March 16, 2011
Legend: American Youth Symphony's Goldsmith Project Reaches Finale
Cheering crowds fill Royce Hall in celebration of beloved film composer's lasting legacy by Marilee Bradford
WESTWOOD, Calif.—More than 2,000 people attended Sunday's final installment of the American Youth Symphony's Goldsmith Project, a symposium and concert at UCLA's Royce Hall that featured works from Jerry Goldsmith's final two decades of music for films.
A wildly enthusiastic evening crowd estimated at 1,600 watched David Newman conduct suites and themes from Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), First Blood (1982), Basic Instinct (1993), Legend (1985) and Rudy (1994) – as well as Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto that featured AYS music director Alexander Treger as soloist.
In his introductory remarks, host Jon Burlingame pointed out that "Jerry Goldsmith didn't just make music for movies – he made music that would outlive the movies to become a part of our culture."
The Twilight Zone overture and First Blood theme were pieces that Goldsmith had performed in concert. The rest, however, consisted of new suites and material that had not previously been performed live in public. Basic Instinct featured not only the theme but the car-chase sequence "Roxy Loses"; Newman assembled a new, 10-minute Poltergeist suite that included "The Calling," "Night of the Beast," "The Light" and "Carol Anne's Theme"; and for Rudy, the AYS performed the entire six-minute "Final Game" sequence.
The Legend score was a special treat for attendees in that no music from that famous fantasy had ever been played before an audience, and the scores were believed to be lost. Newman discovered the composer's original sketches and re-orchestrated a seven-minute sequence consisting of "The Door," "The Jewels" and "The Dress Waltz," a critical scene from the film where the Dark Lord is attempting to seduce princess Lili (Mia Sara) to the dark side and nearly succeeds. The music was performed live to film with a 50-member choir that also sang during the Poltergeist and Rudy sequences.
After the crowd's standing ovation, Newman came out to introduce the encore, a piece that he said had special meaning for him, having played violin on the original 1979 score: the main title from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which has gone on to become one of Goldsmith's most familiar themes.
Earlier in the day, The Film Music Society co-sponsored a symposium that featured five of the composer's closest colleagues: directors Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace) and David Anspaugh (Hoosiers, Rudy), music editor Kenneth Hall, music mixer Bruce Botnick and agent Richard Kraft. Burlingame moderated.
The group engaged in a lively conversation about Goldsmith, his life and career, especially during the 1980s and 1990s. He was frequently described as "a genius" who was one of the greatest composers in the history of film, both for his dramatic understanding of cinema and his ability to translate the most complex emotions into music.
Also featured during the symposium were 10 minutes of Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score from Under Fire (1983), with Newman conducting the AYS and guitar soloist Paul Nelson. "A New Love" and "Bajo Fuego," two key pieces on the soundtrack, made their concert debut.
Also shown were outtakes from Fred Karlin's 1995 documentary, Film Music Masters: Jerry Goldsmith, including scenes of him conferring with director Curtis Hanson during the scoring of The River Wild. An estimated 500 people attended the afternoon event.
This was the third and final year of the AYS's Goldsmith Project. During the three-year initiative, new concert suites were also prepared and performed for A Patch of Blue (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1965), Patton (1970), The Red Pony (1973) and Papillon (1973). The composer's scores for the Twilight Zone television episode "The Invaders" (1960) and Alien (1979) were played live to picture; and a suite of music from his Oscar-winning score for The Omen (1976) coupled with his triumphal finale from The Final Conflict (1981) received its American premiere.
Goldsmith, who died in 2004, remains one of film's most respected composers. David Newman assembled the suites and conducted all of the Goldsmith music over the three years of the project; Burlingame hosted the concerts and moderated the symposia, all of which were co-sponsored by The Film Music Society.
©2011 Marilee Bradford