Patton/Tora! Tora! Tora!
: (Jerry Goldsmith) Only
two films were nominated for "Visual Effects" Academy Awards in the 1970
season, and both were epic war films in documentary style with memorable
scores by Jerry Goldsmith. Winning that Oscar category was Tora!
, a lengthy but spectacular film about Pearl Harbor with
a minimal musical contribution by Goldsmith. Winning most of the Oscars
in that year, however, was Patton
, a film so respected in its
effective portrayal of the famous American general at war that it needs
little description. It, too, had surprisingly little music given the
running time of the film, but that didn't stop Goldsmith's score from
becoming an inspiration for the next generation of composers.
Goldsmith's musical approaches for the two projects differ almost as
much as the scores' histories on album. As any soundtrack collector
has received outstanding treatment on album through
the years, whether you owned the bootleg versions with the general's
famous opening speech (the George C. Scott version, of course) or the
original recording released on a specialty label. The score has been
well represented on re-recordings and compilations additionally,
existing as part of a "generals suite" that Goldsmith would conduct in
many of his own concerts. Much more elusive through the years was
Tora! Tora! Tora!
, a score that was impossible to obtain on LP or
CD for a quarter of a century. Its original form would finally be
restored on a limited specialty CD in 2000 by Film Score Monthly (the
label that also resurrected the Patton
score prior). In the
meantime, however, Goldsmith collectors were treated to a handful of
re-recordings contracted by the Varèse Sarabande label in the
late 1990's, and both of these scores for pivotal 1970 films were
included in that series. For Goldsmith, his conducting of the Royal
Scottish National Orchestra for these two scores in 1997 would mark a
rather rare event for the composer; at the time, the only other scores
he had re-recorded for album were Islands in the Stream
, both for the Intrada label.
The performers of the RNSO are precise in their
orchestration and pacing. With Goldsmith conducting, the recreations are
loyal, which is important since both these scores have some awkward
instrumental needs. The only complaint some veteran listeners have had
about this particular set is that the ensemble may lack some of the
driving enthusiasm in its brass section during the full performances of
the title march from Patton
. Indeed, the brass here doesn't slur
upwards with the same vigor during these moments, but their movement is
strong enough to make the performances viable anyways. For
, the special needs of the score would require an organ and
a method of providing the echoing effect of the two trumpets that
perform the triplet motif for the general's sense of reincarnation. The
organ for the plentiful religious sequences in the first half of the
score is easily handled, and the trumpet triplets are handled
acoustically rather than with technical manipulation. This change of
tactic makes them a little more distant than in the original, but it
could be argued that they better serve their purpose this way. Included
in these recordings are the "Hospital" cue that was cut from the film
and the concert version of the "German March" that had never been
intended to be heard in full in the picture (it does, of course, do
battle with the title march in the later action pieces). More
interesting, but probably less enjoyable for casual listeners, are the
five selections (chosen by Goldsmith himself) from Tora! Tora!
. A unique score with an oriental construct performed by a
Western ensemble, Tora! Tora! Tora!
adds a koto and serpent, as
well as a tuning effect on two oboes, as well as enhanced percussion, in
place of violins, which Goldsmith dropped from his original ensemble in
response to a challenge from Goldsmith's friend Alex North. The opening
and closing titles are fascinating in their brass dominance and
staggered rhythmic movement (a technique used to represent the concept
of miscommunication in the film). The current sound quality really does
fantastic justice to Tora! Tora! Tora!
, which sounds infinitely
better here than in the sparse and distant original. Overall, this was
the second of Varèse Sarabande's "Film Classics" series of
re-recordings, following To Kill an Mockingbird
and moving on to
Goldsmith's The Sand Pebbles
. These products are generally
outstanding, and this one is no exception. ***** @Amazon.com: CD or
For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.3
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The insert includes extensive notes about the scores and films.