March 18th, 2007

Goldsmith (film composer)


So, what's your little problem got to do with His Majesty's Royal Air Corps?

Not a damn thing.

(getting excited)
Is it dangerous?

Well, you probably won't live through it.

By Jove, do you really think so?

Well, everybody else we've bumped into has died. Why not you?

It all started fairly innocently. In reviewing quite a bit of my collection of late, I came across a the two rather enjoyable scores for the Mummy features. Neither one is particularly innovative, but they are both effective scores written tongue in cheek and are very entertaining. They are both of a piece; even though the first is by Jerry Goldsmith and the second is by Alan Silvestri, they both use what is essentially the same approach. While much of this may have been director Stephen Sommers no doubt having tracked the sequel with the music from the first film, there is also the fact that Silvestri's language is very similar to Goldsmith's in general (listen to Predator). Both films use a similar palette and have several moments where the score really takes over. However, what really comes through when listening to both in succession is that most of Silvestri's themes are analagous to Goldsmith's (heroic, brassy O'Connell theme, beautiful Egyptian flavored Evy theme, dark choir for Imhotep), but they are written in his own distinct style.

In the case of The Mummy, I think the album is a fairly decently balanced representation of the score. I also had a rip of the complete score from the languages menu of the original DVD, but it was too long and unweildy to make a decent listening experience. I decided to make an expansion of the album for my mp3 player, including some of the cues omitted from the album but not slavishly reproducing everything. The Mummy Returns, however, was a different situation, album-wise. Silvestri had not finished recording the score when the deadline for the album was up, so he had no choice but to dump what he had recorded on the CD. The resulting CD has no shape and trails off rather than have a satisfying ending; the finale of the film hadn't yet been recorded, so the score builds to a climax that the album never gets to. I took the boot I had of the complete score and reshaped the album completely (even trimming some of the tracks that were on the original album), producing a much more satisfying presentation than the CD or the complete score, which is also rather long.

Having done this, I started going through more of the stuff that was on the Nomad and loading it onto Artoo. I was annoyed at how long the list in the "Film and Television Scores" section was, and so I began to subdivide it by composer, with another folder for series and another for miscellaneous for cases when I only have a single score by a particular composer (i.e. Toto's Dune, Toshirô Mayuzumi's The Bible... in the Beginning, etc.). This complete change of the file tree system may make it difficult for anybody who is not me to navigate Artoo's contents, but it has just become a whole hell of a lot easier for me.