Laurence Rosenthal's score to 1976's The Return of a Man Called Horse remains one of the most gripping and evocative soundtracks in the Western genre, employing Native American chants and instruments to achieve a pan-cultural authenticity that contrasts sharply with the boldly cinematic approach pioneered by Elmer Bernstein and Ennio Morricone. Rosenthal favors an elegiac, pastoral sensibility that painstakingly captures the desolate beauty of the western landscape as well as the hard-fought struggles of its occupants. While clearly drawing inspiration from traditional folk music, the score nevertheless incorporates orchestral flourishes that punctuate the onscreen action, achieving a pitch-perfect balance between past and present. Varèse Sarabande's limited-edition 2003 reissue contains 20 minutes of unreleased material as well as insightful liner notes penned by Rosenthal himself. It's an essential acquisition for soundtrack aficionados.
Share this page