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Five favorite Jerry Goldsmith scores

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Jerry Goldsmith would have turned 82 today.

In honor of his birthday, here are five of my very favorite Goldsmith scores.

  1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I fell in love with this score the moment I first heard it, sitting in the movie theatre in 1979. It’s glorious and moving and to this day can still give me goosebumps. The film itself is a strange beast, a wannabe 2001 forced onto same familiar characters. But love it or hate it, you have to admit that Goldsmith’s score is easily the best part and almost single handedly makes it worth viewing.
  2. Planet of the Apes. Here’s another score that almost defines a film as much as its visuals. Goldsmith concocted a brilliantly atonal score that bursts with primitive energy and otherworldly atmospheres. His eclectic percussion (yes, he really did use upside down mixing bowls) and howling horns create a sonic landscape that’s just as memorable as the apes themselves.
  3. Islands in the Stream. This one ranks as one of Goldsmith’s personal favorites, and it’s easy to see why. It’s by turns lyrical, wistful, and playful, with textures and rhythms that conjure a wealth of images and emotions even if (like me) you’ve never seen the film. I’ve only heard the excellent Intrada rerecording, conducted by Goldsmith, but one of these days hope to get a copy of Film Score Monthly’s release of the original tracks.
  4. Masada. Goldsmith created a stirring march and, to my mind, one of the most haunting melodies of his career for this TV miniseries. Unfortunately, it’s long out-of-print and goes for big money on the secondary market. But I’ve still got the LP. Too bad my turntable no longer works.
  5. Totall Recall. Yes, the Main Title owes a lot to Basil Pouledoris’ Conan theme. But it moves in its own direction and the score itself is a stellar example of Goldsmith’s extraordinary action music. The climactic End of a Dream track remains one of the most driving and energetic action cues of all time.

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