 – Conan’s Firebird finale

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