- Composed by Ennio Morricone
- Intrada Special Collection volume 81 / 2008 / 55:01
I’m pretty sure that Forrest Gump never expressed an opinion on Ennio Morricone albums; but equally sure that if he had done, then I know what he would have said. Honestly, you never know what you’re going to get. Treasure of the Four Crowns is a little-remembered attempted 3-D cash-in on Raiders of the Lost Ark from Cannon Films (that bastion of high quality); that fact – and a look at the bright cover – leads to inevitable preconceptions about the music. Well, chuck away those preconceptions. This is a score dominated by interminable – in fact, if such a thing is possible, very interminable – suspense music. Our hero J.T. Striker (really) is not accompanied by heroic fanfares; his heroine not accompanied by sweeping strings. In fact, listening to the score, one is forced to wonder whether Striker spends the whole film undergoing some kind of psychological torture. Harsh dissonance dominates – Morricone does it extremely well, as we’ve heard on a number of occasions – the trouble is, he does it so well, that apart from those who are able to take such “intellectual” music and derive pleasure from its construction, few would ever be able to make it through the album.
There is one exception, and it’s a decent one – the main theme, aptly called “Crowning Glory”, is a winner. OK, so it’s not worthy of a place on the table next to the composer’s best, but it has a soaring quality to it which makes it a pure delight, so its appearances at the start and end of the album and sporadically in between are most welcome. As for the rest – well, if it’s the sort of thing that floats your boat, you’ll find much to enjoy here. But I can’t help but think, when reading the liner notes’ bizarrely patronising dismissal of the score’s LP release (which was 15 minutes shorter), culminating with something which is intended as a put-down but which I’d have thought should be the highest compliment one could pay – saying the earlier album was “an attempt to provide a more musical listening experience” – that the art of producing soundtrack albums is one that is not exactly going through one of its finest hours. **