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 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:00 AM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

And it's by Henry Mancini! What you say? He's dead! Okay, it's not the best summer score of 2011 but listening to Lifeforce is like listening to a classical piece of music. It's tuneful, beautifully orchestrated, and has some truly amazing stylistic breadth. What really amazes me is how fluid the writing is. There are some long cues and they all sound like a piece, not disjointed fragments that aren't related to one another. If I'd never heard this score, I would not have known how truly amazing Mancini was at music outside the jazz orchestra realm. I know he'd done other non-jazz cutesy scores so if anyone can suggest a couple, I'm game.

I know this is a score from 1985 and that's over 25 years ago, but I'm still amazed at the disparity between this score and what we got this summer, or last summer or the summer before...

What is also apparent in this score is the influence Mancini had on Williams. I do hear similarities in approach, especially in the synth writing. And some of the harmonic vocabulary too. I think Williams would be the first to agree that Mancini influenced him- or at least that they were both influenced by some of the same classical/jazz greats.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:10 AM   
 By:   reecardov   (Member)

Couldn't agree with you more! Fantastic score on so many levels... One of my favorite cues on the expanded album is "The Discovery (Parts 1-5)". It's beautifully written and so utterly mysterious. All of the tracks fit so well together to tell a great story. It's amazing to listen to this and then to something like TRANSFORMERS 3. There is just no comparison. My, how film music has evolved in the past 25 years!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   djintrepid   (Member)

More like, devolved in the past 25 years.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   Bernardo Sena   (Member)

I agree! Great score!!!

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:32 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

More like, devolved in the past 25 years.


Could not agree MORE with any statement made in this forum the past 15 years!

Just watched the BD of "Limitless" last night. Great movie, apart from the overly excessive street-travel montages that seem to have been inspired by the final sequence in "2001". The score, if one can call it that, was abysmal. Awful. And in those street-travel montages, the point seemed to be that the louder the music got, as the montages progressed beyond endurance, the less likely it would be that audiences wouldn't catch on that they were seeing nothing germane to the story. Yes, I got that the drug speeded things up for the protagonist and that he was thinking/doing things faster than he ever did...but they seriously did not manage to "visuallize" that (until that wonderful ending, that is). And thus, we were saddled with street montages and loud, louder, and louder-still electronic noises that, regrettably, represented the film's "underscore".

Oh! What Jerry Goldsmith might have done for this movie!!!

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 10:40 AM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

what's remarkable is the modal style contrasted with more chromatic harmonies for the aliens. There is a definite English sound to the Main Theme. I'm thinking Vaughan Williams specifically or maybe a little Elgar. Really super great writing.

What I truly admire about Mancini is the clarity in his orchestrations. Everything is so clean and defined.

So, any other scores like this one from Mancini I should check out?

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

what's remarkable is the modal style contrasted with more chromatic harmonies for the aliens. There is a definite English sound to the Main Theme. I'm thinking Vaughan Williams specifically or maybe a little Elgar. Really super great writing.

What I truly admire about Mancini is the clarity in his orchestrations. Everything is so clean and defined.

So, any other scores like this one from Mancini I should check out?


LIFEFORCE is a one of a kind score, but THE NIGHT VISITOR and NIGHT WING are very distinctive and not your "usual" Mancini. THE MOLLY MAGUIRES is also a great score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   reecardov   (Member)

More like, devolved in the past 25 years.

Yeah, things have definitely gone down the toilet by some standards. I'm a child of the 80's so scores like LIFEFORCE really appeal to me, and will always be among my most treasured. I find modern scores to just be really hit and miss. I can see how the Remote Control model of film scoring appeals to some people - but it usually just doesn't resonate with me. I miss melody in film music, counterpoint, the slow development of thematic ideas over the course of an album. You just don't seem to get much of that anymore. Instead what you get is the same regurgitated sonic wallpaper. Everything has to be so loud and in-your-face. Oh well, I guess the movie industry and film scoring industry are just different animals these days. It makes me melancholy... but thankfully we have all our fantastic record labels churning out some really great stuff from years past. Now THAT is something to be excited about!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 11:21 AM   
 By:   fleming   (Member)

what's remarkable is the modal style contrasted with more chromatic harmonies for the aliens. There is a definite English sound to the Main Theme. I'm thinking Vaughan Williams specifically or maybe a little Elgar. Really super great writing.

What I truly admire about Mancini is the clarity in his orchestrations. Everything is so clean and defined.

So, any other scores like this one from Mancini I should check out?


LIFEFORCE is a one of a kind score, but THE NIGHT VISITOR and NIGHT WING are very distinctive and not your "usual" Mancini. THE MOLLY MAGUIRES is also a great score.


The RCA CD, "Mancini In Surround" has suites from several unreleased symphonic scores by the composer, including one featuring his music for the Universal-International horror/science fiction films of the 50's. It also includes the theme from his rejected score to Hitchcock's "Frenzy". Highly recommended.

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

what's remarkable is the modal style contrasted with more chromatic harmonies for the aliens. There is a definite English sound to the Main Theme. I'm thinking Vaughan Williams specifically or maybe a little Elgar. Really super great writing.

What I truly admire about Mancini is the clarity in his orchestrations. Everything is so clean and defined.

So, any other scores like this one from Mancini I should check out?


LIFEFORCE is a one of a kind score, but THE NIGHT VISITOR and NIGHT WING are very distinctive and not your "usual" Mancini. THE MOLLY MAGUIRES is also a great score.


Geez, I have Nightwing. I should have another listen to that!

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

Allow me to quote a great man from a previous thread - myself!

"Now that I've got the NIGHTWING CD in my hands, I have to say that it's almost incomprehensible this is the same man who composed the PINK PANTHER theme.

Two of my favorite horror scores are FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC and PSYCHO II. Why? Because both deliver the prerequisite chills, but they also work on a dramatic level. There's an ineffable sadness in the music.

NIGHTWING also manages to pull off this difficult trick. It's a beautiful, somber score that single-handedly conjures the sense of mysticism and dread the film itself fails to create.

Kudos to Varese for unearthing this little gem. Not only does it demonstrate Mancini's versatility, it shows a dark side of his work that tends to be neglected."

 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2011 - 7:13 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

NIGHTWING also manages to pull off this difficult trick. It's a beautiful, somber score that single-handedly conjures the sense of mysticism and dread the film itself fails to create.

Truer words were never spoken.

I expected massive horror smashes when I bought Nightwing... and instead I got a looming, dark masterpeice. It was like going to see a slasher movie and having it turn out to be The Turn Of The Screw. Outstanding little score, completely left field for the composer.

 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 12:09 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

This score blew me away on LP back in '85, and lives, in my estimation, in its most potent form in the abbreviated form he produced for the LP.

I know he'd done other non-jazz cutesy scores so if anyone can suggest a couple, I'm game.



Look no further than FSM: http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/383/Wait-Until-Dark/

 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 12:36 PM   
 By:   mark ford   (Member)

The guys above beat me to it on NIGHTWING and then WAIT UNTIL DARK.

NIGHTWING is a beautiful, understated score filled with a lot of sensitivity in regard the Native American cultural aspect of the film.

WAIT UNTIL DARK is a somewhat different animal highlighted by the quarter tone detuned dual piano writing that is really off kilter and unsettling. It tends to use less of Mancini's full orchestral writing than LIFEFORCE (a bit more along the line of NIGHTWING) at times using a smaller ensemble with various non-orchestral instruments. It's a cross between his orchestral writing and pop/jazz writing. Still it is magical in its atmospheric quality and dark eeriness.

 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

I expected massive horror smashes when I bought Nightwing...

The film has a terrific, propulsive LIFEFORCE-ish cue at the climax that isn't on the CD. Doug Fake mentioned its absence when the CD was released. Yet there's a more subdued cue on the CD which fits some of the action (yes, I tried to match it against my DVD).

Mike Joffe and I have speculated that Mancini was asked to rework the finale to make it more exciting, and there was another recording session for this cue - which means there's another tape floating around out there somewhere that Varese was probably unaware of.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have a suite on a Mancini compilation, which is pretty good.

But I wouldn't call it 'summer listening'! Seems more suited to dark and rainy autumn nights. smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

I know he'd done other non-jazz cutesy scores so if anyone can suggest a couple, I'm game.

The Great Mouse Detective is from the same period as Lifeforce, with cutesy main and end titles. The body of the score is quite good too, especially the climatic piece.

 
 Posted:   Jul 21, 2011 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

We all know the film is trash, but Mancini's score for MOMMIE DEAREST is fantastic. Again, his music suggests a brooding emotional quality - and fading beauty - that the film itself fails to impart. Hopefully it'll arrive in complete form on CD someday.

When Mancini was in this darker, more serious mode, I truly do believe he was the equal of a John Williams. The quality of his writing and orchestrations is remarkable.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2011 - 8:10 PM   
 By:   foxmorty   (Member)

this film turned up for me on netflix this week and have to say was quite blown away. i mean it's dated as all get out but its impressively dated. just a massive array of big, crazy ideas. when you get to the insane asylum you think they've thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. great score. the london symphony orchestra?! what a bizarre horror project this is. just ordered the music as well. will be my first henry mancini CD. what a great surprise this was.

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2011 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   msmith   (Member)

I think "Lifeforce" was Henry Mancini's crowning achievement.

 
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