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STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH
Exciting, impressive tv music for sci-fi spinoff
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall.
Composer Joel Goldsmith first started working on the Stargate tv series back in 1997 and has gone on to score nearly 300 episodes of the show and its spinoff Stargate: Atlantis. 2008 has brought the first tv movie based on the show, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and, naturally enough, Goldsmith was on board again - this time with the luxury of a budget large enough to hire an orchestra to play the score. The writer/director of the episode, Robert C. Cooper, describes in his liner notes how he conceived a lot of the key sequences with music in mind, edited to fit the music rather than the other way around - and it certainly shows.
This is some of the finest television music I've heard in a long time. With an occasional epic quality, but plenty of more subtle moments too, it is a fine demonstration of Goldsmith's skills as a composer, well-orchestrated, exciting when necessary, sweeping when necessary, and above all highly-enjoyable to the listener. David Arnold's fine theme from the Stargate movie crops up every now and again and is skilfully integrated into the score, but perhaps in some ways this is a bit of a disappointment - hearing an original Goldsmith theme would probably have been more interesting - but I guess that was never going to happen.
"Tomin" is a spectacular Herrmannesque cue - with that brass, are we out in space or taking a trip to Cape Fear? And listen to the trumpet in "Our Mission Begins" and then the horns in "The Supergate" - you can't help but be reminded of that other Goldsmith. But the great thing is that all this music is distinctly in Joel Goldsmith's own style, just with the occasional nod to past masters. The smaller moments are also very fine - the level of detail in cues like "Merlin" is really impressive, and there's beautiful music there.
The action music is very fine - "Ori Fleet" is a very large piece, with choir joining the orchestra; exciting stuff. There are several other highly-impressive examples, too, not least the much darker "Marrick's Demise", which is tremendously exhilarating. Of course, films like this are often full of "awe and wonder"-type scenes and this is reflected in the music too - "Journey to Celestis" opens with a male voice, and turns into a grand orchestral piece. The lengthy climax "The Ark Of Truth" has it all - action, adventure, orchestra, choir - a definite highlight.
This is really impressive music, the finest I've heard for American television in some time. The album is very entertaining. It has been released by Goldsmith's own label, FreeClyde, and is available from the usual places. Highly recommended!