Maximilian Peter on the best in film music in 1990:
Kevin Costner´s epic western movie Dances with Wolves is one of the most intriguing cinematic works of all time. The film adaptation of Michael Blake´s book of the same name won not only the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director, but also for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and, of course, Best Original Score. Costner received the Silver Bear for an outstanding single achievement at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival, too. The music was composed by British composer John Barry. His soundtrack has a lot of beautiful tunes, which underline the director´s visuals in a perfect musical way. The use of the music and its presence within the film showed the art of great film music in full glory. Barry´s compositions belong to the most heartbreaking of his career. His score was a winner and became one of his most famous and beloved works – a tender-hearted musical masterpiece!
The year 1990 was such a strong year for film music, that you can´t say that Barry´s work was really the very best. It was the best in its genre, but there were a lot of other composers, which wrote stunning scores in different genres. John Williams created his absolutely amusing score for Chris Columbus´ Home Alone and received another Oscar nomination. The tune ´´Somewhere in my Memory´´ became the film´s signature and was also nominated for Best Song. Williams shared the Best Song category-nomination with Leslie Bricusse, who wrote the lyrics.
Maurice Jarre´s mixture of synthetic musical material and symphonic themes for Ghost could satisfy, too, although the use of Alex North´s ´´Unchained Melody´´ in the middle (as song) and at the end of the film (as instrumental cue) received musically even more attention than Jarre´s original compositional ideas for Jerry Zucker´s romantic fantasy movie. Dave Grusin´s music for Sydney Pollack´s drama film Havana was also one of the year´s best soundtracks. For Disney´s first animated sequel The Rescuers Down Under, Bruce Broughton wrote an adventurous, and at times percussive exciting score, which contains an exquisite main theme for the two mice Bernard and Bianca (the rescuers!) and a lot of other memorable motifs, themes and action-oriented underscoring. Stunning!
But 1990 was also one of the very best years in the long career of maestro Jerry Goldsmith. The musician composed three extraordinary scores, which were all part of movies that premiered in the year: Gremlins II: The New Batch was the sequel to Joe Dante´s box-office hit from 1984 and contains an equally powerful and fascinating score than the first Gremlins movie. But there were two further projects, which became true masterpieces of the composer. For Fred Schepisi´s film of British author John Le Carre´s book The Russia House, Goldsmith wrote one of his freshest scores of the era: a particular jazzy soundtrack, which integrates outstanding performances of legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Michael Lang. The mixture of Russian music and Jazz was also used to complement the nationalities of the characters, played by Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Russia House is one of the film music treasures, one of the milestones in Jerry Goldsmith´s long career. You can say the same about his third score of the year: His soundtrack for Total Recall – another musical jewel. Gremlins II: The New Batch is fun, an adventurous comedy. The Russia House is a spy drama, which focuses on the relationship between two characters. Total Recall is the ultimate action movie, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. What Goldsmith wrote for director Paul Verhoeven´s movie is truely the best action score of the 90s. The composition influenced every action score since and is energetic and thunderous as it gets. It shows Goldsmith´s mastery as a composer for action films and also the versatility of this particular composer. Within a year, three different films with three totally different Goldsmith-scores came out and every project appeared as an outstanding achievement of musical perfection. For The Russia House, the composer wrote in an intimate way, full of passion and memorable themes. For Gremlins II, he created fun from the first minute till the last; and for Total Recall, Goldsmith created his most complex action score, full of breathtaking action cues and thunderous motifs and themes. What a Jerry Goldsmith-year! What a year for film music!
The Branford Marsalis Quartet! American artist Branford Marsalis, the musician, who played the saxophone parts in Jerry Goldsmith´s score The Russia House will attend the Stadthalle (town hall) in Heidelberg and perform his only concert in Germany this year, on 5th November 2014.