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The Three Musketeers
  • Composed by Michael Kamen
  • Hollywood Records / 1993 / 43m

Stephen Herek’s fairly mediocre 1993 version of The Three Musketeers didn’t have much going for it really, with the fairly unlikely combination of Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Oliver Platt playing the triumphant triumvirate and Chris O’Donnell D’Artagnan.  Easily its finest ingredient is its score by Michael Kamen, the first of three wonderful scores he wrote for this director.  The album opens with the composer’s song “All For Love”, a typical Kamen 1990s pop ballad which is very enjoyable (and very anachronistic), crooned out with no stone left unturned by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting.  But that’s the last anachronistic music here, with Kamen striving within the score itself to write something that at least sounds vaguely authentic to its 17th century setting (even if it isn’t really).

The score opens with the wonderfully grand orchestral-and-choral “The Cavern of Cardinal Richelieu” (subtitled “Overture Passacaille” – all the score tracks have such labels).  This leads into the exciting action piece “D’Artagnan”, which introduces that character’s noble theme.  “Athos, Porthos and Aramis” features a stirring rendition of the main theme for strings before some particularly intricate, brassy action.  “Sword Fight” introduces some brighter action, with much swashing of buckles.  The tone darkens at the opening of “King Louis XIII, Queen Anna and Constance – Lady in Waiting” with dramatic sections for low strings and brass occasionally accompanied by a mysterious, beautiful choral burst; but the tail end of the cue introduces an exquisite new baroque-styled theme, the gentlest of love themes.  “The Cardinal’s Coach” is a wonderfully thrilling piece of action, the score’s finest, Kamen building detailed clusters of strings and then brass.  The action continues in “Cannonballs” and the baroque feel returns (well, there are harpsichords, anyway).  Embedded within the cue is a delicious fanfare which is one of the highlights of the score.  “M’Lady de Winter” is a more low key piece (though it does feature the genesis of a theme that Kamen observers will know from the later 101 Dalmatians) before the grand, rousing finale “The Fourth Musketeer” brings things to a spirited conclusion.  The Three Musketeers is a delightful score, hugely enjoyable throughout, and comes highly recommended.

Rating: **** | |

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  1. elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Friday 29 March, 2013 at 11:22

    Hey, the film also has Tim Curry as a major asset ! Anyway, terrific score indeed, I really prefer it to the better known Robin Hood : Prince Of Thieves.

  2. Roman Martel (Reply) on Friday 29 March, 2013 at 20:44

    Completely agree with your review. This was the first Kamen score I ever picked up and it is one of my favorites. I’m also in the camp that this score is an improvement on “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. I don’t see too many folks talk about this score, but I certainly think it’s one of Kamen’s best.

  3. mastadge (Reply) on Friday 29 March, 2013 at 21:59

    I agree with the others. Robin Hood has that magnificent overture, but as a whole this is a much better listen.

  4. James Southall (Reply) on Friday 29 March, 2013 at 22:43

    It’s funny because I never really used to like Robin Hood that much, aside from the overture and love theme – but I’ve been listening to it a lot in the last few weeks and can’t understand why I hadn’t used to love it. I think it’s five-star gold these days…