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Expanded Score Album

COMPOSED AND CONDUCTED BY BRUCE BROUGHTON


Bruce Broughton is one of the best and most talented film composers of our era, yet nobody seems to have heard many of his scores.  His most popular ones have been for westerns, and he always writes in a giant orchestral mode, usually with no noteworthy use of synths.  So, naturally, Lost in Space was a big departure for him.  After John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith declined to compose the score, the producers turned to Broughton to provide a huge space opera score in the vein of Star Wars.  The versatile composer wrote an exciting opus that sometimes harkened back to his western scores.  It sounded great, although buried in sound effects.  You'd think it would get a full 70 minute score album since it was recorded in England, but, sadly TVT got a hold of it first.  The earlier soundtrack album had about 30 minutes of score (mostly loud action segments, with most instances of the main theme omitted) coupled with 40 minutes of absolutely hideous techno noise.  Fortunately Intrada, Broughton's label of choice, eventually got the rights and released a full 70 minute score album with nearly the entire thing.  We now have 2 big themes that are played quite often: the main theme, which is a hopeful, graceful melody that sounds like a Western theme, as well as an evil villain theme for the antagonist.  While definitely not a leitmotivic score, Broughton's main theme gets put through several different styles, ranging from wistful hope to rollicking action.  The score has a wide range of styles conveyed, and there are several excitingly bombastic action setpieces, some totalling over 10 minutes.  Also noteworthy is his use of synths, which isn't normal for him.  They're never used in abundance, just to set a specific atmosphere.  The insert notes have a short essay on the score by the composer, and I think that this album's packaging is probably the most professional and elaborate that Intrada has ever done.  Performance by the Sinfonia of London is beyond reproach, and the sound quality is crisp and vibrant.  If you can find the score album, I suggest that you purchase it, because you won't be disappointed.

Track by Track
1. Prologue (:57)
The album opens rather underwhelmingly with a dissonant celestial piece for high strings and synth.  There's not much of a melody, just general ambiance.

2. Preparing For Space (2:31)
Broughton's main theme is introduced in this preliminary cue, in which it's played as a hopeful, triumphant melody, first somewhat held back on French horn, then let loose by a full orchestral tutti.  The next section introduces the slithering, malevolent motif for the villain of the film, played on ominous woodwinds.  A string rendition of his theme rounds out the track, making for a more satisfying opening.

3. The Launch (6:22)
This track is one of the highlights of the score, playing off triumphant versions of the main theme and soaring, blissfully evil strains of Dr. Smith.  The first minute is entirely based on this latter theme, eventually gaining steam into a full march.  Most of it, however, is a collection of ominous string sections with woodwind flourishes.  However, with the arrival of a huge trumpet/woodwind run, the main theme jubilantly bursts into the soundscape, first played as a jaunty pizzicato string piece, then formed into a full brassy fanfare.  Later this turns somewhat sinister and, after an ominous woodwind fantasia on the melody, jumps into a desperate action cue.

4. Robot Attack (3:21)
One of my personal favorite action segments, this is based upon a racing, almost out of control string ostinato.  After an ominous synth section and trumpet fanfare, a 6/8 string section leads into the introduction of this ostinato, punctuated by off-beat percussive hits.  The virtuoso brass writing in a few sections simply has to be heard to be believed, and one part reintroduces Smith's malevolent woodwind theme.

5. Into the Sun (6:21)
Another brassy action cue, this opens with a percussive, exciting march with a motif of bass clarinet arpeggios, as well as a few statements of Smith's theme.  Occasionally, the orchestration becomes oppressively atonal, with a few uses of piled fifth interval chords in the brass.  For the majority of this cue, the main theme takes a back seat to the exciting action writing, although it's referenced a few times in the background, as well as a few mutated appearences in the strings and brass.  Also, one time in the last minute, it's played in full by the brass once before disappearing completely to the tumultuously grand action writing.

6. Spiders (10:22)
This is actually a collection of a few cues strung together, which makes it hard to get to the better parts, since a lot of it is tension writing.  The main theme appears a few times, but the bulk of the beginning is a wonderous gothic chord section, complete with synth chorus.  After this superb opening section, the soundscape becomes less interesting, using the aforementioned tension writing.  To evoke the characterization of the slimy, slithering alien spiders on screen, Broughton uses dissonant, unstable, slithering string and woodwind orchestration.  After this disquieting section, another brassy action march erupts, which is some of the best material we've heard so far.  This action cue continues throughout the next few minutes, later overtaken by a quieter atonal section, only to come back in full to exhaust itself into a climax.  Overall, this is one of the best sections of the score, and its lengthy running time hardly ever becomes wearing, except in a few of the more harrowing dissonant passages.

7. A New World (1:25)
This is basically just a tension piece with a few moments of Smith's theme thrown in.

8. Guiding Stars (1:37)
We now have a tender break in the tension, which makes use of an alto flute, as well as a few more ethnic sounding passages, and there is later a slow soaring woodwind section of the main theme.

9. The Time Bubbles (2:21)
Continuing in the more tender mold of the previous cue, this adds a few noteworthy synth choir wonder moments, as well both a woodwind and synth performance of the main theme.  In the last 30 seconds, however, it becomes more gothic and dissonant.

10. Smith's Plan (1:21)
A quiet recap of Smith's theme on clarinet, accompanied by strings.

11. Will & Smith Explore (2:00)
After a preliminary racing string and brass outburst, a tense section comes in, punctuated by synth choir.  Later, a snippet of Smith's theme returns.

12. Will's Time Machine (4:24)
More of the same opens this track - the usual string tension section.  After a few seconds of this, however, another brassy action cue erupts, intercut with dissonant woodwind moments.  Highlights of the cue are gothic string moments, punctuated by woodwind runs and chorus.  Aside from the 2 desperate permutations of the main theme towards the end, no thematic material is utilized in this cue.

13. Spider Smith (2:39)
Like the other instances involving Smith, this uses his theme against playfully malevolent orchestral coloring.  There are a few desperate brassy outbursts amid the slew of gothic, sometimes dissonant moments.  A single touch of the main theme on cello ends the cue.

14. Facing the Monster (8:46)
This is another apocalyptic action cue, much like Spiders.  It's nowhere near as dissonant however, even using a few triumphant outbursts of the main theme, as well as the gothic string chords that have been used a lot in this section of the score.  The action doesn't really begin until about the 2 minute mark, and from then on it's nonstop, using statements of the main theme buried among exciting brass action moments, almost like a more catastrophic version of Star Wars.  Later, more of the dissonant sections like the ones heard earlier in the score enter for a few minutes.  Broughton uses more synths than usual in the sequence, too.  It should be noted that this cue is more of an underscore cue than a stand-alone extravaganza, although it's still quite exciting to listen to by itself.

15. Attempted Escape (1:26)
An uneasy permutation on the main theme opens this track, and it ends up being one of the better ones on the album, using the theme in an utterly epic fashion with full orchestra, which the pathetic movie definitely didn't deserve.

16. The Time Portal (2:42)
This climactic cue begins with sweeping, epic grandeur with a soaring, almost Lawrence of Arabia-like section for the orchestra.  The last section contains another exciting, moving rendition of the entire main theme, much like track 15.

17. Through the Planet (2:31)
One of the last action cues on the album, this continues in the swashbuckling form of "Robot Attack," and it's based upon that same ostinato, complete with some of the virtuoso brass flourishes.  Even though you may be numb to all the exciting action by now, this is one of the better segments on the album.

18. Back to Hyperspace (1:38)
For the last underscore track in the score, Broughton pulls out all the stops, using grand statements of the main theme, and a small cameo from both Smith's theme and the unheard Will fanfare, which won't really become apparent until the next track.

19. Fanfare for Will (:27)
This gloriously epic fanfare, played entirely on brass, sounds a lot like some of the composer's western scoring.

20. Lost in Space (3:24)
Broughton ends his score with these end credits, which weren't used in the movie.  It's a final fantasia on the various sections of the main theme, and one of the better sections in this epic score.

Although some of the more nondescript sections of the score can become wearing, particularly just after the halfway mark, most of it is quite listenable and exciting, and fans of Broughton's westerns, as well as brassy sci-fi scores, will definitely enjoy this, one of his better works.  If you love this score, be sure to check out his Tombstone score as well.  BTW, this album is pretty tough to find in normal CD stores, so you may have to end up ordering it.  PLEASE don't get the song compilation/score CD, because you'll probably end up hating it, since they left out most of the best parts.



 
Lost in Space: The Final Score
Music Rating 9/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 7/10
Orchestral Performance 10/10
Sound Quality 10/10
Length 10/10





Lost in Space is Copyright 1999 by Intrada.  Review copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  All Rights Reserved.