Jerry Goldsmith

The Omen [1976] [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Omen, which earned him an Academy Award, combines incidental scene-setting music, classic horror and suspense motifs (Bernard Herrmann's wild violins à la Psycho are a probable influence), and -- most notably -- forms of the requiem mass as they have been interpreted over the centuries. In fact, Goldsmith's use of choral voices and religious themes is so powerful throughout that the score plays like a contemporary black mass. With the exception of the lush love theme heard in "The New Ambassador," the soundtrack is a harrowing listen. Bass instruments surge and churn, strings tremble and squeal in the high registers, and voices chant Latin phrases, building tensions (both musical and dramatic) to the point of panic. Even comparatively subdued selections, like "A Doctor, Please," are characterized by a deep uneasiness. Goldsmith's gripping musical depiction of darkness and evil is a big part of what made The Omen a critical and commercial success.

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