Today we take another slight departure from our course, or should I say our flight plan, to talk about the music of Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith (1929-2004) is one of the most well known and prolific American composers for film and television. His numerous nominations and awards span over a career of 200+ film scores. One of his main mentors was Miklos Rozsa, who I will talk about in the next blog post. While Goldsmith didn’t write any concert music for brass alone (it is noted in his biography that Goldsmith originally wanted to pursue just concert composition, but it did not allow him as much of a musical outlet as he wanted) much of his music for film has been arranged and transcribed for ensembles such as brass band. The particular arrangement we will look at today is from the score of Air Force One.
Arranged by Rodney Newton, this medley of themes from the film does a fairly good job at capturing the original intent. Goldsmith’s sweeping string and horn lines translate easily into brass, although in my opinion, the tenor horn is not a true substitute for the sound of the (French) horn. The inclusion of percussion is a must, as the middle section of the piece is highly punctuated and dependent on the percussion in the original. Again, Goldsmith’s brass writing is easily transferred to a brass band setting. Perhaps the weakest part is the slow section starting at rehearsal H. Here, the brass band simply cannot capture the ease and ethereal quality of sustain by other winds and strings.
Here is a video performance by the Celebration Brass: