Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

"Ignorance is a steep hill with perilous rocks at the bottom."

Over the past few weeks, I've received quite a lot of music. Franz Waxman's Anne of the Indies, Pino Donaggio's Hercules, Jerry Goldsmith's The Burbs, Elmer Bernstein's Cannon for Cordoba/From Noon Till Three, Bruce Broughton's The Master of Ballantrae, Bill Conti's F/X and the Don Ellis/Johnny Mandel twofer (threefer) of The Seven Ups and The Verdict. Quite an impressive lineup... except for Master of Ballantrae (which I just listened to on the way to work this morning) I had been so wrapped up in my Bruce Broughton western compilation that I haven't listened to any of them yet.


However, Intrada's new edition of The Wind and the Lion was an exception. I received it only two days after I ordered it, I played it immediately. As impressive as all those other scores may be, The Wind and the Lion is one of Jerry Goldsmith's very best, which puts it in the running for one of the best scores ever recorded.

Being a film music collector is a strange thing. Unlike fans of other types of music, a score fan can be very much aware of the music that isn't available because it can be heard in the film. I had been pretty satisfied with the LP version of The Wind and the Lion up until now mostly because I steered clear of the movie in order to keep myself from hearing additional music that would, to the best of my knowledge, never have a chance of being released. It didn't hurt that while I found the film diverting, it was stock full of John Milius' macho bullshit. There is no denying that this is a high water mark of film scoring, though, and I had the old Intrada disc for years, and recently tracked down a copy of the LP which sounded marginally better.

I was a little wary of the placement of the original LP configuration on the second disc, as the album was not a re-recording and there was minimal editing. As I expressed to lehah when during the announcement, I felt that it was just a matter of filling up space on the second disc and that a few bonus tracks would probably have been sufficient. But as soon as I popped in the first disc, I heard what was an unmistakably different take of the main title*... and there are many cues that have different mixes between the film and album tracks. On top of that, while both versions sound better than any previous edition of the score, the sound quality of the album masters appears to have been marginally better than that of the complete score. I am therefore pleased to have a better sounding version of one of my favorite albums.

But oh, that complete score! The additional material and chronological ordering adds a sense of scope to the score that the original album, as impressive as it was, never managed to convey as well. The main theme is a lot more versatile than the LP would have you believe. This score runs over an hour, and there are no dull parts. At all (even the slow parts end up going somewhere cool).


* One of the most memorable audiophile experiences of my life was first hearing this piece performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 5.1 on the Super Audio CD of The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith.
Tags: bill conti, bruce broughton, elmer bernstein, film music, franz waxman, jerry goldsmith
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