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Film Composer Jerry Goldsmith: An Appreciation

Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith

Enigmatic composer Jerry Goldsmith died this past Wednesday at the age of 75. Though he created hundreds of film scores and won an Oscar, Goldsmith never achieved the fame of some of his peers.

Weekend Edition commentator Andy Trudeau particularly recommends these Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack recordings:

The Blue Max (1966) [Sony LK 57890] A traditionally orchestrated score evoking both the wonder of flight and the hard edge of combat. Goldsmith at his Richard Straussian best.

L.A. Confidential (1997) [Varese Sarabande VSD-5885]

A modern film noir stylishly matched by Goldsmith’s moody, rhythmic score. An Oscar nominee that should have won the prize.

The Omen (1976) [Varese Sarabande 302 066 288]

Goldsmith's Oscar-winning score. A bravura mix of chorus and full symphony orchestra in the ultimate showdown between good and evil.

Patton (1969) [Varese Sarabande VSD-5796]

Perhaps Goldsmith's most famous main title. Echoing horns in triplets and a rousing martial theme dominate this successful biopic.

Planet of the Apes (1968) [Varese Sarabande VSD-5848]

Don't look now, but it's a 12-tone score for a big-budget blockbuster. Goldsmith proves that modernism and storytelling are not incompatible.

Total Recall (1990) [Varese Sarabande 302 066 197]

An orchestral tour de force and one of Goldsmith's personal favorites.

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Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.