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Section Header
Lionheart
(1987)
1987 Volume 1

1987 Volume 2

1994 Combination

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton
Alexander Courage

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(Volume 1)
(1987)

Varèse Sarabande
(Volume 2)
(1987)

Varèse Sarabande
(Combination)
(April 26th, 1994)

Also See:
Total Recall
Capricorn One

Audio Clips:
1987 Volume 1 Album:

3. Robert and Blanche (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

4. Children in Bondage (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

5. The Banner (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

9. King Richard (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Availability:
Varèse Sarabande has released the score commercially three times and all of them are out of print and considered collectible. The first 1987 volume is the most desirable and the second 1987 volume is generally the most affordable. The 1994 combination album falls in between. All sell for between $30 and $50, with occasional spikes in prices.

Awards:
  None.









Lionheart

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Buy it... if you seek one of Jerry Goldsmith's most definitive action scores, a hidden gem of immense symphonic power that would inform many of the composer's best action works of the subsequent decade.

Avoid it... on the 1987 "Volume 2" album if your finances are tight, for the other two commercial releases offer the truly essential material and all of the pressings are long out of print and highly prized.



Goldsmith
Lionheart: (Jerry Goldsmith) The career of Frank Schaffner began to unwind in the late 1970's, with several disappointing feature films following a series of powerful depictions of serious topics in the late 1960's and early 70's. Not long before his death in 1989, the director made Lionheart, a loose retelling of a true, 12th Century story of a group of children who decided to join King Richard in the Crusades and elude slave traders on their journey to the Holy Land. In real life, they were almost all captured and entered slavery anyway, though Lionheart glosses over many of the troubles inherent to their historical hardships and shifts the tale into the realm of romantic fantasy. Schaffner's tactic didn't work, however, and the film disappeared almost immediately from theaters before a short-lived run on cable a few years later. The production is only remembered by enthusiasts of the director and those of composer Jerry Goldsmith. The two had collaborated on several classic films over the course of Schaffner's career, yielding a handful of Academy Award nominations for Goldsmith as a result of the partnership. After several years working independently, the two teamed up one last time for Lionheart, leading to one of Goldsmith's longest scores (of 90 minutes) to that point in his career. The composer very much enjoyed working with Schaffner because of the director's immense musical knowledge; the communication between the two was as fluid as that between Goldsmith and Joe Dante, and the results were arguably even better. At a time when Goldsmith's career was flying high and Oscar nominations were a regular occurrence, Lionheart represented an assignment delivered upon out of friendship rather than delusions of grandeur, and like the obscure film Link from the previous year, the plethora of Goldsmith loyalists are largely responsible for any remembrance of Lionheart whatsoever. In this case, it doesn't hurt that the composer wrote one of the most ambitious action scores of his career, a daunting orchestral juggernaut complete with Wagnerian motifs and some of the boldest tones that Goldsmith ever recorded. Many of Goldsmith's most appreciated action powerhouses of the 1990's owe their stylistic development to Lionheart, especially First Knight (not surprisingly), and the work stands as a defining achievement despite its obscurity.

It is precisely the sound of Lionheart that Goldsmith was attempting to emulate during the period of his career in the 1990's when so many of his works sounded like the composer was on auto-pilot. After all, once you've nailed the action/adventure genre with broad, muscular music of intense satisfaction, then why try to reinvent that sound? More importantly, Lionheart stands as a bridge between the electronic and symphonic styles of Goldsmith's early 1980's tendencies and the truly matured, vibrant blend that he would achieve with Total Recall and subsequent successes in the genre. The electronics in this score, derivative of the rather harsh, faux-brass tones heard in Under Fire and Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, take a purely background role compared to the strong emphasis on brass in the orchestral ensemble. Only in a few of the Paris-related cues (of almost filler character) does Goldsmith allow the synthetics to carry the melody for an extended period of time. Not only does Lionheart contain a multitude of easily identifiable themes, but each one is above average for the composer. The primary theme is for the boy leading the children on their journey; his anthem has the characteristics of a mature hymn above an often accelerated and heroic rhythm that reminds of both the composer's Western scores of a previous generation and a major-key regurgitation of the relentless pulsations in Capricorn One. A secondary phrase in this theme, extended out to full performances in the memorable "King Richard," is redemptive in its shifting to lofty string shades, mingling with the love theme for Lionheart. This sensitively alluring idea, heard most prominently in "Robert and Blanche," retains the epic quality and optimistic nobility of the title theme while still offering a lush alternative to the larger than life identity of the score as a whole. The third major theme exists for Gabriel Byrne's villain in Lionheart, a dark prince who pursues the children for the purposes of selling them as slaves. Explored in its full form in "Children in Bondage," this intriguing idea is placed over a militaristic rhythmic procession that suggests the inevitable brutality of the period. Its rigid structure, slightly disembodied character, and melodic progressions remind significantly of John Barry's stoic military music for films like The Last Valley and The Lion in Winter. It could be argued, additionally, that the swaying romanticism and repetition of phrases in the other themes of Lionheart were informed in part by the wild success of Barry's expansive tones of the era, too.

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In addition to the three major themes of Lionheart, Goldsmith relies upon a three note figure that ties many of the cues of the score together with its highly flexible structure. Heard immediately in "The Ceremony," this three-note motif is eventually revealed to be the opening stanza of the primary theme for the film. Its usage not only allows for extremely creative implementation by various players throughout the score, thus serving as the glue that holds Lionheart together as such a consistent work, but it invariably connects this score to the highly related First Knight. Perhaps most impressive about Lionheart is that the score has no weak element, no single obnoxious cue in its original 80 minutes on album. Even the less engaging moments in the work maintain the thematic and instrumental level of mastery conveyed best in the stunning "King Richard," easily among the best eight minutes of Goldsmith's career. Prominent chimes and xylophone in this cue are comfortable elements of Goldsmith's style. A generous role for snare and timpani will appeal to enthusiasts of martial tones while the whimsical sound of Goldsmith's highest violin themes brings in the opposite end of the spectrum. Intelligent counterpoint in the form of the three-note motif (over all three main themes but especially the title identity) will satisfy those seeking depth. A digital recording allows Lionheart to be as dynamic in its soundscape as any Goldsmith score until his reverb-happy period of the late 90's. The score was an object of much attention from Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film's debut. The label released two concurrent CDs in 1987 to coincide with their LP record issues of the score. Nearly the entire score (over 82 minutes of it) was released over two separate products that were simultaneously released as "Volume 1" and "Volume 2" (likely to accommodate LP running times). The bulk of important material was included on the first volume, but the second one, despite containing some filler material, features its own unique highlights in the form of variations on the three main themes. A third CD, released in 1994 and titled "The Epic Symphonic Score," took the entire first volume and added half of the second, omitting much of the Paris-related material (indeed this score's least interesting) and bringing the combined running time up to 62 minutes. Despite reissues of the first two albums from Varèse's European distributor, Colosseum, from 1992 to 1994, all three volumes are out of print and in demand. While some have sold for over $50 a piece, expect to spend $30 per in auctions. Unreleased recently, Lionheart deserves limited, deluxe, 2-CD treatment despite the film's failure. It defines the overused term "hidden gem."   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

    1987 Varèse Sarabande Volume 1: *****
    1987 Varèse Sarabande Volume 2: ****
    1994 Varèse Sarabande Combination Album: *****
    Overall: *****

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.25 (in 137,746 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





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 Track Listings (1987 Volume 1 Album): Total Time: 42:13


• 1. The Ceremony (2:42)
• 2. Falled Knight (3:18)
• 3. Robert and Blanche (3:49)
• 4. Children in Bondage (5:02)
• 5. The Banner (5:58)
• 6. The Lake (3:37)
• 7. Mathilda (5:57)
• 8. The Wrong Flag (3:16)
• 9. King Richard (8:34)




 Track Listings (1987 Volume 2 Album): Total Time: 40:12


• 1. The Castle (1:26)
• 2. The Circus (3:07)
• 3. Gates of Paris (2:09)
• 4. The Plague (5:33)
• 5. Final Fight (3:13)
• 6. The Road from Paris (2:04)
• 7. The Dress (2:23)
• 8. Forest Hunt (7:45)
• 9. Paris Underground (4:09)
• 10. Bring Him Back (2:39)
• 11. The Future (5:45)




 Track Listings (1994 Combination Album): Total Time: 62:11


• 1. The Ceremony (2:42)
• 2. Failed Knight (3:18)
• 3. The Circus (3:07)
• 4. Robert and Blanche (3:49)
• 5. Children in Bondage (5:02)
• 6. The Road from Paris (2:04)
• 7. The Lake (3:37)
• 8. The Banner (5:58)
• 9. The Castle (1:26)
• 10. Mathilda (5:57)
• 11. The Wrong Flag (3:16)
• 12. The Dress (2:23)
• 13. Forest Hunt (7:45)
• 14. Final Fight (3:13)
• 15. King Richard (8:34)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The inserts of all three albums contain notes about the score and film. The packaging of the two 1987 albums is sparse.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Lionheart are Copyright © 1987, 1994, Varèse Sarabande (Volume 1), Varèse Sarabande (Volume 2), Varèse Sarabande (Combination). 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 7/17/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.