Friday, May 28, 2010
Jerry Goldsmith was a film and TV composer born in LA in 1929. He will be remembered for providing the soundtracks to many of the most popular films and TV series' from the 1960s onwards, including The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and The Omen.
Goldsmith studied music at USC before taking a job in the music department at CBS, working as a clerk by day and composer by night. His earliest work was for radio, before moving onto TV, where he scored The Twilight Zone, The Waltons and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He got his breakthrough into cinema when he wrote the music for John Huston's Freud, for which he received an Oscar nomination. This led to 20th Century Fox and that opened the doors to an array of big budget, high profile work.
Goldsmith has applied his talents to projects across the spectrum of cinema with sci-fi (the Star Trek films), drama (Chinatown), horror (The Omen), westerns (Rio Lobo), and comedy (Mr Baseball). One of the things that set him apart from his contemporaries was his use of unusual instruments, or the use of instruments in unusual manners. The score for Alien used steel drums and the medieval 'serpent', plus some filtering techniques to produce new and interesting sounds.
Goldsmith was recognised by awards committees throughout his career. By the time of his death in 2004, he had amassed nine Golden Globes, five Grammys, and 16 Academy Award nominations.
His soundtrack to the 1971 film The Last Run contains some great work, with tracks like "Border Crossing" creating rich, deeply evocative, dramatic soundscapes that are inherently funky.