At last WILD GEESE 2, has been issued on to compact disc, not only is this a fantastic action score, but it is issued on a label that I have much admiration for, CALDERA. It is presented so well with in depth notes courtesy of the informed writer Gergely Hubai, art work by Luis Miguel Rojas and some great pics to, it also includes pictures of excerpts from the handwritten score and a detailed biography of the composer, the CD has a lovely audio clip with Sylvia Budd talking as-well, plus a nice picture of the composer on the front cover sitting at the piano as always smiling in a way that only he could. The productions values on the release are amazing, the sound is so clear and full, so crisp and fresh, another big pat on the back for CALDERA and another thank you for bringing us this wonderful score. WILD GEESE 2 was a sequel of sorts to WILD GEESE which had been released in 1978. The original movie which starred Richard Burton and Richard Harris along with Roger Moore and a cast of familiar actors also giving support was a success at cinemas so the second movie was planned and was written with actor Burton returning as the Faulkner character he had portrayed in the previous picture, but sadly he passed away before filming started and sections of the screenplay had to be re-written.
Directed by Peter Hunt, the storyline of the movie focuses upon and around top-level Nazi Rudolph Hess portrayed by Laurence Olivier who has important information on prominent political figures. Ruthless TV executives Michael and Kathy Lukas played by John Terry and Barbara Carrera, want to get him out of his prison cell to appear on a live television broadcast. Faulkner played by Edward Fox declines their offer to lead a mission to break Hess free, but recommends Lebanese/American turned mercenary Haddad (Scott Glenn) as a substitute who takes on the mission, which very quickly turns into a nightmare for everyone involved. The film also featured performances by Stratford Johns, Ingrid Pitt and Patrick Stewart
As soon as the opening track on the soundtrack begins it is so obvious that this is the music of Roy Budd, his unmistakable rousing style for pictures such as this shining through straight away, and establishing immediately a tense but stalwart sounding atmosphere. The composer even includes a little snippet of the original WILD GEESE theme, to further grab our attention, and although this is just literally a micro second it is instantly recognisable. WILD GEESE 2, is in my opinion one of the composers most accomplished action scores, it is brimming with highly dramatic music and has about it a rousing and patriotic sound which every so often raises its head. There is an anthem like central theme that is the foundation on which the composer builds the remainder of the score, it is a relentless and full on work that is performed magnificently by The London Symphony orchestra, conducted by Roy.
WILD GEESE, was and still is a Roy Budd signature work, along with other scores such as SOLDIER BLUE and GET CARTER, simply because it is a score that has so many themes and brilliantly fashioned musical passages, WILD GEESE 2, is more of a contemporary sounding work which not only is memorable for its use of tense and exciting cues, but also for its more up-beat and funky sounding tracks that are cleverly woven into the fabric of the fully orchestral score.
I think if I was asked to describe the sound achieved by the composer on WILD GEESE 2, I would probably liken it to his score for WILD GEESE plus it has attributes and quirks of orchestration that can be heard within WHO DARES WINS or THE FINAL OPTION as it was entitled in certain territories. Plus, there are nods of acknowledgement to composers such as John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Jerry Fielding, who Roy admired and respected. With that funky sound the composer employed in some of his other film scores, such as FOXBAT, THE CAREY TREATMENT etc, becoming a driving force within the work. The composer keeps up the musical momentum throughout never taking his eye off the ball and creates a score that is just exhilaratingly uplifting and enthralling. The composers use of a funky but apprehensive sound is more evident in track number 4, MOVING ROUND SPANDAU, which has a somewhat easy-going background to begin with, performed on percussion with electric bass punctuating proceedings, this soon develops into something much grander and continues to build and gain momentum, with some truly wonderful brass flourishes acting as musical stabs or mini fanfares of sorts giving the cue greater effect both within the movie and away from it.
Like all Roy Budd soundtracks WILD GEESE 2, has a life of its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and I must say it is a truly invigorating and rewarding listen. This is a score that is grandiose in the main, but also has some beautifully written quieter moments as in track number, 6, THE ROMANCE BEGINS, which is a delightfully haunting piece that begins with solo piano, which I am guessing must be Roy, this is then joined by light and airy strings which take on the 7, note melody that was initiated by the piano.
Budd was a gifted pianist as well as a composer as we all are aware, and he was a master at creating what some would call sugary sounding love themes, but I like to refer to these as melodic and memorable tone poems. There is also a vocal version of this cue which Caldera have included at the end of the album, performed by German singer Peter Hoffman, it is too an enjoyable listen. The soundtrack was originally released on a CBS long playing record back in 1985 (CBS 26462), and CALDERA RECORDS compact disc release is the same track line up. The reason for this being that CALDERA wanted to use the composers own master tapes but sadly these had been damaged in a flood and were un-useable, so they contacted Sony music to see if they had any tapes available of the score, fortunately they did but only the LP masters, so it means that the complete score won’t be issued, unless of course someone has copies of the masters safe and sound somewhere, so this means that the music released both on the LP and now the CD is approximately 10 minutes short of being the complete score, but with music of this high quality I am sure we as collectors will not mind at all, as any Roy Budd release is always welcome.
WILD GEESE 2, is probably one of the composers most infectious soundtracks from the 1980, s, as I for one have not stopped listening to it, and every time I take a listen I find more and more inventive writing, more original musicality and even more ingenious orchestration and arranging skills plus a masterful use of a handful of synthetic instrumentation that is skilfully fused with the conventional line up of the LSO. I don’t think any other composer at the time or indeed in recent years has been able to fuse so many styles and sounds together as Roy Budd has and make them work so well. It has a sumptuous and opulent sound to it, as well as a dramatic and intense style, it is filled with musical colours and textures that evoke memories of an age that is long gone within the area of scoring films, it has wonderful themes, it has emotion and it has that funky groove which keeps things moving along at pace and it has the unmistakable musical fingerprint of Roy Budd all over it. This is CALDERA RECORDS 22nd release, and is an important one because it fills a gap within Roy Budd’s discography, and is a fitting tribute to this kind, friendly man who just happened to be able to write some of the best film music ever. One to add to your collection ASAP.
1. Main Title (4:35)
2. Cat and Mouse in Berlin (3:35)
3. Solitary Confinement (3:46)
4. Moving Around Spandau (3:16)
5. The Wall (1:50)
6. The Romance Begins (2:36)
7. Plot and Deceit (2:22)
8. Attempt to Free Hess (8:31)
9. Escape (1:37)
10. End Titles (2:46)
11. Say You’ll Be Mine (4:45)
Performed by Peter Hoffmann
12. Audio Commentary by Sylvia Budd