Lukas Kendall and Jeff Bond of Film Score Monthly have produced a rip-roaring
western score for collectors of gritty Cowboy film music. The score decorates
and injects some bruising life into a late 1960s film much influenced by
the spaghetti line. The heroes/anti-heroes are played by Jim Brown, Burt
Reynolds and Raquel Welch whose character, contrary to sun-splashed endings,
dies towards the end of the film.
The score is brutal, intermittently dissonant, wild with the sounds of mariachi,
the central American jungle (Villa-Lobos) and typically Far West Americana.
The prelude rips and roars with the best - such snarlingly incisive brash
horns! This mood returns. Bitterness distinguishes the hunt music when screaming
trumpets calling in pain and relief arrives when the galloping, stirrup-ringing
triumphalism of the prelude returns. Across the Plains, Ready for Ambush
and Ill Go Back ride confidently, high and wide and Herb Alpert trumpets
echo across a hundred mesa-dotted high chaparrals. The final track ends in
an exuberantly confident snorting climax.
Subtler moods are there also. A sinister sourness pervades the music for
the hanging of Saritas father. Marimbas and scraped gourd add to the
poisonous tension. The Church uses marimba, flute and harp. Several times
I was sure Goldsmith must have been listening to recordings of Sibelius
(Luonnotar and The Bard). For the Cliff Fight there are very original howling
flutes. In Burn and Pillage/Retribution there is a startling use of prepared
piano and a touch of Elizabethan dance music! Mystery and threat roll over
much of this music like black clouds over a landscape. This is leavened by
the Aranjuez-evocative guitar and the slow warm seduction of summer evenings.
The recording includes the original surviving mono tracks from the film but
some of these suffer from distortion. The stereo tracks have been mixed from
the original material recorded for the film. They are predictably open. Sadly,
not all of the original material survived. As a consequence you get 16 mono
tracks and only 13 stereo tracks. To these are added two mariachi tracks,
one each in mono and stereo as a reflection of Goldsmiths source music.
The recording is very well presented and superbly documented as you might
expect from Kendall and Bond whose notes grace the sixteen page (English
only) booklet which is mixed in with ten film or location stills. There are
also small repros of the film poster art.
The CD is quite close to maximum playing time and generosity is always worth
praise! All the more so when so many film music discs are very lightly filled!
That said, the music is the important thing and the music is richly embroidered
Editor's Note: This is a limited edition of 3,000 copies. Enquiries
to Film Score Monthly - http://www.filmscoremonthly.com