10 February 2009

Jerry Goldsmith’s birthday

Today is the birthday of Jerry Goldsmith, my favorite film composer, and arguably my favorite composer and musician of any music, period. Jerry died in 2004, and with each passing year when we don’t have new film scores from him, I feel the loss more and more. He was a musical genius, a man with the most creative approach to film scoring this side of Bernard Herrmann, and a person with a dramatic sense that I’ve never experienced in anyone else in the wonderful art of movie music. I own recordings of over a hundred and fifty of his scores (plus some of his concert work, like his beautiful ode to his home city of Los Angeles, “Fireworks,” which I find deeply touching as a long-time Angeleno myself) and I still listen to them constantly. “Carol Anne’s Theme” from Poltergeist plays on my cell phone when I get a text message. The theme from Alien plays as my ringback. With every Halloween season, the complete Omen musical trilogy enters constant rotation on my iPod. I get teary-eyed listening to the music from Hoosiers (one of Jerry’s personal favorite scores). The Secret of NIMH’s score still has an important place in my childhood. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is uplifting and ethereal genius. Chinatown may be the greatest film score ever written. And there is nothing more romantic than the thundering Arabian melodies of The Wind and the Lion.

I had the privilege of meeting Jerry Goldsmith twice during the last years of his life. Film music will never have its same power in a post-Goldsmith world; he was that great an artist.

I miss you a lot, Jerry.