Okay, I'm not going to pretend I know a great deal about Jerome Moross, but I am a fan on many levels of both his scores for The Valley of Gwangi and The Big Country. Both are currently available on CD.
However, I am curious as to how others feel and think about both scores.
I can remember seeing Gwangi on TV in 1979 and falling in love with the score. Jumping ahead to 2010 and I hear the score to The Big Country and right away I am wondering why this score is so similar to Gwangi.
So here is my question to anyone here.
Do you think Jerome Moross did half a score for Valley of Gwangi and lifted portions of his score from The Big Country to fill in the rest on purpose, or was he having writer's block and could not think outside the box of what he had already produced for western movies?
Do you think Moross phoned in his work for Gwangi, feeling the movie was too silly and not worth the effort to come up with an entirely original score?
Just curious and most appreciated if anyone knows the real story as to why both scores are so similar.
Ah, DS, just funnin'. Like a joy buzzer. There's a hot (trending, not temperament) discussion ("...Missing?") over on the other side of the hemisphere about old posts and the Search Engine and I was passing by, saw your Subject and simply could not resist. Lest m' wisenheimer prank cause ill will, please accept humble apology. I'm sure to receive lecture from the ladies, crow to be eaten.
And oh man, check those links out. Lots of good discussion.
No you won't, Howard. I knew you were referring to the "Missing" thread on the non score side, but many people on this side don't ever visit the other side; hence, the misunderstanding.
I never thought Moross was in any way lazy when he did Gwangi. Like painters, poets, and most artists, composers develop a personal style. I can spot a Bernstein or Goldsmith western by certain rhythms and orchestrations. I think Moross developed a personal Americana style for many of his scores. On the other hand, The Cardinal is very different, lovely and a perfect score for a religious genre.
I third mgh. A Gunsmoke score he wrote had the same signature sound. No lazier than Horner...
Funny you should mention this. I bought the Gunsmoke DVD and soon as the episode "Stolen Horses" came on I knew it was Moross. It is available on Music from CBS Westerns, along with music from Waxman, Herrmann, and Friedhofer. Great CD
On the other hand, The Cardinal is very different, lovely and a perfect score for a religious genre.
Another very different Moross score which I love is The War Lord. He is definitely far more versatile than these two scores make him look. I think it's likely that he just found a winning formula for the western genre, and largely stuck to it (similarly to Elmer Bernstein post-Magnificent Seven).
I totally agree, Yavar, and I too like The War Lord.
mgh, I wanted to watch Gunsmoke's Stolen Horses on youtube to hear Moross' music. I thought it was an actual televised episode of Gunsmoke, but all I keep getting is a radio broadcast of Gunsmoke from 1953. Is there an actual televised episode?
(Sorry, Doc S, hope we are not going too far off topic.)
I bought THE BIG COUNTRY LP in 1964, one of my first soundtracks. GREAT score! I saw Gwangi when it came out, another great Moross score. Many many years later bought the newly recorded CD of the score and then Intrada's issue of the soundtrack last year. I wish Moross had scored more films, one of the great composers.
It's been pretty well covered that Moross just has a certain style, much like Bernstein, Rózsa, Jarre and many others, that any listener should be able to pick up on with a little exposure. THE WAR LORD, even though it is a quite different score from Moross' westerns, still has that very distinctive style and can be quickly identified as nobody but Moross. Other scores like SHARK FIGHTERS and THE MOUNTAIN ROAD are also quite different but still have that signature style. I think anyone who hears any of these scores and thinks they are hearing a lazy composer or a lifting of previous work is just a lazy listener and isn't really paying attention. Something that really gets my dander up is when someone says something as patently ridiculous as "I just can't get into Rózsa...everything sounds the same."
I don't hear them as the same there's similarities of course, you get lots of composers who work the same genres recycling pieces Goldsmith did Williams too etc.. Moross did too outside westerns he had different palettes The Warlord a classic example where Moross is medieval for most part - Cardinal another style.