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Apparently Decca finally saw the light (actually it was the lack of reuse fees) and released a legitimate, hour-long album for Jerry Goldsmith.  If you don't count the one song in his Russa House album, this becomes the longest first-run Jerry Goldsmith release in the history of cinema.  (The trend is continuing: the Varese album of The 13th Warrior will be this long, too.)  Fittingly, this is also one of the best Goldsmith scores of the '90s, blowing away everything he's done in the last few years.  For this Egyptian-style movie, he gives us an appropriately Egyptian score, fully utilizing the harmonic minor scale, particularly A harmonic minor, which gives it the Eastern sound.  While the score sometimes dips into cliche, this is Goldsmith's biggest action-adventure blowout since The Wind and the Lion in 1975, and he keeps it interesting by using 4 key themes, found just about everywhere.  As a matter of fact, along with Lionheart, The Wind and the Lion, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this is about as close as Goldsmith has come to writing a leitmotivic score.  Most of the action cues give fond memories of such former scores as Star Trek V, too.  Also noteworthy is his use of both a giant chorus and several ethnic instruments.  Going back to his roots, this also has some of the most avant-garde music he's written in years, particularly in tracks 2,10, and 8.  Overall, this is an awe-inspiring Jerry Goldsmith action score that you'll keep going back for more.

Track by Track Analysis:
1. Imhotep (4:20)
Before stating his main theme, Goldsmith gives us a section for some kind of plucked ethnic Egyptian instrument that I'll refer to as a cithara.  A flute motif enters, and wailing choir leads us into one of the most simple, but also one of the most effective themes in the Goldsmith canon.  It's quite short, but he'll add more to it later.  Also noteworthy in this score is the absense of any large electronic devices.  He only uses them once or twice in the entire score.  After more of the harmonic minor scale, we get the introduction of the love theme, which is somewhat based on the first theme, but orchestrated for delicate strings on the minor scale.  This doesn't last long, and we eventually get another rousing statement of the main theme, now with more ethnic percussion.  One of the variations is quite dissonant and unsettling, and the track ends with a transitory segment of a new theme with choir and quiet synth.  This one, as evidenced in some of the later orchestrations sounds a lot like one of the battle themes heard in the original Star Trek series.

2. The Sarcophagus (2:17)
This opens with a dissonant brass section, which will return several times during the track.  The centerpiece, however, is a melody for the huge chorus.  The theme introduced at the end of the previous track, which I'll refer to as the Star Trek theme, makes a short entrance, and the track ends with atonality.

3. Tauger Attack (2:23)
This is one of the two tracks on here most reminiscent of The Wind and the Lion's "Rasuili Attacks."  It also harkens back to some of his classic Star Trek V action sequences, and it's entirely based on the main theme.  The melodic line is constantly accompanied by virtuoso string runs.  Another new theme is introduced, by far the most rousing of all the motives present.  It's a trumpet/horn playoff, both doing various glissandi accompanied by the cithara.

4. Giza Port (2:01)
We finally get a break from the breakneck pace in the form of this haunting composition.  It begins with a variation on the love theme played on the cithara over ethnic percussion.  The strings later come in with the love theme, and the 3 elements mix for a while.  Another transitory sequence follows with a bass statement of the main theme under strings.  The cithara/percussion comes back, followed by a final mysterious orchestration of the main theme.

5. Night Boarders (4:08)
Another action cue based somewhat on "Rasuili Attacks" comes next.  It opens with bass synth, which segues into a woodwind presentation of the love theme, only to be swallowed up by the introduction of a cithara/percussion ostinato, which starts the main action sequence.  The ethnic percussion take over, and the cithara does a virtuoso run a lot like the trumpet run in "Rasuili Attacks."  Like the aforementioned composition, the various sections of the orchestra receive the run, and a new melody enters.  The only real theme recalled is the glissando theme found in track 3.  It's first given slightly in the bass, then taken over by brass.

6. The Caravan (2:52)
The next two tracks give us more ridiculously epic moments, the most we've had in this score so far.  The love theme begins the track, which is then taken over by more cithara.  An altered presentation of the main theme comes next, supported by the massive choir.  It's joined by a string descant, which adds another great melody.  The final minute is somewhat more sinister, returning to some of the annoying bass synth and harmonic minor scales.  Apparently the track is made up of 2 cues, as there's a long silence followed by a short 30 second tension cue.

7. Camel Race (3:26)
As if the previous track wasn't epic enough, Goldsmith takes his love theme and adds almost a Lawrence of Arabia-like quality.  After a quiet opening, an evil horn call leads into a cithara/timpani ostinato, joined by soaring violin runs playing a variation of the love theme.  A full-blooded presentation of it comes next, still with the ostinato.  He extends it some, and this is the first full statement we've had so far.  For the last minute, we get a 2/4 section with timpani on the downbeat followed by anvil.  A horn solo plays over this.  Finally, a more soothing statement of the love theme ends the track.

8. The Crypt (2:26)
Goldsmith now gives us a disturbing return to avant-garde.  It opens with a wailing trombone that sounds like it's trying to emulate the serpent instrument found in Alien.  A dissonant string section reminiscent of "The Droid" from the aforementioned score comes next, coupled with synth and a tuba ostinato.  The atonal strings get a 2/4 ostinato, and horns come in with one of the main motives, nearly unrecognizable with the strings.  Finally, the track ends with disquieting dissonant strings, chorus, and a return to the trombone.

9. Mumia Attack (2:19)
Here's another full-blooded action cue, based on an ostinato in the cithara, and bringing back the motif used in "Night Boarders."  One of the more subdued middle sections interpolates the main theme, which is then used with the ostinato in the bass.  The final section is quiet, with alternating descending and ascending harmonic minor scales, with the track ending with the love theme.

10. Discoveries (3:41)
Like track 8, this returns to Goldsmith's former avant-garde sensibilities, using dissonant strings, moaning choir, etc.  One of the main tension motives forms one of the sections.

11. My Favorite Plague (3:59)
For the last five tracks, Jerry blends his 4 main themes, as well as all the secondary motives into a testosterone-pumped action blowout.  The first theme heard in this track is the Star Trek motif, followed by a string ostinato, as well as some action licks not entirely unlike the better parts of Star Trek: Insurrection.  The trumpets get the ostinato, and the ethnic percussion comes in for a while, joined by a tuba statement of the main theme.  The Star Trek motif comes back, now sounding more like the original series than ever before.  Like ST:I, he gets a major, upward moving version of his main theme.  That ostinato comes back, is joined by choir, and it finally climaxes in another full statement of the main theme with percussion.

12. Crowd Control (3:12)
This begins with one of the most massive choral sections heard anywhere in the score, with them singing the Star Trek motif evetually.  Hints of the glissando theme appear momentarily, followed by more permutations on the ST motif, now in the strings.  Later the love theme makes a short appearance, swallowed up by choral chanting based slightly on the main theme.

13. Rebirth (8:33)
Foreboding strings open this, followed by synth and choral wailing.  A mock march with choir on the offbeats soon takes over, goes back to the wailing, and finally climaxes in a major chord joined with trumpet and horn lines.  A loud percussive section comes next, along with the return of the Star Trek motif.  An action section forms the basis for the next few minutes, not really utilizing much thematic material.  Finally it breaks out into the glissando theme, followed by cithara meanderings and the Star Trek motif.  The rest of the cue is another action section that uses most of the main themes.

14. The Mummy (6:19)
Continuing with the precendent set in 11, we get another massive-scale action cue with all the main themes.  By this time, however, all the action moments are beginning to run together, and the score is losing some of its appeal.  Still, most statements of the themes, particularly the glissando and main themes, keep it pretty interesting.

15. The Sand Volcano (5:41)
This is much more interesting than the previous 2 action cues, and it gives the score a fitting send-off.  The awesome main theme coupled with the usual violin runs opens it followed by more tension moments, leading to the love theme and a return to the plucked cithara material in Giza Port, which climaxes in one of the fullest presentations of the love theme on the CD.  Next it's given a fugal march with an ostinato.  The glissando action theme enters now, still with the ostinato, and it's actually given a few full statements.  For the final 2 minutes, the love theme gives us an awesome send-off, complete with choir.  The only disappointment is that there's no end credits or ending giant chord, so the score just trails off into nothingness.  I suggest listening to part of track 1 again for this.

Even though parts of the last five tracks become somewhat wearing, this is one of the very best Jerry Goldsmith scores of the '90s.  Although The Wind and the Lion has more charm, The Mummy, its counterpart will provide you with many great themes and motives, charging action cues, and a way to spice up any boring moment.  Overall, you can't go wrong with The Mummy.



 
The Mummy: The Final Score
Music Rating 9/10
Packaging/Liner Notes N/A
Orchestral Performance 9/10
Sound Quality 9/10
Length 10/10


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The Mummy is Copyright 1999 by Decca.  Its appearance on this site is for informational purposes only.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  Opinions are not those of Tripod.
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