Goldsmith Christus Apollo
Bestknown for his countless indelible efforts in the realm of music for film and television‚ the teenage Jerry Goldsmith (b1929) enjoyed a solid grounding in harmony and composition under Mario CastelnuovoTedesco and later attended Miklós Rózsa’s filmmusic classes at the University of Southern California.
Goldsmith was in fact already one of Hollywood’s busiest composers when‚ in 1969‚ he responded to a commission fom the California Chamber Orchestra with the cantata Christus Apollo‚ his first serious concert work‚ set to a prophetic text by Ray Bradbury (with whom Goldsmith had already collaborated back in the 1950s in the world of radio and on the 1968 movie‚ The Illustrated Man). It’s an ambitious‚ sincere and supremely wellwrought offering‚ whose progressive harmonic sensibility and imaginative instrumental resource will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Goldsmith’s genuinely adventurous and striking score from the previous year for Franklin J Schaffner’s sciencefiction classic‚ The Planet of the Apes. The inimitable Sir Anthony Hopkins’s narration was set down separately a few weeks later on Sony Music’s soundstage at Culver City‚ California‚ and there are also praiseworthy contributions from mezzo Eirian James and London Voices.
If anything‚ Music for Orchestra (composed in 1970 at the behest of Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony) explores an even more uncompromising harmonic idiom (both it and the cantata employ dodecaphonic methods); cast in three interlinked sections‚ the piece is as compact as it is powerfully emotive. By contrast‚ Fireworks (written in 1999 for a Hollywood Bowl concert and subtitled ‘A Celebration of Los Angeles’) is an unashamedly tuneful crowdpleaser‚ rousingly and effectively scored.
Enthusiastic‚ spickandspan orchestral playing (I can testify that the LSO always enjoy their live outings under Goldsmith) and superlative Abbey Road sound (masterminded‚ I see‚ by The Doors’ onetime producer Bruce Botnick). This is a notably enterprising anthology that Jerry Goldsmith’s many fans will want to investigate.