Monday, December 21, 2009

He Shoots He Scores


Anyone who either knows me or has read my journal entries has probably figured out that I am a big fan of film scores. While I have no formal music education or training, it's always been the one genre I've gravitated towards since I was in elementary school. Needless to say, I'm probably not the biggest hit at parties and I doubt there is anyone within fifty miles of my house back home that owns Arthur B. Rubinstein's original score to WarGames! For your listening pleasure, I recommend the following space-themed film scores:

Apollo 13 by James Horner
The album is still in print and can be ordered from Amazon. Horner was nominated for an Oscar for this patriotic, sometimes ethereal piece of work. The CD however does not include the full score - it also features dialogue and period music heard in the film (which isn't bad: James Brown, Jefferson Airplane, etc.).

The Black Hole by John Barry
I've only seen the film once and my recommendation is don't listen to it if you have vertigo! There is a certain swirling quality to the main title theme which is pretty addictive. Unfortunately, the complete score is not available on CD but the original LP tracks can be purchased from iTunes.

Space Scores
Capricorn One
The late, great Jerry Goldsmith scored this 70s conspiracy thriller about a fake mission to Mars. The main title theme isn't exactly up there with Star Wars but it's an action-packed, percussive work. Intrada released the complete score a few years ago but that album is out of print. Collector's Choice recently re-released the original LP tracks - Goldsmith had re-recorded 35 minutes for the original LP release and that version is much more propulsive and dramatic than the music as heard in the film. This CD is available from Amazon.

The Right Stuff by Bill Conti
Would you believe I just saw this film for the first time this past summer? I liked it and I can see why it's such a classic. In addition to Conti's stirring score, the film also features a great rendition of Debussy's "Clair de lune." Varese Sarabande released the album (for the first time ever!) this past summer but all 3000 copies have sold out. You might have good luck on eBay.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Jerry Goldsmith
The first Star Trek film was released 30 years ago this month (December 7th, to be exact). While fans continue to debate the pros and cons of the film (I enjoy it), Goldsmith's score is arguably one of his best and one of the best film scores period. To accentuate the mystery of V'Ger, Goldsmith employed an instrument called the "blaster beam," an electronically-amplified metal box, strung with guitar wire, and played by striking it with artillery shell casings. Sony re-released the score in 1999 and, while it's still not complete, can be downloaded or ordered from Amazon.

Oh, and by the way, I'm up from my 30 days of bedrest! Final days in the head-down tilt are now available in journal entries 11 and 12. Last entries during rehabilitation still to come...