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Fire on the Mountain/Flyers
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Basil Poledouris

Orchestrated by:
Greig McRitchie

Co-Produced by:
Ford A. Thaxton

Prometheus Records

Release Date:
March, 2001

Also See:

Audio Clips:
1. The Ride (0:29):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (224K)
Real Audio (139K)

10. The Carrier/Coming Home (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

11. Stunt Work/More Stunt Work (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

13. Night Flight/The Canyon (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (161K)

Limited and numbered release of 2,000 copies, available only through specialty outlets.


Fire on the Mountain/Flyers
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Buy it... if you seek an interesting compilation of two of Basil Poledouris' relatively unknown works of the early 1980's, of which only Flyers is particularly engaging on album.

Avoid it... if you expect Poledouris to convey the kind of thematic intensity from a full ensemble that he would be known for later in the decade, because while both of these scores are decent, neither is superb.

Fire on the Mountain/Flyers: (Basil Poledouris) Many great composers have ventured into the realm of IMAX films, but few film music collectors know that Bronze and Digital Age favorite Basil Poledouris produced multiple scores in the genre in the early 1980's. During that period, Poledouris was just breaking into the mainstream group of Hollywood composers. And yet, even with The Blue Lagoon and Conan the Barbarian, two extremely popular success stories, under his belt at the time, much of Poledouris' other music from those years is largely forgotten or ignored. As with any composer working his way up the pay and popularity scales, not all of Poledouris' scores during this period were for lastingly popular films. Both Fire on the Mountain and Flyers are good examples of such works. Fire on the Mountain was a 1981 television translation of the controversial book, but unfortunately, a lack of bite in the film caused it to disappear without a hint of a video release since. It shows the compelling story of a New Mexico rancher who fights a takeover of his land from the American military, which is determined to expand a missile base onto his property. On the other hand, Flyers was a 1983 IMAX picture that did pretty well in the specially equipped theatres across America. But like many IMAX films, the technology of subsequent films dazzled audiences with even greater visual marvels, so Flyers (roughly the 30th of hundreds of IMAX films in existence) faded away as well, with only very rare showings at IMAX history exhibitions that occasionally bless the big screens. A 2001 album of both these works, presented by Prometheus Records (which had also transferred the 1995 Poledouris score for Amanda onto CD as well), contains roughly forty minutes of music between the two scores. The first half is occupied by Fire on the Mountain. Time and time again, Poledouris had a great strength in his ability to write intimate melodies for very few instruments. His particular habit of composing simple, appealing melodies for woodwind instruments (which would continue all the way through Kimberly in 2000) is reminiscent of the same technique that Jerry Goldsmith was fond of using in his character-driven scores of the 1960's (such as Patch of Blue, for example).

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A small-scale intimacy in the recording of Fire on the Mountain causes the score to maintain a bleak simplicity during its entire length. It's a work bittersweet in tone and its presentation on album suffers from the drawback of noticeable distortion in "The Ride," "Tree Chop," and "End Titles." When the volume of the music increases beyond its usually subdued levels, an engineering problem with the recording causes static and distortion on the first beat of every measure, which can be very distracting if you're an audiophile. Fortunately, the score for Flyers has fewer technical problems. With flying sequences of the same robust spirit as Goldsmith's Forever Young, Poledouris' Flyers mixes the awe of large scale scenery with the carnival aspect of the stunt clowns whose storyline the film portrays. Without a doubt, Flyers is the more dynamic and fascinating score of the two on the album. Like all IMAX scores, the scope of the project is gargantuan, with plenty of fully orchestral parades of theme to accompany the daredevil stunt work high in the sky on screen. While the circus atmosphere of the story within the film can sometimes be distracting, Poledouris takes a moment in "The Test" to foreshadow the timpani-rumbling, thematic outbursts that would eventually mature in Farewell to the King. The great highlight of Flyers is the "Night Flight/The Canyon" track, for which Poledouris employed a male chorus to enhance a spectacular sequence of the film. These three minutes are a treasure in Poledouris' career, however the age of the recording can be heard in some mild distortion near the end of the track (though it's nothing so distracting as the static in Fire on the Mountain). The score's two main themes are attractively optimistic, conveyed on solo brass and in ensemble performances that rank among the better in the composer's career. The sheer energy of Flyers is exhilarating, making for an extreme contrast in style between this and the reflective and ill-fated Fire on the Mountain. Together on disc, they may not be the best of pairs, but both feature Poledouris' talent for strong character themes. Without this album, neither score by this revered composer would receive due attention, and for that note alone, it is worth some investigation by Poledouris collectors. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Basil Poledouris reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.47 (in 33 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.22 (in 33,624 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.85 Stars
Smart Average: 2.91 Stars*
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 39:34

Fire on the Mountain:
• 1. The Ride (2:19)
• 2. Tree Chop (0:56)
• 3. Drop Off/Rascal (3:01)
• 4. Gracias! (3:42)
• 5. Boots/Cruza/Candle (2:25)
• 6. Forever?/Shutters (1:59)
• 7. Mountain Lost (2:22)
• 8. Good-bye, Ol' Horse (2:50)
• 9. End Titles (1:03)
• 10. The Carrier/Coming Home (4:17)
• 11. Stunt Work/More Stunt Work (2:31)
• 12. Aerial Ballet (1:08)
• 13. Night Flight/The Canyon (3:36)
• 14. We'll Talk/Coming Home II (1:40)
• 15. The Test (3:55)
• 16. Soaring (1:42)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert contains lengthy notes about the movies, scores, and composer by Jonathan Broxton.

  All artwork and sound clips from Fire on the Mountain/Flyers are Copyright © 2001, Prometheus Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 3/23/01 and last updated 11/2/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.