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Monday, December 07, 2009


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1109 (US)
33 Tracks 69:13 mins

This limited edition release of 3000 units pairs two very different scores from different time periods by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith. Both scores clock in at under 40 minutes, so La-La Land Records has done us all a big favour by pairing them on one disc, rather than releasing them separately.
By the '90s, Goldsmith was tiring of writing music for serious subjects, often in the sci-fi/fantasy genre and so he and his agent, Richard Kraft set about trying to find more interesting movies to try for. The many varied projects that followed produced arguably some of his weakest work and often disappointed his loyal fans. 1994's I.Q., an inoffensive piece of fluff, starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins and Walter Matthau (as Einstein no less), as so many of his projects of the time, failed to make much impact and, though his score for the film is never likely to be held in such esteem as his more serious works of the '60s, '70s and '80s, it is nevertheless entertaining enough, sporting a recurring solo violin variation on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," a '50s "doo-wop, doo-wop" motif, sung by female vocal group, and some lyrical, romantic string writing. All these elements play nicely off one another. Goldsmith, as was his practice throughout the preceding decade, incorporates electronics within his score, giving the music an ethereal, otherworldly element. Overall, it's a fun ride and well worth having in your Goldsmith collection, if only to demonstrate his versatility.
1966's Seconds, a sci-fi movie starring Rock Hudson is from perhaps the composer's most experimental and interesting period, before he found regular mainstream success in the following decade. His score for the film is a very different beast than the lightweight I.Q. There are no catchy motifs and melodies here. This is music more akin to his work on the much earlier Twilight Zone episodes, Freud and other assignments of the time, like The Illustrated Man and The Mephisto Waltz; challenging, but always compelling. Indeed, fans of his work will notice familiar elements like demonic fiddle playing, inventive string writing, both electric and pipe organs, spare harp playing and even a tender, though lonely, piano love theme - all very reminiscent of the composer's work of the time.
Unfortunately, the only source available for the Seconds score was the film's mono music stems, which means that some tracks contain "dialogue bleed," which fortunately is not too distracting, but unavoidable if the label was to present this much-requested score in its entirety.
Accompanying the disc is the usual splendid booklet, which features Jeff Bond's detailed notes on the films and their scores, accompanied by plenty of stills.
With already only 100 left, if you want one, I should get straight along to and order your copy before it's too late.


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