Film Music Review
The Sammy awards






  Special Merit 




Music composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.

Disc One: 20 Tracks (Playing Time = 55:40)

Disc Two: 9 Tracks (Playing Time = 55:39)



Orchestrated by Arthur Morton. Features the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Includes “We’re Home Again” sung by Elaine Paige, music by Jerry Goldsmith and lyrics by Hal Shaper; excerpts from Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Johann Strauss, Jr’s “The Blue Danube.” “Ismael’s Samba” composed by Arthur Morton. Originally recorded June 30, and July 1-3, 1978, at Anvil Studios, Denham, England. Engineered by Eric Tomlinson. Re-issue CD produced, edited and mastered by Douglass Fake. CD mastered at Intrada, Oakland, CA. Album art direction by Joe Sikoryak, designWELL. CD 2 Tracks 1-4 originally released as A&M Records SP-4731.

Intrada Special Collection 75

Rating: ****

There are probably four or five Jerry Goldsmith scores that film music lovers list as “Holy Grails” for CD re-issue. We have seen at least two of them appear so far: ALIEN, and THE WIND AND THE LION (depending on the day LONELY ARE THE BRAVE and STAR-TREK THE MOTION PICTURE are the others).

Intrada has now released the third of these “grail scores, THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL. Perhaps the key to anticipation of these three Intrada releases is that they have each been nominated for Oscars, and often have an interesting LP history. Of course, the music for each is some of the best in Goldsmith’s oeuvre as well.

THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL is an interesting score in a lot of ways. It features an ear-catching waltz theme that hearkens, intentionally, back to an old Vienna. But it is a Vienna, and by extension Germany, that is far different and a bit macabre. You can hear this from the opening bars of the “Main Title” as the music pulls us into an almost exhilaratingly joyous mood before darker syncopations begin to enter into the texture. Even though the orchestration of the score is fascinating, much of it is written in simple harmonic style with a lot of unisonal and octave writing. There are plenty of little intriguing details in winds and brass, and the always fascinating ways that Goldsmith plays with rhythm. The easiest way to describe the score is to think of a melding of Bernard Herrmann, Richard Strauss, and Wagner all rolled into a mixture that has just a hint of Shostakovich.

In some respects, the score also continues to expand upon a purely orchestral style that Goldmsith was using in his scores for THE OMEN and its next two sequels along with the style he would employ for STAR TREK. Odd bendings of pitches and flourishes of string ideas would be further explored by the composer in his score for POLTERGEIST. It is this tenuous hold between the macabre nature of the story and narrative dramatic underscore that makes THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL a fascinating listen.

For this release, Intrada has put together two discs that allow us an overview of the music for this film.

Disc one features the complete score with the film version of “We’re Home Again”—one of the weirdest out of place songs one could imagine for a film. Disc two begins with 40 minutes that match the 1978 original LP release. There is a 19-minute suite of edits from the score that Goldsmith determined, in other words it is not a re-composed piece. The song appears in an lbum version and then there are two edited pieces: an 8 minute track titled “ Frau Doring” and near 7 minute “finale” track. They initially served to give some musical closure to the release. Also included are several “bonus tracks” featuring source cues that played in the film. Excerpts from Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Johann Strauss, Jr.’s “The Blue Danube” appear as filler here along with a radio source samba penned by Arthur Morton. The disc closes with the original version of “The Hospital” and a version of “The Killers Arrive” without all the percussion overlays.

The release includes a fine booklet with plenty of information about this odd film and its amazing score by Jon Burlingame. Each track receives a plot description and musical commentary as apt. There is also a list of the edits used in the album suite.

Intrada announced a 5000 unit pressing of this release anticipating that it would not sell out, but evidently matching what they had seen with the other two Goldsmith issues. There may still be time to snatch up all three since the first 3000 units sold within a few days.


Steven A. Kennedy, 28 September 2008

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