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 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 5:23 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Also, maybe it's because he was such a perfect film composer in terms of finding the right musical effect to support the images that I don't find a lot of his music all that interesting to listen to on its own (I'm certainly not in the need-to-hear-every-single-cue camp). It feels to me like a lot of the music was specifically designed to interact with the visual elements and separated from the purpose for which it was intended it seems to be lacking something.



This most closely reflects my own opinion. I've seen many films for which JG composed the music, and there are hardly any where I could say anything other than that the music worked for the film on a scale somewhere between brilliantly and adequately. I think that makes him a really well-educated craftsman who was very successful in his chosen profession.

I've also listened to many of the same scores on disc, and with some notable exceptions there are very few that I care to repeat too often.

So I wouldn't argue with him being a very versatile composer (I don't think you can say "the most" without critieria and evidence, which are impossible). His music just lacked that extra little something that pushes it over the line into the category of inspirational. Nothing of his that I've heard can make something swell in my chest like John Barry (which Raise the Titanic did just last week); nothing of his that I've heard can bring a tear dangerously close to the eye of this bitten-eared cynic like Morricone's La Califfa or Sacco & Vanzetti.

In the wider world of concert hall music, the level of versatility evinced by Goldsmith admirably on the silver screen wouldn't even rate a footnote in a biography of a Shostakovich, a Prokofiev, even a Nielsen - let alone a Bach, a Beethoven, a Mozart. But of course he isn't alone in that.

 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 5:44 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Goldsmith is not my favorite, but I must own 20 or 25 of his scores. I am always impressed not only by the stylistic range, but also his lack of reliance on any signature devices that allow a listener to easily identify an artist.

I should add that are vast swaths of his output of which I am totally ignorant.

What do you think?



Jerry Goldsmith was certainly a very versatile composer, but like Thor I don't know how one could quantify versatility. It is also interesting, that -- even though one may not immediately perceive a "signature device" of Goldsmith -- that he had a very distinctive voice. He was probably the first film composer I could readily identify just by hearing a few notes of his underscore in a movie.

Also, when looking at Goldsmith's entire output, his scores can be viewed as belonging to a certain category of score, many of those are then interrelated to other scores in other categories again. There is quite a scope to his output. Goldsmith is certainly one of the composers who is responsible for me listening to film scores apart from movies in the first place, so certainly think his music as an inherent value apart from the movie it was written for.

 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

So I wouldn't argue with him being a very versatile composer (I don't think you can say "the most" without critieria and evidence, which are impossible). His music just lacked that extra little something that pushes it over the line into the category of inspirational. Nothing of his that I've heard can make something swell in my chest like John Barry (which Raise the Titanic did just last week); nothing of his that I've heard can bring a tear dangerously close to the eye of this bitten-eared cynic like Morricone's La Califfa or Sacco & Vanzetti.

I agree with this. I find I don’t listen to Goldsmith as much as Barry or Morricone or Williams for the same reasons, although I can appreciate how accomplished a composer he was. However the one Goldsmith score I listen to frequently and is head and shoulders above most is ‘The Omen’. Incredible score in the movie and on disc.

 
 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   The Beach Bum   (Member)

Jerry Goldsmith is a good candidate for "most versatile", because he had an ability to write in many different styles with many different techniques, and on top of that was one of the most prolific composers working in films.

There is the Weill-like Studs Lonigan, the Bartokian Freud, the 40s big band tunes of In Harm's Way, his country-western arrangement of "Texas Rangers" for Wild Rovers, the Straussian waltz of Boys From Brazil, the authentic ethnic techniques of The Chairman and Under Fire, the wacky "Gremlin Rag", jazz in The Russia House, the list goes on. Add to that his ability to integrate arcane instruments into his scores, in ways no one else had done before (bass slide-whistle, steel mixing bowls, rub rods, digeridoo, etc.).

This doesn't make him "the best" (I don't think there is a single "best" film composer) or that his music even stands alone well (much of it doesn't for me) but versatility was one of the strengths for which he was best-known, to a greater degree than probably any of his colleagues.

 
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