September 18th, 2006

Goldsmith (film composer)


This weatherman certainly doesn't like his little friends! (work safe). I was actually attempting to sign up with YouTube to try linking to it, but their add blog screen just freezes and refuses to update. So it's just a link for now.

I felt a bit guilty for having ordered Inchon when it subsequently sold out within a matter of hours (!) as I bought it on sort of a whim; I'd heard of the score often but never got around to picking it up. I had no idea that it would disappear so quickly. However, now that I have the disc I have to admit that I am rather glad that I did grab this one, even though I am somewhat embarrassed that there are people out there who are now being bilked by various retailers and eBay-ers. I really liked the inclusion of the original LP edition of the score; it has a very different feel from the complete score. Apparently this the original Intrada edition was yet another version of it, resequenced more for listening than this new disc, but I like the expanded score.

While I admit that it is perhaps one of Goldsmith's lesser scores of that year, it was still 1981, and that crop included Raggedy Man, Outland, Masada (parts one and two), The Final Conflict, Night Crossing and The Salamander. This is when he was still at the top of his game (the next year would be a banner year for him with Poltergeist, The Secret of N.I.M.H., The Challenge and First Blood as well) and Inchon has some action setpieces that are as good as any in his body of work. So my guilt is tempered by my discovery of a new Goldsmith score. It may not be one of his masterpieces, but decent Goldsmith is still better than most peoples' best.
Kambei (The Seven Samurai)


While I respect Philip Glass' work, I tend to find his film scores rather cold and uninvolving for myself. While this may work for the film - I liked his score for Candyman and his work on Secret Window for exactly that reason, for example - it means that on the whole, I'll be less likely to respond to his dramatic film scores as opposed to his work on documentaries, of which I tend to find a better fit to his talents.

This is not because of his use of minimalism as his primary idiom; I enjoy the scores of Michael Nyman very much, and one could say that Bernard Herrmann was a pioneer of the form with such moments as the "Radar" cue in The Day the Earth Stood Still. This is a similar situation to how I view Leonard Rosenman; I understand his work, I laud his use of a more modern symphonic vocabulary, but I don't particularly like it... it doesn't make me feel. This has nothing to do with the tonality of the music itself, as Alex North's scores are just as modern and challenging, and often even more harmonically complex than Rosenman's, but I tend to connect with North's work, finding that within all of his work's intellectual demands that the score nevertheless manages to present is a sense of warmth.

However, as I mentioned in my comments about The Illusionist, Glass' contribution to that film had the opposite effect that his music usually does in a dramatic film; rather than distancing me, it drew me in further, adding an important human dimension to the story and characters. It was worked brilliantly to my taste, and so I was quite interested in hearing the album.

When the music is brought to the forefront, it shows much more in common with Glass' usual work, though not to any disadvantage. His creates a lush presence with the orchestra, and the tonal cels he builds the passages out of are very emotive. Interestingly, the score comes across as more atmospheric on record than on film.
Gurney (Dune)


After all the speculation and pooh-poohing, it turned out to be Saturn 3 after all. Looks like they really put a lot of effort into it, too.

At least I don't have to worry about Inchon guilt on this one. Here's one there was no question I'd be interested in. I love it when Elmer Bernstein really cuts loose in a score. This will be in a similar vein as Spacehunter and Heavy Metal (in fact, the Taarna theme from Heavy Metal was originally penned for this score).

I saw this movie once, when I was, like, seven or something on television. I remember thinking it was pretty lame at the time.

It looks like the whole Inchon debacle is going to be another one of those indelible black moments in film music collecting history, similar to the infamous $2500 sale of Cherry 2000 back in the day. And while I could care less about what happens to Buysoundtrax, I think it's annoying that a straight shooter like Doug Fake should be in the middle of it. He made what seemed to be a reasonable business decision (the previous edition had been only 1500 copies and stayed in their active cataloge for seven years) and inadvertently created a vicious feeding frenzy. After seeing what Buysoundtrax did (I'm sorry, there's no way that isn't taking advantage of the collectors, damn it, especially right after all the other copies disappeared), I wish that he had gone with the repressing, just to make them look like the dicks they are. Ah, well.