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Lonesome Dove
Album Cover Art
1993 Cabin Fever
1998 Sonic Images
Album 2 Cover Art
2019 Varèse Sarabande
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Greig McRitchie
Scott Smalley
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Cabin Fever

Sonic Images Records
(October 20th, 1998)

Varèse Sarabande
(March 15th, 2019)
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The 1993 Cabin Fever album is long out of print. The 1998 Sonic Images and 2019 Varèse Sarabande albums are regular commercial releases.
Winner of an Emmy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
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.
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WRITTEN 11/18/98, REVISED 11/30/19
Lonesome Dove: (Basil Poledouris) By the late 1980's, the viability of original western films on network television was questionable, though it only took one mini-series to mark a sudden and complete change in the philosophy of network executives. After its seven Emmy award wins, Lonesome Dove sparked a flurry of massive western originals on the networks in their last remaining years of dominance before cable's emergence. It was the right film at the right time for the industry, with Simon Wincer's adaptation of Larry McMurtry's story masterful in every regard, from the leading cast to the supporting crew. The tale is rather formulaic when compared to other entries in the genre, with the primary two characters, played by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, making the dramatic and dangerous move across the Old West to Montana in order to live a better life. The film deals with family, friends, and adversaries as they trek, meeting predictable obstacles and demises. But despite Lonesome Dove's rather straight forward story, it's proof that fine execution can take any solid story and elevate it to a screen classic. One of the more daunting aspects of the production that Wincer faced towards the end of shooting was figuring out how he could take a modest budget for music and get substantial results for what would amount to an 8-hour epic film. He decided upon approaching composer Basil Poledouris after hearing the large scope and varied instrumental styles of Farewell to the King, an outstanding score released just before Lonesome Dove in Poledouris' career. There was between three and four hours of music to produce for the series, and with only a standard television series budget with which to record the score, Poledouris was forced to make some tough choices that have been well praised in all the years since the film's debut. The ensemble for the recordings was cobbled together on the fly, and the performances aren't without occasional flubs, but the somewhat raw-sounding recordings that resulted fit the scope of the small screen adequately at the time.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.77 Stars
***** 336 5 Stars
**** 217 4 Stars
*** 158 3 Stars
** 85 2 Stars
* 68 1 Stars
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Theme song
Peter Dahlstrom - April 28, 2006, at 10:36 a.m.
1 comment  (4214 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1993 Cabin Fever Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 46:17
• 1. Theme From Lonesome Dove (5:13)
• 2. Jake's Fate (2:15)
• 3. Night Mares (Deets, Newt) (3:56)
• 4. Arkansas Pilgrim (Clara, July, Lorena) (4:29)
• 5. The Leaving (3:30)
• 6. On the Trail (6:46)
• 7. Murdering Horse Thieves (1:16)
• 8. Gus & Pea Eye - The Search (5:27)
• 9. Captain Call's Journey (7:16)
• 10. Farewell Ladies - Finale (5:43)
1998 Sonic Images Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 56:09
2019 Varèse Sarabande Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 59:34

Notes Icon
The inserts of the 1998 Sonic Images and 2019 Varèse Sarabande albums contain lengthy notes about the series and score. Below was part of a press release regarding the 1998 album:

    Lonesome Dove- The original soundtrack to the popular "mini-series" by the renowned composer Basil Poledouris is now available on Sonic Images Records. Winning an Emmy in 1988 for best original score, the tracks feature orchestral ensembles ranging from seven to forty players that include folk instruments such as steel-stringed guitars, hammered dulcimer, fiddle, banjo, and accordion. The thematic core of Lonesome Dove is derived from folk melody. "This was really the first time I was able to use a folk idiom in a dramatic picture," notes Poledouris. "I didn't want to use Copland style Americana - that was too theatrical, almost too modern. Lonesome Dove needed a strong mythology, and making the score sound like folk music, with simple structures and very tuneful melodies, would give it a reality, as if it was really music from the period."

Copyright © 1998-2020, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Lonesome Dove are Copyright © 1993, 1998, 2019, Cabin Fever, Sonic Images Records, Varèse Sarabande and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 11/18/98 and last updated 11/30/19.
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