Originally released on LP by Dot records back in 1968, I have always thought that this was a particularly interesting work by Greek composer Hadjidakis. The movie, which starred Karl Malden and Terence Stamp, was made very much in the style of The Magnificent Seven and also contained traces of the Spaghetti western genre. Hadjidakis is probably best known for his scores to Never On A Sunday and Topkapi which both enjoyed success at the cinema during the 1960s. He also composed a rousing score for 300 Spartans.(still the best version of this Historical tale).
Blue contains a particularly haunting central theme which is first heard in the opening cue, ‘The River’, and is reprised throughout the work in cues such as ‘Nocturne’, ‘Scherzo’ and ‘Blue And Joanne Near The River’. As well as the lighter interludes, the score also contains an equal amount of action and dramatic moments, as in the infectious and nerve jangling ‘The Mexicans In The Village’ and the driving and intense sounding ‘Preparation Of The Villagers’. Hadjidakis utilises the guitar solos of Laurindo Almeida to great effect and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra play their hearts out. I also think that the composers use of cimbalom on some of the cues is particularly effective. In fact the orchestration or instrumentation on the score is highly original throughout and the composer realizes great dramatic and romantic heights by combining instruments that are not ordinarily used on the scores for westerns.
The CD is packaged lavishly with extensive notes on the film, the composer and the score. It also has letters and quotes from the composer that he wrote whilst staying in The United States working on the score. There is also a full filmography for Hadjidakis and a number of stills from the movie and photographs taken at the recording sessions, with Hadjidakis conducting the orchestra. This release has only been issued in Greece on compact disc but is also available on I tunes as a download, it is a score that is certainly worth adding to the collection, and if the actual disc is elusive then please do not be put of by it being a download, either way you have to seek out this score and savour its unusual but effective and stunning musical content. It is worth seeking out.