Memories of Jerry Goldsmith
And here we are again, another year. The same as usual, right? What can I say in my defense…? I guess nothing. But when someone marks you deeply, I think he should be celebrated. At least in my opinion. So on February 10th, date of his birth, and July 21st, the date of his death, are the moments when I always pay tribute to his memory. Although to be honest, I do it throughout the year (each month, each day) by listening his music, by watching his movies.
I suppose that it’s tiresome to be reading every year about the same theme to the same person, so we have decided to create a collaborative article in AsturScore with our members and some guest signatures, including from our usual friends and occasional collaborators, to composers and producers who were in contact with Master or give us their vision of Jerry Goldsmith’s music, sharing it with us.
And trust me, I would skip this prologue and I would go straight to read their words, right now. It’s more interesting that this introduction, sure! But if you’re still here, you’re as masochist as me. Or a full Goldsmith fan like me.
This year is the ninth since his death, and next will be the tenth. Every year I publish reviews, articles or specials about his work, listen to his CDs or watch his movies. It’s like a drug (a good one, perhaps like my beloved coffee).
My Life without Jerry would have been a huge gap; his music has filled the dead space and the awkward silences of my life. It’s my personal score, so clear. A soundtrack of almost 250 films and several non-film works, a huge musical legacy acting as a lighthouse in my life (my job, my marriage, my girl, my studies, my friends, my hobbies, my family … everything).
And finally, just to thank all those who have contributed to this special feature, because without you this would not be half as good. Thanks to composers Mark Mckenzie, Charles Fox, Marco Werba and Christoph Zirngibl, to producer Claudio Fuiano, and our usual and not usual collaborators German Baron (besides composer), Miguel Garre, Israel Pedraza, Jorge Godoy, Felipe Múgica Oscar Salazar, Alfonso Conde and Isaac Sole. Thanks to all of you, because without your collaboration this special would be impossible. Given the international nature of some of you, friends, we have translated the special to English language, but you can find the Spanish version here.
It’s closing time. I propose you a series of famous quotes and promotional tags; they evoke me the memory of the master when I read them (Do you guess the movie titles?):
“The rule here is total silence. We make no pretence of rehabilitation. We are not priests, we are processors. A meat-packer processes live animals into edible ones. We process dangerous men into harmless ones. We accomplish this by breaking you. Breaking you physically, spiritually and mentally. Strange things happen to the head. Put all thoughts of hope from your mind”.
“In space no one can hear your screams”.
“Even in Space, the ultimate enemy is Man”.
“This is the heroic story of the men of the U.S.S. San Pablo who disturbed the sleeping Dragon of savage China as the threatened world watched in breathless terror”.
“Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.”
“The human adventure is just beginning”.
“The mission was a sham… the murders were real”.
“You have been warned. If something frightening happens to you today, Think about it”.
“Between the Wind and the Lion is the woman. For her, half the world may go to war”.
“A brutal murder. A brilliant killer. A Cop who can´t resist the danger”.
”The bastards! They blew it up! Damn them, damn them all to hell!”
“How would you know if someone stole your mind?”.
“Dateline: Central America. The Firs Casualty of War is the Thruth”.
“They sent him on a mission and set him up to fail. But they made one mistake. They forgot they were dealing with Rambo”.
“He turned his back on civilization. Only to discover he had the power to save it”.
“Never have so few taken so much from so many”.
“No Bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country…”
Thank you, Maestro.
Eduardo Con Laso
It was impossible for Charles Fox to participate directly and actively in this Special, but he showed us his interest in Jerry Goldsmith, through his attentive and friendly representative (Will, thank you very much) by sending us the following words and the picture.
Between his involvement with the Academy/Oscars, his travelling and his Charity Concert which is upcoming, Charlie’s schedule is too crazy right now for me to get him to do this. But of course he loved Jerry very much, the man and the composer. If you look in his memoir Killing Me Softly; My Life In Music, he wrote a whole section where he talks about Jerry’s influence on film music and his own experience in Japan conducting Jerry’s music —something he did for him as a favor when Jerry became ill.
Above is a photo from Jerry’s house —James Newton Howard, Jerry, David Newman and Charlie, playing pieces especially made for 8 hands on 2 piano —something they used to do on occasion, performing for their wives. I know they had great fun doing it.
That picture above is very special. Jerry had two 9 foot Steinways in his house. David Newman, Jerry and Charlie were all very close friends, along with their wives. Every few months they would invite a 4th composer (Leonard Rosenman, Alexander Courage, James Newton Howard) and they used to play classical music on into the night. It was described to me as very fun and even competitive and they loved it. So this photo is from one of those nights.
Charles Fox was born in New York City. He studied jazz piano and electronic music at Columbia University. He began his career playing the piano, composing and arranging for such salsa legends as Ray Barretto, Joe Quijano and Tito Puente, as well as writing theme music and arrangements for Skitch Henderson and the Tonight Show Orchestra.
Charles has composed the music for hundreds of songs, with artist like Roberta Flack, Barry Manilow, Fred Astaire, Johnny Cash, The Boston Pops, Tito Puente, Goldie Hawn, Carly Simon, Shirley Bassey, Lauryn Hill & The Fugees, and Ice T.
Among his works for theatre are The Eleventh and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In collaboration with Hal David, he has composed the musicals The Chosen and The Turning Point, based on that 20th Century Fox film.
He has composed the musical scores for over 100 motion pictures and television films including Barbarella, Nine to Five, Goodbye Columbus, and Foul Play for which he received one of his two Academy Award nominations (the other was for the film The Other Side of the Mountain). His TV shows and theme songs include The Love Boat, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Wonder Woman, The Paper Chase, Wide World of Sports, Monday Night Football and Love American Style, for which he received two Emmy Awards.
Among his popular songs are “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” “I Got a Name,” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” for which he received the Grammy Award for Best Song of the year.
In addition to his popular works, Charles has composed music for the concert hall and ballet (A Song for Dead Warriors or Zorro!), and conducted, first, the Poland National Opera Company Chorus and Orchestra in a performance of his Oratorio, “Lament and Prayer” at the Warsaw Opera House (it was based on the words of Pope John Paul II), and second, the world premiere of his “Fantasie, Homage a Chopin” which he was commissioned to compose by the Polish Government to honor the 200th birthday of Chopin.
Charles was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded Lifetime Achievement awards from the Society of Composers and Lyricists and BMI and is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
I got a phone call one day and the person on the other end said “Mark, this is Jerry Goldsmith. As you might know, I lost my first orchestrator Arthur Morton and so I hired Alexander Courage. Now Sandy (Alexander) is retiring. Would you like to be my orchestrator?“
My first thought was: hmmm is this a practical joke? Then I thought… I don’t know Jerry, but this kind of sounds like him; I better go along and pretend. I said “You know Jerry, thank you but would you mind if I thought about this and called you back tomorrow?” He said “sure“, gave me his number and we hung up. I was wanting to focus more on my composition work and then it hit me… “Jerry Goldsmith?? That was Jerry Goldsmith!! What? Are you a fool? Think of what you could learn from this master.”
I ended up orchestrating Jerry’s final 7 projects and helped him compose on a couple. I learned volumes about music, life, friendship, death, and the business of Hollywood. In our final goodbyes on the phone, Jerry knowing my passion was composing said “Mark You’re going to make it. Great films are going to come your way.” In the past 10 years I’ve moved on to compose some of my finest scores. There’s a bit of Jerry living in “The Greatest Miracle”, “Saving Sarah Cain,” and “Blizzard” and there will always be a bit of Jerry’s presence in everything I compose. Rest in Peace my dear friend Jerry Goldsmith; your music and life continue to inspire all of us.
Mark McKenzie was born in Lake City, Minnesota. He studied composition with renown classical composers and during his formal training at USC, Mark was recognized with numerous awards such as the “Hans J. Salter Masters in Music Composition Award,“ “The Norman Cousins Most Inspirational Award,“ and the “Outstanding Doctoral Music Graduate Award.”
After orchestrating numerous blockbuster and critically acclaimed films, Mark helped legendary Academy Award Winning composer Jerry Goldsmith orchestrate his final films and compose when time constraints or health issues made it impossible. Since the passing of Goldsmith, McKenzie has gone on to compose his most creative and powerful works.
He also has assisted to composers like John Barry, Danny Elfman, Mark Isham, John Powell, Marc Shaiman, Alan Silvestri or John Williams (“Dances with Wolves”, “Men in Black”, “The Patriot”, “Spider-man”, “Star Trek VI” or “Ice Age: The Meltdown”).
Mark’s original music has been heard in every corner of the globe. He composed the opening and closing theme music to the longest running and most honored television series in history “The Hallmark Hall of Fame.” His original scores include “The Greatest Miracle”, “The Ultimate Gift”, “Blizzard”, “Saving Sarah Cain”, “Durango”, “Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde”, “Frank & Jesse”, “Warlock: Armaggedon” and “The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca”.
Mark’s original music has been featured repeatedly on the Academy Awards, underscored the Olympics, performed before the Pope, heard at Disney World, California Adventures, Wimbledon and in countless other venues. His choral work “Gloria”, first premiered at the 2000th Crystal Cathedral Hour of Power broadcast has become a perennial Christmas favourite around the USA.
Mark McKenzie is a member of The Motion Picture Academy music branch, The Television Academy, The Society of Composers and Lyricists, and the BMI performing rights organization.
It was some 20 years ago, I may have been 13 years old, when I turned on the TV some late cloudy afternoon. When zapping through the only 5 channels we were able to watch back then, on one channel I suddenly heard this music… It was a trailer for a new thriller produced by the TV-station itself, but the music was out of this world. After about 40 seconds it disappeared, the normal TV program continued and there was no chance to repeat the music or to ask someone where it was from. There was no Shazam, there was no internet, only these two clarinets in my head, walking down chromatically in minor thirds embedded in this silky, distinctive strings-sound and driven relentlessly, yet very subtle by an ostinato of something that sounded like a mixture of marimba and harp. This music kept going around in my head for a very long time, if not years until I discovered by coincidence the movie, and the music originally had been composed for: “Basic Instinct”.
There are lots of great composers in Jerry Goldsmith’s generation, the works of all of them are a great inspiration for my own work as a film composer until today. But Jerry Goldsmith always seemed to be one step ahead in terms of what one may call modern Film Music. Of course, people like David Raksin already had discovered the power of enriching the orchestral sound palette with the electronic manipulation of sounds. As well as for example Ennio Morricone who used lots of synth-sounds in musical genres that had been used to be driven by purely orchestral music before.
But what, for me, makes the work of Jerry Goldsmith even more outstanding, is his very economic way of orchestrating as well as the subtleness and the very organic way of blending various orchestration techniques, such as simple Pop melody-dominated scores like in “Rudy” or 20th century instrumentation like in “Planet of the Apes”, into sounds that were on top of the technical possibilities at that time. And that’s what makes his music (more than the music of other colleagues) atemporal in the best sense. His music will have a modern sound in whatever context. When listening to his score for “Star Trek The Motion Picture” once in a while and enjoying this nasty electric-guitarish-sound that accompanies the orchestra in the very beginning, I will always remember special moments of my life. Such as the moment, when I got my first Yamaha DX7 and I found exactly that sound at my fingertips – long years after Jerry had composed this score. As well as the great moment, when I was called to enter the stage in a small Andalusian town in 2007 to receive – for one of my very first film scores – an award, that is named after him…
Christoph Zirngibl is a multiple award winning and successful German film score composer. His outstanding talent was already evident while studying film scoring (2003-2007) under the professors Enjott Schneider and Andreas Weidinger at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München (University of Music and Theater, Munich). Since then he has been composing music for numerous TV and film productions. He attended master classes in Los Angeles and Spain held by Michael Giacchino, Patrick Doyle and Steven Scott Smalley. In the meantime he has composed over 60 scores, among them the music for successful films such as “Neues vom WiXXer” (The VeXXer), “Vorstadtkrokodile 3” (Crocodiles: all for one) and the Emmy award winning American documentary “Iowa’s World War II Stories”.
This young composer’s extraordinary success is due to, among other things, his mastery of an ample variety of musical styles. His many orchestra arrangements demonstrate a deep understanding of orchestral and dramatic composition. His particularly multifaceted style and his vast emotional variety allow his music to reach the audience and to get under their skin.
His other works in genres like Country, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Songwriting and even Big Band music are just as technically adept and well accomplished. Christoph Zirngibl takes advantage of his personal extensive experience as a musician, for example, drum and piano lessons from childhood, playing as a professional drummer for the German army band, music teaching studies, and as a live musician in different Pop, Country, Soul and Funk bands. One can hear that for Christoph Zirngibl the foundation of all his music is his emotional sensibility; it is the authenticity of his music that makes the difference.
He is flexible and outstanding not only in his command of musical genres and styles, but also in his great creativity and adaptability as well as his capacity to produce compositions in short periods of time.
In 1977 my father took me to see Logan’s Run by Michael Anderson. I liked it so much that I went back to see it again. At that point, I realized the extraordinary music that Goldsmith had written for this film. The idea of writing a cutting-edge electronic music for the scenes within the city of the future and symphonic music for the scenes outside the city, seemed to me brilliant.
In a record store in New York I then found the LP with the music of “Logan’s Run”. At that point I realized I wanted to become a film music composer and began studying music in Italy (piano, choral composition, harmony), United States (composition and orchestration for films) and France (conducting).
I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Goldsmith in Rome and to be his volunteer assistant during the recording sessions of Leviathan in Rome, with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra. Jerry Goldsmith was one of the best film music composers in the world.
The film scores he wrote for Freud, the secret passion by John Huston (1962) (that garnered him his first Oscar nomination) and Planet of the Apes by Franklin J. Schaffner (1968) were the most modern and contemporary compositions that Goldsmith wrote in his career.
With Franklin Schaffner he had a great collaboration and wrote also the music of Papillon (1973) and The Boys from Brazil (1978). Papillon had a beautiful music theme and The boys from Brazil an interesting dramatic score with influences from Strauss. (The film is a political thriller, assuming that the Nazi doctor Mengele wants to create a new Hitler using the DNA of the dictator). In 1974 Jerry Goldsmith wrote the music of Chinatown by Roman Polanski, a nice jazz oriented film score.
The next year he wrote a beautiful symphonic music for the adventure drama, The Wind and the Lion by John Milius. In 1976 he scored the horror film The Omen by Richard Donner (1976) and won an Oscar. The music of The Omen was powerful and rich. He used orchestra and choir to represent the Devil using Latin texts such as “Ave Satani”. In that same year he wrote the music of The Cassandra Crossing by George Pan Cosmatos (in that score there’s a beautiful theme). In 1977 he wrote an interesting and effective music for the science-fiction film Capricorn One by Peter Hyams and for the thriller Coma by Michael Crichton. The next year he wrote a beautiful film score for the science-fiction film Alien by Ridley Scott. For the Main titles he used a large composition for trumpet and orchestra while, for the most impressive scenes, he used a very dissonant music. In that same year he also wrote the music of Star Trek.
In my opinion the latest great film score written by Jerry Goldsmith has been Basic Instinct by Paul Verhoeven (1992). This is one of the best music ever written for an erotic thriller.
Jerry Goldsmith has faced several genres, showing that he was a great and professional composer. I will never forget his name and his music. For me he has been a point of reference and a guide.
Born in Madrid (Spain) in 1963, Marco Werba has lived in Rome, Italy since 1966. He is a versatile composer and has an extensive background in the music field, earning a Degree in Composition and Choral Conducting. He also studied at the Mannes College of Music in New York attending workshops in composition, orchestration and Film music. In addition, he studied conducting at the Academie de Guerande in France.
For the film music magazines Soundtrack and Cinemascore he interviewed a range of notables in the field including Jerry Goldsmith, Stanley Meyers, John Scott, Gabriel Yared and Philippe Sarde. He has served on the jury of the International Film Festival of Messina, and he created the film music workshop “Music for Images” and the international film music competition, the “Mario Nascimbene Award.”
His first musical score, in 1989, for director Cristina Comencini’s film “Zoo” won the prestigious Italian “Colonna Sonora” Award, when Ennio Morricone and Francis Lai, received “Colonna Sonora – Lifetime Achievement Awards”. Marco Werba has gone on to score a range of historical dramas including “Anita–Una Vita per Garibaldi” (Anita, a life for Garibaldi), and, in collaboration with Academy-Award winning composer Francis Lai, “Amore e Libertà, Masaniello” (Love of Freedom). He often works in the Horror and Thriller genres, most recently composing the soundtrack of “Giallo”, the pulp thriller by cult horror director Dario Argento, starring Adrien Brody. This score won the “Fantasy & Horror Award”, the “Fantafestival Award 2010 ” and the “Fantasy Horror Cine Festival Award 2011 ”.
He is noted for his work as a film score composer but has also written a number of classical concert pieces including Adagio for the victims of Auschwitz, Dark Symphony and Symphonic Tango.
In 2011 Marco Werba received the “Globo d’Oro” Award (“Golden Globes” of the Foreign Press Association in Italy) for the music of the thriller “Native”, directed by John Real.
My short, but strong friendship with Jerry Goldsmith…
It all started in Spring 1985. I wanted be in touch with Mr. Jerry Goldsmith, one of my Film Music Idols. Through some good friend who was in touch with some member of the Unione Musicisti di Roma Orchestra (who Jerry used here in Rome for recording various scores like PAPILLON, INCHON, THE SALAMANDER, etc.), came to me Jerry’s address and phone number. My biggest wish was doing a B/W portrait of him and send it to him. So I did it (same style of my Morricone portrait, I did in 1989). Excited, I completed it and I shipped to Jerry’s house. Radio silence… Sigh! I was so worried! One month or more was spent. So I did take my own courage to call his home… crazy act, I do admit now. But in those far days I could be forgiven just because I was a young guy.
So I called Jerry’s home and his lovely wife Carol replied me. She was a little bit amazed of my phone call from Italy… but she made me quiet that Jerry had got my portrait and that he loved it a lot considering me an highly talented young man. I touched the sky with my finger! My happiness was borderless, beyond the horizon’s line. She explained me that Jerry could not reply me because when he opened my parcel (a heavy long paper cylinder containing my rolled big sized portrait) the paper around was broken and he could not read well my address. Carol told me that Jerry was not at home in that moment cause he was recording EXPLORERS. My emotion was so huge.
I gave her back my address. So I started a letter correspondence with Jerry during 1986-1988 period. These letters from Jerry are all here, well kept, a huge legacy for me cause Jerry wrote me updating all he was doing, as a kind of log.
The big chance to meet him was when he informed me that he’d record the score for the Sci-Fi/Horror movie LEVIATHAN here in Rome (January 1989), being a co-production between American MGM and Italian Aurelio De Laurentiis ‘s Filmauro company. So I spent a whole fantastic week here at Forum Recording Studio, close to my home, with Jerry, his lovely wife Carol and his sweet (at that time) little son Aaron. The recording session was so amazing with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra performing, recorded by Sound Engineer Alan Snelling, with music editor Kenneth Hall and with director George P. Cosmatos attending the session. Also some friends of mine attended the session like dutch collector Sijbold Tonkens and composer Marco Werba. I remember that Jerry gave me the privilege to sit down close to the podium… few centimeters close to him!!! In few words, I had the bows of the cellos so close to my head… what a experience!
Last time I saw Jerry was in London August’89 for his two concerts at BBC Radio and at the Barbican. Few months later my correspondence with Jerry ended… in the last fifteen years of his life he was so busy. I am sure he still did know that my passion for his fantastic music was evergreen, even if we were not in touch anymore…
His music legacy and his so dear letters are still here with me… forever!
Claudio Fuiano: I was born in Rome in 1863 , so I am 149 years old now (ja). Journalist, writer, Film Music Expert, Sound Engineer, Graphic designer, Sci-Fi/Horror/Spy collector about memorabilia with a psychotic deviation for Lounge dancefloor ’60s Music from movies and not.
I started to take care of Film Music on record in 1991… since then I took care of hundreds and hundreds OST CDs under my supervision and productions. I am a kind of Archives rat… and my ongoing mission is to rescue and preserve high quality Film Music on CD.
My first contact with the music of maestro Jerry Goldsmith was in the mid seventies, when i saw on TV “Planet of the Apes”, I was very young, between my 6 or 7 , but the sound and music of the score was so powerful in my memory that made a mark on me…
In those years I slowly walked into the world of soundtracks, first i meet John Williams (“Star Wars”), then curiously Miklos Rozsa (watching “El Cid” in a theather in Reus), later with John Barry (with the James Bond movies and his romantic scores like “Out of Africa”) …
In that times, Goldsmith was a name who made some resistance, like a mystery to me:..But then I watched on theatre the film “Capricorn I” and I definitely was embraced on his music with “Star Trek The Movie” (1979) (I had to wait my sister brought me back the recording from Edinburgh). In those years it was difficult to me to buy and get the recordings, my economy was limited , (i was a teenager without a job).
My madness Goldsmithiana started in the mid-eighties, first with films in which the composer, the maestro, the genius, was at his heights: “Rambo” (1985) for example, which also brought me the opportunity to go get the LP that was released the Vinilo label in Spain. Second, At the end of the decade a new store was opened in my City ( Barcelona): The legendary Discos Balada, for me that shop was like the Cave of Ali-Baba, A place where was easy to find cheap titles , and tons of wonderful soundtracks… they were good times.
Literally every week i bought one or two (or three) titles like “The Great Assault on the train”, “Wild Rovers”, “The Last Run”, “Legend” are the firsts that come to mind, listening in repeat mode non stop for days and days … Then in the nineties come the CDS and the my feelings about the composer were ecstasic, my ears were open to a universal genius and a master of emotions.
Personally Goldsmith is a name linked to my personal growth, my love for the films and his music (as Barry, Morricone, Williams, Schifrin and many others) … and the relentless passage of time brings to me and to us a sad anniversary: Next 2014 will celebrate (not exactly celebration) ten years since his death. The master passed away and let a void in the film music world that no one has managed to fill, because Goldsmith in my opinion was the most complete, the most chameleonic composer of film music that has ever existed.
He could do anything, any genre , and also has a personal style that had many faces. It´s amazing that in a forty-year career made so much music and so good, it´s the most remarkable and touching thing about him, a sublime and extraordinary event only deserved for the great composers of the history. Never enjoyed great popularity in the movie audiences, but probably is the most popular among fans of the world of soundtracks …
And the reason is very simple: We never made a bad score, his works are solid, always surprising, even the works most criticized and underrated by the fans (remember “Criminal Law” work made for perfect running synths on the screen and therefore functional criteria was due to the service of the film) is that the teacher always made music for the screen which also then could run out of it and made his own life… And so, if personal composers always impose his stamp above the genre (Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, Elmer Bernstein, for example), Jerry Goldsmith was unique, imaginative maestro, with and infinite resources to reinvent in each genre very differently yet sounding like true, authentic, to himself… Pure Goldsmith.
And in these times, gray despite some exceptions, times which imposes the impersonal, the most common musical jug, the teacher, the maestro, is very very missed.
Germán Barón Borrás teaches Audiovisual Media. He composes music for shorts, is partner in organizing the Film Music Festival City of Ubeda, and is fan and crazy about soundtracks since he noticed them at an early age.
In 2004 died Jerry Goldsmith, almost a decade of absence, which can only remind us of so many moments and scenes that would not have been the same without the presence of his music:
Navigating with Steve McQueen in a flaming Yangtze; with Charlton Heston damning the wars of a planet run by apes; getting Damien to look like the son of the devil who could really scare us; making us believe that Sean Connery could be Arab and making us feel the taste of adventure; accompanying Patton in the battlefield; marking a waltz for some boys from Brazil; leading the Enterprise where no man has ever gone before; becoming the ninth passenger of the starship Nostromo; leading Carol Anne to the light; taking us to a Nicaragua under fire; giving rhythm to some malicious creatures when they ate after midnight; giving magic to unicorns in a realm of legend; making Vietnam veteran Rambo live day by day; offering a Total Recall to Arnie in Mars; making Sharon Stone’s leg crossing even more sensual (if possible); living with him the last days of Eden; taking Rudy to victory; becoming a humble Chinese girl into a brave warrior; waking up small soldiers; he was the real 13th Warrior; transporting us to a confidential Los Angeles in the 50s; returning the “Indiana Jones”-like adventure essence for some mummy hunters; making us feel the Hollow Man …
A lot of moments scored by Jerry Goldsmith, that are part of film history and part of film music history. Now I’m going to search in my shelf, where I keep all his CDs, and I’ll play some of his music in his memory.
Felipe Múgica was born in 1976, and he’s from Barakaldo, a small town from Vizcaya (Spain). There are few things he likes more than a Tim Burton film, only some nice OSTs of Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Georges Delerue…
When I hear “Jerry Goldsmith” my eyes light up, my expression changes, I feel it and I think everybody can notice it too. It always happens to me with Jerry Goldsmith and Georges Delerue.
But, mainly, with Jerry Goldsmith, my favourite composer, because thousands of images, memories, situations and people come to my mind.
Images, like in “Medicine Man”, in the deep wild forest, with The Trees playing in the background, or like the waves crashing against the cliff, in “Papillon”, while in my head I can hear the Main Title, my favourite theme ever. Or images from Alaska, like in “The Edge”, with an overwhelming music (Rescued); or terrific landscapes, like in “The River Wild”, where the music makes you feel the descent even more frantically; or, how could I forget African landscapes, like in “Congo” (a very bad movie with a superb score).
Memories, feelings… like imagining flying to undiscovered universes, unknown galaxies or planets, thanks to Ilia’s Theme or Main Title theme in Alien; or how frightened I was when I first saw “The Omen”, due to his Ave Satani; or how I had to cover my eyes watching “Gremlins”, because of The Gremlins Attack (I was terrified even by the music that was playing at the beginning of the film); or playing with my little plastic soldier toys (or imagining it when my son started to play with them) as if they were The Commando Elite vs The Gorgonites, while I was listening to Assembly Line. And what to say about “Explorers”? I always wanted to be Ethan Hawke when I was 10-12.
If you agree with me, love is the strongest feeling and if we talk about love, the love themes in “Chinatown” or “The Russia House” or “Forever Young” are so deep, so powerful, that they deserve one of the thrones in Film Music’s Best Love Themes (with the permission of Spartacus’ Love Theme).
But, if I had to highlight a genre in which Jerry Goldsmith is a great great composer, I’d say without any doubt “Action Themes”. Only a few people, if any, are able to give the strength, the so special power he could achieve with action movies, like in Rambo’s Saga (my hair stands on end remembering it, from the very beginning of the saga, “First Blood”, with Homecoming, with which Jerry made me a fan of his music forever, till I’ll stay, in “Rambo III”, that closes the trilogy (ooookkkk, I know there is a Rambo IV, but it doesn’t count, it does NOT). Many action films in which Goldsmith took part, let’s admit it, were really bad (being polite here), but the mark Goldsmith left in them is awesome. I can think about “Chain Raction” (Ice Chase), “Air Force One” (The parachutes), “Deep Rising” (with an anguished music in many moments), to name only a few examples.
I am leaving many scores behind, like “Legend” (pure oneiric magic), “Masada” (a masterpiece), “Dennis the Menace” (it’s Main Title is just brilliant!), “Rudy” (a delicatessen, one of my favourite scores), “Mulan” (what an Overture, my God!), “Logan’s Run”, “The Sand Pebbles” (another very beautiful love theme), “Patton” (with a magnificent German March), “The 13th Warrior” (just WOW!!), “The Mummy” (pure action and adventure), “The Last Castle” (I love his music for this film), or “The Wind and the Lion” (another masterpiece!), but we could spend a whole lifetime talking about them.
In conclusion, I love film music. And I love it because I love Jerry Goldsmith, one of the greatest composers in the film music history, if not the greatest.
I can’t spend a month without remembering his music, missing him. At least, I know this is not a consolation, we have his music, as a legacy. And, because of that, he deserves this homage.
Israel Pedraza was born in 1975 and he likes film music, specially composers like Jerry Goldsmith, Georges Delerue or James Horner.
Jerry Goldsmith was and will be the greatest composer who has ever been to compose film music.
My life changed in 1990; at that time, I remember how I liked movies from the 80s and from early 90s. I remember that analyzing the movie I had just seen, I was astonished with the soundtrack of some of films. I realized that in all the soundtracks I liked, the same name appeared in the credits: Music composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.
I was amazed with the music this man composed in every movie. I wasn’t still a fan of film music, but Jerry got me very easily with his genius scores. I was decided to find out who Jerry Goldsmith was. That year premiered a film I knew Jerry had composed, Total Recall (1990).
Oh My God! Just hearing the opening credits in the cinema, and I was amazed with what my favorite composer had written. I realized that he was a composer different from the others, and that his musical notes, his orchestrations and sounds, his original tunes, had nothing to do with the other composers; he was one step above the rest.
The truth is that Jerry had that touch of genius that no other composer could reach. In every work, he composed what the movie really needed, and it fitted perfectly in every frame, creating a different style for each OST.
At that time, I also heard works from other composers, concluding that Jerry was the king and then there were John Williams and John Barry (and then all other composers). I was excited that I had discovered a true musical master, and I started buying all his extensive works, beginning with Sleeping with the Enemy (1990), which had a fantastic romantic main theme, and that was music composed by a god, so I thought I had to buy more Jerry‘s music.
Medicine Man (1992) was published and I bought it on CD, and I remember it was a soundtrack highly sought and bought, another treasure that raised Jerry as number 1, the greatest composer. That year, he wrote Basic Instinct, another unique genius work.
Each new cd I acquired was a gift to my ears, it was special; Jerry could make my life happier, composing real gemstones for films. I really loved his music and I will love it to infinity, forever.
As I didn’t know how Jerry really looked, I subscribed to the magazine FSM; and when they sent me a picture I thought, “Jerry looks like a great master.” But I was surprised about his advanced age and the lot of music he was composing; I thought that I wished he was younger to have his music for many years.
I intensely lived all his work during the period covering 1990-2003, the musically happiest years of my life. After his death I cried so much the terrible news; my idol was gone, and I would not hear a new work, and I would never see “Music composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith” on the screen again.
Jerry lacked some more years to show where he could get with his music, how it would have evolved musically, the new genius songs he would have composed, and how film music would have evolved if Jerry had been with us, because now we have lost what Jerry created, the real film music, the style that amazed everyone.
I was lucky enough to see him in person, at a concert in the Auditorium of Barcelona, something wonderful, and I will always have Jerry directing his music in my mind. Jerry I will never forget you.
Isaac Solé is from Santpedor, a small village near Barcelona (Spain). He works in computer engineering, and likes cinema, technology and specially the film music of Jerry Goldsmith.
From an early age I had enjoyed his music, either in the credits of “Gremlins” when I watched it on TV or in the VHS of “The Mummy” I recorded from cable years ago (which was in really bad shape due to the repetitions per day), but at my short age (between seven and nine years old) I never noticed who was the man behind those wonderful masterpieces that I used to hum everyday, but I found it out years later.
In a workshop at school, my teacher came up with the idea of watching “Poltergeist” (lucky me! ‘cause once I rented the VHS and it was in poor conditions, so I understood nothing). According to my teacher, it was a horror film, but I disagreed. I found something more, because as the film progressed I realized the film was not as important as its music, telling not just a story of evil forces but a great love story, enfasizing the mother-daughter relationship with a melody that defines perfectly the unique love of a mother. Everything was perfectly narrated just with the music that covered my eyes when I heard and watched the touching scene at the end of “Rebirth”, one of the greatest masterpieces of the master (well, they are all good).
In my opinion, discovering Jerry Goldsmith has been one of the most important events in my life, inspiring me to write scripts, stories, compose and reinvent my definition of music among with cinema, so I can asuer that Jerry is doubtless the best composer that has ever existed.
Jorge Godoy: Born in Chile, my family thought that TV would be my end as a person: full of Martians, mummies, vampires, mystery programs, etc… From a very young age I rented horror VHSs, and I fell down fascinated with the quality of yesteryear cinema, so I became a true video store mouse. Luckily I usually knew what to choose, in order to inspire me and stimulate my imagination to write stories, create short films and movies and create my own VHS covers. In short, they were all wrong.
Jerry Goldsmith has been one of my biggest inspirations for composing and writing, which led me to discover the BSO Spirit website, where I met a great new friend, and then I started reading his reviews on Goldsmith and then share the same tastes and opinions on music and cinema.
I do not think that it will be nonsense, when I assure that Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, are the two most important composers that have ever been in the soundtrack genre.
And although there are always opinions, preferences and personal assessments (despite this review, I recognize that there are a few composers that I like more, and that was John Williams who made me seek for music on the movies and Basil Poledouris who made me love and collect film and music), it is impossible to understand film music today without the figure of Jerry Goldsmith.
He was also a composer committed to the film, always more interested in finding the feeling that fit best with the movie, rather than simply making a beautiful melody. But ironically, his are some of the most beautiful and / or recognizable themes in the history of cinema. Because Jerry Goldsmith has been, and is, one of the most (if not the most) magnificent film music composers. Because…
- … he is the definite music of fantasy, when a princess enters a fairytale forest, while the good and evil are fighting their last battle.
- … he is a child’s lullaby, the melody of a friendly mystic Indian and the ominous presence of a ghostly preacher.
- …he is the soul of the sad and fragmented psyche of Norman Bates, in between the sanity and the madness.
- …he is the frenetic rhythm of the guitar while Nick Nolte runs for his life, as well as the beautiful theme when he finds (again) his love in Nicaragua.
- …he is the heroism of the cousin of the highest superhero of all times, with sound that is parallel (a great orchestral sound) and divergent at the same time (with an electronic touch and a visit to the Phantom Zone).
- …he is the sound of the limits of reality and beyond the boundaries of the Galaxy “where no man has gone before”.
- …he is the sweet voice of a Mogwai, and the catchy sound that accompanies his evil counterparts.
- …he is pure energy!
- …he is like a requiem with soprano voice, while the bomb falls in an undetermined place, in one of his most emotional themes.
- …he is, and he will continue to be all this and much more, while his music is being played and listened in the movies, and in the CDs that are edited.
Miguel Garre is from Barcelona (Spain). He was born in 1969 and is fond of film music since ancient times. He likes mostly Basil Poledouris and Christopher Young.
It has been almost ten years since he passed away… But it has not been ten years without him. His musical notes remain with us and they will doso for quite a long time. In fact, I imagine we are so many the lovers of his music that there is no single second elapsing in which it is not being listened to somewhere in the world.
Ten years without that musical chameleon who knew how to adapt himself to the times and to the changing tastes of producers, directors and dilettantes. The quintessential all-purpose composer, the one who had to struggle with great movies or with real bombs, the natural-born experimenter, the cerebral romantic. So many different things and all of them at the same time or one after another.
As an example. He was one of the action theme masters in the seventies, the creative genius behind the brand new themes for the eighties and the genre renovator in the nineties.
Master. This is the key word in my opinion. Master of many. Known or unknown. Leader of so many others. A father who left us alone in a desert of sound design and no music. That is why we always come back to him. With a smile in our ears and a thank you in our hearts
Thanks, master Goldsmith.
Óscar Salazar was born in the Basque town of Barakaldo (Spain) a few years ago. Most of them has been attached to the screen, since he first discovered that a guy in pajamas could fly. Then came the music that accompanied the images and the books that inspired them. To date, none of these three things has left him. Between dreams, he studied Industrial Engineering and leads a parallel life where he works in a large multinational company. It is even possible that any of you met him in the real world.
It’s show time! Hoosiers is playing loudly all over the intercom. Football balls are bouncing here and there. The stands of the Goldsmith Arena are being filled before the great final. Expectations are high and you can feel the flavor of a major event in the air. Let there be game, gentlemen! And this game, is played by all of us … the ones we love and enjoy the music of the Maestro. I don’t know about you, but when the game is finished, I will leave in a rush with Rudy and Angie (a lovely couple I know from long time ago, and that remains forever young) to a certain Rio Conchos in Congo. Challenges for the brave, bad girls, generals without malice, night escapes, peaceful gorgons crushing slimy aliens, attacks on the railway Caboblanco-Masada (be careful, explosive charges have been set on the bridge of Cassandra!), explorers under fire, pissed swarms … and endless adventures that await us, as the prophecy established.
And who is playing this game? Let me make a list… fantastic people like Rubén alias “Criminal Law”, Sergio, Isra, Jordi, Dani, Miguel, David, Vane, Carlos, Eduardo, Gorka, Asier, Isabel, Luis… and many more that I fail to mention.
Euphoria in the stands! You can hear the echoes of Universal’s fanfare. The lights stay on, while…. oh my god, wicked gremlins with bad intentions are trying to turn them off… unsuccessfully! As long as there is one of us who listens, tastes or enjoys one of Jerry’s master action themes or “synths”, his final apotheosizes and his fantastic lyricisms, will continue to illuminate our lives.
Because while there is Goldsmith; there is hope. Ave, Jerry!
Alfonso Conde is best Known as “Tximbo” or just “Alf”. He opened his eyes for the first time in Bilbao (Spain). Stardate unknown, true melmakian past, bright smile child. He moved to Madrid, where he studied law, but what he really liked was history. One day he woke up humming some film tune and since then has not stopped: hundreds of CDs are accumulated in his quarters. He now plans to extend ambitions (and shelves), after furiously unleashed his rock vein.
Passionate about beer, never misses an opportunity to take a few wherever, whenever, with whomever.
Think of something that inspires you, giving you strength to fight and face your problems in your daily life. You need a travel companion. Your Jiminy Cricket.
He doesn’t need to speak; he simply accompanies you, inspiring you. He is a strong connection to the world around you, one of your maximum supports when things go wrong. And when you think about him, you feel better and powerful.
He is your support in difficult times; your fortress of solitude, where no kryptonite can affect you. That, in summary, is Jerry Goldsmith for me. His music has transcended the reason why it was made. It’s my Bible daily (and I’m not very religious), my medication for almost all the ills.
From my childhood, something was germinating about his music, I always noticed any movie that included his name. When I rented BETA or VHS videos, it always surprised me discovering movies with his name (“Alien”, “The Omen”, “Poltergeist”, “Gremlins”, “The Twilight Zone: The Movie”), or when I went to cinema with my parents, I enjoyed films with his music like “Explorers” and “Innerspace”.
I made lists of his movies at home or classroom, and after this, I started to make lists of soundtracks and collect them, discovering a new world of sensations. I remembered to buy works like the great “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” or “High Velocity”, two of my first purchases, heard over and over again for my enjoyment. For that time, I didn’t know anything about the existence of these two works.
I always felt a special connection with their music. I like all his works, I can not say the opposite. I understand each of his creations as part of a large magnum opus, where his unmistakable style never stops to amaze and motivate me. I feel genuine excitement and joy even with works as “Criminal Law”, “Runaway” or his rejected score for “Alien Nation”. They are works that smell and taste like Goldsmith. It is his unmistakable mark.
Jerry Goldsmith means many things; fantastic musical resources, such as solitary and heroic trumpet to his heroes (from the beginning of his career, in “Lonely are the Brave”); his famous “fifths musicals” (think of all his works, and especially work action as “King Solomon’s Mines” or “Air Force One”); the use and experimentation with synthesizers (the best in this field, in my opinion, like “Logan’s Run”) and orchestra (“Planet of the Apes”, “Alien”); his musical ability to excite and thrill us with his enveloping melodies (“Medicine Man”, “Illia’s theme”, “Papillon”, “The Sand Peebles”); the creation of magical worlds (“Legend”, “NIMH”) …
Goldsmith is all this and much more, for me; his work has transcended the medium for which it was written. Verily, it was September 14th, 2012, when I left my wife sleeping her first night in the hospital with our newborn daughter, Alba, at about 22:30 pm, and I rode in my car and when the engine started, my stereo exploded with the theme of Nicaragua (“Under Fire”), at full speed, filling the car with colour and light, and I remembered with emotion at my two girls in my mind.
And several baby bottles have been accompanied by “A Patch of Blue” and “Fierce Creatures”, plus several works by John Williams.
I didn’t meet Jerry in life, but thanks to his music I’m around him, and I can meet him a little better. Just hope I can meet you in the afterlife, the other side, and that makes me go towards the light that your spirit radiates, through your music.
Thanks for your music, for being there. See you in the other side, Master.
When I get home after work, at weekends too, I turn on my Mac, my speakers and I open iTunes in orden to listen to film music.
Soundtracks are around me meanwhile almost anything I do at home, but there, instead of listening to an entire CD, I enjoy more listening to single tracks, random style, just as my soul and mood claims. Those old albums that I’ll be never tired of listening and re-listening.
This regard, Jerry Goldsmith is “the one” who always reaches my heart, ‘cause he’s surely the composer who “wrote the soundtrack of my life”. His music is simply magic for me. Tracks as the Main Title of “The Challenge”, The Light of “Poltergeist”, A Busy Man “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” or Teach Me / No More Tricks (from fragment “It’s a Good Life”) “Twilight Zone The Movie” are tiny examples of how important this man was.
But above all there is a theme that still makes me fall on my knees, overwhelmed, makes me tremble because I think that we won’t hear something like that anymore, given the sad current music scene, compared to the past. It’s none other than Trial Run of the “Final Conflict”. A 100% Goldsmith theme that distills magic through and through and that I’ll never be tired of listening almost every day.
I can only say one thing: this man was a Genius and I’ll always give him a million thanks for his timeless legacy that I enjoy everyday, and Ruben, defender of Goldsmith, made us treasuring from very young.
It is difficult to write something brief about Jerry Goldsmith, a person who composed so much, and who greatly contributed to film music, because that means choosing what to say and choosing a work to talk about.
In my case, I think the first memory I have about his work, is leaving the theater after seeing the film “Total Recall”, with the action theme stuck into my head, and saying… “Fantastic! Who composed that?” …to discover shortly after that, it was Jerry. In fact, I think that I was not the only person who had the music in mind, since it has been used as an opening theme for many sports programs and events for a long time (although many people do not know who composed that “catchy music”, and it is attributed to the sports program in question and not to Jerry Goldsmith).
Soon after, I found him again in “Basic Instinct”, a film that caused a stir in the 90s (although today it seems prudish compared to many reality shows or soap operas we see on the small screen). That year he was nominated to the Oscars for his music, but unfortunately didn’t get it.
With a long career that began in the 50’s, and ended with his death in 2004 at the age of 75 years, Jerry has 18 Oscar nominations but paradoxically only one statue… Sometimes we need to miss somebody, to recognize and realize that he has left us a great legacy behind (as it will happen with John Williams…).
Jerry was a specialist in composing for all types of movies, of all genres, trying to innovate in each of his jobs and always looking for the right sound for each story, even if that meant moving away from the melodic path marked by other composers.
I still remember the day I got the news of his death, shortly after a concert in Barcelona was suspended for Jerry’s health reasons (that unfortunately, I had planned to go). Every year in February, thousands of fans remember his birthday, and celebrate his wonderful melodies listening to his music again and again. As we say in my country… Zorionak maixu! Felicidades Maestro! Happy Birthday Master! You have left us, but your music will be with us, for many more birthdays!
While preparing this Special, I read almost all the gentle words that our friends have shared with us, from composers to mere amateurs or fans (I think you cannot be the former without being the latter), and as usual when writing for such collaborative articles, I preferred to leave my own thoughts to the end. It helps me to shape them better, to express in words the heart of what I mean, having heard other people talk about the same topic.
Speaking of Jerry Goldsmith… I admit I find it somewhat difficult. It is a contradiction, because it is very, very easy to talk about his music. But in a web like AsturScore (devotee of the Master), we are constantly doing that, so today I’d rather not go down that road. Movies are movies, and their music, in short, it’s just music … its ultimate impact on the world, culture and people, is relative.
As I got older I realized this more and more, and I learned to give things their true value. No film or score is more valuable than the people who made it possible. Both are made by people, for people. Maybe the current cinema industry forget that tickets are paid by people, not by herds… maybe. We’re lucky that there are still artists, who as Master Goldsmith, realize (and now we talk about music) that their work is always, inevitably bound to people.
If anything can be said about him is that he knew how to reach our heart and intellect, with any tool at his disposal. I don’t know if he was the best doing that, because I do not believe in that concept. The best in something does not exist, while you can always find someone who can do the same at least as well. Meanwhile, we can begin extensive and poor discussions on the subject, because it’s in human nature to compare things, even though we know they are not comparable.
These are my thoughts (my feelings) about Jerry Goldsmith. He cannot be compared, as a composer, with anyone else. It’s not a matter of degree, excellence or greatness. Professionally speaking, there are no composers with such career (unique in many ways). From an artistic point of view, few can boast of his chameleon adaptation, both to the times he lived in, and to the projects and budgets for each film. Such integration, however, was never imitation, and never was an obstacle for his music, that always sounded like his own, either with synthesizers, orchestras or string quartets.
If anyone knows a bit of the theory of Quantum Physics, he or she should know that all there is (including music) is formed by particles whose special features and lifetime can be described mathematically. The bricks of Cosmos. There are electrons, which are all identical, and as individual particles are also unique (it’s a bit more complicated, but as an example, it’s worthy). Recently, we all remember the news about the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a particle within the family of bosons. If the entire Universe were Music, the family of composers, would have many different types of particles composing. The discovery of the Goldsmith Particle forces us to create a brand new category within the Theory of Music, which includes him alone. He was unique, on a fundamental level.
I don’t know if Jerry Goldsmith was or is still the best. What I do know is that there will never be one like him.