Jerry Goldsmith

Chinatown [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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Chinatown [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] Review

by Bruce Eder

Some potential purchasers may think that the Chinatown soundtrack is needlessly short, offering a mere 31 minutes of music, but this is an astonishing 31 minutes. Composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote perhaps his most moodily evocative score for Roman Polanski's haunting film noir (and did it on ten days' notice); and trumpet soloist Uan Rasey punctuates the best moments with the mournful, piercing cry of his instrument. Apart from three period songs (Bunny Berigan's version of "I Can't Get Started" etc.) interpolated into the action, the rest is just plain top-notch Goldsmith; the surging strings and heavy piano chords of "Jake and Evelyn," the pizzicato strings on "The Last of Ida," and the latter's aggressive use of percussion instruments as well all stand out. The resulting album is a treat even for those who either don't know or aren't that fond of the movie. The sound is excellent and then some -- loud, robust, and richly detailed. The notes add some insights into Goldsmith's thinking behind what is one of his greatest pieces of music, and one of the best listening experiences possible with a soundtrack album.

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