- Composed by Randy Miller
- Intrada / 2013 / 51m
An old fashioned-sounding western, Yellow Rock (starring Michael Biehn and James Russo) was released to various festivals and on DVD during 2012, attracting little acclaim for its story of a group of white men looking for a lost youngster amongst a tribe of American Indians. Despite the low profile of the film, the score has been released by the Intrada label, which also put out the composer’s popular Spartacus score a number of years ago. The score opens with a wonderful, lengthy main title track highlighting the dynamic main theme, which reminds me a bit not so much of western classics of the past but more of the finest modern western score, Marco Beltrami’s 3:10 to Yuma, with its tight, taut orchestrations and driving melody (though the integration of native American percussion is a distinguishing feature). Tension abounds through much of the score – the first action music, “Saloon Gunfight”, is particularly bleak and even the brief burst of melody at the piece’s end seems haunted by a profound sadness.
A secondary theme introduced in the sadly brief “Dr Sarah and the Children” is quite wonderful, a (synthesised?) flute of some kind playing a beautiful melody which introduces warmth to the score for the first time. By contrast the album’s longest piece, “Sacred Burial Grounds”, explores much darker territory, journeying through various bursts of action (based around the main theme) alternating with some rather flavoursome passages with the native American influence, particularly in the winds and extended array of percussion. A succession of fine action pieces follows – it’s impressive how Miller manages to entice quite an expansive sound from what I think is, for budgetary reasons, a very small orchestra. The album concludes with the wonderful “Gold to Dust”, a rousing finale. It’s a strong album, with a sweep to it that’s very appealing, and a fine main theme. Those who like slightly darker western scores should give it a go.
Rating: *** 1/2