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Arabian Nights by Richard Harvey

Composed and Conducted by Richard Harvey
Chorus: Budapest Radio Choir
Orchestra: Budapest Symphony Orchestra
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Released by Varese Sarabande


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.

Filled 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.



While 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.

The Bottom Line
Richard Harvey's 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 collect.



Rating: 7/10



 Performance 7/10
 Track Order


 CD Length