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Dynamic, impressive thriller score sees welcome first release
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Aleph Records; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
The Enforcer was the third, and one of the best, Dirty Harry movies, with Clint Eastwood in fine form as the grizzled cop, this time trying to break up a terrorist crime ring threatening San Francisco. He's joined for this outing by Tyne Daly as Kate (his new partner) and, slightly surprisingly, by Jerry Fielding providing the music - this is the only one of the five films in the series not scored by Lalo Schifrin. Fielding was one of the most prodigiously talented of all film composers, but like many others he didn't consistently work on movies which had the kind of profile his talent deserved - The Enforcer was a happy exception.
His music here deflty combines the kind of funky jazz which was popular in 70s scores (perhaps most expertly practiced by Schifrin himself) with the hard-edged, abrasive urban style Fielding brought to some of his other thriller scores of the age. It is the former which is the most striking component here, with the terrific piece which opens the album setting things up nicely - and things reach their climax in the tremendous six-minute "Rooftop Chase", in which the composer brilliantly applies the style to an action scenario in a uniquely stylish way.
The other style is introduced in the hard-edged "Warehouse Heist", with the electronics providing that abrasive backdrop to a particularly imaginative Fielding creation, though by design it does not make for the most listenable music. At the other end of the scale is the light jazz of "Tiffany's Number Eleven", a beautiful little diversion from the more serious music surrounding it. Things are quickly back to being more serious, with the extremely complex "Alcatraz Encounter" being a brilliant example of how to score suspense - the jazz undertones combined with the avant garde orchestral sounds make for a brutally effective piece.
"Death on the Rock" is, as you might imagine, full of tragedy, with the tension being released in the brilliant finale piece, the score's most inspired selection, as Fielding pays tribute to the murdered officer of the previous cue with a beautiful, soaring theme. The way he manages to write such a piece yet keep it from being in any way sappy or slushy is testament to his wonderful gifts. It is always a joy when a new album featuring a previously-unreleased Fielding score comes out, and that is certainly the case here. The album comes from Lalo Schifrin's Aleph Records and is produced by Nick Redman, who contributes liner notes (along with Tyne Daly). A fantastic release - and actually, given its largely very-accessible nature, one which would make a decent introduction to those who have not yet discovered the music of the great Fielding.