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Section Header
Interview with the Vampire
(1994)
Composed by:
Elliot Goldenthal

Conducted by:
Jonathan Sheffer

Produced by:
Matthias Gohl

Label:
Geffen Records

Release Date:
December 13th, 1994

Also See:
Alien 3
Batman Forever

Audio Clips:
1. Libera Me (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (241K)
Real Audio (150K)

2. Born to Darkness Part I (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

6. Escape to Paris (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (241K)
Real Audio (149K)

16. Armand Rescues Louis (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

Availability:
The CD is a regular U.S. release, but it has falled out of print at least once. A cassette version was curiously released by Geffen on November 4th, 1997.

Awards:
  Nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.









Interview with the Vampire
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Buy it... if you fancy yourself as any form of Elliot Goldenthal collector, because this score best represents his sense of dark, gothic classicism in conjunction with his avant garde rhythmic and instrumental tendencies.

Avoid it... if you'd rather not get caught in the morbid environment of Goldenthal's often incoherently schizophrenic and depressing meanderings.



Goldenthal
Interview with the Vampire: (Elliot Goldenthal) Director Neil Jordan's sinister, romantic entry into the horrific world of vampires came at a time when blood sucking films were experiencing their comeback in the mainstream of American cinema. Just two years prior, the epic and widely publicized Bram Stoker's Dracula had captivated audiences with its grim melodrama and stellar cast, and Jordan's film would steer the genre towards the realm of contemporary pop appeal. Aside from the already loyal following of Anne Rice enthusiasts, Jordan's casting of several hunky, heartthrob actors in Interview with a Vampire led to a sort of cult status with young women in the audiences, and the film thus performed very well. Also hired was veteran classical composer George Fenton for Interview with the Vampire, a competent choice with whom to solicit a darkly romantic effort extended from the massively brooding foundation established by Wojciech Kilar in Bram Stoker's Dracula. After Fenton was well into his recording sessions, the producers admonished the composer by claiming that his music was too understated and slowly paced for the picture. Thus, Elliot Goldenthal, who had impressed with his work for Alien 3, was hired onto the project and given just three weeks to complete a score that, for many, exceeded the quality of Fenton's material. While Goldenthal's effort culminated in an Academy Award nomination, responses to the score were as varied as could be expected given the composer's avant garde tendencies. In the film, the score functions well enough to accentuate the religious and brutal edge of the story, but on album, an even greater range of disagreement would erupt. In the Digital Age, critics would disagree more about the merits of Interview with the Vampire than almost any other score.

These disparate opinions exist because Goldenthal's music is an eclectic and hurried collection of thematic ideas and awkward sounds, exhibiting his true talents and yet losing some of the romantic touch that vampire films often yearn for. He certainly did not achieve the overbearing power of Kilar's work for Bram Stoker's Dracula; if Goldenthal's score has power, then it's the kind that explodes from bizarre exchanges between traditionally classical and postmodern techniques. In its opening, and at several moments throughout the score, Interview with the Vampire begins to develop the sadness, the loathing, and the suffering that the story deserves. Yet, Goldenthal goes too far in exploring the element of madness, neglecting the romantic lyricism at the heart of the tale. His score is a mess of twisted classical sounds and his usual macabre attitude. Extremely effective in choir or strings one moment, the score suddenly produces ghastly disharmony and orchestral chaos the next. The same fate would be suffered by Batman Forever the following year, with both scores showing acute signs of stylistic schizophrenia. Cues of jubilant waltz steps and a nearly carnival-like atmosphere, such as "Lestat's Tarantella," are so completely incongruent with the genre of the film that they are painful to hear in the context of surrounding music. Several explosive interludes for wild solo string layers are also difficult to handle. Goldenthal also makes sure to include his trademark French horn whining and quivering at maximum volumes, a sound that is simply intolerable in any situation. Even the low woodwinds are asked to waver their pitch in this score, joining the brass in creating the nearly insufferable effect. It's easy to understand that a composer would want to create a trademark sound with an orchestral element, but Goldenthal had to realize at some point that his mutilated brass trills and intentional tonal vibrations were a reason why he had difficultly achieving mainstream acceptance despite excellent assignments.

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The two "Born to Darkness" cues, along with the "Libera Me" and "Escape to Paris," offer a hint of the truly dramatic romance that Goldenthal only slightly explores for Interview with the Vampire, and it is likely this work that gained the composer his awards recognition. The rising progression of the main theme is a tired one in his career, extending from a similar idea in Demolition Man and extending to Batman & Robin. Overall, the score is either a love it or hate it affair, with little wiggle room in the middle. It's easy to appreciate some of the material that Goldenthal contributed to the project (on short notice), but it's also predictably easy to be frustrated and irritated with the more agitated cues. The greatest irony of this work is the fact that the mass majority of Goldenthal's music resides in an environment of restraint, either dainty or sullen in its slight constructs in the middle portions. As such, the producers' criticism of Fenton's original work for being too understated exposes a larger problem with this project. The album, featuring a badly misplaced song by Guns N' Roses at the end, is thus not recommended for casual listeners unfamiliar with Goldenthal styles. No doubt, the inclusion of the unrelated Guns N' Roses song, which is a questionable accompaniment for the Goldenthal score, was meant to further attract the younger audience. Such viewers of the film, however, were also treated to an album that does not contain many of the source pieces performed on piano in the film, a major detriment. Another curious aspect of the product is the recording quality; the music was recorded and mixed in analog sound, which was becoming somewhat rare for this kind of project in 1994, and the sound quality indeed suffers from a slightly dull ambience because of it. Overall, do not readily believe the positive hype you hear about the Interview with the Vampire score, but also do not entirely believe those who denigrate the score with their every breath. It is inherently flawed music, but there are ten minutes of solid material to be appreciated, and Goldenthal collectors will especially be satisfied. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Elliot Goldenthal reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 16 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.06 (in 15,481 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.91 Stars
Smart Average: 3.64 Stars*
***** 460 
**** 235 
*** 167 
** 94 
* 64 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Guns N' Roses' song isn't unrelated
  future_musicologist -- 12/1/09 (3:17 p.m.)
   TWO more missing piano songs
  Suee -- 1/4/09 (11:05 p.m.)
   Re: the missing piano song
  saintbrion@tmail.com -- 12/20/08 (1:49 a.m.)
   another missing piano song
  Sarah -- 8/6/08 (3:35 p.m.)
   claudia theme >
  hysteria -- 6/11/07 (7:29 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 49:04


• 1. Libera Me (2:47)
• 2. Born to Darkness Part I (3:04)
• 3. Lestat's Tarantella (0:46)
• 4. Madeleine's Lament (3:06)
• 5. Claudia's Allegro Agitato (4:46)
• 6. Escape to Paris (3:09)
• 7. Marche Funébre (1:50)
• 8. Lestat's Recitative (3:39)
• 9. Santiago's Waltz (0:37)
• 10. Théâtre des Vampires (1:18)
• 11. Armand's Seduction (1:51)
• 12. Plantation Pyre (1:59)
• 13. Forgotten Lore (0:31)
• 14. Scent of Death (1:40)
• 15. Abduction and Absolution (4:42)
• 16. Armand Rescues Louis (2:07)
• 17. Louis' Revenge (2:36)
• 18. Born to Darkness Part II (1:11)
• 19. Sympathy for the Devil* (7:35)

* written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, performed by Guns 'N Roses




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Interview with the Vampire are Copyright © 1994, Geffen Records. 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 6/5/03 and last updated 3/27/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.