Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2024 January 22 • Monday

A Jerry Goldsmith double feature, courtesy of a superb reconstruction and re-recording from the Intrada label, with the great William Stromberg conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is our 814th Soundtrack of the Week: Black Patch and The Man.

The "Prologue" begins with a trumpet fanfare, quickly followed by the orchestra with a powerful and sweeping statement. The mood immediately shifts to a quiet, pensive, suspenseful one that's interrupted by staccato piano and horns making the tension more active. The orchestra comes sweeping in again for a quick action flourish, after which the main titles play over "Player Piano", a classic saloon piano piece but with some other calliope-ish sounds.

Clarinet begins a beautiful love theme, with strings playing a counter melody, for "Carl Meets Helen". Stormy horns and piano come in, followed by uneasy string figures and tense percussion, signalling that all is not well here.

The love theme is brought back but this time allowed to grow in "Welcome Home". There are a few moments of tension but otherwise it's a reassuring and health musical environment.

The previous cues are built on for the oboe-led "Clay Meets Helen", a lovely and serene piece that seems to express longing. The same theme is developed more fully for "Love Reunited".

The tense staccato bits from the prologue dominate "Hank Gives Up", which is followed by shadowy long tones and Herrmannesque use of harp and strings in "Lock Up".

The piano keeps stabbing away at low notes under some suspenseful string passages in "The Fight", which eventually bursts into intense action before simmering again.

The "Clay Meets Helen" theme is more or less the main theme and it's played in very high register by the strings in the Twilight Zone-ish "The Discovery" then suggested by cello and bass in the short "Town Gossip".

Solo clarinet starts out "The Gift”, a somewhat melancholy and pastoral piece that ends with tension reasserting itself.

"Mixed Emotions" plays around with the now familiar theme, deconstructing and dancing around it before reiterating it.

The harp gets a chance to shape "Carl's Love", which also features clarinet and more sinuous writing for strings and other woodwinds, before flutes take the spotlight for the surprisingly playful-sounding "The Gun".

More sound of foreboding with some interesting legato figures winding around the sharp violent outbursts and ominous quieter sections make up "Tough Guy".

"The Showdown" begins in the same mood but ends on a calmer note, though not a happy one, which slowly builds to a strong resolution, making way for the powerful brass opening of "The Duel", which also has lovely sparse sections using harp and piano.

A return to the main theme happens in "Finale", which has two versions here, one as heard in the movie and another, longer one.

So that was Jerry Goldsmith's very first film score, from 1957. Now we jump ahead to 1972 and a Rod Sterling-scripted, James Earl Jones-starring TV movie called The Man

"Douglas Dillman (Main Titles)" starts with ceremonial brass and then shifts to quiet timpani and snare drum.

The main title theme starts off "They Wanted a President" and gets expanded on in a long clarinet line before getting picked up by flute.

Another take on the main theme runs through "The Lincoln Memorial", this time on flute with string support before brass and snare take over.

Snare rolls kick off "The Oval Office", only to recede so that individual instruments from the orchestra can come forward to suggest the main theme. Ultimately the whole ensemble comes together for a strong statement, after which things get quieter again.

Bluesy sounds and a hint of a swaying rhythm begin "An Invisible Man", soon joined by a statement of the main theme, which is then brought back on different instruments for "Mrs. Blore".

It sounds to me like "Let Him Loose" has a pattern of three bars of 5/8 followed by one bar of 6/8 but of course "opinions vary", as we say at the road house. It's an exciting cue, though, a blast of energy, and sets up a contrast with the next track, the foggy and atmospheric "Fishing", whose first half could have been easily dropped into Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The second half is a sweet and sunny pastoral piece, however.

Suspense is on offer in "Will They Make It?" as long low tones create uneasiness as delicately placed offerings from brass, strings and harp make way for a minor-key ending.

"Protests" is a short burst of dissonance from the orchestra and then the score conlcudes with a rendition of "Hail to the Chief" and one more run through of the main theme.