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July - December 2019
12/29/19 Lonesome Dove   (Basil Poledouris)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you enjoy the folksy rhythms behind many of Basil Poledouris' dramatic and Western-styled themes and are interested in what's widely considered to be one of the most effective television scores of all time.
Avoid it... if you have difficulty appreciating conceptually large scores performed by undersized ensembles or if you don't care for the subsequently related score for Quigley Down Under.
12/15/19 Alien 3   (Elliot Goldenthal)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you enjoyed the music's awkwardly experimental textures in the film itself and are thus already well aware of (and prepared for) Elliot Goldenthal's avant-garde, post-modern styles at work.
Avoid it... if you found that the score strove for a doomed balance between frenzied, obnoxious horror and misplaced religious romanticism in context; the 2018 album's presentation offers an extremely muted and constricted mix of that recording.
11/30/19 Die Hard   (Michael Kamen)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... only if you are a diehard fan of the movie and seek one of its collectible albums in order to hear the music that Michael Kamen originally intended for the film before the recording was butchered in the final editing process.
Avoid it... if you expect the few moments of memorable, original material you recall from this soundtrack in context to compensate for an otherwise mundane composition and unsatisfying sound quality on all albums except the superior 2018 set.
10/9/19 Superman   (John Williams)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on both the 1998 Varese Sarabande re-recording and the 2019 La-La Land Records set for the highest-quality presentations of one of John Williams' most memorable and classic scores.
Avoid it... on any of the releases of the original recording prior to 2019 if you are deterred by the archival, analog sound quality that long restricted the dynamic range of Williams' composition and often varies from track to track.
8/15/19 Apollo 13   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... on the comprehensive, 2019 Intrada album if you own only a handful of James Horner's scores and are in search of the composer at his very best, Apollo 13 exhibiting an exemplary sense of historical patriotism and tension.
Avoid it... if the understated respect that Horner conveys in his rather short score for this film doesn't appeal to your need for more lavishly melodramatic efforts from other works during that fruitful period of his career.
7/23/19 An American Tail   (James Horner)
Updated Review, With Additional Album
Buy it... if you seek the melodically rich children's score that launched James Horner's fruitful production in the genre and gained him his first widespread awards consideration.
Avoid it... if you are consistently bothered by Horner's references to Eastern European classical music and other sources of inspiration, despite the fact that they are effectively appropriate in this context.
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