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 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 1:35 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

This is another entry in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, focusing on the complete scores to films that have had abbreviated previous releases or have gone unreleased.

Today we are looking at City Hall (1996) by Jerry Goldsmith.

Well, Jerry Goldsmith’s 1996’s score for City Hall certainly proved to be one of the most interesting Complete Score Breakdowns I’ve done so far. The score as it exists on CD currently is one that I enjoy fairly well. It’s not one I listen to a lot, but when I do, I am reminded of the class, dignity, maturity, and singular urban political soundscape that he was capable of conjuring with this score or something like L.A. Confidential. I actually prefer City Hall to L.A. Confidential, believe it or not. The tunes of City Hall are just so smooth, so alluring, so attractive, and do have that edge but end on such an impressive and well-written coda. The main theme is just terrific.

I wondered how much music was missing from the very short 29 and ½ minute CD. Well, I found out a lot of interesting things about this score when watching the film. First of all, there is hardly any score in this 111-minute movie – only 28 minutes of score as heard in the film! One of Jerry’s most sparse and minimally spotted scores, I’d imagine. It works well, I admit; when the music does come in, it’s all the more powerful, even though my instincts tell me that I just want to hear more of Goldsmith’s music.

Some notes about the film version of the score vs. the CD version of the score: two CD tracks are unused in the film: “When I Was a Kid” and “Schwartz Is Dead”. Also, the CD track “Take a Vacation” is edited by 45 seconds in the film. The film features two alternate film versions of the CD tracks “The Bridge”, which is much more subdued in the film, and the closing piece “Count On It”, which just takes different routes in how the string lines are written and when the theme comes in and out.

In addition to these film and CD version differences, however, there is music in the film that was not on the CD; traditional “unreleased music”. The total amount of unreleased music in City Hall (including the alternate film versions of “The Bridge” and “Count On It”) comes to 11 and ½ minutes. When you add everything together, all known music written for the film, the total runtime is 40min 45sec.

The most outstanding unreleased cue (and it’s really the only one with any real substance and length to it) is one I call “Stern’s Regrets” where Goldsmith delicately and sorrowfully underscores Judge Stern’s (Martin Landau’s) disgraceful resignation from his position after being identified for his involvement in the central shooting of the film. As he speaks of his ‘pathetic regrets’, Goldsmith’s music gives him a respectful and noble send-off, and I was so impressed by the intelligent application of meaning and emotion that the composer gave to the scene and the music played beautifully, really elevating the scene.

CURRENT CD RELEASE RUNTIME: 29min 30sec
COMPLETE SCORE RUNTIME (AS HEARD IN FILM): 28min 05sec
ALL KNOWN ORIGINAL MUSIC WRITTEN FOR THE FILM (INCLUDING UNEDITED CD TRACKS, UNUSED TRACKS, AND/OR ALTERNATE FILM VERSIONS, WITH NO IDENTICAL DUPLICATION REGARDING FILM TRACKS & CD TRACKS): 40min 45sec

UNRELEASED SCORE RUNTIME: 11min 40sec

Complete Score Cue Titles and Cue Times (unreleased cues named by me for the sake of identification):

+ – previously unreleased (or includes previously unreleased material)

1. The Bridge (1:42) + – (alternate film version)
2. The Meet (2:56)
3. The Hospital (2:15)
4. News Report (1:00) +
5. Santos’ Funeral (0:31) +
6. The Cabin (1:04)
7. The King Maker (2:22)
8. Dead Body (0:42) +
9. Old Friends (2:37)
10. Stern’s Regrets (2:21) +
11. Think About It (1:19)
12. The Report (1:07)
13. The Mansion (0:42) +
14. Take a Vacation (2:45) – (edited from CD track; begins at 0:40 of CD track)
15. Count On It (4:50) + – (alternate film version)

Current CD Release Track Titles and Track Times:

1. The Bridge (2:04)
2. The Meet (2:56)
3. The Hospital (2:19)
4. When I Was a Kid (2:21) – (unused in film)
5. The Cabin (1:05)
6. The King Maker (2:22)
7. Old Friends (2:49)
8. Schwartz Is Dead (2:45) – (unused in film)
9. Think About It (1:22)
10. The Report (1:13)
11. Take a Vacation (3:31)
12. Count On It (4:50)

Thanks for reading, see you next time!

Deputy Riley

smile



 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 6:31 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Surprised there isn't that much more music in the movie. Doubtful I'd get an expanded version of this as I sold my Varese CD because I didn't play it that often. Not to big a fan of either this one or L.A. Confidential.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 9:40 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

This was the score for me when I finally stopped buying a new CD just cos it was by Jerry Goldsmith.
I'd struggled previously with Not Without My Daughter, Mr Baseball, Dennis the Menace and parts of Matinee, River Wild and Angie - to name just some from this period - and I decided I would hear the music in the film first or listen to a mate's copy to decide on future Goldsmith purchases.
Thankfully, there was Ghost & the Darkness, Air Force One, Mulan and Small Soldiers - amongst others - to follow which I really liked.

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 9:45 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

While L.A. Confidential is a great movie and I like Goldsmith's score very much, I am in the same boat as you in preferring this album to Confidential. While not one of his greatest scores by any means, the class and quality of his work shines through in this one.

I'd buy a complete version of course, which I suspect might possibly include more unused cues that we don't know about.

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Thinking about that whole idea of buying a CD just on reputation and past confidence, I've just realised with
some of my faves now gone (Horner, Poledouris) the list grows smaller and smaller.
I think there is only John Williams and Danny Elfman left, plus Bruce Broughton, David Newman,
Lee Holdridge and John Scott if they ever get any projects.

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 11:53 AM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Well I must be in the minority 'cause I have always enjoyed this score, and The Meet is one of my favorite cues of all time!

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 12:17 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Minority, David? There are *three* of us in this thread who like City Hall and only two of us who don't much care for it. We're in the majority, pal. smile

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Spymaster   (Member)

Add me to the list of City Hall lovers. I love the way that JG built percussion so strongly into it - an idea he was playing with a lot at the time - and I love the somber, reflective "When I was A Kid"

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2015 - 11:47 PM   
 By:   ian642002   (Member)

While I don't have the City Hall soundtrack, I'm very much taken by it and, most especially, its softly-Gershwinesque theme. But where it knocks me out the most is the final revelatory scene between Cusack and Pacino, where the variation of the main theme never intrudes yet provides a quietly melancholic undertow to the finely written and acted exchange. In the film, Goldsmith's music is sparse, yet it's used with consideration and understated effectiveness (percussion passages aside - and they're not bad either).

Actually, it makes one wonder how the character and quality of the music would have turned out if the film had centred on its human/political themes had it not taken a slightly unwarranted turn into thriller territory. When it centres on the human centre of the story, everything, including Goldsmith's contribution, clicks.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2015 - 1:34 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

While I don't have the City Hall soundtrack, I'm very much taken by it and, most especially, its softly-Gershwinesque theme. But where it knocks me out the most is the final revelatory scene between Cusack and Pacino, where the variation of the main theme never intrudes yet provides a quietly melancholic undertow to the finely written and acted exchange. In the film, Goldsmith's music is sparse, yet it's used with consideration and understated effectiveness (percussion passages aside - and they're not bad either).

Actually, it makes one wonder how the character and quality of the music would have turned out if the film had centred on its human/political themes had it not taken a slightly unwarranted turn into thriller territory. When it centres on the human centre of the story, everything, including Goldsmith's contribution, clicks.


Great points, Ian, particularly regarding that final Cusack/Pacino exchange, which is brilliant acting. Goldsmith really matched their wonderful acting with his music and the scene reached magnificent heights when all artists were at the top of their game. Great insights, well-articulated. Thanks for the post.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2015 - 2:34 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Okay, I musta explained meself wrorng!! wink
I don't dislike the CITY HALL soundtrack, but it was the one where I decided the new Jerry wasn't doing it for me the way the old Jerry did, so I had to take stock.
I've just called it up on my mp3 and I have 5 tracks saved from the score (The Bridge, The Hospital, Swartz is Dead, Take A Vacation and Count On It).
Having just listened to them, they're basically the same track with slight variations, so I musta liked that idea back when I played through it for 'track saving'.
However, in the spirit of open minds and fair play, I've dug out the CD and will give it another spin to see if my listening tastes have changed/mellowed any over the past years.
Plus, maybe I need to vary my mini-programme somewhat.
Oh and yes, I like this score better than L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, even though I think L.A. is waaaayyy the better film.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2015 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

I've just called it up on my mp3 and I have 5 tracks saved from the score (The Bridge, The Hospital, Swartz is Dead, Take A Vacation and Count On It).

Please, consider adding The Meet! Essential track my friend. Also, take another look at The King Maker. I like that one a lot, I feel like it has a nice Chinatown vibe to it, if you like that score. Very relaxed, bluesy/jazzy swagger to it.

L.A. is waaaayyy the better film.

Absolutely no doubt!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2015 - 10:01 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Well, I played the Varese CD again today, with a view to editing a new - more varied - playlist.
The tracks that I favoured this time were...
The Bridge
The Meet (memories of Rent-A-Cop in there)
The Cabin
Swartz Is Dead
Count On It.
So I'm still on 5 tracks, but added some variation to my original ' kinda samey' ones.
The King Maker recalled Russia House to me Dep. Yes, a smooth jazz vibe to it.
Anyway, thanks for the CSB. Always lotsa fun.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2015 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   whoismatthew   (Member)

No one has mentioned the homage JG is doing to "On the Waterfront" with the cue "the Meet" and somewhat of the solo trumpet lines.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2015 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

No one has mentioned the homage JG is doing to "On the Waterfront" with the cue "the Meet" and somewhat of the solo trumpet lines.


Ah, I remember that was pretty much the main topic of discussion when the score originally came out. Although the movie isn't one I'd watch again, the score has gotten lots of play over the years. A very nice moody effort. I'd made a playlist of this and LA Confidential some years back and had the tracks on shuffle mode, and it flowed very very well as a whole, the two different scores meshing together very nicely. Even though the orchestrations are very different, they both share the same smoky, melancholy tone. A score that plays perfectly at the Varese CD length, one well worth visiting for those who aren't familiar with it.

 
 Posted:   Oct 22, 2019 - 4:00 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Bumping this thread because, thanks to the Academy now listing their written score holdings on their website, we now know the original cue titles for the complete score since they have the manuscript and list them!

http://collections.new.oscars.org/Details/Archive/71302944

1-1 "The Bridge," 2 pages
1-1 "The Bridge (revised)," 2 pages
1-1 "The Bridge (second revision)," 1 page
1-2 "The Meet," 5 pages
2-1 "The Hospital," 2 pages
3-3 "Find Vinnie," 1 page
3-4 "The Funeral," 1 page
7-1 "The Cabin (revised)," 2 pages
7-2 "The King Maker," 3 pages
7-3/8-0 "Dead in the Water," 1 page
8-1 "Call Me," 1 page
9-1 "Schwartz Is Dead," 4 pages
9-2 "Old Friends," 3 pages
10-1 "Think About It (revised)," 1 page
11-2 "The Report," 1 page
11-2 "The Report (revised)," 1 page
11-3 "About the Mayor," 1 page
12-1 "Take a Vacation (revised)," 3 pages
12-2 "Count on It," 2 pages
12-2 "Count on It (revised)," 1 page
12-3c [no title], 1 page

It seems that, besides there being unreleased cues to premiere, there are also a number of alternates that could be included on a prospective Deluxe Edition! I know it's not the most beloved or substantially unreleased Goldsmith score, but sign me up if this ever comes out because I dig it!

Yavar

 
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