Could it Fail?
by Christopher Coleman
With a line up of Spielberg and John Williams alone, one
would think instant success for this television adventure series.
Add to that, the likes of Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese, Danny
DeVito, Robert Zemeckis as directors and James Horner, Danny Elfman, Bruce
Broughton, Michael Kamen, Georges, Delerue and many others as composers,
and one would guess that this series which started in 1985 would still be
Unfortunately, the series only lasted two years, but crammed
into those two years are some great television moments, not too mention
Amazing Stories released by Varese Sarabande contains music
from the pilot episode, The Mission which was directed by Steven Spielberg
and scored by John Williams. This
was probably the most memorable episode of the series. This disc also contains music from an episode, Dorothy and
Ben, scored by the late Georges Delerue.
The two selections here provide great contrast and make for a great
overall listen! The Mission
provides a significant dose of the adventurous while, as to be expected, Delerue’s
Dorothy and Ben is romantic and sentimental.
Joel McNeeley and the Royal Scottish National
Orchestra do a superb job in performing this splendid music.
McNeeley and company demonstrates a knack for nailing down the
spirit of the score as intended by the music’s composer and certainly
added to their already stellar reputation for quality performances.
first portion of this CD is relegated to the most significant cues from
the pilot series The Mission, but only after the Silvestri-like
fanfare Main Titles also composed by John Williams. This main
theme for the series is reprised in the final track as well. The
majority of music from The Mission is not experimental or surprising in
any way and for the John Williams purist, it might even be a little
dull. However, for most of us, this is yet another great example of
the high quality stuff to be expected from the maestro. What is
pleasing is that Williams didn't drop in quality simply because this was
"only" for television. What one does hear are some famous
musical elements from other Williams works such as E.T., Indiana Jones,
and even a bit of foreshadowing of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace-
not too shabby.
some major emotional gears, the last portion of this release is given to
another episode, Dorothy and Ben which was composed by the late
George Delerue. In stark contrast to Williams score, Delerue, as
expected is soft, sentimental, and even flirts with the dark side.
Of course what stands out from Delerue's work is his compositions that
magnify the lushest of strings. As far as writing break-your-heart
sort of themes, Delerue may be the master unchallenged.
certainly did many film music fans a favor by releasing this disc and
there is a collective hope that this only marked the first release of the
music from this TV series.
The score is
typical John Williams - adventureous, bold and rousing, with a very
militaristic sound, complete with snare drums and heroic brass. It's a
quite dark and dramatic score, dominated by tense suspense cues, such as
"Broken Landing Gear" and "The Captain's Frustration"
- lots of dark brass and uneasy strings. The score isn't especially
thematic. There is a main theme - quite lyrical - but unfortunately
Williams never allows it too bloom. It is used in many of the cues, but
still it is rather anonymous and unremarkable. ****
Lindahl - Score!