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THE

WIND

AND THE

L I O N

by Jerry "The Man" Goldsmith

I have to admit it - frankly, I originally wasn't very interested in this score since, A) I'd never seen it anywhere and didn't really want to order it. and B) I wasn't really interested anyway.  Luckily, my local Circuit City finally got a copy in, so I said "Hey, it's Goldsmith, and it's from his best period, so it can't be THAT bad."  It turns out that this is one of the most rousing and exciting scores in the Goldsmith canon - the origin of all his breakneck modern action writing (well, I guess Planet of the Apes and The Blue Max were the real origins, but this was one of the first times he'd actually done action cues that had almost no atonality.)  Another highlight is his unabashedly old-fashioned and romantic love theme, which is on par with Ilia's Theme as the best Goldsmith love theme of all time.  In fact, this whole score sounds as if it was written for one of the black and white Golden Age swashbucklers from earlier in the century.  I guess one reason it gets the distinction is because of its somewhat, um, shall we say "archival" sound quality.  (really, it's not that bad, and even adds some character to the music, enhancing its old-time appeal.)  Along with the love theme there are 3 other themes, both utilizing fifth intervals (i.e. the beginning of his Klingon theme.)  The main theme is a rousing, soaring Arabian-flavored brass and string motif that pops up several times, most notably in the main titles and as a climax to "Raisuli Attacks."  Next comes the military theme, which is entirely made up of fifths.  Finally, there's an unbelievably fast-paced action theme, which I'll explain in more detail later.  Another highlight of the score is the unbelievably complex percussion writing, utilizing both the standard orchestral complement, as well as several clanging ethnic Moroccan instruments.  What's more, he uses some of the most virtuoso percussion rhythms I've ever heard - playing on offbeats, etc. (One time in "The Horsemen," the clanging thing plays a complete different rhythm from the rest of the orchestra and percussion section - must have been excrutiatingly difficult for the player.)  On top of this, there's usually 2 or more drums playing at once - on 2 completely different rhythms.  Which brings us to his action cues, which, quite frankly, have been unparalleled before or since in this type of film.  The utter harshness and pagan ferocity present in these tracks makes Maurice Jarre's Tribal theme from Lawrence of Arabia look like a John Barry piece.  Finally, the sequencing of the album is quite clever, spacing out the action cues with more quite interludes.  The insert notes contain an essay on the music by Intrada's Doug Fake, and the performance of the music is flawless.

Track by Track Analysis:
1. Main Title (1:29)
Goldsmith perfectly sets the tone for this score in the main title, which introduces the soaring main theme.  He doesn't hold back, either, introducing the score with a series of fortissimo percussion beats and clanging outbursts from some kind of ethnic instrument, culminating in a pompous, deliberate series of fifth intervals in the French horns.  The series repeats a few times, and we're finally introduced to the full theme, again played on horns with high strings and fluttering trumpet bursts.  The strings get a bombastic extension of it, and final section is a short trumpet presentation of the main melody.  Finally, he ends the track with fading french horn fifth calls. (from now on I'll just refer to this as the horn call, even though it may not be in the horns.)

2. I Remember (Love Theme) (2:43)
Next comes a full concert suite of Goldsmith's sweeping, poignant, and emotional love theme.  Still, it's quite complex with an abundance of melodic sections.  An uneasy harp and bell introduction leads into the main statement in strings, which quiets into an extension of the theme in lower strings, and finally, it's repeated on a solo cello.  Next a solo trumpet gets the main melody, accompanied by a string descant.  Eventually, the theme swells into an enormously satisfying climax, which is followed by a few more subdued thematic statements.  In the end, this remains one of the most haunting and moving themes Goldsmith has ever composed.

3. The Horsemen (3:11)
Now Goldsmith gives us the first of his exciting virtuoso action cues based on the horn call.  A screaming trumpet introduces the track, followed by a full statement of the horn call military theme.  Next is a percussion ostinato with the off-beat clanging line, accompanied by a melody in the strings.  Usually, I'm so engrossed with the percussion lines I don't pay much attention to this theme, even though it's still great.  The military theme makes a quick cameo, which segues into yet another melody - a major key version of the earlier string melody.  After a menacing section with trombones and horn glissandi, the dense layer of percussion comes back, with the clanging instrument playing an even more complex rhythm.  A completely new melody is introduced in the trumpets, and Goldsmith turns the music into an awe-inspiring fugue consisting of that theme, the military theme, and earlier string melody, still accompanied by the percussion.  It's truly magnificent to hear.  Later, the composer calms us down with a quieter section, and the track ends with a final presentation of the love theme and the military theme.

4. True Feelings (2:33)
Whew!  Anyway, after that swift, bombastic action track, Goldsmith gives us a romantic interlude with a more subdued presentation of the love theme for solo flute accompanied by the usual harp and bells.  Later the violin section gets it.  Near the end, the composer takes the usual extension and varies it somewhat.

5. The Raisuli (2:11)
Opens with a magnificent violin ascension, followed by a poignant statement of the love theme.  Next we get another breathless action scherzo, now with the ostinato based on the horn call, and the main melody based on the main theme.  This section doesn't last long, and leads into various statements of both the military horn call and the main theme.

6. The True Symbol (2:34)
To vary the thematic material, Goldsmith takes the normally strictly minor-key horn call and composes a fantasia on it, using the call in a major key.  It's played on both normal orchestral instruments and some kind of ethnic flute.  Overall, this is one of the more tranquil sections of the score, and lulls us into a false sense of security before THE BIG ONE, which comes next.

7. Raisuli Attacks (3:17)
By far the main highlight of the album (and one of the highlights of Goldsmith's career), this barbaric action cue utilizes both the horn call and a new melody, which sounds absolutely impossible to play.  He begins with a peaceful statement of the horn call, before turning it completely tribal and pagan.  A percussion section leads into the introduction of a blazingly fast ostinato, on top of which the new action theme is based.  This unimagineably quick sixteenth-note theme has the accents on all the off-beats, and tied notes at all the (seemingly) wrong places.  Then, Jerry Goldsmith and the studio orchestra accomplish the impossible - the TRUMPETS get it.  Yes, and it sounds completely professional, with no errors whatsoever.  What's more, he harmonizes it into 2 parts, making it all the more difficult to synchonize.  The ostinato returns, as well as the off-beat clanging from "Horsemen," then the strings get that sixteenth-note melody again.  The climax of the action is an exciting, glorious, loud, bombastic, and virtuoso, (and a lot of other adjectives) playing of the main theme ON TOP OF the Presto battle melody.  Finally, the cue ends with another statement of his love theme.  Truly not to be missed.

8. Lord of the Riff (2:42)
Here we get a swaggering, arrogant march version of the main theme which sounds unbelievably grand, accompanied by all manner of ethnic and orchestral percussion.  It quiets into a short cameo of his gorgeous love theme on solo flute, coupled with acoustic guitar arpeggios.  However, the march returns with the military theme, as well as that swift violin run theme from "Raisuli Attacks."  The main theme comes next, which really brings the march full circle, adding yet another great track to the Jerry Goldsmith scoreboard.

9. The Tent (1:49)
For the most part, this abandons most of the themes, and instead gives us something completely new - a Moroccan folk-song like melody on all the ethnic instruments.  I take back what I said about the lack of themes - the main theme appears once or twice.

10. The Palace (2:29)
Here we get another grand pompous march, based on the horn call somewhat, and introducing a new imperial-sounding melody.  Goldsmith adds a contrast by bringing the love theme (played on woodwinds) into the fold to complement the fanfarish brass.  The final section is made up of rich ambience in the orchestra.

11. The Legend (4:00)
As the title suggests, this track is quite mystical and intriguing.  He brings in some new Moroccan woodwind instruments, and interpolates the main theme a few times, seamlessly intertwining it with the mystical soundscape.  Throughout its running time, the main theme continually builds, finally climaxing in an ethnic presentation of it accompanied by loud drums.

12. Morning Camp (3:19)
This opens with some weird sound effects - something to the effect of metal being rattled and a pipe being hit.  Goldsmith plays the main theme in a high soprano ethnic woodwind.  Later, a guitar and bongo-drum ostinato comes, and a variation of the main theme plays on top of it.  This gains in intensity, finally climaxing in a sweeping string presentation of the main theme.  Later, we get another playing of the horn call with the ethnic percussion.

13. The Letter (2:33)
Here we get another quiet track based on the fifth-interval horn call, played in all sections of the orchestra.  The composer extends it into a full tender melody in some sections with the strings.  In the final section, a solo oboe plays the now-familiar main theme.  Also noteworthy in this track are 2 instances of a new moving trumpet elegy.

14. Something of Value (3:48)
Goldsmith innovatively chooses to end his score album with the love theme, giving it its most humanistic and soaring statement yet.  This is interrupted, however, by the return of an extended ethnic drum cadence, which goes into a final action cue with pizzicato ostinato, based on the horn call with a solo clarinet flawlessly performing that devilish sixteenth-note battle theme.  An intermission of the main theme leads into a final section with pounding and clanging ethnic percussion, giving epic send-offs to  the main theme, horn call, and love theme, now played even more sweepingly than before.  Interestingly, instead of ending in bombast, Goldsmith ends his score with final bittersweet playings of both the main theme (on guitar) and horn call.
 

In the end, I can't believe I didn't buy this score sooner.  It demonstrates Jerry Goldsmith at the top of his form - loud, bombastic action, a sweeping love theme, and ethnic instruments.  I've heard some complaints that this is too loud, and I could understand that, but most people will end up loving The Wind and the Lion.  There's not a mediocre track on here - they're all excellent.  The sound quality is no major detractor, the performance is top-notch, and the length is perfect - not too long and not too short.

The Bottom Line: Get it.



 
The Wind and the Lion: The Final Score
Music Rating 10/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 7/10
Sound Quality 7/10
Orchestral Performance 10/10
Length 10/10




The Wind and the Lion is Copyright 1975 by Intrada.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  All rights reserved.
The ScoreSheet - Read at your own risk.