- Conductor: Jerry Goldsmith
- Audio CD (19 Dec. 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Telarc
- ASIN: B00006313F
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,351 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Jerry Goldsmith: Christus Apollo CD
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Jerry Goldsmith is, of course, best known as one of Hollywood's most prolific and celebrated composers, having scored more than 250 movies since the late 1950s. Christus Apollo, the major work on this disc, is one of his rare concert commissions, a cantata setting of a text by sci-fi author Ray Bradbury scored for narrator, mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra. Goldsmith takes an interestingly secular approach to Bradbury's apocalyptic setting of the Christmas story. Written in 1969, the work reflects the composer's contemporary fascination with the 12-tone system, though fans of Goldsmith's film work will recognise here a prelude to his Oscar-winning choral music for The Omen (1976), as well as many echoes of his seminal Planet of the Apes score from the year before. Anthony Hopkins provides a suitably sepulchral narration, while mezzo Eirian James and! the London Voices handle the complexities of the vocal writing with grace.
The two orchestral pieces that bookend the cantata present a study in the evolution of Goldsmith's style. Music for Orchestra, written in 1970, is another 12-tone piece and works very much as a complement to Christus Apollo. By contrast, 1999's Fireworks is a representative example of Goldsmith's modern and comparatively simpler approach, where his earlier avant-garde notions have been abandoned in favour of driving rhythms and pleasantly catchy melodies. The LSO under the composer's baton are on sparkling form throughout, and the recording, by Goldsmith's regular collaborator Bruce Botnick, is a model of clarity. --Mark Walker
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Music for Orchestra - This is the most imposing piece on the disc. It is very brash, written while Goldsmith was dealing with his mother's cancer and going through a divorce, and he decided to pour it all out in twelve-tone brashness. It's rather like "Planet of the Apes." A very interesting listen, but requires a lot of attention from start to finish.
Christus Apollo - Not that much less imposing, partly for length and also for oddity. As a fan of both Goldsmith and Bradbury, I thought I'd love this. Like the previous work, this is also dodecaphonic, BUT Goldsmith uses it more to imply the existential vastness of space... almost like something Takemitsu would write. Bradbury's text is, of course, quite flowery in its language, using Christian metaphor to express a humanist message about mankind leaving this planet and all its troubles behind as we explore the new frontiers of the Universe. Some great moments to be sure, but perhaps a bit unwieldy, and there's a bit too much of unaccompanied narration for my taste. Again, very interesting.
Fireworks - The most recent piece, written in 1998 for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. According to Goldsmith, it's a celebration of Los Angeles written in his late 90's style. Very enjoyable.
These pieces are all definitely worth a listen if you've never heard them before. Highly recommended for fans of the composer.
This recording shows Goldsmith as a gifted composer outside the shackles of film music. You will not find the toe-tapping melodies of "Rudy" or the "Star Trek" series. Instead you will find dissonent and 20th-century-styled strains that are still very accessible.
Anthony Hopkins' narration brings life to Ray Bradbury's text. The London Symphony Orachestra and London Voices lend virtuosity and charm to these wonderful works.
written for himself. This is very original music that much is certain and is performed exceptionally well by the
London Symphony Orchestra.
I don't think he would have just composed serial music. He was such a diverse and extremely gifted composer that
he would have gone in all sorts of directions. Two of the selections here, "Music for Orchestra" and "Fireworks"
proves that obvious point and he had said he was working on a concerto (which he never finished) and was approached for a "Star Trek" opera which would have been fascinating. we can only imagine what might have been.
All I can say is that the music on this album shows the composer at his most creative and free from the constrictions of a scoring schedule. "Christus Apollo" is an extremely interesting piece and the longest composition
here. He collaborates once again with writer Ray Bradbury (Goldsmith scored the film version of his "Illustrated Man") since they knew each other from the 1950s and the added bonus of the great Anthony Hopkins doing the narration
adds even more stature to this piece----Charlton Heston did the narration at the piece's premiere in 1969 and was very powerful stuff because I heard it.
"Music for Orchestra" was written at a difficult period in the composer's life and the music shows it. Its at times
turgid, reflective and savage, a powerful piece. And "Fireworks" is a standout piece showing Goldsmith at his most
lyrical. I only wish he had written more absolute music because I always considered him a great composer and not a 'film composer' which I always hated.
If you're a true fan of the composer and want to explore his musical evolution this fine album should satisfy your curiosity. It did for me.