Forever Young is one of those smaller Jerry Goldsmith works that gets overlooked (even by fans) because it doesn’t involve elaborate special effects, dire global world crises, or monsters emerging from the ocean depths. The initial reaction to its expanded release might even be a bit of quiet surprise, since the original CD featured a decent sampling of the film’s main themes and key music cues.
La-La Land’s CD adds just under 15 mins. of new material, with cues ranging from short statements to modest-sized pieces, but the additional material presents a much fuller version of Goldsmith’s musical drama, which is among his best works of the nineties.
FY’s many moments of quiet character reflection may have made it a tougher sell when the bulk of Goldsmith’s work during the nineties involved major action and sci-fi films, but the score may have needed extra time to age, so older fans could reappraise and admire the composer’s other gift for scoring character dramas.
Like Sleeping with the Enemy [M] (1991), also released in an expanded version from the label, FY there’s a near-perfect fusion of orchestra and electronics in striking dramatic cues such as the opening “Test Flight” with its militaristic tone, or introspective cuts like “The Jacket” with piano and synths kind of drifting over each other in a delicate dance. FY also offers up one of Goldsmith’s most gentle love themes, which he exploits with thickly layered strings without straying into saccharine terrain.
Action fans will appreciate the subtle use of little rhythmic mobiles and snarling brass, and while the score isn’t filled with any massively kinetic cue, “The Tree House” for example, offers up some tension with snare drum, pizzicato strings, and contrasting high notes and deep bass tones. There’s also a clever effect where the orchestra trails behind a solo piano, as though evoking a plane darting across the sky, leaving an airstream in its wake.
There are slight similarities to Innerspace, Explorers, and Total Recall (notably the rhythmic sections, rippling percussion and ascending brass chords in “She’s Alive”) but FY is very much a distinct work that feels like the composer reaching back to his more classic seventies style when lyricism was king.
La-La Land’s CD is beautifully mastered from pristine elements, and the CD’s final third is comprised of album versions and the Billy Holiday song “The Very Thought of You.” Daniel Schweiger’s liner notes include some comments by director Steve Miner, cue breakdowns, and their placement in the film.
© 2011 Mark R. Hasan