Christus Apollo by Jerry Goldsmith Available at Amazon.com

 

 

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Christus Apollo by Jerry Goldsmith

Spiritual Fiction
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Christus Apollos by Jerry Goldsmith

Christus Apollo
7/10

Buy Christus Apollo by Jerry Goldsmith Available at Amazon.com

 

Category  |   Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 6
Composition 8
CD Length 7
Track Order 6
Performance 7
Final Score 7/10

 

Real Audio Clips

 
 
 

 

 

Composer Jerry Goldsmith
Composer 
Jerry Goldsmith

 

Quick Quotes


"My instant reaction to the album was that it would divide Goldsmith fans down the middle. Those who loved his uncompromising earlier style will get a huge thrill out of Music for Orchestra and Christus Apollo, but find Fireworks far too much of an easy listen. Those happy to hum along to Supergirl will probably find the first two pieces too difficult and love just being thrilled by the easier orchestral, well, fireworks of the finale piece. "
****

Tom Daish -
Soundtrack Express Reviews Christus Apollo

 

 

Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith
Produced by Hein Dekker
Executive Producers: Robert Woods, Paul Reynolds
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra, The London Voices, Eirian James (Mezzo-soprano); Anthony Hopkins (Narrator)
Released by Telarc Records March 26, 2002

One of the best known and most beloved author's of science fiction has been Ray Bradbury.  Responsible for such creative projects as:  Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Illustrated Man, Bradbury also wrote Christus Apollo in 1969 - a cantata which clearly demonstrates the author's unique style of combining the spiritual with futuristic/ sci-fi elements.  As inseparable as the name of "Ray Bradbury" is to the genre of science fiction literature, so the name of "Jerry Goldsmith" is when it comes to the genre of science fiction film scores. 

Telarc Records has shaken many-a home audio system with this high bit rate digital recordings and continues a tradition of high quality film music (and film music related) releases.  Just last year Telarc released one of the better compilations of Goldsmith's music for television and film, The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith. For 2002, Telarc releases another collection of Goldsmith compositions entitled, Christus Apollo.

Christus Apollo was originally penned by author Ray Bradbury as a sonnet. Bradbury's famed ability to fuse spiritual themes with futuristic or, for lack of a better phrase "science-fiction," ideas is cleary demonstrated here. Back in 1969, when Bradbury wrote the sonnet composer Goldsmith was hired to write a piece utilizing Bradbury's words. Now, over thirty years later, this work finally finds a digital release.

Emerging from one of the composer's self-professed darker periods, comes both track 1, Music for Orchestra and the selections from Christus Apollo (2-5).  Each was crafted in the 12-tone method developed by Schoenberg in the 1920's.  Schoenberg developed the dodecaphonic system partly to keep himself from slipping back into tonal patterns and to enable himself to organize large sections of atonal music in a logical manner.  Such composing method's are rarely invoked by contemporary composers of film music, but given Goldsmith's own personal state at the time, and the material he was to work with, namely Bradbury's text, the choice of the 12-tone method seems a natural fit.

For the listener, the experience is impressionistic and thought-provoking...as atonal compositions can be.  At the same time, the flavor remains uniquely "Goldsmith," and images from some of the composers earlier sci-fi projects may float in and out of mind as Music for Orchestra plays.  Being based on the 12 tone method as well, the Music for Orchestra plays almost like a prologue to the Christus Apollo selections.  The transition is seamless. What does set his work for Christus Apollo apart from Music for Orchestra; however, is the inclusion of a chorus, mezzo-soprano, and the indelible narration of Anthony Hopkins. 

Christus Apollo is a spiritual text given an edge of science fiction through Ray Bradbury's classic style.  The text proposes the idea of Christ's mission extending beyond our Earth and being taken to other far off worlds.  Musically communicating the spiritual aspect of the text, Goldsmith employs both choir, mezzo-soprano vocals (Eirian James), and even a pipe organ.  While terran-focused Christian compositions contain these very same elements, the atonal construction removes connection with our home planet and lofts the message, visions, and ideas communicated to the twinkling worlds overhead.  It is the dodecaphonic style that keeps the listeners attention focused heavenward and also keeps the music an arm's length away...at best.  Conversly, Anthony Hopkins' noble, yet approachable voice helps to keep the piece grounded and accessible by mere earthling-soundtrack-fans.

Following some 42 minutes of atonal, Goldsmith compositions comes the tonal, celebratory piece, Fireworks , subtitled A Celebration of Los Angeles.  With a clear flare of Americana, Goldsmith writes a rousing and entertaining piece that also calls back to some of his works of "yester-decade."  It is a soaring piece Goldsmith wrote in 1999 as a finale to his first concert series with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and performed in the Hollywood Bowl.  Fireworks is a somewhat curious inclusion for this release given the distinct and virtually opposing timbre the first 5 tracks develop, yet for many, it may prove to be a refreshing latch back to the earthly realm in which we live.  Appropriate or not for this CD, Fireworks is one of Goldsmith's best fanfares in recent memory and ends the Telarc's release on a very positive note.

The reviewed CD was produced through DSD and, as with most Telarc releases, is brilliant in terms of clarity.  Also available is a SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) recording of Christus Apollo which, if one has the right hardware, would be a must to obtain.  The liner notes are fairly extensive including the complete narrative of Christus Apollo and notes by Jerry Goldsmith.  All in all, it is a superior package that contains one of early 2002's more intriguing compilations.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 Music for Orchestra 8:16  ***
  Christus Apollo    
2 Part I 7:57  ***
3 Part II 9:07  ***
4 Part III 7:18  ***
5 Part IV 10:02  ***
6 Fireworks 8:32  ****
 

Total Running Time

51:21  

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith

 

 

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