Composer Richard Harvey
maybe be the supreme chancellor of television film music. In the last
few years he has added, Jane Eyre, The Last Governor, The
Ambassador, and Animal Farm to his portfolio. Now, he has
landed the classic, Arabian Nights which too found its prime-time
audience of the small screen.
with the anticipated Middle Eastern percussions, string and wind instruments,
Harvey does a more the adequate job of scoring this film. The easiest
comparison might come with that of Hans Zimmer's The Prince of Egypt.
While never quite reaching the thrilling pitch of The Prince of Egypt,
Harvey's score certainly matches the authenticity. The Main Titles (2) show a
good deal of kinship with Zimmer's Biblical score with Ofra Haza-like lead
vocals by Natacha Atlas, and the occasional deep choral accents.
the initial two thirds of this soundtrack gets a tad monotonous the final
third truly begins to pick up. The Heart of a Princess (18) and
Aladdin's Perfect Dream (19) are strong in its Far East influences.
Here, the erhu is employed with subtle skill and beauty in much the same way
as the huqin is used in Kitaro's Heaven and Earth and George Fenton's Anna
and the King. Track 23, The Thee Brothers, seems to leave the
Middle Eastern overdose behind and present a decidedly Western-action flavor,
while The Magic Carpet (24) certainly bares a likeness to Goldsmith's work
for The Mummy.
work for Arabian Knights is, once again, above average, especially when it
comes to television films. The cues reflecting the Far East are, by far
the most enjoyable. When not sounding like The Prince of Egypt, the
score falls into a lull. This can make for uninspired listening.
That being stated, fans of pure action/suspense music might find those
"lulls" quite entertaining and thus making this score one to