After the original Magnificent Seven score made such a splash with its blazing themes and terrific action, Elmer Bernstein became the number one choice for Westerns throughout the 60's. It was perhaps inevitable that he would return to the series that helped start him on the road to film music stardom and so here we have his follow up score. The presentation of the sequel is considerably less lavish than the attention levelled at the original release and around half the length. In fairness, there isn't exactly a huge amount of new material compared to the original. The main theme is there, the bad guy motif is the same and many of the more minor motifs have a lot in common with the earlier score. Whether this was imposed on Bernstein or not, I have no idea, but it certainly levels a certain amount of deja vu over proceedings.
Perhaps the biggest bonus of this recording over the release of the original score tracks is that this is presented in stereo, over the mono original. The actual sound quality isn't any better otherwise, there is some hiss, but the detail is good and the sound crisp and dynamic. The only detractor is the inclusion of a few dialogue clips which are a little annoyed on repeated listens, but are short and don't account for much of the running time. Ryko's booklet is detailed and informative and the whole package is well put together. I'd be perhaps a tad harsh in judging this a retread of a classic, but it certainly doesn't present as much new material as might be desirable. However, anyone who loves Bernstein's music will obviously still find much to savour in every moment.