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XENA : WARRIOR PRINCESS

Original Television Soundtrack Volume Two
Music Composed by Joseph LoDuca

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Now all of us dedicated fans love EVERYTHING about the series, Xena:Warrior Princess, but the music by Joseph LoDuca has always been a major strength. The show's very first Emmy nomination came this year with a nod for LoDuca's efforts on the episode Destiny- a landmark for the series, even if they didn't win.

The original soundtrack cd released last year covered episodes from the first season of the show, and for all of us that enjoyed it, a follow up was eagerly awaited. There have been some musical highlights in series two. November 1997 saw the release of Volume Two, once again on the Varese Sarabande label.

First off, I like the cover picture much more on volume two. (UK fans may recognise the picture on the front as the free poster in Cult TV last month.) The quality of the photos on the cover and inner sleeve is higher, and include such memorable moments as Xena's crucifixion, Lucy as Mel Pappas in The Xena Scrolls, the bathtub scene from A Day in the Life, and Xena in that red dress in Destiny.

Another welcome addition is a guide to which episode each track is from, and this brings us to my gripes and moans. There are glaring omissions from this CD. Think of the music from season two and what comes to mind? The Bacchae Rap? Sorry not here. M'Lila's song from the Emmy nominated Desiny? Nope. Salmoneus' tunes from Here She Comes..Miss Amphipolis? There is a photo but not a note of the great Robert Trebor's voice. This is annoying as I especially looked forward to hearing these tunes. There is some singing though. Joxer the Mighty's tune(sounding more and more like the Spam Song from Monty Python,) is here, as is the Solstice Carol one sung by those sweet little children in the episode of the same name.

The CD opens with the always toe tapping Main theme, which is a terrific and memorable tune - always handy for a tv series to have a good theme tune. The wierd bagpipe-like wailing, those Bulgarian women singing the unintelligible but stirring vocals, the tympani booming, yes, it is a great opening. We soon cuts to the very touching theme from Remember Nothing when Xena visits her mother's tomb. This was one I had specifically remembered and was glad to hear included.
Music from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- but none of that hypnotic dance music, darn!- follows, along with music from Return of Callisto. All with LoDuca's style while not being especially memorable from the episode. That old favourite, Glede Ma Glede is recycled and retooled for ttrack 8 from Remember Nothing- don't you love that traditional Bulgarian!

The section with music from Destiny comes next, and it is quite different in tone- LoDuca's deserves the recognition and this episode was a stand out in many ways. Track 10, Many Winters Ago, is a nice folksey tune, and the following track, Stowaway has a certain Riverdance/Celtic feel to it. Quite different from most of LoDuca's usual efforts. Track 12 is the one with that annoying little riff for Caesar, Julius Caesar in the episode on tv, track 13 a beautifully plaintive tune oddly named Rrarr! Track 15 features that nice tinkling theme that accompanied Gabrielle and the prone Xena through the snow and up the mountain.

Track 18 is worthy of a mention. It is the only representative from the Orphan of War episode, but is an especially nice tune with lots of gentle strings from Xena's chat with Solan, and a piece of music I particularly liked. Also note that it is four and a half minutes long, and not the one minute twelve seconds that it mistakenly says on the sleeve.

Vocal contributions come next. The playful double act of Joxer the Mighty and the Solstice Carol toy fight theme are amusing, utilizing lots of music box like sounds in the riffs, and lots of bells- well it is a Christmas-y sort of episode. A brief couple of tracks from The Price includes the dramatic opening fishing music, and the River Wild as Xena and Gabrielle escape The Horde. Good tunes both.

Another couple from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, then another one off from Lost Mariner which is OK if a bit unmemorable. Similarly the Necessary Evil track, which starts with lost of voices wailing as Callisto becomes a god, but then sinks a bit. The final track, from Intimate Stranger ends in a very abrupt cut- I thought I had a faulty CD for a while.

With this collection, LoDuca showcases the range of music composed for the series nicely. It is one factor in a successful combination. However, some of the selections of material for this CD are a little odd. I would like to know why those songs mentioned earlier were not included, and why track 30 is cut off so suddenly. However, it is a fine example of LoDuca's sometimes dramatic, sometimes plaintive but nearly always stirring compositions.

At just over an hour and with 30 tracks and pretty photos, this is good value for money. I guess we'll have to wait for CD 3 to hear the songs.


Catherine O'Grady
November 1997

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