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Friday, August 18, 2006

CD REVIEW - Tombstone

Music by Bruce Broughton
Intrada MAF 7098 (U.S.)
Disc 1 - 24 Tracks 72:42 mins Disc 2 - 12 Tracks 14:14 mins

This 1993 saga of Wyatt Earp and how he tamed Tombstone was the first of two films made on the subject at that time. Kevin Costner's film Wyatt Earp painted a broader picture, but its release came after Tombstone and it suffered as a result. There's nothing really wrong with Costner's film; it's just that Tombstone was such a thoroughly entertaining film, with a fine cast, all giving their best. At least these films left a fine legacy in terms of their scores, for both Bruce Broughton's, reviewed here, and James Newton Howard's for Wyatt Earp are both modern classics of the western genre.
Perhaps Broughton's score isn't as consistently likeable as that he wrote for the earlier Silverado, which ironically counted Costner amongst its stars, but then the film is a much darker affair and leaves little room for the spirited, adventurous music written for Silverado.
At the time of the film's release, Intrada gave us a perfectly fine soundtrack album, which I shall continue to treasure, but now they have given us an expanded, 2CD version, featuring the complete score on Disc 1 and bonus material on Disc 2.
The extra cues of previously unreleased music on Disc 1 are mostly brief affairs and don't actually add much to what we already had, and completists will no doubt want to have this new version, but don't despair if you can't get hold of a copy, because you have the best of the music already.
Disc 2 is the more interesting because it features four alternate tracks, which show how certain cues went through development. There is also a very welcome edit of the "End Credits," which presents Broughton's powerful main theme isolated from the love theme that surrounds it in the score proper. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this theme, which is just as excellent; it's just nice to be able to put the main theme on separately if one is in the mood for that alone.
This second disc concludes with all the material the composer wrote for the theatre sequence. All the cues are very brief and therefore leave very little to be appreciated, but the "Thespian Overture" and "Piano/Cello Duet" are nice while they last. Broughton apparently very much enjoyed writing for these scenes and so it's good that the music finally gets to see the light of day away from the film.
The album's co-producer and Intrada supreme Douglass Fake provides the notes in the colourful accompanying booklet, with comments from the composer and co-producer himself.


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