Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



EDITOR'S RECOMMENDATION- - Retrospective July/Aug 1998


Jerry GOLDSMITH Legend (1985) OST Jerry Goldsmith conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra SILVA SCREEN FILMCD045  


Earlier this year I chatted to a trombone player with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra about film music and he rated Jerry Goldsmith as the best. "His versatility is prodigious," he remarked. How very true. His music for Ridley Scott's beautifully realised fairy tale about the battle between dark and light, good and evil is generally considered to be amongst his very finest scores. It is sheer magic. The National Philharmonic Orchestra's credentials need no questioning (they made all the Classic Film Scores recordings under the baton of Charles Gerhardt for RCA) and their performance here is first class This CD was made up from the original sessions tapes that were mercifully kept by the recording engineer, Mike Ross-Trevor.

Goldsmith creates a wondrous fairy landscape for us (recalling, appropriately, Bax in places) that is impressionistic, romantic and gossamer delicate; you can sense the sultry summer atmosphere, flight of insects and birdcalls etc. This mood is punctuated by the rude - almost flatulent staccato electronic figures buzzing around maddeningly, threateningly. They represent the wicked Goblins servants to the Dark Lord and it is they who bring down the Unicorns and precipitate the icy grip of winter and darkness. Dark threatening music of considerable force and power using conventional instruments, with angry brass and especially inventive use of the tuba, plus restrained use of screaming-ringing electronics and cunningly effective wordless choruses epitomise the barren landscape and the Dark Lord's evil machinations. Goldsmith gives Princess Lili a beautiful, memorable song "My True Love's Eyes" and its lyrical theme is the subject of significant development throughout the score.

The fairy song is another considerable melodic invention. In "The Faeries" and "Faerie Dance" cues Goldsmith is at his most imaginative evoking the little people moving with grace and with quicksilver speed; and Bernard Herrmann The Devil and Daniel Webster-type fiddle figures remind us that the faeries are to be feared and held in awe as well as admired - in fact the original screenplay had the hero Jack (played by Tom Cruise in an early role) dance faster and faster at the fairies' behest so that his very life was threatened (shades of Bax's In The Faery Hills). Noble, heroic music assigned to French horns for Jack's valour. A hugely enjoyable romantic wallow. This is one of my favourite scores. It seems incredible that for its American release the producers wanted to ditch this lovely music for a mor pop-orientated score

Ian Lace

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