Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Riding as One

If there is a theme that Bruce Broughton created that has entered into American pop culture, it is his 'as Western as you can possibly get' signature tune for Silverado, Lawrence Kasdan's throwback to the pre-Peckinphah, pre-Leone form of the genre. Often played at concerts and sporting events, it has taken its place among the great genre themes, such as Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven, Jerome Moross' The Big Country and Alfred Newman's How the West Was Won, as expansive and exciting as any one of them. Broughton was a large part of the film's success in revitalizing a moribund genre (which is certainly did, albeit on home video rather than in theaters). While Roughing It shares this with this score a sense of unadulterated exhuberance, Tombstone takes other elements as its point of departure, not least of which is the thundering, modernistic action writing (showcased in Silverado in "The McKendrick Ranch" and heard in Tombstone in "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "Reckoning." There are several more introspective parts of all of these scores, which gave me a context for True Women, which is primarily dramatic, although it has some Americana elements to it. I combined all of these elements to create a portrait of the genre, with its wide open spaces, stoic characters and sudden violence as guided by Broughton.

The Western Film Scores of

28 Tracks (81:31)

  1. PROLOGUE (Tombstone) 0:59
  2. EMMET’S TREK (Silverado) 3:11
  3. ARRIVAL IN TOMBSTONE (Tombstone) 2:09
  4. SETTING OUT (True Women) 2:25
  5. THE ADVENTURE BEGINS (Roughing It) 1:31
  6. THE STRONGBOX RESCUE (Silverado) 1:48
  7. CAMPFIRE CONCERNS (True Women) 2:55
  8. FORTUITOUS ENCOUNTER (Tombstone) 5:10
  9. MAMA’S HOPES (Roughing It) 2:40
  10. THE GETAWAY; RIDING AS ONE (Silverado) 4:18
  11. GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (Tombstone) 4:08
  12. GEORGIA’S DEATH (True Women) 3:03
  13. DEN OF THIEVES (Silverado) 1:03
  14. MORGAN’S DEATH (Tombstone) 2:15
  15. THE BARN FIRE (True Women) 1:54
  16. THIS OUGHTA DO (Silverado) 1:53
  17. DOC DIES (Tombstone) 2:44
  18. ON TO SILVERADO (Silverado) 6:00
  19. INDIAN MAIL DROP (Roughing It) 2:01
  20. FAMILY CHRISTMAS (True Women) 1:30
  21. THE McKENDRICK RANCH (Silverado) 5:18
  22. BANDITS! (Roughing It) 1:49
  23. RECKONING (Tombstone) 6:26
  24. SO ACCUSTOMED TO GRIEF (True Women) 2:18
  25. THE LOUISE STORY (Roughing It) 3:05
  26. WE’LL BE BACK (Silverado) 2:51
  27. LOOKING AT HEAVEN (Tombstone) 4:49
  28. CODA (Silverado) 1:04

Music Composed and Conducted by

Except TOMBSTONE Conducted by David Snell

Orchestrated by Chris Boardman and Don Nemitz

Orchestrated by Don Nemitz

Orchestrated by Bruce Broughton

Engineered by Armin Steiner at 20th Century Fox Studios, Los Angeles

Performed by the Sinfonia of London
Engineered by Mike Ross at Whitfield Recording Studios, London

Much of the enjoyment to be had from these scores is their precision, in terms of both performance and sonics. This spirited music is played beautifully, with the clean engineering of Armin Steiner and Mike Ross allowing every last detail of the orchestration to be heard. Three of the four scores are performed by the Sinfonia of London, an orchestra that Broughton has recorded several scores with (including Young Sherlock Holmes and Lost in Space, as well as Miklós Rózsa's music for Ivanhoe and Julius Caesar and Bernard Herrmann's Jason and the Argonauts for Intrada's Excalibur collection. Intrada's audiophile mastering of these discs all happily avoid any dynamic compression (which I find bloats the music in making it sound louder); in fact, this was one of the first mixes I've made in a while that hasn't required me to adjust audio levels to get them to be even (Roughing It is slightly louder than the other titles, but nothing worth trying to 'correct'). I will go on record saying that this is one of the most consistently excellent sounding of all the mixes I've made.

My initial idea was to open the disc with the main Tombstone theme. I was forced to abandon this when I found that if I did so, the album would have no place to go; instead that theme appears towards the end and is built up to as it is in the score iteself. the zinger at the beginning is the Silverado main theme, as it was always supposed to be, in this case emerging from the period opening of Tombstone. This allows the album to open emphasizing how Broughton used a traditional approach to the genre; this lasts through "Arrival in Tombstone," which essays that main theme in a manner consistent with that sound (for now), introduced by the Earp family theme which will be heard more fully later. Once I settled upon opening with the Silverado theme, I found I had another problem in that there is no version of it in the score that has a clean opening save variations that require a familiarity with the theme in the first place to fully appreciate... such versions needed to appear later on the album, once the theme had been established.

The solution was to take the period "Prologue" from Tombstone to - as it is meant to in the film - anchor the preceedings in a historical context before letting the myth take over. While this leads to the thunderous "The Cowboys" (or "Main Title" on the two disc set), instead I bring in the first strains of the Silverado main title, which I renamed the slightly more descriptive "Emmet's Trek." The Silverado theme also closes off the album; ironically, while the two disc set of Silverado was the first appearance of "The Strongbox Rescue" outside of the film, part of it was included in the end title (and, by extension, Broughton's popular concert arrangment "Themes from Silverado"), which has existed on all previous album versions, but I cut that section of the end title in order to slot in a segment of "Looking at Heaven" from Tombstone. The closing "Coda," heralded by the fanfare that accompanies the four heroes as they prepare to lay siege to Silverado brings us to the triumphant and optimistic conclusion of the Silverado main theme.

In many cases, if there were multiple titles for a cue between the different issues, I reverted back to the original form ("Fortuitous Encounter" instead of the clumsier "Fortuitous Encounter; Wyatt and Josephine"), and "Prelude to a Battle" has gone back to being the more appropriate "This Oughta Do" (which was a track that I only managed to find a place for towards the very end of the project). Similarly "The Getaway; Riding as One" is the same edit as heard on the original Intrada CD, albeit sourced from the new issue. I did create a few suites; "The McKendrick Ranch" is an abbreviation of the music for the rescue of Augie in Silverado, while "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" is made up of several cues leading up to and following the legendary event, as well as the thunderous music for the battle itself. "Street Standoff," "The O.K. Corral" and "Aftermath" ("Opium Den; Law Dog; You Got a Fight Comin'," "The Antichrist; Gathering For a Fight; Walking to the Corral; O.K. Corral Gunfight" and "Aftermath" on the new set). The title comes from the name of the 1957 feature that Tombstone references from time to time; it also is, unfortunately, the only place on the album I could fit the relentless theme for the Cowboys (though an edit of the film's opening cue is being saved for inclusion on a DVD menu track). "Reckoning" represents Wyatt and Doc's vendetta against the Cowboys, consisting of "Hell's Comin'; Wyatt's Revenge" and "You're No Daisy; Finishing It," which brings the album to a thunderous action climax.

In general I attempt to structure an album so that it makes its own musical sense. One of the things I like to do is give an album "phases," so that you have a string of a few tracks that, while from different projects, have some manner of similarity to them. I find doing so allows the music to be heard more on its own merits rather than as something out of context without the film. This approach ended up being completely necessary here, as otherwise the tonal shifts from one score to the next would be extremely jarring; as I wrote earlier, I had trouble fitting music from the whimsical Roughing It next to the serious and often harmonically furious action music from Silverado or Tombstone, and True Women ostensibly sounds more like a costume drama than a Western. I found myself emphasizing some very specific material from True Women, its soaring melodies and intimate moments serve as a contrast to the more action oriented sounds of the other three scores. While True Women did indeed provide much of the heart for this compilation, the most intimate track on the album is from Tombstone, "Doc Dies" - likewise the most harmonically ferocious music is heard in "This Oughta Do," which is from the generally more optimistic Silverado.

I found the resulting disc not only to be very well balanced, but great listen; Broughton's gift for melody makes for a plethora of attractive themes, some of which you can't help but walk away humming.
Tags: americana, bruce broughton, film music, mix workshop, my mixes
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