To say that composer Jerry Goldsmith was a prolific writer of music for film and TV is an understatement of the greatest degree. In a career that lasted some 50 years the composer was responsible for writing the music for so many motion pictures that can easily fit into the category of the Blockbuster. Jerry Goldsmith was born in the February of 1929 in Los Angeles. At the age of twelve he began to study piano under Jacob Gimpel, for the best part of the 1940’s he continued to study with lessons in composition from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedasco.




Towards the end of the forties Goldsmith attended L/A/ CITY COLLEGE and also whilst there did a years extra study at the University of Southern California. It was whilst studying at U.S.C. that he was tutored by Miklos Rosza in the film music class. In the early part of the 1950’s Goldsmith joined the music department at CBS he was initially an assistant, but soon moved up to become a composer for live radio and TV shows.



It was whilst at CBS that Goldsmith worked on shows such as DR. KILDARE, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, STUDIO ONE, CLIMAX and GUNSMOKE. In 1957 the composer was given his break into scoring motion pictures when he worked on BLACK PATCH. This led to other assignments including LONELY ARE THE BRAVE in 1960. In 1962 the composer received much critical acclaim for his score to the movie FREUD after which he found himself in demand.


The silver age was a busy period for Goldsmith and arguably this was his most innovative and furtive stage of his career, with scores for films such as, THE BLUE MAX, BANDOLERO, LILLIES OF THE FIELD, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, THE SAND PEBBLES, A PATCH OF BLUE, and his much revered score for THE PLANET OF THE APES. The 1970.s was also a fruitful period with the composer writing the soundtracks to THE OMEN, PATTON, PAPILLION. CHINATOWN, THE WIND AND THE LION, ISLANDS IN THE STREAM and DAMIEN OMEN TWO.



With so many wonderful scores to his credit it is somewhat hard to perceive that the composer won just one Oscar which was for his dark and chilling soundtrack for THE OMEN. Goldsmith continued to be in demand throughout the 1980’s and also into the 1990’s working on movies such as HOOSIERS, GREMLINS, SUPERGIRL, UNDER FIRE, TOTAL RECALL, STAR TREK, BAD GIRLS, THE RIVER WILD, MEDICINE MAN, MULAN, SMALL SOLDIERS, GREMLINS 2, AIR FORCE ONE, FIRST KNIGHT, MALICE, BASIC INSTINCT, RAMBO, INNERSPACE, POLTERGEIST, CONGO and so many more. His last scoring assignment was in 2003 when he wrote the music for LOONEY TOONS BACK IN ACTION. He died on July21st 2004 aged seventy five.




Composer Elmer Bernstein is probably one of the most well known composers of film music of the 20th Century. Bernstein was much in demand throughout his career and penned the themes and scores for numerous movies that are now considered classics. Born in New York in 1922, he studied piano at the Juilliard SchooL of music under the guidance of Henriett of a Michelson. He also began to study composition under the tutelage of Roger Sessions, Israel Citkowitz and Stepan Wolpe. During the second world war, Bernstein served in the American Air force and it whilst there he began to do arrangements for the Glenn Miller Band. Working on these arrangements led Bernstein to writing his own music for radio. After the war Bernstein spent a number of years as a concert pianist, but he decided that this was not musical route he wanted to pursue, he was more interested in composing and also was drawn to the idea of writing for film and television. He scored his first motion picture in 1950 which was a film entitled SATURDAY HERO.



This was followed by BOOTS MALONE in 1951 and then in 1952 SUDDEN FEAR. Between 1952 and 1955 the composer worked on fourteen assignments mostly for movies but also these included documentaries. It was in 1955 that Bernstein got his break into the big time when he was asked to provide the score for THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM which was a film directed by esteemed film maker Otto Preminger. This was Bernstein’s landmark score and he received much acclaim and admiration from his peers for the use of jazz within the soundtrack. The composers next assignment would gain him even more recognition.


In 1956 Cecil B De Mille asked Bernstein to write the score for THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, this was a major film score and the composer utilised a large symphony orchestra as well as choir and an array of ethnic instrumentation. After the success of the TEN COMMANDMENTS Bernstein became much in demand and the remainder of the 1950’s proved to be a particularly busy time for the composer. He worked on films such as, THE BUCCANEER, THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, THE TIN STAR, DRANGO, KINGS GO FORTH, GOD’S LITTLE ACRE, MEN IN WAR and provided the TV series JOHNNY STACCATTO with its infectious theme.


As the 1960’s began Bernstein wrote the score for one of cinema’s iconic westerns, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is probably the most well known and recognisable themes for a movie. Bernstein fashioned a theme that was filled with an air of Coplandish flourishes and also composed a score that was overflowing with Americana fused with drama and Latin sounding passages, the result was stunning.


The 1960’s was a buy time for the composer and it was during this period that he wrote so many memorable film scores and penned numerous now classic sounding themes, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE SCALP HUNTERS, THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL, TRUE GRIT, THE SILENCERS, THE CARPETBAGGERS, TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, KINGS OF THE SUN, WHERE’S JACK and many more. During the 1970’s the composer established his own record label, and in the series of releases FILM MUSIC COLLECTION re-recorded many of the classic scores as written by Steiner, Rosza, Herrmann and Waxman.




As well as this he continued to score movies and worked on SEE NO EVIL, THE AMAZING MR BLUNDEN, McQ, GOLD, ZULU DAWN, CAHILL U.S MARSHAL etc. The 1980’s remained busy as did the 1990’s with Bernstein scoring GHOSTBUSTERS, AIRPLANE, THE THREE AMIGOS, HEAVY METAL, THE BLACK CAULDRON, STRIPES, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE BABE, RAGE UP IN HARLEM, LOST IN YONKERS, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and THE WILD WILD WEST. He scored his final movie in 2002 which was FAR FROM HEAVEN, the score earning him an Academy Award Nomination for best original score. Elmer Bernstein passed away on August 24th 2004.





A couple of years back I reviewed a score for a Swedish made movie entitled, BERKEBEINERNE which was a soundtrack filled with so many themes and epic sounding passages, the composer Gaute Storaas fashioned an atmospheric and passionately powerful work which left a lasting impression on me. I am pleased to say tht the composer has returned with another commanding and emotively haunting work for HALVDAN VIKING. It is also a work that is crammed full of rich and vibrant thematic material and also one that is inspiringly entertaining.




This is a truly driving and relentlessly moving score, full symphonic and also strings with harpsichord flourishes, woodwind and laden with a richness and wealth of mesmerising themes and tone poems. The composer makes effective and effecting use of the string section throughout the soundtracks running time and augments and bolsters brass that is it self at times underlined and given support by percussion. This is an appealing and attractive work that harkens back to the days of fully symphonic film music, the composer creating lilting and lingering melodies that invade the listeners mind and stay in their sub-conscious. HALVDAN VIKING will probably not get a theatrical release outside of Sweden, which is a shame because from looking at various scenes and also trailers it looks to be a great adventure movie. At the moment it looks as if the music is only available on digital platforms such as Spotify and I Tunes, but hopefully it will get a compact disc release in the not too distant future. The rich and lush sound created by Storaas is mesmerizing and hypnotic the dramatic and elegant thematic content washing over the listener. This is one that I recommend you check out.