10 April 2007

A "Vanished" Score Reappears


Legendary film composer Jerry Goldsmith has been dead for almost three years now, and I still find it hard to deal with his absence. Ever since I "discovered" his music in 1990 (after enjoying it for years in films without knowing who he was), he turned into a key part of my artistic and musical life—and a focus of album collection mania. I believe my Goldsmith album library comes to around a hundred and fifty individual CDs and LPs. Dealing with his death has often been nothing more than straight-up denial. But as I approach the third year anniversary of Jerry's death from cancer in July, I more and more realize that we haven't had a new Goldsmith score since Looney Tunes: Back in Action and the posthumous release of the rejected score to Timeline. And there will be no more new scores. The silence from Jerry Goldsmith has only started to sink into my musical mind three years out.

But there remain a few gems from Goldsmith's unreleased back catalog that have started to see their way into the palsied hands of collectors like me. Genuine releases, not bad bootlegs. So it almost seems as if Jerry Goldsmith still lives and still cranks out like clockwork one genius score after another. As the liner notes of the newest Goldsmith gem to emerge from the vaults, The Vanishing, states: "There is just so much Goldsmith to love."

Although the dark side of this is that its easier to live in denial of Goldsmith's death with new albums still coming out.

The Vanishing arrived in the mail yesterday, direct from Varèse Sarabande's CD club. A full, glorious, sixty-minute CD of Goldsmith music never released in album form until now. This 1993 suspense film (an inferior re-make of a 1988 Dutch thriller) mysteriously never received a soundtrack album release when it came out; at the time, nearly all of Goldsmith's new scores received a CD release, albeit often a skimpy thirty-minute one—damn music union re-use fees made longer releases prohibitively expensive for the smaller music labels. But The Vanishing and the comedy IQ skipped release altogether, and the liner notes for The Vanishing unfortunately don't explain why this happened. It couldn't have anything to do with the quality of the score: it's another Goldsmith winner, much in the suspense vein of his Academy Award-nominated work to Basic Instinct. The use of jazz interspersed among the "ticking" sound of suspense is a genius stroke, and the End Title, like that for his score to The Edge, uses a jazz orchestration to make a strong counterpoint. Hearing fresh Goldsmith, even if it's really fifteen years old, creates a frisson of joy in my musical soul. (And, as a bonus, at the end of the last track we can hear Jerry himself say, "Really nice job" to the musicians.)

Okay, Varèse... where's that full Gremlins album?