In this third installment of the weekly “Lost in the Shuffle” series, I’ve unearthed gems from five major composers. (About that jewel-encrusted iPod Shuffle, what were they thinking?!)
TAKE A HARD RIDE (1975) – The Big Dive[audio:takeahardride.mp3]
Jerry Goldsmith scored a number of Westerns during his career. With each one he filtered traditional Western harmonies through his unique cinematic sensibilities. I’ve never seen this film, but the score is a lively ride. The track doesn’t feature the memorable main theme, but it captures the energy of Goldsmith’s music. Beginning with a brief synthesizer swell, the snare and timpani give the track a military feel underneath the trumpet call. The sixteenth notes in the strings are a Goldsmith trademark. This score exemplifies this series’ namesake: a forgotten effort by a major composer that deserves more attention.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002) – The Voice of Saruman[audio:twotowers.mp3]
No one would ever accuse the LORD OF THE RINGS films or Howard Shore‘s scores of getting lost in the shuffle. Yet THE TWO TOWERS, like many middle children, suffers from neglect. After the success of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, many Tolkien and film score fans, including myself, were disappointed by the second installment in the trilogy. Upon seeing the film in context of the entire epic, TWO TOWERS stands as tall as its brethren, and the release of the complete recording of the score in 2006 introduced us to a wealth of material that had been missing from the disappointing original CD release. This track features one of the trilogy’s main themes, with Saruman’s (Christopher Lee) lower brass theme belching above an insistent, metallic bass and percussion accompaniment. Due to another ridiculous Academy rule change that year, Shore’s score was deemed ineligible for Oscar consideration due to pre-existing material. Had it been nominated, Shore surely would have completed his Oscar hat-trick.
THE PRINCE OF FOXES (1949) – Onward March[audio:princeoffoxes.mp3]
Alfred Newman composed a lively score for this 16th century drama about the Borgias. I’ve tried to watch the film but have yet to make it through to the end, preferring to hear Newman’s score on Film Score Monthly’s fantastic CD instead. This track displays once again Newman’s gift of melody with his lively main theme in the trumpet and strings for Tyrone Power’s Orsini. PRINCE OF FOXES is not one of Newman’s more well-known scores, but it is the work of a consummate craftsman that deserves better recognition.
INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965) – Abandoned[audio:insidedaisyclover3.mp3]
Readers of this blog already know my predilection for all things Previn, so it should come as no surprise that I was thrilled when FSM released the complete tracks to Andre Previn‘s INSIDE DAISY CLOVER earlier this year. This track begins with a sultry trombone solo over a sinuous tango accompaniment before moving into Daisy’s main theme on saxophone. Previn’s Kurt Weill-like harmonies gives the music a sense of decadence that perfectly plays in 1930’s Hollywood.
THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) – Julie’s House[audio:bigcountry.mp3]
With a main theme that has never been lost in the shuffle, Jerome Moross’ score for THE BIG COUNTRY is a true film score classic. But there is more to the score than that memorable main theme. This track displays Moross’ gift of melody that captures Carroll Baker’s easy-going, yet headstrong, Julie. The strings’ swirling variation of the theme at 1:29 gives a brief glimpse of the energy behind this amazing work.