Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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In a recent post, I commented about how the two versions of Capricorn One seem to belong to separate stages in the composer's career. The film score is definitely Goldsmith in his 70s mode, with a rough, jagged sounds generated by an unusual orchestral combination, while the album is a more lush symphonic sound and utilizes a standard orchestra... as were most of his scores in the 80s. They are both muscular, but achieve that goal in different ways. Rarely is the demarcation (in a stylistic, not technically chronological sense) in a composers' overall sound so clearly delineated* as a good chunk of the music is, if not the same, very similar.

That fuller, more Romantic sound that characterizes the Capricorn One album is the sound that I, growing up in the 80s, tended to associate with Goldsmith. There were a few notable exceptions (and many that I was not aware of until later), but for the most part Goldsmith's scoring in the 80s tended to use that palette, though electronics replaced his trademark acoustic experimentation (and, in my opinion, often overwhelmed a score in a way that the way out sounds of his earlier scores didn't). Many of Goldsmith's scores that caused me to become interested in film music were of this era (though I do not consider one of the more important ones in that respect - Star Trek: The Motion Picture - to be of this latter era).

Nowadays, however, I tend to find that earlier section of his career much more interesting. I still enjoy his latter day scores, but also that pricklier, nastier sound that characterizes Planet of the Apes or The Illustrated Man or First Blood or Alien. While the more consonant sound that characterized his work in the 80s can often be more comfortable (something Goldsmith himself was clearly aware of because he uses it to his advantage as early as Poltergeist), it isn't the most satisfying.

The funny thing is that once I became a bit more cinemusically aware, my first reaction to most of those earlier Goldsmith scores was actually pretty negative. I didn't like how they would sometimes get harmonically dirty, though I was often intrigued by the soundscapes. It took me a bit of time to warm up to more modern music styles, but once I did, I began to view these scores quite differently. While I do listen for pleasure, I often enjoy tackling something challenging, and something like The Omen or The Swarm (I love that orchestral 'buzzing'). Maybe one day we'll get Seconds...

* - An analog could be considered with respect to the Star Trek march, but it should be remembered that most of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture cues were actually conducted by Lionel Newman while Goldsmith worked mostly from the booth to balance the electronics. The vast differences between the sound of the original arrangement and the one introduced in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - and used with minor variation in all of Goldsmith's subsequent Star Trek scores - may also be attributable to the differences in conducting style. One could also point at the different sound of "It's a Long Road" between First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Tags: cinema, film music, jerry goldsmith

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