Tag Archives: Jerry Goldsmith


Originally released in 2002, SUM OF ALL FEARS is a contemporary film score classic that was penned by the great Jerry Goldsmith,the composer seamlessly fusing symphonic with electronic and as always creating something that is highly entertaining, edgy and exciting. Although an action led score it still remains listenable away from the movie and is a prime example of the work Goldsmith was doing during this period of his career. This edition on La La Land records is an expanded version of the original compact disc release which was on Elektra records and includes a number of cues that were up until now unreleased,it also includes over ten minutes of bonus material and three songs which were utilised within the movie and overall has an extra 30 minutes of music. Nicely presented as always by La La Land records and includes informative notes by Jeff Bond who also give us a track by track description of the score. Even if you already have the original release this is certainly worth adding to your collection.


la la land records. LLLCD1295.


the-blue-max-2The Blue Max brings back quite a few memories for me, it was the first time I was introduced to the stunning beauty of Ursula Andress and also it was the first time that I heard Jerry Goldsmith’s sweeping and dramatic soundtrack, it was also one of the first import long playing records that I purchased, which was around four years after I first went to see the movie. I think I was about eleven years old when I first saw the picture and then at fifteen managed to get the music on a mainstream recording that boasted that eye catching and colourful art work and all for the Princely sum of £3.15p including postage (thank you Michael Jones). The score remains one of my favourite Goldsmith works to this day and this latest edition of the score on a two CD set is breathtaking. LA LA LAND records should be given a great big pat on the back for bringing us the complete score from this now classic WW1 movie. Goldsmith’s vibrant, melodic and wistful sounding music is timeless and is still as moving and stirring as it was when he first composed it over forty years ago. The compact disc set is split into THE INTENDED FINAL SCORE which is represented on disc number one by twenty five cues, these are in the correct running order of how they appeared in the movie, and the sound quality is wonderful. The second disc contains twenty eight cues; these are in sections of one to fifteen THE 1966 SOUNDTRACK ALBUM, Tracks sixteen through to twenty two ADDITIONAL SOURCE MUSIC and tracks twenty three to twenty eight are categorized as ADDITIONAL MUSIC, so this is most certainly the most complete edition of the score ever produced. CD one opens with Goldsmith’s soaring central theme from the score and the Main Title theme from the movie. The picture opens with the central character Bruno Stachel played by George Peppard lying in the muddy and blood filled trenches of a battlefield, the infantry man is scrambling around in the in the gruesome conditions dodging bullets and trying to avoid explosions, he rests and hears in the distance the sound of an engine, he looks to the sky and sees a German bi-plane The music begins in a quite subdued fashion the composer utilizing flutes at first to usher in the cue, he adds to this a fragile brass punctuation that supports the flutes  and this then grows into a more pronounced brass motif strings then enter the composition in a romantic and majestic style, with percussion enhancing and embellishing the performance, the strings soar and are augmented by brass fanfares which lead to the cues stirring and resounding crescendo. Track number two, THE NEW ARRIVAL, is heard as Stachel is driven through war tired soldiers who are a pitiful sight Goldsmith’s music perfectly underlines the scene and also conjures up the weariness and desperation of troops who tired, hungry and demoralized. This edition of the soundtrack contains tracks that were not used in the film and also tracks that have not appeared on any of the many releases of the score.

Track number five, THE FIRST VICTORY is an anthem like arrangement of the central BLUEMAX theme, Goldsmith’s soaring strings are supported and carried along by a brass fanfare that repeats itself and underlines the proud and patriotic atmosphere that the composer creates with his sweeping string arrangement. The music is heard after Peppard’s character shoots down his first enemy plane. Track six THE CAPTIVE is a fairly brief but effective piece, Stachel intends to bring in a British aircraft, to his airfield without downing it, the gunner is unconscious (assumed dead by Stachel) and the British pilot decides to allow himself be taken prisoner rather than be killed. Goldsmith’s music is again sweeping and almost joyous as the British plane is accompanied by Stachel, but the mood of the music changes to reflect the scenario on screen, the gunner regains consciousness and attempts to fire at Stachel which forces the young German to shoot the British plane down.  THE BLUE MAX is as I have already stated a classic Goldsmith score, but with this edition it becomes even more so, this is an essential purchase, a must have release that is throughout its glorious booklet adorned with numerous stills from the movie, highly informative notes by Jeff Bond and Julie Kirgo and a beautiful front cover. This is one you must own.




bandolero-4The 1960,s through to the mid 1970,s were possibly my favourite time for film music, it was an era which many dubbed the silver age of film music, with composers such as Elmer Bernstein, Maurice Jarre, John Barry, Ron Goodwin, Francis Lai and Michel Legrand to name a few making their mark and also creating their own individual musical fingerprints upon each movie that they worked on. Jerry Goldsmith was also particularly active within this period and he along with numerous other composers created a sound and also a style that was unique to the movies from these decades. BANDOLERO was released in 1968, and although it had been said that the western movie from Hollywood had run its course and was loosing its appeal amongst cinema goers, BANDOLERO was still an interesting and above all entertaining example from the genre, the face of the western was changing at this time and the European/Italian sage brush saga was beginning to gain momentum and popularity, and to a degree had itself begun to influence Hollywood productions, with its increased use of violence and the location in which the stories were set.  BANDOLERO, brought together four actors in the main roles that were in a word STARS. James Stewart, Dean Martin, George Kennedy and Raquel Welch all turned in good performances and even the latter who had been criticised heavily for her acting ability was believable in her role. Directed by veteran movie maker Andrew V McLaglen who had worked on a number of westerns, many of which contained what was thought to be tongue in cheek or unnecessary comedic references and antics that after a while became a little tired and certainly clichéd. However BANDOLERO was slightly different, the director did not look for cheap laughs or uncalled for clumsiness from the characters, instead we were treated to a movie that was entertaining and also in many ways somewhat poignant in places, and is undoubtedly an adventure that is powerful and relentless. The score by Jerry Goldsmith, includes many of the composers whimsical sounding western musical trademarks, such as Jews harp, castanet’s, accordion, and on this occasion a whistler (shades of a fistful of dollars). The composer underlines these and also elevates them with strong use of brass, strings and percussion which are themselves supported by Hispanic sounding guitar and Latin laced passages giving the score a Mexican feel and atmosphere, electric guitar also features alongside  solo trumpet and various other percussive elements, which at times sound like they are out of PLANET OF THE APES.




Cover of "Bandolero!"
Cover of Bandolero!

This was a sound that Goldsmith also employed previous to BANDOLERO, on western movies such as RIO CONCHOS, HOUR OF THE GUN and STAGECOACH, plus it was this sound and these quirky traits of orchestration that the composer utilized on other scores of the western variety 100 RIFLES, RIO LOBO, WILD ROVERS and THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE. But he did not restrict this style to just westerns as it can be heard in many of his scores from this period. To review a score that is already an established favourite of Goldsmith devotees is somewhat difficult because after all they know the music, they are aware that it is of high quality and contains highly infectious and haunting compositions.  But where this release is different is that it contains the actual score, which is represented in the first 15 cues on the compact disc, then there are a further 3 cues which are under the heading of BONUS TRACKS, these include a whistler free version of the opening theme. Then from tracks 19 thru to 28 we have the cuts from the original album release which was on Project 3 records and came in the form of a luxurious looking gatefold LP. So for me it’s the first 15 tracks that are the attraction of this release, I had always thought BANDOLERO was a score brimming with thematic material, but this opinion was based upon the LP release, this compact disc is another story, it is overflowing with Goldsmith’s musical excellence and oozing with the composers ingenuity, originality and prowess, it being filled to capacity with inspiring and driving compositions that delight and enthral. Solo guitar features on a number of cues, as does romantically laced string performances that are melancholy and memorable. This is a classic score, and one that will become a firm favourite all over again when you experience this recording. Presented to La La Land Records normal high standard, with striking art work, numerous stills and excellent notes by Julie Kirgo.

Bandolero! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)













Forever Young.


Forever_Young_LLLCD1182I remember going to a concert at Maida Vale Studios in London and Jerry Goldsmith, who was about to conduct a suite from ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, said that the director of the movie (Franklin J. Schaffner) on listening to the score remarked, “Well you finally wrote a tune” meaning, I suppose, that Goldsmith had written a beautiful and haunting piece for the movie. This was a remark which I recalled when listening to FOREVER YOUNG for the first time some years after the concert, thinking about how lush and sweeping Goldsmith’s score was, and now we have the entire, or near damn it, complete score courtesy of those lovely people at La La Land Records. FOREVER YOUNG has always been, and will always remain, one of my favourite Jerry Goldsmith scores from the 1990s and that is saying something as the composer produced a lot of excellent works at this time, RUDY, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, BASIC INSTINCT, MALICE and THE RUSSIA HOUSE. It was during this period of his career that I felt the composer mellowed a little and created some of his most appealing themes and scores; by this I mean he began to score movies that had more emotive storylines and he seemed to excel – if that is at all possible when scoring more intimate and romantic ventures – plus he created charismatic and tempting compositions that were haunting and alluring. The 1990s was the fourth decade that the composer had worked in Hollywood and he had come such a long way since the early days of television back in the late 1950s. His technique had developed over the years and by the early part of the 1990s he was one of, if not the most important film music composer in the world, with a following of thousands.

In FOREVER YOUNG we hear small snatches of the composer’s styles that have been employed in past triumphs such as wistful and soaring atmospheres that are akin to those he created for THE BLUE MAX in the invigorating and gloriously driving but also emotive cue ‘Reunited’ with its surging strings and lush sound. Plus the delicate, intimate and intricate tone poems that were so touching and emotive in A PATCH OF BLUE etc in cues such as ‘Will You Marry Me?’, ‘Never Leave Me’, ‘Time to Leave’ and ‘I Was Wrong’. The composer’s subtle and charming touch not only enhancing the images but becoming an important and integral part of the movie itself. The absorbing ‘Love Theme’  is one of the composers most appealing and the use of alto sax carried along by strings augmented by melancholy sounding horns, enhanced and punctuated by piano is stunning, FOREVER YOUNG is a stand out score in a career and also in a long list of musical magnificence that Goldsmith put together during his long and illustrious career.  This edition of the soundtrack contains a staggering 21 previously unreleased cues and is a must have soundtrack, and an essential purchase for any Goldsmith devotee or indeed any discerning fan of movie scores. Packaged wonderfully by La La Land Records with notes by Daniel Schweiger.

Nathan Furst.



 Composer Nathan Furst’s first major film was the 1998 movie A MOMENT OF CONFUSION. He then went on to compose music for other films such as the first BIONICLE trilogy; BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, BIONICLE 2: LEGENDS OF METRU NUI and BIONICLE 3: WEB OF SHADOWS, DUST TO GLORY, and LAKE PLACID 2. Some of the television shows for which he has composed are THE REAL WORLD and MAX STEEL. His most recent score as of 2011 is the 2012 Bandito Brothers film ACT OF VALOR.

John Mansell: Your first movie score I think was, A MOMENT OF CONFUSION (1998). I know you had written music for a reality show before this entitled REAL WORLD, which was in 1992, so how did you become involved with A MOMENT OF CONFUSION?

Nathan Furst: Oh, wow! I haven’t heard of that in a long time. It’s not even a real film. It was a friend from college doing a short student film, I believe. They asked me to write some music for it, so I did. It never came out or anything. I don’t even remember anything about it, not even the music! The Real World was an MTV show that ran for about 10 years. I wrote some music for it briefly in 1997, just out of high school.

John Mansell: ACT OF VALOR is one of your latest scoring assignments; it’s a great score, very powerful and also I felt it fused old style scoring practises with the newer approaches of modern film scoring, both styles worked very well and complimented each other. Was this something that you set out to achieve or was it something that just occurred during the scores development? How much time were you given to write the score, and what size orchestra did you utilize for the assignment?
Nathan Furst: Thank you so much.  While I am fond of the ‘modern sound’ of scores and enthusiastically build upon that sound in my own way, it’s the classic approach that I’m passionate about. I’m pretty obsessed with finding the organic ‘sound’ of 21st century score – at least for myself. I believe blending electronica and orchestra in a way that sounds natural and not ‘shticky’ is a delicate endeavour. Originally, and I mean very very early on, I actually imagined ACT OF VALOR as a very minimalist score. That approach is still a part of the final score, but with a little exploration as footage came in, the directors and I discovered the sound to ACT OF VALOR together. ACT OF VALOR was a very unique situation. I started writing themes before there was even a locked script. Then the film was shot in chunks, around the SEALS deployment schedules. So I would see a sequence or two out of context and that was it. I was on it off and on for about 18 months, and wrote a little over 3 hours of music when all was said and done. There would be 2 month gaps here and there, and then I’d say the last 4 months or so was when the score really came together. I actually moved part of my studio into a room next to the edit bay, so the directors could come in and listen to music anytime. It was actually a fantastic workflow that I very much enjoyed. The music budget required some creative application – remember, this started as a little tiny film! I ended up doing a 40 piece string orchestra date in Prague, which was fantastic. I then did some Brass and shakuhachi recordings here in LA. Everything else, percussion, synths, supporting woodwinds, is all me. I feel that ACT OF VALOR is the closest to date I’ve come to what I believe is my true sound and approach, which of course, like every composer, is a constant evolving journey.

John Mansell: Staying with ACT OF VALOR, as I already said your approach was at times old school as in writing actual themes to accompany the action in some ways similar to what say Jerry Goldsmith would have done. Do you think its important to try and create a central theme so that you can build the remainder of the score around it or upon it?
Nathan Furst: I think it’s paramount. I usually have a main central theme, as well as at least a few sub-themes that are either part of the central theme, or will work in counterpoint with the central theme. In the case of ACT OF VALOR, I have the main theme which is a pretty long melody with a few different sections, which sits on top of my sub theme, which is the four minimalist lamenting chords that are prevalent throughout the score. And then I also have several motifs, some of which are born out of the action cues, and then find themselves re-imagined in the more heartfelt moments. These days 8 people out of 10 wouldn’t catch these nuances, so it pleases me that you noticed! So many scores today have no real grounding root – no themes, motifs – it’s all just an energy level. They often sound like generic library music or something. I find it very disappointing… so many missed opportunities…

John Mansell: How many times do you normally like to look at a project before you start to get any solid ideas about type of music, how much music will be used and where the music will be best placed to serve the movie or TV movie etc?
Nathan Furst: It’s absolutely necessary. When I first join a project, I want to see whatever they can show me. Sometimes it’s a rough edit of the film, sometimes the script, and in the case of BIONICLE – storyboard/concept art. Once I get a look at what the filmmakers are doing, and what they want to say, I usually have good idea right off the bat what I want to do. Of course, as I get into the thick of it, I’ll sometimes make adjustments to my original concept, but I’m usually pretty close.

John Mansell: Orchestration is I suppose an important part of the composing process. Do you like to orchestrate your own music when possible?
Nathan Furst: I feel it’s a very important part of the process. It can be a huge component of the mood your setting, the intention you’re conveying. I always largely orchestrate my material as I write. When I’m writing, I write all the way down the score page – horns, trumpets, bones. 1st Violin part, 2nd Violin, Viola, Celli, Bass all the way down; it’s all there. I also have a fantastic orchestrator who I trust to tell me when I’ve done something….lets call it…lofty. “Too many notes!” ha, ha. Almost anything is possible with the best players, but time becomes a valuable commodity during the producing/recording process. If I’ve written anything that would take more than a few takes for players to nail, we usually make small adjustments.  Knowing that often keeps me from overwriting, too!

John Mansell: What musical education did you receive?
Nathan Furst: Formally? Almost none. I taught myself to play the piano around age 12, specifically with the goal of composing music in mind. Since the age of 8-9 years old, I listened to countless hours of films scores and concert music. I was just drawn to it. I actually remember the moment I first heard Silvestri’s BACK TO THE FUTURE theme when I was 8 years old, and Danny Elfman’s Batman score when I was 10. I attended the LA High School Music of the Arts, which wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I faced the same disappointment in college, so I quickly dropped out and started ghost writing for other composers.

John Mansell
: Was it always your intention to write for film?
Nathan Furst: Pretty much. I flirted briefly with other avenues of the music business, but I’ve always been drawn to the art of scoring film. I would get ‘work copies’ (post production versions without music) of TV shows at the age of 14, and I started just experimenting with my sensibilities.

John Mansell: Within ACT OF VALOR I think I spotted a few Horner-esque moments especially in cue 9 on the CD, the brass in particular. Are you an admirer of Horner’s work and are there any other composers who work in film that you would say have either inspired you or influenced you in the way you approach scoring a film?
Nathan Furst: Holy Cow! FINALLY someone found my Horner Easter egg! Congrats. Sometimes I’ll leave little ‘Easter eggs’ from some of my favourite composers. It’s all my own work, in my own way, but it’ll be a technique or device… something very benign and simple. It entertains me. I believe there are some subtle Silvestri references somewhere in ACT OF VALOR as well…
As I mentioned before, I’m absolutely a product, in part, of my heroes and unwitting mentors – Wagner, Debussey, Tchaikovsky, Holst, Hermann, Mancini, Williams, Goldsmith, Silvestri… it’s a pretty long list!

John Mansell: You worked on MAX STEEL for TV, I think Jim Latham scored a lot of the episodes, how many did you work on?
Nathan Furst: All of them. That show was a collaboration with Jim and I. I had done some work for him before, and he was very, very busy at the time Max Steel came up. He was very kind to bring me on board to help execute Max Steel. I had an absolute blast working on that show, and I learned a lot. I consider myself fortunate for that experience.

John Mansell: When working on a television series the deadlines are obviously a lot tighter and you have to deliver music a lot faster than when you are working on a motion picture. Do you ever recycle or re-use cues from one episode in another and how many episodes do you score at a time?
Nathan Furst: Well, on a single show, it’s usually one episode at a time, but the episode cycle can be very fast. Sometimes only a few days from the time you first see the episode to the time it’s on the mix stage. It absolutely makes sense to recycle the conceptual material. It not only makes sense for time, but it’s also artistically appropriate. It’s very important that a series have a ‘sound’ to it. If every cue from every episode is re-inventing the wheel, the show isn’t likely to have a nice, uniform continuity…especially on those timelines.
Sometimes the TV-movies are even crazier. My record was a 90 minute movie, with 80 minutes of music started and delivered in 6 days. That was a full week.

John Mansell: You have worked on a number of TV movies and also motion pictures and a handful of documentaries; apart from budget is there a great deal of differences between the three types of film when it comes to scoring them?
Nathan Furst: Honestly, not really. The budget is the only difference. The writing process, for me, is basically the same. The difference is that on the tight budget (on time as well as money) the writing process is pretty much the only process. It’s very common for there not to be a formal recording session or final mix. What you write/sketch in the studio is what gets delivered. The larger budget stuff is much easier to execute.

John Mansell: How do you arrive at your musical solutions; by this I mean how do you bring your musical ideas to fruition, via piano, or straight to paper?
Nathan Furst: Paper? What’s paper? (Kidding… sort of) I prefer to sit at the piano… it’s a very natural and organic experience. I really don’t like coming up with ideas in the studio. I’ll usually chicken-scratch a quick idea on paper, or sometimes even just the memo recording app on the iPhone, and then take that into the studio to orchestrate and produce.
When I’m fortunate enough to get on a film very early on, sometimes before they even start shooting, I’ll spend WEEKS getting the themes and arching ideas just right on the piano. So sometimes, by the time I’ve gotten around to turning the studio on, I’ve already been working on interconnecting themes equivalent of a modern opera for the better part of a month on the piano.

John Mansell: When working on any project do you have a set way in which you carry out your work, or does this vary from project to project. Do you like to tackle larger cues first or maybe concentrate on smaller cues and stabs etc. at first?
Nathan Furst: It changes slightly from project to project, but I generally like to score very important scenes first; scenes that sometimes define the entire movie. It helps me micro focus my pacing, approach, etc. I can then go through to other cues and start properly gauging my arching development that gets me to that important, defining moment. Of course, this is assuming that I would get the entire film at once, which is sometimes not the case.

John Mansell: What would you say is the purpose of music in film?
Nathan Furst: Well it depends greatly on the film! But generally, I feel film music is best when it creates an additional complex facet that is not entirely on the screen on it’s own to help tell the story and/or reveal our character. What’s so amazing about film music, and music in general, is that it’s so powerful at conveying emotion… sometimes emotions so complex that they can’t be easily defined or articulated. You’d be surprised how many different pieces of music you can put up against the same scene, and it all works! But the scene will play differently and say something differently with each piece of music. That’s why is so important to truly KNOW what it is you are trying to say, and to have conviction between yourself and the filmmakers in what you’re trying to say… what kind of movie you want to make. One of the potential downsides to film is that you can’t easily get inside the characters head the way you do in a book. In a book, the characters inner most thoughts and feelings are often laid out right in front of you. I like to think one of the things score can do is help bring some of that into the experience.

John Mansell: Do you come from a family that has a background of music?
Nathan Furst: Not at all, actually. I pretty much come from a family of actors. Not sure what happened there?

John Mansell: Do you ever buy soundtrack discs by other composers?
Nathan Furst: Not as much these days, but absolutely. I love score soundtracks, especially when they’re good. If it’s one of my ‘heroes’, chances are I’ll buy the soundtrack.

John Mansell: When a CD is being planned of one of your scores, do you become involved as in the selection of cues etc and the sequencing of the CD?
Nathan Furst: Very much so. My OCD wouldn’t allow otherwise. I even listen to the entire selection, and will occasionally edit out moments that don’t quite make sense as an isolated listening experience, but served a purpose in the film… such as holding chord that holds too long…a random sting or something… that kind of thing. The CD mix is usually a different mix than what we did for the film, and I also insist on being in the mastering studio. It’s such a delicate balance between getting that large and loud modern sound, but without crunching the life out of it. I didn’t used to go to those sessions, but I learned very quickly that I really need to be there.

John Mansell: How early do you like to become involved on a scoring assignment; maybe at the script stage or do you prefer the movie to be in its rough cut state before you come onboard?
Nathan Furst: It’s all over the place on a project by project basis. I prefer to get involved as early as possible. It’s very important that the music feel like it truly belongs to that film. Not just themes or stuff like that, but the very soul of score – each note is truly married to the frame it hits. I’m usually most satisfied with the end result when I’ve gotten involved in film while it’s still in the script stage.

John Mansell: You worked on the first three of the BIONICLE films. How did you become involved with this trilogy and why did you not score the fourth film in the series as your music for the first three was well thought of?
Nathan Furst: I happened to know someone who knew the producer who was actively looking for a composer. I submitted some of my music, in addition to original theme concept sketch (which ended up being one of the main themes). That’s pretty much it. I loved working on those films. For me, it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done. After the original trilogy, an entirely different production team was hired to create the 4th film. I think not seeking me out is probably because they were anxious to make their own mark, so to speak. So, the very fact that I scored the original trilogy omitted my consideration. Someone sent me a couple scenes from that score, and I was flattered to find that my BIONICLE score was obviously the inspiration! Best compliment a composer could have.

John Mansell: What are you working on at the moment?
Nathan Furst: I have a few things going on, but nothing I’m allowed to speak of at the moment. These days, production companies are very nervous, and it’s becoming more and more common to sign NDA agreements the second you come onboard. So I can’t talk about them until they’re already done. But it’s all very exciting stuff that I can’t wait to talk about!

John Mansell: Thank you so much for your time best wishes.
Nathan Furst: Thank you so much, John. It’s a pleasure.

I gratefully acknowledge the generous help from Beth at cinemamedia in making this interview possible.