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You know, American cinema really ticks me off sometimes.  Ridley Scott had concocted a visual and musical masterpiece with his director's cut of Legend, along with this wonderfully grand and ethereal score by Jerry Goldsmith.  But then the studios made him cut the 125 minute picture down to 95 minutes for Europe.  The public over there gave it lukewarm reviews (what do you expect when 30 minutes of plot are snipped?)  So, for the American release, 10 more minutes of footage were removed, as well as Goldsmith's score (despite it being one of the most approved aspects of the film.)  In its place was a boring synth score by Tangerine Dream, complete with 2 hideous songs.  The public now had no way to hear Goldsmith's score except for a CD which quickly went out of print.  Thankfully, the saints at Silva Screen rescued the entire score through a painstaking restoration process.  Unfortunately, the ensuing album is usually nowhere to be found in America, so we stateside people have to find a way to order it.  However, definitely grab it if you ever find it, since it's one of the composer's 10 best scores.  All of the music is unbelievably lush and magical, with almost a tangible beaty emanating from the instruments.  What's so weird about the instrumentation is that at least 10% are synthesizers, and most aren't annoying.  Even the goblin synths, which most people hate, aren't *that* bad.  I wouldn't want to listen to them all day, and sometimes they mercilessly intrude upon the lush soundscape, but overall they don't really take anything away from the score.  Also noteworthy is Goldsmith's use of full chorus, which is present in just about every cue.   A lot of the ethereal string sections bring back images of his ST:TMP score, but this is easily one of his most original and endearing scores.  Finally, there are 3 songs, the first of which has a marvelous haunting pastoral melody, but it's stuck with corny lyrics.  The next song, which is actually an extension of one of the major themes, is better and adds a subtle foreboding quality.  The amount of thematic material is staggering, more than any other Goldsmith score I've heard, including Lionheart.  In fact, the number of themes is approaching a John Williams level, with a collection of over 15 different motives.  The liner notes for this release are probably the best I've ever seen, with the 20 page booklet containing sections on the production of the CD, a track-by-track analysis, an essay on the European release, a section on the score as a whole (including a full synthesizer list), a Jerry Goldsmith biography (complete with a section on his obscure concert works), complete film credits, an essay on the American release, and an analysis of the Tangerine Dream score.  It's staggering how much material was crammed into the booklet, and the notes are even better than the Varese Film Classics series.  Even though the CD was produced from a secondary master, you couldn't tell it, with the sound quality better than some contemporary releases.  Finally, Goldsmith's full 70 minute score is included.  I believe this could easily be remembered as the closest the composer has gotten to a fully leitmotivic opera.

Track by Track Analysis:
1. Main Title/The Goblins (5:45)
Goldsmith introduces 2 of his themes in this track - an undeveloped Unicorn motif and the Goblin theme.  After an introduction to the mystical pastoral soundscape with an assortment of evocative string and synthesizer effects, the bubbly Goblin theme enters on drunken synths.  The 2 different soundscapes alternate between each other throughout the duration of the track, and an abbreviated version of the unicorn theme enters in chorus, which conveys the thematic chord progressions through lush 2-note choral bursts.  The Goblin theme becomes more demented, introducing synth glissandi.  Also, the choral bursts each become more urgent and frenzied until finally hitting the first true presentation of the Unicorn theme.  Assorted variations on the goblin theme end the track.

2. My True Love's Eyes/The Cottage (5:04)
More thematic material is introduced in this track, including Lili's main song and the theme for Jack.  Lili's innocent, enchanting pastoral melody is first hummed and then sung by a solo female, accompanied by string descants and high whistle-like synths.  After this short prelude, a synth/orchestral version of the theme attempts to take over, only to be intercepted by goblin music.  Later, the whistle synth gets the melody accompanied by a choral descant.  Near the end of the track, part of Jack's themes enter for the first time: an enchanting prelude and the actual dance-like triplet theme.  Later, more will be added, including the basis for one of Lili's songs.  Lili's theme (the song) enters again at the end.

3. The Unicorns (7:53)
Probably one of the best cues in the score, this tone poem (which would be a great piece for Goldsmith's concerts) is an awe-inspiring fantasia on all the major themes heard thus far, including the new postlude to Jack's theme (which I'll refer to as the Bumps and Hollows theme.)  The opening section of this work, while sometimes seeming like typical trademark Goldsmith woodwind flourishes, is actually an abstract playing of Jack's main theme, intertwined with orchestral snippets of Lili's song.  Unfortunately this track isn't free from the drunken synthesizers of the Goblins, but they don't appear enough to completely ruin the lush, impressionistic atmosphere created by the orchestra, synths, and (later) choir.  After they first enter, more of Jack's theme returns, now in its complete form with the Bumps and Hollows postlude.  The next section, based slightly on the Unicorn theme, continues the lush atmosphere present with impressionistic scherzos and woodwind runs.  Another woodwind version of Jack's complete theme is interrupted, however, by Goblin synths.  The Unicorn theme forms the basis for the last few minutes, getting some impressive thematic development complete with choir, in the most moving reprise of their theme heard yet.  In the final minute, the tone turns sinister, injecting some evil chromatic moments into the continued singing and playing of the theme.

4. Living River/Bumps and Hollows/The Freeze (7:21)
Another fantastic track comes next, made up of three entirely different cues.  More thematic development for Lili forms the basis for the first 2 cues in this suite, which begins with a reprise of her "Eyes" song, now with ethereal choral accompaniment, which makes it much more mature and interesting.  The second section introduces Jerry Goldsmith's trademark exciting action writing into the mix, based on an impressive orchestral rendition of the Goblin theme, as well as a new oppressive motif heard in a few other cues, which I'll refer to as the desperation theme.  Also thrown into this action extravaganza are both Lili's song and the Unicorn theme.  "Bumps and Hollows" has Lili singing a song based on the postlude to Jack's theme.  After this short interlude, the orchestra swells to a full playing of his entire theme, later joined by chorus.  "The Freeze" interjects some impressive choral chanting based on the desperation motif.  Appropriately "snowy" synthesizers add the effect of a blowing wind to this action cue.  Of course, the Goblin theme isn't far behind, but it's used mainly as a flavoring particle into the orchestral/choral soundscape.  In the last minute, the most powerful version of the desperation theme enters, chanted chorally complete with evil lyrics.  A malicious orchestral rendition of Jack's theme, which will be used later in the climactic cues, also enters for a few seconds, and the whole ensemble climaxes in an evil choral yell.  The score hasn't had a weak track yet, and this will eventually be one of the highlights.

5. The Faeries/The Riddle (4:52)
More impressionistic orchestral and synth moments characterize this cue, which also introduces a solo violin stinger, used as a calling card for the faeries found in the film, as well as Gump, their leader.  Some of the throbbing synth tones near the beginning remind me of the desperation motif, and there are a few interludes based on segments of Jack's theme, but overall this sound is completely new for the score.  Also, foreshadowing of Oona's theme is found frequently in the delicate strings.  One part is made up of solo pizzicato solo violin notes, and most of the synths haven't been heard before.  Finally, the solo violin introduces the theme that will be used later for the death dance.  In "The Riddle" the faeries get a new, more innocent motif, which will be expanded upon in song in the next cue.  There's a shortened motif based on this that is used whenever there's not enough time to play the whole theme.

6. Sing the Wee (1:07)
This annoying, and luckily short, track takes the theme heard at the end of the previous track and forms it into a song.  It's definitely the low point of the album, and I can't think of anyone who would like this.  Just to give you an idea of this cringe-inducing track, the melody is based on a male choral ensemble singing "wringle, wrangle" ad infinitum.

7. Forgive Me (5:13)
Probably the most effective use of music in the film, since it's the only medium carrying any emotion in the scene (one of the characters can't talk), this track takes some of the synths associated with the faeries and blends them with the Unicorn theme, sometimes made desperate by the use of chromatics.  The throbbing synths here bring back traces of the desperation theme, and the choir sings during part of the Unicorn theme.  This theme is played in several different orchestrations, each to signify a different emotion.

8. Faerie Dance (1:51)
The solo violin gets center stage in the beginning of this track, and soon a jubilant melody erupts, made into a dance by pulsing orchestral and synth accompaniment.  In one of the most effective and malicious sequences in the score, Goldsmith mutates this seemingly happy melody into an orchestrally demanding action track as the main character dances himself almost to death.  The tempo continually increases, and ends on a massive cadence.

9. The Armour (2:16)
Another personal favorite moment in the score, this cue has several elements: a return to the shortened faerie song theme in synths, a new brass theme made to characterize the hero, and a series of impressionistic string sections, made up of glissandi, to represent Oona, the seductive faerie.  The new hero theme is probably the most mature and noble theme in the score and definitely one of the best.

10. Oona/The Jewels (6:40)
A return to the impressionistic faerie ambiance heard in track 5 characterizes the opening of this track, which is also a brassy action cue.  The fiddle theme and faerie song theme return in parts during this sequence.  Hints of the hero theme in low woodwinds also make themselves known over the syncopated ostinato, which came from track 5.  The glissando string theme for Oona becomes the principal one for a while, displaced later by Jack's complete theme in woodwinds.  By this time, Lili's theme has disappeared completely, and it won't return until the last track.  Also, the score has taken on a decidedly darker tone, which definitely adds variety.  The last 30 seconds introduce the Dress Waltz theme, fully expounded upon in the next track.

11. The Dress Waltz (2:47)
Another of my absolute favorite tracks, this is a ghostly choral waltz which becomes more and more demented throughout its running time.  The theme is one of the darkest, yet one of the most magical in the entire score.  Throughout the waltz, Goldsmith continues to beef up the orchestration, until the whole orchestra and chorus have reached a resounding fortissimo, making perhaps my favorite single moment in the score.  In the very last few seconds of the track, a new synth glissando theme has appeared, which will be found later in "Darkness Falls."

12. Darkness Falls (7:27)
It's a cardinal sin that this was left off the original album, as it's the big Goldsmith action climax, in which nearly every theme returns in a massive final battle.  The introduction of a theme for Darkness, the villain of the film, begins the track, played on woodwinds with mystical choral accompaniment.  A short passage for minimalistic string flourishes comes next, reminiscent of the earlier Darkness theme, which is broken up by Jack's theme.  Although these alternating 2 note trills permeate the entire score (used to represent Darkness), it is the collection of themes for Jack that really carries the cue.  Brassy outbreaks of his Hero motif struggle to be heard in front of Darkness's theme, but it is the hero's themes that finally win.  The entire cue is unbelievably rousing and exciting, far above the level of just about any other composer.  The climax of the track has the return of the unbelievably powerful chorus, both chanting maliciously and singing the Unicorn theme.  Definitely one of the main highlights of the score.

13. The Ring (6:28)
Instead of ending the previous track in a triumphant epilogue, the composer forms a whole track for it.  The innocent faery theme and ostinato begins the cue, intercut with both the Unicorn motif and Jack's theme.  Finally, the entire giant string section erupts in the Bumps and Hollows theme, and Goldsmith extends it into a completely new theme, epic in scope and leading into more of the hero theme.  In one of the most moving moments of the score, the entire ensemble literally throws at us a giant choral rendition of Jack's theme.  The last section is a series of virtuoso woodwind runs outlining the climactic theme, and another full playing of Jack's themes ends the track.

14. Reunited (5:18)
Lili's theme is back, sung by the breathless solo vocal, now more transparent than the other presentations.  The singing doesn't last long, and the end credits are begun by a moving lush string presentation of her theme along with a final statement of the Unicorn theme in both orchestra and chorus.  Unfortunately, part of the credits are based on the "Sing the Wee" sung theme, and it's just as annoying as always, although Goldsmith does insert some nice atonality at the very beginning in the form of a string glissando.  Triumphant versions of both of Jack's themes (now with choir), as well as Lili's theme, come next, and the album ends with more of "Sing the Wee."

It should be noted that, even though I'm positive you'll end up loving it eventually, Legend can be somewhat off-putting the first time you listen to it due to its completely new style (not heard anywhere else in the Goldsmith canon), blend of instrumentation, and sheer size and complexity.  However, don't let that keep you from getting it, because it's definitely one of the high-points of Goldsmith's career, and near the top of his filmography in my opinion.  Also, don't be fooled into thinking that this is a kids' score.  It never degrades into some of the boring celeste drivel that Williams' E.T. does (ooh, I'm going to get flamed for that!), and it's nowhere near as childish, but still quite fanciful.  Some of the darker moments are definitely approaching the level of The Omen in sheer evilness and vile, but never truly jump into atonality, always maintaining an ethereal fantasy quality.  Finally, just to demonstrate the complexity of the score, here's a mostly-complete list of recurring themes:
1. Unicorn theme
2. Goblin theme
3. "My True Love's Eyes theme
4. Prelude to Jack's theme (only heard about twice)
5. main Jack theme
6. "Bumps and Hollows" theme
7. desperation motif
8. Solo violin faerie theme (including death dance)
9. Oona's theme
10. "Sing the Wee" theme
11. Hero theme
12. Dress Waltz theme
13. Faerie ostinato (beginning of track 5)
14. Darkness theme
15. Synth glissando motif (heard at very end of "Dress Waltz" and during "Darkness Falls")
16. Climactic theme (heard once in "The Ring")

There are a lot more smaller motives that I haven't listed, as well as some memorable motives that only appear in one track, but this just goes to show how complex a score Legend is.  It's almost as if Goldsmith is demonstrating how superior a composer he is to James Horner by taking the Krull fantasy score concept, and adding about 10 more themes.  Special mention must be made of the performance by the National Philharmonic Orchestra - as always, they are absolutely magnificent.  Goldsmith has worked with them on other occasions - Alien in particular, and they keep getting better and better.  Words cannot express the enthusiasm I feel for this score - it's nearly the high point of Goldsmith's entire career.



 
Legend: The Final Score
Music Rating 10/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 10/10
Orchestral Performance 10/10
Sound Quality 8/10
Length 10/10



Legend is Copyright 1992 by Silva Screen.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  All Rights Reserved.
The ScoreSheet can be contacted at  scoresheet@hotmail.com .