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Flyers/ Fire on the Mountain (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

The Small and the Big
Review by Christopher Coleman


Flyers/ Fire on the Mountain (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

Flyers/ Fire on the Mountain

Flyers/ Fire on the Mountain (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris





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


Basil Poledouris
Basil Poledouris


Quick Quotes

"Flyers is likely to come away the more appreciated score, simply 
because it is so much more exciting than Fire on the Mountain, even though in 
truth it isn't actually any more memorable.."

Tom Daish - 
Soundtrack Express Reviews Flyers

"The sheer energy of Flyers is exhilerating, and makes for a extreme contrast in style between the 
reflective and ill-fated Fire on the Mountain. Together on disc, they may not 
be the best of pairs, but both feature Poledouris' talent for strong themes 
and character."

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks Reviews Flyers


Composed and Conducted by Basil Poledouris
Orchestrations by Greg McRitchie
Executive Producer: Luc Van De Ven
CD Produced by Basil Poledouris and Ford A. Thaxton
Released by Prometheus Records March 2001

The Eighties saw the emergence of several of today's most sought-after and influential composers of film music- among them Basil Poledouris.  Poledouris made his big splash with his score to the 1980 film, Conan the Barbarian.   The composer was certainly otherwise employed in the early Eighties; not only composing for the small screen of television but for the biggest screen of all, IMAX.  Two decades later, Prometheus Records releases a compilation representing two of the composer's early works from the small and big screen.

While the CD headlines the IMAX film Flyers, the first nine tracks presented on this release are from Fire on the Mountain.  This film was an obscure television feature that  originally aired in 1980 and has since been relegated to a rare, late-night-rerun.  The music Poledouris composes for this project is of the Americana style quickly and most often associated with his Emmy winning score to Lonesome DoveFire on the Mountain features a simple but memorable main theme that is frequently played on oboe or flute.  Tracks 1, The Ride, and 9, End Titles,  give the theme some body as it is performed by the full orchestra.  In addition to the main theme, Poledouris pays homage to the Americana standard, Copland's Rodeo, in Tree Chop (2).  Also, Poledouris augments his main theme by adding a simply-stated, secondary theme first heard in track 4, Gracias.  All together the music works well in communicating the simplicity of the protagonist, his natural surroundings, and his struggle against the powers that be to keep what his.

Moving from the natural and melodic Fire on the Mountain, the CD takes flight in track 10 with the first piece from Flyers.  This film was one of the first feature films to be produced specifically for the new IMAX format in the early 1980's.   IMAX film's have not only featured some high quality images but also high quality scores such as:  Cosmic Voyage, Amazon, Island of the Sharks.  IMAX films also boast a marketable list of composers like:  Hans Zimmer, Marc Isham and John Barry.  Until the release of this album, most probably have little idea that Basil Poledouris was yet another A-List composer featured in an IMAX production.

Flyers is, overall,  bolder than Fire on the Mountain and understandably so.  Chronicling the daredevil antics of the film's central figure, Poledouris' score ranges from the circus-like Stunt Work/ More Stunt Work (11) to waltzes such as Aerial Ballet (12).  Balancing out the bold cues is Night Flight/ The Canyon (13) with its initial, leisurely tempo, and lullaby-like strings.   Before track 13 concludes, it slowly builds back to an expansive crescendo.  The tempo subsides once again into a down-to-earth manner in track 14, We'll Talk/ Coming Home II.  Appropriately,  the CD wraps up with the elevating music of The Test (14) and Soaring (15).

The liner notes (written by Jonathan Broxton) offer an nice bit information regarding both films and their respective scores, but the CD artwork leaves a little to be desired.  There is a noticeable change in the clarity of the music moving from Fire on the Mountain to FlyersFlyers offers a much cleaner sound than its predecessor- likely due to the care taken and expense of an IMAX production versus a made-for-tv-film.  The hiss and sometimes "tinny" feel does detract from the listening experience of Fire on the Mountain.   Since these projects of the early 1980's, Basil Poledouris has become a favorite feature film composer.  Still, his distinctive musical style can easily be heard in these earlier efforts.  While neither score is breathtaking, both Fire on the Mountain and Flyers are decent scores and offer an entertaining look into the Poledouris-past. 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track Title Time


 Fire on the Mountain    
1 The Ride 2:19  ****
2 Tree Chop 0:56  ***
3 Drop Off/ Rascal 3:01  ***
4 Gracias! 3:42  ****
5 Boots/ Cruza/ Candle 2:25  ***
6 Forever?/ Shutters 1:59  ***
7 Mountain Lost 2:22  ***
8 Good-Bye, Ol' Horse 2:50  ***
9 End Titles 1:03  ***


10 The Carrier/ Coming Home 4:17  ***
11 Stunt Work/ More Stunt Work 2:31  ***
12 Aerial Ballet 1:08  ****
13 Night Flight/ The Canyon 3:36  ****
14 We'll Talk/ Coming Home II 1:40  ***
15 The Test 3:55  ***
16 Soaring 1:42  ***

Total Running Time


Referenced Reviews
| Cosmic Voyage | Amazon  | Island of the Sharks



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