Michael Small

Comes a Horseman

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Michael Small's score for the unheralded 1978 western Comes a Horseman hits all the genre's necessary notes -- by turns rousing and delicate, its two-gun melodies and sagebrush arrangements evoke past masters like Elmer Bernstein but never settle for by the numbers homage. Despite the film's archetypal western themes and setting, Small embraces the larger than life ethos of late-'70s Hollywood scoring, emphasizing action and adventure over human drama: Themes like ""Round Up" and "Oil Vs. Cattle" employ brass and rhythm to vividly dynamic effect. Still, Small doesn't completely forgo character development, with the luminous "Stargazer" capturing the blossoming screen romance between stars James Caan and Jane Fonda. Intrada's limited-edition 2008 reissue maintains the label's usual standard of excellence via color still photos, background information, and theme-by-theme analysis.