Jerry Goldsmith: 40 Years of Film Music

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Silva Screen
RRP: £17.99
SILCD 1183
Available 27 June 2005

Following the untimely demise of Jerry Goldsmith in 2004, it's high time that somebody released a compilation album of his works as a tribute to the talents of this solely missed composer. Well done Silva Screen for doing just that...

This four-disc collection reveals just how versatile Goldsmith was. OK, so he may have repeated himself here and there (for instance, recycling his Klingon theme whenever given half a chance) but just consider his range. Can't get John Barry to score your movie? No problem, Goldsmith can do John Barry just as well as John Barry can - as he did in The Russia House and Medicine Man (both on disc 3). Can't get a hold of Danny Elfman? Worry not, Goldsmith was doing Danny Elfman-style music before Danny Elfman even cornered the market for it - see Gremlins (disc 3) and The Twilight Zone: The Movie (discs 1 and 3). Goldsmith wasn't a jack of all trades or a master of one. He was a master of several different styles and sub-genres.

The title of this album is a bit of a misnomer, since he composed music for television as well as film, including the famous themes for Dr Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (both disc 1), The Waltons (discs 1 and 2) and Star Trek: Voyager (disc 4).

What makes this an even more eclectic mixture is that, although a large proportion of the music is performed by Silva Screen's favoured orchestra, the City of Prague Philharmonic, and conducted by Nic Raine or James Fitzpatrick, several tracks are conducted by Goldsmith himself, working with the Philharmonia Orchestra or the National Philharmonic.

However, this doesn't mean that the Goldsmith-conducted tracks necessarily sound any more like the original screen renditions than Raine or Fitzpatrick's efforts. Indeed, Goldsmith's orchestrated version of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. theme, which forms part of his television medley on disc 1, lacks the funky style of the television version. Fortunately, his theme to Police Story (disc 2) more than compensates in terms of groove.

The presence of two medleys, one for television themes and one for films, on disc 1 means that certain tunes - Papillon, Poltergeist, The Waltons and The Wind and the Lion - are repeated. This begs the question: why repeat these themes, when movies such as Planet of the Apes, Hollow Man and the fifth, eighth and ninth Star Trek films are omitted? Fortunately, Goldsmith's classic themes for The Omen, Capricorn One, Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (all on disc 2), Total Recall (disc 3) and The Mummy (disc 4) are all present and correct.

If you already own any of Silva Screen's previous compilations, you may well already have some of the tracks on this one. The Star Trek material (including the Voyager title track, which is rather brutally murdered by some off-key brass) previously appeared on The Star Trek Album, while the main theme to Poltergeist is also part of the recent Music from the Films of Steven Spielberg collection.

However, whichever way you look at it (or rather, listen to it), with more than four hours of great music on offer, this compilation is worth every penny.

Richard McGinlay

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