|1.||Music for Orchestra||8:16|
|2.||Christus Apollo - Part I||7:57|
|3.||Christus Apollo - Part II||9:07|
|4.||Christus Apollo - Part III||7:18|
|5.||Christus Apollo - Part IV||10:02|
|Total Album Time:||51:12|
Review: Christus Apollo
3.5 / 5 Stars
Typically when I think of a Jerry Goldsmith score, I think of strong themes and exciting orchestration. From his early days in the 1960s and 1970s, experimentation with different orchestral styles has alwasys been part of his game. (Who can forget the frightening and bizarre instrumentations used in Freud and Alien?) So it comes as no surprise to find out that the recently released album Christus Apollo is nearly entirely comprised of a 12-tone (dodecaphonic) system. It's brash, bold and completely Goldsmith.
The album begins with his 1970 commissioned work, "Music For Orchestra". The first section is dark and chaotic, while the second part feels more emotional and thoughtful with more emphasis on the strings. The final part of the work is restless and builds up to a rather explosive climax. There's a great moment where the strings carry a main "melodic" line, and the rest of the orchestra is providing low pounding - not unlike some of his work twenty-years later in Total Recall. It's not easy to take in, but it's quite an impressive way to use the orchestra.
The meat of the album comes in the form of "Christus Apollo", written in 1969. The text was written by Ray Bradbury, and the piece is performed in four parts. Mezzo-soprano Eirian James and the London Voices do a wonderful job singing the text, and Anthony Hopkins, whose soft voice counters the dark chorus and orchestra that fills the piece, provides the narration. It would be remiss of me to overlook the blatant similarities between this work and Goldsmith's later efforts on The Omen and Planet of the Apes. In fact, there are a few sections that could arguably have been lifted from "Christus Apollo" and tracked right into those films.
The final piece on the album is a little more traditional. "Fireworks" was written 30-years after "Christus Apollo" (in 1999), for the finale of Goldsmith's Hollywood Bowl concert. Triumphant and sweeping at times, this piece is meant to be a celebration of Los Angeles - and it certainly feels like it! With a clear melody on the strings, the piece takes us on an emotional journey that is always upbeat and moving forward. It's a great way to end an album that, for the most part, feels dark and coarse.
This album is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and they do a bang-up job. Running about 50-minutes long, it's not so much an "enjoyable" listen as it is an interesting one. The first two pieces are a bit hard to swallow, but if you manage to take them in, you'll have a stronger appreciation for many of Goldsmith's film works. The final piece is the icing on the cake, and a reward for getting through the first 40.
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