Arranged and Conducted by Howard Blake
simple two word title of "Flash Gordon" evokes greyscaled images of sparkler
throwing air ships and the cheesily-quaint matinee music of the 1930's.
This is the case for most people; however, for a others, technicolor
images of a young "actor," Sam Jones and even the pre-Bond,
Timothy Dalton fill their brains when they hear the name of one of America's
first screen heroes. Along with
those colorful images come recollections of the film's music.
More often than not, what comes to mind is the music of that one-word
titled, British band, Queen, and much less frequently, the full orchestral
work of composer Howard Blake.
the year of 1980 would be dominated by the sequel to Star Wars, The Empire
Strikes Back and its ever-lauded score by John Williams, other sci-fi films
and scores did manage to squeek in between the Star Wars hoopla,
Dino De Laurentis' revival of Flash Gordon is one of them.
music of this Eighties-Flash Gordon has certainly been tightly knit
with the music of Queen and Blake's score for the film has gone unnoticed
and unappreciated for twenty years. This promotional release of his score along with eight tracks
from the 3D-thriller Amittyville 3D, finally avails the opportunity
for film music enthusiasts to hear and appreciate the orchestral component
of this film.
Blake's score was victim to the marketing machine that pushed Queen's
contributions to the forefront in much the same way as a good number of
scores languish behind the marketing monsters pushing pop-compilation CDs
music provides an interesting contrast to Queen's much more in-your-face,
edgy compositions. While
Blake’s score keeps from jumping on the reborn popularity of leitmotif,
spear-headed by composer John Williams, it still makes adequate use of the
National Philharmonic Orchestra's talents.
Blake's score ranges from beautiful string melodies such as Flight to
Arboria (8) to the noticeably eighties, hero theme, "The Hero"
(1). There are a good number of
action/suspense sequences that would easily fit into many of the action
films, or tv-cop shows of the era with their bright brass and infectious
percussions such as Rocket Flight (3).
At other instances, Blake brings a touch of Goldsmith to his music
with grand scaled swells of brass in tracks such as Arrival (4).
Blake's score been written for a film that the audience might have been able
to take more seriously, it would have garnered much more attention at the
time, and probably in the years since.
While few, if any, would put it into the same category as a Star
Wars, Star Trek or Raiders of the Lost Ark, the score certainly does
demonstrate that there were other quality scores being produced and
performed by composers other than John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and the
London Symphony Orchestra in the early portion of the eighties.
The last eight tracks of this promotional release, give us more than an adequate sample of Blake's score for this third installment of the Amityville horror trilogy. In an era when producers and marketers actually thought audiences wanted to see 3D movies again, such sequels as Jaws 3D and Amityville 3D were sacrificially thrust upon the public. Howard Blake's music for the film is filled with each and every ingredient prescribed for a horror flick. There is little to set the music apart from any of a couple hundred B-roll horror films. In any case, the inclusion of these tracks does help push the total amount of Blake music released to 71:48 and that has to count for something. Doesn't it?
Track Listing and Ratings
themes from "Flash Gordon" by Queen
the score is at times fairly silly, it is still refreshingly virtually
entirely performed by a very large orchestra, and the wonderfully expansive
sound that science fiction films so often inspire is very much in evidence.
There are various fanfares, big themes and melodramatic action sequences.
It's just a really enjoyable score, though the overriding simplicity to the
orchestrations does mean that it can't really be considered a particularly
major work, and at over 50 minutes it does seem to go on for rather a long
James Southall - Movie Wave U.K.
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