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Artwork copyright (c) 1997 Varese Sarabande Records, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Great compilation of classic science fiction themes


Jerry Goldsmith has mastered just about every conceivable genre of film, but the one with which he is most associated is science fiction, which has also produced some of his most outstanding scores.  Therefore this self-conducted 1997 collection of music from his science fiction scores, on Varese Sarabande, is quite welcome.  Needless to say, most Goldsmith aficionados will already have virtually all of the music here (only one of the featured scores isn't commercially available, at the time of writing), but that doesn't make it an irrelevant album; far from it, in fact - to hear new and different interpretations of scores from their own composer is never a waste of time.

The album kicks off, of course, with some music from Star Trek, here the end title from the most recent of the series at the time, Star Trek: First Contact, one of the more impressive of the recent films.  It's also one of the more impressive themes in the series, a beautiful melody that stays in the memory for a long time, sandwiched as ever by the composer's classic Star Trek march, which remains his most famous theme, and probably always will.  Less familiar to some will be the magnificent Overture from Twilight Zone: The Movie, one of the composer's best scores, in which the movie's four different segments all received distinct and impressive scores of their own (themes from three of them are included here).

The classic film from the conspiracy theorist's dream Capricorn One comes next, a propulsive, driving piece based on weird and wonderful rhythmic ideas rather than melody per se (though the "love theme", if it can really be called that, appears in the middle) - a classic, seminal piece from the composer.  Logan's Run is a classic score, best appreciated on FSM's magnificent release of the full album, but the two standout cues appear here as well.  The impressionistic "The Monument" is one of Goldsmith's finest pieces, a descriptive and evocative piece full of beauty.  Also included is "End of the City", a stunning version of the movie's main theme.  Next up comes the ethereal and slightly creepy main title from The Illustrated Man, featuring Claire Rutter performing the wordless soprano part.  It's a great piece from a great score, also available on FSM (though never available at the time this set was released).  Up next is another bona fide Goldsmith film music classic, "The Enterprise" from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the majestic, moving version of his main theme that positively lights up the film.  A breathtaking piece of music.

Goldsmith's relationship with Paul Verhoeven has been very beneficial to both parties, and it's represented here by the main theme from Total Recall, which is decent enough, but probably the least impressive of the score's numerous virtues.  The real rarities come up next, with Damnation Alley represented by both its opening and closing themes.  This music has never been released before, sadly; the opening title is a driving, propulsive piece and the end titles a more wistful one dominated by a great solo trumpet part.  They suggest that it would be a great score for somebody to release some day.  Star Trek gets its third and final representation through the theme from the tv show Voyager; the series may have been disappointing, but the music is fantastic.  If only the latest series, Enterprise, had received a similar theme instead of a daft song, it might not be in so much trouble!  The album concludes with the magnificent end title music from Alien, another of Goldsmith's best.

Of course, no compilation could replace the need to have all of these great scores in your collection, but for a great Sunday afternoon listen, putting this one on a great stereo system and cranking up the volume is hard to beat.  The cavernous recording style sounds great when heard in such a manner and this is a terrific compilation, boosted by excellent notes from producer Robert Townson and featuring a typically-assured performance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.  Hopefully someday we can get a follow-up album featuring Goldsmith's music for westerns!

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  1. End Title from Star Trek: First Contact (5:24)
  2. Overture from Twilight Zone: The Movie (6:02)
  3. Main Title from Capricorn One (2:50)
  4. The Monument from Logan's Run (8:30)
  5. End of the City from Logan's Run (2:14)
  6. Main Title from The Illustrated Man (3:50)
  7. The Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (6:07)
  8. Main Title from Total Recall (2:28)
  9. Main Title from Damnation Alley (2:09)
  10. End Title from Damnation Alley (2:02)
  11. Main Title from Star Trek: Voyager (2:08)
  12. End Title from Alien (3:11)