Picard Of The Pops - Jerry Goldsmith

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Christopher Morley finds out who's playing on Picard's iPod this week...

A slight leap from small to big-screen Star Trek now, as Jerry Goldsmith joins Alexander Courage on the bridge of our musical Enterprise. Having turned down the offer to work on the series itself when first launched, recommending Courage for the job instead, he would return to work on five of the original series films starting with 1979's The Motion Picture.

These would be followed by The Final Frontier, First Contact, Insurrection, & Nemesis.

In view of these & other works its perhaps little surprise that he has gone down in cinematic legend as one of those who truly changed the face of scoring for film, his interest in music beginning at the age of six when he began taking piano lessons. His developing talent saw his studies take on a more serious direction - his tutors including Jakob Gimpel & Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco as he began to expand into music theory & counterpoint.

A trip to the cinema at sixteen to see Spellbound would leave a lasting impression, Miklos Rozsa's score for Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 thriller convincing him that music was his path to follow. To that end he later enrolled on a degree course at the University Of Southern California to join classes taught by the great man, but would drop out to pursue a more practical course at Los Angeles City College. This gave him experience in piano accompaniment, choral direction, and assistant conducting among other useful skills before graduating and taking a job with CBS initially as a typist in their music department.

From such beginnings he would take his first steps into actual scoring, later remembering that,
"It was about 1950. CBS had a workshop, and once a week the employees, whatever their talents, whether they were ushers or typists, would produce a radio show.

But you had to be an employee. They needed someone to do music, and I knew someone there who said I'd be great for this. I'd just gotten married and needed a job, so they faked a typing test for me. Then I could do these shows. About six months later, the music department heard what I did, liked it, and gave me a job."
In that capacity he worked on the likes of Radio Workshop, not to be confused with the inhabitants of Room 13 at BBC Television Centre, and Frontier Gentleman. Having been impressed with what they'd heard on the wireless, the step up to television beckoned....

Climax!, Playhouse 90 and The Twilight Zone were among his first assignments. Leaving CBS in 1960 he would later pop up at MGM to contribute music to Dr Kildare & The Man From Uncle having completed his first film score three years earlier for the western Black Patch.

Many fruitful collaborations with directors would present themselves as he progressed in silver screen music-making, a job on Franklin J Schaffner's The Stripper in 1963 leading to a long term working relationship across Planet Of The Apes, Patton, Papillion and The Boys From Brazil.

His son Joel would follow him into the business, working with him on First Contact before a sad death from cancer. He should be well known to fans of Stargate at least! As an obituary in Variety pointed out, although he had got a leg-up from his dear old dad he soon made his own way,
"The son of Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith, he programmed synthesizers on some of his father’s 1970s and 1980s scores including “Runaway.”. But the younger Goldsmith established his own musical career in the late 1970s and early 1980s, scoring sci-fi and horror films including “Laserblast,” “The Man With Two Brains” and “Moon 44”."
It was in television, however, that Joel Goldsmith found his niche, composing the music for more than 350 episodes in the Stargate franchise alone, including most of Stargate SG-1 and all of Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. He was also instrumental in his father's shift towards more electronic scores as the Eighties dawned, Runaway Jerry's first fully such work.

As an Examiner review of that particular soundtrack said,
"For this film, Goldsmith eliminated the use of a traditional orchestra (despite the fact that the score was completely orchestrated for one) and decided to go completely electronic for this futuristic effort.

The results turn out to be one of Goldsmith's more propulsive and unique as one of his original full blooded orchestrial scores. It is pulsing with energy and excitement that also features Goldsmith's trademark suspense that makes scores in this style that much better.

From the on set, the moody synthesizers establish a dark brooding mood in "Main Titles" that establishes two principal themes one for Gene Simmons' vicious criminal and a heroic light anthem sound for Tom Selleck's heroic cop.

Goldsmith would shift these moods back and fourth in a musical tug of war in "Psychic Reading", "The Tap", "Sushi Switch" and "Over The Edge". However, the most exciting aspect of this score is definitely the propulsive action cues that really do set the tone for the film that drive the film way above a B-movie starting with "Alley Flight" which sets the stage for the propulsive action that drives both "Shootin' Up The Ritz" and "Lockons", two tracks inspired by Goldsmith's muscular action sound of that time period that has made his early 80's scores favourites of many.

Goldsmith creates a futuristic eerie sound that he would incorporate in later scores that would feature this sound in "Warlock", "Leviathan", "Link", "Criminal Law" and his unused music for "Alien Nation" with the tracks "Crazed Robot", "Spider In The Toilet", "The Spider", Construction Site" and also creates some dramatic tension in "The Bullet" in a pivital scene in the film.

"The Resolution" ends with a upbeat anthem of the main them that gives you a sense of relief after all the tension and then reprises the main themes of the score."
Ever progressive, he made it so....

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