Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 January 09 • Monday

The 199th Soundtrack of the Week is Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Swarm.

It begins with some frantically bowed strings, sounding appropriately insecty. Then there's a quick dramatic figure followed by classic Goldsmith writing: driving but not tense, suspenseful but not clenched, a relaxed melody cruising above dangerous ground. Then it becomes very sparsely atmospheric with fleeting and alarming figures popping up in the space. Then the music becomes urgent, indicating danger.

After that cue, "Main Title/Red Two Reporting", comes "The Black Mass", which is presumably a play on words referring not to Satanism but to a literal black mass, a swarm of bees. The music continues the urgent and alarming theme that was at the end of the first track.

This is followed by a short, quiet piece called "What Happened?". This in turn is followed by "The Bees Picnic", a strident cue that conveys terror.

"On Their Way" is very short and quiet, featuring the timpani. Then comes "Get Him Out", a delicately frightening cue featuring the strings and which becomes unexpectedly serene near the end.

"Old Friends" begins as a beautifully dreamy piece with nice use of the harp, develops a conventionally pretty theme and then has some moments of Herrmannesque dread.

"The Boys and the Bees—Part One" also reminded me of Herrmann in places, a bit Cape Fear, a bit North by Northwest and even a bit The Trouble with Harry. "The Boys and the Bees—Part Two", which follows the romantic "Oh Maureen", continues this mood and makes excellent use of the jaw harp.

There's a poignant theme played by the clarinet and then fleshed out by the orchestra, heard in "Oh Walter!" and "The Glasses".

"Burn 'Em Out" and "Get Reinforcements" made me think of James Horner's Star Trek scores.

Great music. Goldsmith has deftly woven together love themes, occasional bits of humor, suspense, terror, action and adventure. I wish he were still with us.