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Friday, October 24, 2008


Not Without My Daughter
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1075 (US)
20 Tracks 63:49 mins

After a highly successful run of scores in the 1970s and 80s, Jerry Goldsmith wound down somewhat as we entered a new decade. Although he was still producing serviceable scores, apart from the odd exception (Basic Instinct), this writer was generally underwhelmed by his output. Such was the case with 1991's controversial Not Without My Daughter, which saw Sally Field portraying a real-life housewife and her daughter's struggle to escape her husband's homeland of Iran when she was tricked into going there, supposedly for a vacation.
Goldsmith's score mixes orchestra (the National Philharmonic) and electronics, as he was still wont to do at that time. The composer took the decision to omit the brass section, allowing the strings to do the major emotional work, with the synthesizer handling the brass elements when required.
Originally released on LP, the original 35-minute playing time is much expanded here to include the complete score, as well as a previously unheard suite of alternate orchestra-only takes, with woodwinds often substituting for the synthesizer, together with three source cues.
The disc opens in brief dramatic fashion in "The Lake," with synths and percussion, before segueing into a warm strings and piano melody, representing the family, and more especially the bond between Field and her daughter, which continues into "Night Stories." The first sign of things going awry are hinted at in "The Promise," though the strings theme is still present. "No Job" starts sunny enough, with yet more variations on the "family" theme, but gradually things deteriorate, leading into "Trapped," where the theme takes a downward, opressed turn. The dramatic music heard at the very opening of the disc returns briefly in "First Break," with some anguished string writing following in "Threats." "School's Out" pits the lyrical theme against the dramatic figure, whilst the second take on "First Break" is a much longer, tense affair, with what is described by Randall D. Larson in the booklet notes as "curving chords (reported to be the mutated sound of a water droplet at extremely low pitch)" adding a menacing element, before a synth-lead action figure carries the track to its conclusion. More tension follows in "Dry Spell," with "The Flag/Back Home" eventually seeing a return to the lyrical "family" theme, initially in triumphant fashion, then in more pastoral mode, after a brief attempt by the dramatic synths and percusiion to intrude.
Revisiting the score after all these years, I find I warm to it more than when I originally heard it, particularly the lyrical melody representing the love between mother and daughter, but the overall tone is still suitably downbeat, and tense, with few moments of action to get the pulse racing.
The CD is accompanied by a colourful eight-page booklet, featuring stills from the film, plus the aforementioned detailed notes by Randall D. Larson. Limited to 3000 copies, you'd best hurry along to to secure your copy.


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