Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Memoriam: Jerry Goldsmith

(1929 - 2004)

Today marks the 81st birthday of composter Jerry Goldsmith. He died at the age of 75 but his legacy would live on forever. He has composed some of the most memorable and award winning scores of our time and I think, personally, he is one of my favorite composers next to John Williams. He composed the score to the sci-fi classic Star Trek, to Polanski’s Chinatown to the creepy and childish Poltergeist. He composed the scores for actions movies such as The Mummy, Total Recall, Alien, Legend and First Blood. However, I want to briefly talk about his notable horror scores.

Goldsmith was nominated for 17 different Academy Awards; making him one of the most nominated composers but the only Oscar that he would win would be for the ’76 horror film The Omen. He scored one for the horror team! His score for The Omen is biblical and epic; chanting "Sanguis bibimus, corpus edimus, tolle corpus Satani" and "Ave Versus Christus,” both of which are synonymous with Satan, which is fitting for The Omen. The choral aspects of this score are so haunting and so heavy that it sticks out from other horror scores.

As for the Poltergeist theme, well, its almost like a lullaby done in the same style that Krzysztof Komeda did for Rosemary’s Baby. It’s soft, it’s mellow, and it’s touching but very haunting. You can even hear how it’s almost a throwback to old Hollywood scores. It fits perfectly for a movie like this.

Then, taking a turn for the more comedic horror route, Goldsmith composed the scores for the Gremlins movies. The majority of this score was synth but I think that it fits for what the film is. The score is very high speed, very active and should not be taken seriously. It’s almost like a score for a big budget cartoon, which is what Gremlins, is, a life action cartoon.

With all this said, next to John Williams, I have a lot of Jerry Goldsmith CD’s and songs and he has been a real heavy, heavy influence on my writing and on my work. By listening to his scores I have gotten some of my best ides from and if I listen with an open mind, I can put myself right there in the movie. This was a man whose work will always be remembered and to me, he will never be forgotten.

Rest In Peace Jerry Goldsmith.

My favorite scores by Goldsmith:
The Mummy
The Omen
The Twilight Zone: The Movie
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Total Recall
Looney Toons: Back in Action
The ‘Burbs
L.A. Confidential


C.L. Hadden said...

My fave Goldsmith scores are Psycho 2 and The Edge. Underrated, both of them - but excellent.

Nice post.

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

i loved the omen and the poltergeist (poltergeist will always be my favorite horror movie).

rest in peace jerry goldsmith. you will be missed.

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