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Katie Dolan

Ms. Brown
Music 1A
May 7, 2012

Jerry Goldsmith

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I have to keep writing. You want to keep in training. Its also what I most enjoy. This is
a quote from the film composer Jerry Goldsmith on what he did when he was not working on
music for films. Many renowned film composers today laud Goldsmith both as one of the best
film composers of all time, and one of their personal favorites. Goldsmith had the brilliant ability
of making his scores unique by employing a variety of styles between all of his works. No matter
what genre his work was in, he managed to make all of it innovative rather than simply copying
what others had done before him. Throughout all of his 200 some movies, he kept the music
fresh, but made a point not to make it detract from the action. As he stated, The function of the
score is to enlarge the scope of a film. I try for emotional penetration For this reason among
so many others, Jerry Goldsmith is considered to be one of the greatest film composers of all
Jerrald King Goldsmith was born to Tessa (an artist) and Morris Goldsmith (an engineer)
in Pasadena California on February 10, 1929. From a very early age, Jerry wanted to work in
music. This stemmed from his musical background. At the age of 6, Goldsmith began studying
the piano. At 13 he was studying musical composition. It was from this experience that he
decided that he wanted to go into a career in music. His first occupation idea was a concert hall
composer. He changed his mind about this career as he grew to understand that, as a concert hall
composer, he would not get to work as much as he would like. Eventually he switched
composition teachers from Jacob Gimpel and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco to the incredible
composer Miklos Rosza, renowned for his work on film scores. After hearing Roszas score to
the movie Spellbound, Jerry became captivated with the idea of being a film composer. With this
occupation, he had exactly what he wanted: a music career filled with new challenges.
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After taking a few courses under Miklos Rosza at the University of Southern Calfornia,
he switched to Los Angeles City College which was more practical for Goldsmith. While there
he worked as an assistant choral director, coaching singers and serving as an accompanist. He
also had opportunities to work as an assistant conductor. Once he graduated from college, a
friend of his got him a job at CBS as a clerk typist in about 1950. He had just gotten married
to Sharon Hennagin and needed to get a job; the only way for him to do this was to get
discovered which wasnt easy. The reasoning behind his employment as a typist was so that he
could be noticed and picked up by the music department. At CBS, all of the employees ran a
radio show once a week. Jerry served as a composer for this for a number of months and was
finally marked for his abilities. He was then employed by the music department of CBS and
started working on music for TV shows. His first show was The Lineup which he began working
on in 1954, his second was that same year, The Climax. His most notable television series in the
1950s was The Twilight Zone (1959). Around the time of his first movie, Black Patch, his oldest
son, Joel Goldsmith was born. He would later follow in his fathers footsteps as a film composer.
He had three other children with his first wife: Carrie, Ellen, and Jennifer.
Goldsmith gained notoriety after his music for the 1962 film, Freud, was nominated for
an Oscar. This would be his first of 17 total Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, he lost to
Maurice Jarre who was nominated for Lawrence of Arabia although it did gain important
attention for Goldsmith. Through his newfound fame, Jerry met composer Alfred Newman.
Because of his numerous connections, Newman was able to procure films for Goldsmith to
compose music to. This started with Universals film starring Kirk Douglas, Lonely Are the
Brave (1962) and slowly evolved into his work as a contract composer for 20
Century Fox. By
the end of the 1960s, Goldsmith was a leading name in composition, having worked on scores
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for about 50 films and many more television shows. Some highlights include Lilies of the Field
(1963), A Patch of Blue (1965) which garnered him his second Oscar nomination, Our Man Flint
(1966), The Trouble with Angels (1966), and The Sand Pebbles (1966) which resulted in his third
Oscar nomination.
Jerry Goldsmiths style in the 1960s led to some controversy. In his film Planet of the
Apes (1968), Goldsmith used strange, new techniques such as using an echoplex with drums,
requiring the horns to blow without a mouthpiece, and having clarinetists strictly finger the notes
and not blow into the instrument. He then used common household appliances for percussive
sounds. While conducting the score for the movie, Goldsmith wore one of the masks used in the
movie to get a better feel for the movie. He also did not have any music in what is perhaps the
most dramatic part of the movie for the simple reason that Charlton Heston was a bit over the
top by himself, and didn't need any score to accompany him." While not having music in parts of
the movie was not uncommon, the odd placement and reasoning drew its fair share of
controversy. This unique score was Jerry Goldsmiths fourth Oscar nomination.
The 1970s brought Goldsmith even more fame. His 1970 film Patton was praised for its
pompous and daring quality, matching the title characters personality. Again Goldsmith used the
echoplex, this time with the trumpet. The mechanical sound appeared in the movie, but was
changed for one of the soundtrack recordings and a real trumpet was used. Many agree that
echoplex worked with the soundtrack better than the real trumpet. This film was the fifth Oscar
nomination for Goldsmith. Papillion (1963) gave Goldsmith his sixth Oscar nomination. Another
notable film from the 70s is the film Chinatown (1974). After the score of Phillip Lambro was
rejected, Jerry Goldsmith had to create a score and orchestrate it in 3 weeks. He wrote the
preliminary score in ten days and spent the rest of the time polishing and orchestrating. In the
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film composition industry this was legendary. For the score he used a mix of jazz with eastern
music sound which turned into his seventh Oscar nomination. In 1975 Goldsmith received
another nomination for the adventure film The Wind and the Lion which had a grand and soaring
quality similar to the score for Lawrence of Arabia.
Finally in 1976 Jerry Goldsmith composed the one and only film that would win him an
Oscar, The Omen. This horror flick was the first to feature a choir singing Satanic verse. It was
well received among critics and movie goers alike, especially the song Ave Satani which was
nominated for Best Original Song. In 1970, Goldsmith divorced his first wife. He remarried
Carol Heather Goldsmith in 1972 with whom he had one son, Aaron. For the movie, she wrote
the lyrics and even sang for the song, The Piper Dreams. Goldsmith would eventually compose
the scores for the two sequels to The Omen.
After The Omen, Goldsmith composed many other titles, though none would gain for him
another Oscar. The diversity of his music really became evident during this period. He wrote the
music for the drama Islands in the Stream (1977), the disaster film The Swarm (1978), the
comedy The Great Train Robbery (1979), and yet another Oscar nominated score The Boys from
Brazil (1978) which had the clever theme of a waltz providing a misleading happy atmosphere
against the disturbing premise of the movie: cloning Hitler. Goldsmith wrote the score to what
would become one of his most well-known movies in 1979: Alien. Goldsmiths goal with the
music was to create, logically, a very alien sound. He achieved this by using many obscure
instruments including the 16
century serpent. He yet again utilized the echoplex, having strings
play pizzicato into it. Goldsmith wrote the score in such a way that the instruments playing it
were practically unidentifiable to the listener. After it was finished, it was heavily edited and
rearranged. Later, unbeknownst to Goldsmith, the director procured the rights to the Main Title
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from Freud and inserted that into the movie. All of this work inevitable garnered Goldsmith a
Golden Globe nomination for best score.
Over a decade prior, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, had wanted Jerry
Goldsmith to compose the theme to his new television show, Star Trek. Unfortunately, due to
scheduling conflicts, this was impossible. In 1979, the same year that Alien was released, Gene
Roddenberry approached Goldsmith to compose the score to his franchises first movie: Star
Trek: The Motion Picture. Initially, Goldsmiths theme was rejected since it sounded too
nautical. Once revised, however, the score was well received and lauded for its majestic quality.
This film was the first to feature the Blaster Beam which is an instrument used to create dark,
unnatural sounds created by striking the strings strung across a 12 to 18 foot metal beam. The
score earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. This film was the first of
many scores he would compose for the Star Trek franchise.
Goldsmith was again very busy in the 1980s. His first critical success was for the 1982
movie Poltergeist which was nominated for an Academy Award which he lost to John Williams.
This score offered a great diversity of styles, jumping from lullabies, to religious pieces, to the
thunderous pieces one might expect in a horror movie. Also in 1982 was Goldsmiths first
animated film The Secret of NIMH. He again was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for
the score to Under Fire (1983) which incorporated the pan-pipes, synthesizers, and jazz work on
the guitar. While this may sound like a crazy conglomeration of instruments, it actually worked
incredibly well. In 1984, he wrote the score to the horror comedy Gremlins which won him a
Saturn Award for best music. This film is notable for its sharp contrast between the music for the
mogwai, and later in the movie, the gremlins. In 1986, Goldsmith was nominated for an
Academy Award for his score to the sports movie Hoosiers in which he incorporated the sound
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of basketballs hitting a gymnasium floor as part of the score. In 1987 he continued his work with
Star Trek by writing the theme for the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation. This
theme was a variation on the original series theme by Alexander Courage and was then
rearranged itself by Dennis McCarthy. Goldsmith also wrote the score to Star Trek V: The Final
Frontier in 1989. Noteworthy devices employed by Goldsmith during this era include his use of
recorded whale sounds in the title sequence of Leviathan (1987). He is also lauded for his used of
a pipe organ, dog barks, and for parodying his own film Patton in the comedy The Burbs
The 1990 film The Russia House scored by Goldsmith was well received by critics as
was, in particular, its unique score which incorporated elements of Russian music and jazz to
augment the characters of the main characters. Also composed in 1990 is Goldsmiths enormous
success, Total Recall. While not nominated for anything, the film is considered by Goldsmith to
be one of his best scores. In 1992, Goldsmith composed the score for Basic Instinct which was
designed to be as disconcerting as possible with an odd combination of orchestral and electronic
components. During the DVD commentary for the film, he stated that it was probably the most
complex film score [hed] ever composed. Also in 1992, Goldsmith was listed as a hairstylist
for the medical drama Medicine Man, in addition to composer. Upon seeing Goldsmith and his
classic ponytail look, actor Sean Connery knew thats what his character should look like, so
Goldsmith took on the role as hair designer for the character. 1993 brought the classic sports film
Rudy which is now regarded with reverence and is referenced in so many other films. After
composing the main theme to Star Trek: Voyager for which he won an Emmy in 1995,
Goldsmith scored his third Star Trek movie, Star Trek: First Contact (1996), with his son Joel
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Also in 1996, Goldsmith scored The Ghost and the Darkness which has the unique
combination of African rhythms and Irish folk melodies. In 1997, he composed the score to Air
Force One in only twelve days with the help of Joel McNeely. Later that year he composed the
fantastic soundtrack to L.A. Confidential for which he was nominated for the Oscar and the
Golden Globe. The last high point that year was the composition of the theme for Universal
Studios. Goldsmith composed the score for Disneys Mulan (1998) which garnered him his final
nominations for the Oscar and Golden Globe in composition. He concluded the decade with
work on Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and The Mummy (1999).
The 2000s brought difficult times for Jerry Goldsmith. He was diagnosed with colon
cancer and his health started to take a turn for the worst. Still, he kept composing: Hollow Man
(2000), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Last Castle (2001), and The Sum of All Fears (2002).
His last Star Trek film came in 2002, Star Trek: Nemesis, which was the last film to follow the
cast from The Next Generation. His final film was Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), which
was well received by critics, but a commercial flop. Goldsmith wrote a score for the science
fiction film Timeline (2003), directed by long time friend Richard Donner (The Omen).
Unfortunately this score was rejected in post-production and Goldsmith was too sick to edit it.
Jerry Goldsmith died July 29, 2004 is his sleep in his home in California.
In addition to his works for film, Goldsmith wrote a variety of other pieces. These
include Toccata for Solo Guitar (written in the 1950s), The Thunder of Imperial Names
written for the radio show at CBS in 1957, Christus Apollo a grandiose cantata commissioned
by the California Chamber Symphony to be based off of the text of the same name by Ray
Bradbury (1969), Music for Orchestra a self-reflective piece written for the Saint Louis
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Symphony Orchestra in 1970, and Fireworks an energetic piece written about childhood in
1999 for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
After writing this paper on Jerry Goldsmith and listening to and appreciating his music, I
cant help but be touched by all that he has done. My reason for picking Jerry Goldsmith in the
beginning was because he wrote the catchiest theme that I know of the theme from Gremlins. It
also didnt hurt that he was really involved in the Star Trek franchise. However, after listening to
some of his other works, I came to realize how much I enjoyed them. He once said, If you are
scoring a scene for a man on a horse galloping away you dont score the gallop but you score
the fear of the rider. That is one concept that Jerry Goldsmith truly captured the emotion of it
all. He understood how music worked so well, that he could make me feel with that music. It is
Two musical selections that I personally enjoy would be the theme from Star Trek:
Voyager and the theme from Patton. The Voyager theme starts out with horns followed by
timpani in the A motif. As a ship flies by, you hear it. After the horns and timpani do a call and
response twice, it goes into the main (B) motif horns over woodwinds playing notes higher up.
Then the strings add to this motif the second time around, coming in and playing notes above the
horns as well. It then goes into a C section where the strings have the melody which is sort of a
split scale between the keys of B and G while the horns provide a back up. Finally it goes back to
the B motif with timpani and ends with a ship noise and the horns doing their call (motif A) from
the beginning. The music fits brilliantly with the events unfolding on the screen the USS
Voyager traveling in space. I feel it especially captures the majesty, hidden wonder, and
exploration found in the series itself. I particularly enjoyed the chord progressions and the ship
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Another piece that I enjoy is the theme from Patton. I took particular interest in it after
reading about the use of an echoplex and the trumpet. When comparing the hollow sound created
by the echoplex to the sound of real horns, I agree with Goldsmiths choice in using it. In the
movie, the character Patton is just that quite a character, and I think the use of the echoplex
really adds to his portrayal. While the real trumpet has the truer, cleaner sound to it, thats not
what the movie was about, so I feel that it was very clever of Goldsmith to consider using such a
device. The beginning of the piece starts out with the trumpet call followed by a timpani
response (A). It then goes into a B theme played on the organ with rolls on the snare while the
horns continue their calls. The piccolo then picks up the recurring theme C with strings as a
background which is then followed by the full horn ensemble playing this theme. It changes from
this C theme to a really brief D theme, a horn call, and back again to the C. This then resolves
briefly into the piccolos form of C and then the organs B. It ends with a call and response in
various keys similar to that in the A section, but this time in addition to the call and response
there are horns played without mouthpieces underneath it all.
No paper about Jerry Goldsmith would be complete without some miscellaneous facts
about his life. One of his favorite things to do was conduct British orchestras since conducting
them was like driving a Rolls-Royce. One of his biggest regrets was not being able to conduct
the London Symphony Orchestra in honor of his 75
birthday as was his intention before he
became so sick. He also enjoyed going to Disneyland. His favorite place in the world was his
home town, Los Angeles.
Goldsmith received an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston,
and taught a course at his Alma Mater in music composition. Goldsmiths favorite work of his
own composition was Islands in the Stream (1977). His favorite orchestrator and dear friend was
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his predecessor in the Star Trek franchise, Alexander Courage. According to IMDb Jerry
Goldsmiths trade marks were his epic thunderous scores and he is best known for composing
the music for the Star Trek franchise. Sadly, the only child of his to follow in his footsteps as a
composer, Joel Goldsmith, died on April 29, 2012.
Jerry Goldsmith was truly a great composer. He was inspired by many things, and did not
pick his movies based upon the commercial success he thought it would get, but by the
inspiration it had the potential to provide for him. He was innovative and could find the most
interesting ways to make sounds that he thought would fit in the music. Most of all, he was not
afraid of failure. If the film did not work out, that was the way life went. Though he only won
one out of his seventeen Oscar nominations, he was not concerned, in fact, he had expected to
lose every one of them. Most importantly, Jerry Goldsmith loved his music. No matter what
happened in his life, music was there for him. While film composition was not his life, music
was. So even though his body is dead, he really is not. He is alive in his music. He poured his life
force into it. Anybody who hears it can tell. While his music is innovative, that is not the only
thing that makes it great. While his styles are diverse, that is not the only thing that makes him
great. For Jerry Goldsmith it was always about emotional penetration, the life force of the music
that is what is so incredible.