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Section Header
Big
(1988)
Composed and Conducted by:
Howard Shore

Produced by:
Nick Redman

"Heart and Soul" composed by:
Hoagy Carmichael
Frank Loesser

Label:
Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
November, 2002

Audio Clips:
5. New York (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

13. The Envelope (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

18. Goodbye and End Titles (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

26. End Titles (Alternate) (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Availability:
The 2002 Varèse Sarabande Album is a "Limited Collector's Edition" of 3,000 copies and is available only through the label's site or online soundtrack specialty outlets. Catalog number: VCL 1102 1015

Awards:
  None.







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Big
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Buy it... if you have some extra money to spend on a lovable, lightweight score for a comedy classic.

Avoid it... if you haven't been charmed by the film or you have nightmares about encountering the famous walking piano in a toy store and hearing the catchy "Heart and Soul" tune on its flashing keys.



Shore
Big: (Howard Shore) How delightful it is that a lovable film like Big could change so many careers. It was a watershed event for both actor Tom Hanks and director Penny Marshall, and, to an extent, it helped expand notice for a somewhat obscure composer at the time named Howard Shore. Never expected to be a hit success, Big was the kind of affable film that grew out of word of month until it stormed through the awards season of 1988-1989 with a wealth of praise spread around to the entire production team. Hanks plays the adult incarnation of a boy who longs simply to "be big" and receives his magically granted wish from an amusement park machine. While stuck in Hanks' adult body, the boy becomes successful in the toy industry and even teaches a romantic interest how to regain her inner child as well. It was a perfect merging of the romantic comedy and science fiction and fantasy genres, and Hanks' performance alone contributed greatly to the $17 million production's ability to earn $115 million domestically. Howard Shore was still leagues away from his blast into the mainstream with the Lord of the Rings films in the 2000's and the plethora of dark thrillers that defined his earlier career in the 1990's. For people who became familiar with Shore mainly due his efforts in the horror and suspense genre (Silence of the Lambs, Crash, Seven, etc), hearing Big once again may surprise you. Veteran film music fans had always recognized Big, though, as one of the more noteworthy unreleased works on CD of the 1980's and 1990's. Shore's creative job of scoring the romance of the story alongside the adaptation of outside music for the most memorable scenes in the film was not lost on many who enjoyed Big. The highlight of the film (and arguably a classic scene in the history of cinema) is the "Toy Store Walking Piano" dance in a New York store that playfully adapts Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser's famous "Heart and Soul" theme from the perspective of a child in a grown man's body. Anyone who has ever taken piano lessons in their life undoubtedly remembers this infectious tune and thus its use in the film is extremely memorable.

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While "Heart and Soul," which is translated into a fabulously swinging and accelerating, larger ensemble performance by Shore for the "End Titles" of the film, steals the hearts of most audience members, Shore's score is a more diverse composition than you might expect. His task included the realistic merging of music for the concepts of light romance, New York, boyhood fun, and, of course, a creepy carnival. The result of his efforts may not be overwhelming for the listener, but Shore adequately hits every note, standing on set during the shooting of the film and repeatedly rescoring scenes until the desired effect was achieved. The light jazz band tones, orchestral romance, and thematic adaptations are all well performed, though they never lose sight of the genre of hopelessly optimistic comedy for which they were written. Thus, Big is a lightweight score with a tremendous heart. The piano is the central element of the work, performing a central theme for the boy that accomplishes two interesting feats; first, the theme alternates between major and minor keys in its self-answering phrases (pitting boyhood against adulthood) and, second, starting with a simple four-note motif and expanding it in length as the boy quickly learns about adult life. Even as presented finally on a generous, hour-long album by Varèse Sarabande, it is difficult to take Big seriously, though judging from the alternate takes, Shore did originally have a more dramatic score in mind, including some choral layers for a sense of wonderment in "Waking Up" and "Visiting Home." While some of the magic transfers over from the film onto the album, don't expect to be blown away by the soundtrack by itself. The album is a Club release, with only 3,000 in circulation, and unless you are swept away by light comedy efforts (and, in this case, a desire to hear that walking piano in full glory), then think twice before putting this album on your shelf next to your other Shore albums. It's a contemporary score with pleasant themes and an often playful attitude, but be sure to hear the score in the film before investing in the higher-priced limited album. For others, though, the album was guaranteed to scratch another much needed score off of that CD want list, and, unlike most other major modern titles in Varèse's Club series, Big didn't sell out within the first six years of its release. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Howard Shore reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.5 (in 24 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.25 (in 94,588 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.29 Stars
Smart Average: 3.19 Stars*
***** 175 
**** 190 
*** 200 
** 142 
* 82 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Release in 2002 and still not sold out....
  J -- 9/23/13 (11:18 p.m.)
   I just bought it
  JediJones -- 3/14/10 (12:32 a.m.)
   Release in 2002 and still not sold out. WHY...
  Jennie -- 9/8/09 (11:55 a.m.)
   score
  Gillian Antonio -- 3/16/05 (11:33 p.m.)
   delightful and early score from Howard Shor...
  Luis L. -- 3/25/03 (12:07 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  




 Track Listings: Total Time: 63:03


• 1. Opening (2:53)
• 2. Calliope (2:34)
• 3. Zoltar (3:05)
• 4. Waking Up (3:37)
• 5. New York (1:19)
• 6. Alone in the Hotel (0:28)
• 7. Toy Store Walking Piano - includes "Heart and Soul" (1:56)
• 8. To Bed (1:35)
• 9. Racquetball (1:54)
• 10. Falling in Love (1:16)
• 11. Moonlight Serenade - composed by Glenn Miller (2:58)
• 12. Josh and Susan (2:23)
• 13. The Envelope (1:50)
• 14. Visiting Home/It's in Every One of Us - composed by David Pomeranz (3:16)
• 15. The Confession (0:41)
• 16. Billy and Mom (1:14)
• 17. Finding Zoltar (4:32)
• 18. Goodbye and End Titles - includes "Heart and Soul" (8:00)

Bonus Tracks:
• 19. Waking Up (Alternate) (3:50)
• 20. New York (Alternate) (1:16)
• 21. Visiting Home (Alternate) (3:02)
• 22. Visiting Home (Alternate #2) (1:45)
• 23. Billy and Mom (Alternate) (1:11)
• 24. Goodbye Part One (Alternate) (1:36)
• 25. Goodbye Part Two (Alternate) (3:22)
• 26. End Titles (Alternate) - includes "Heart and Soul" (1:35)

("Heart and Soul" composed by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert contains a very lengthy note about every aspect of the film and score. It is customary for albums in the Varèse Sarabande CD Club series to include detailed analysis.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Big are Copyright © 2002, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/9/03 and last updated 11/9/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.