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The Going Up of David Lev
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • BSX Records BSXCD 8874 / 2010 / 33:46

An American tv movie from 1973, officially commissioned by the Israeli government as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the country’s founding, The Going Up of David Lev is now generally long-forgotten – apart from its appearance in the filmography of Jerry Goldsmith which will have had many of his fans curious over the years.  Now, 37 years later, the music can be heard by most of those fans for the first time, thanks to this new release from BSX.  Goldsmith was working extensively in television at the time – 1973 alone saw him work on two series and three other tv movies – as well as five theatrical movies, including one of his masterpieces, Papillon.  A busy man!  The composer was particularly attracted to this project because it allowed him to do something he had wanted to for a long time – explore his Jewish roots musically.

The tv movie itself was criticised in some quarters for essentially being a glorified travelogue, but of course that gave Goldsmith a golden opportunity to go on exactly the kind of musical journey he wanted to.  A pair of very different themes highlight the score – one truly beautiful melody, first heard in a remarkably bare arrangement for the opening titles, is slightly mournful, sorrowful – yet blessed with an innocent, childlike quality representing the young boy at the heart of the story.  The other is not much different from the main theme from one of Goldsmith’s other two Hebraic-influenced tv movie scores, Masada – full of life and energy, though not with the same sense of orchestral grandeur as in the other score.  A final piece of note is a wonderful piece of vintage Goldsmith action music, “A New Friend”, where the style (though not melody) of that second theme does get the full orchestral treatment.  The extended finale piece offers a glorious, heartmelting arrangement of the main theme before finishing with a flourish with the secondary theme.  BSX has unearthed a Goldsmith gem with this one – highly-recommended to all fans of the composer.  ****

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