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Album Review

Film composer Jerry Goldsmith conducted Britain's Philharmonia Orchestra in a concert of his music at the Barbican Centre in London on March 10, 1987, and on the following day went into a studio and recorded a version of the show with the orchestra. It is an interesting redaction of the work of this prolific writer, seemingly designed to defeat some of the critical notions about him. Basically, the rap on Goldsmith is that, emerging in the dying days of the studio system, he was a composer of highly functional music who swept away the influences of European classical music from Hollywood in favor of a versatile, eclectic approach to scoring that served the images without calling attention to itself and without having the stamp of an individual voice. As such, Goldsmith wouldn't seem like the kind of composer who would have an evening of music devoted to him, unless there was a big screen hanging over the stage. But from the beginning, this album contradicts such an idea, and it's probably no accident that it does so by starting with a five-part suite from The Blue Max, an uncharacteristically ambitious score that was drastically cut in the finished film. Elsewhere, there are suites of television themes and movie themes that are nearly unrecognizable from their sources and a few other major efforts, notably the TV miniseries Masada and "The Generals Suite," drawn from MacArthur and Patton. This is a highly selective assembly that, for example, ignores Goldsmith's sole Oscar winner, The Omen, but it makes the point that, somewhere in his vast catalog, there are powerful individual statements not entirely enslaved to film images. The 2002 reissue of the album adds to this point by including as a bonus track part of Goldsmith's rejected score for the 1985 film Legend.


Born: February 10, 1929 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

For over four decades, Jerry Goldsmith ranked among the film and television industry's most highly-regarded and prolific composers; at the peak of his activity during the 1960s, he was estimated to have scored an average of about six films annually. Born in Los Angeles on February 10, 1929, Goldsmith studied music at the University of South Carolina, and after accepting a job as an office clerk at CBS television later graduated to the network's music department in 1950. There he composed themes for...
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