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Editor's Choice:

Best CD Release of the Month
January 2010
 
 

 

 

 

BLACK SUNDAY (1977)

Music composed and conducted by John Williams

29 Tracks (Playing Time = 64:12)

 

 

CD produced by Lukas Kendall and Mike Matessino. CD Executive Producer: Craig Spaulding. Mix and Assembly by Mike Matessino. Analog-to-Digital Transfer: John Davis. Digital Mastering: Erick Labson. Recorded August 17-19 at Paramount Pictures Scoring Stage M, Hollywood, California.

Orchestrations by Herbert Spencer. Recording Engineer: John Norman. CD Art Direction by Joe Sikoryak. CD Production Assistance: Jeff Eldridge. CD booklet notes by Scott Bettancourt, Mike Matessino, Jeff Eldridge, and Alexander Kaplan.

Film Score Monthly Vol. 12, No. 19

Limited edition of 10,000 copies

Rating: ****

 

The number of scores by John Williams still unreleased continues to shrink. Some of these are exceptional and others are less so. BLACK SUNDAY is one of the more exceptional ones.

It opens with a very brief and simple theme titled "Beirut" (0:37), which was not used in the film. One of the first highlights is heard early on track 3, "Commando Raid" (5:30), with a great deal of suspense created by propulsive rhtyhms in high strings, woodwinds and synthesizer.

For those who haven't yet seen this film I won't give away the terrifying and tense climax but just listen to tracks 21-22 ("Air Chase" - Parts 1-3) and you'll get a pretty good idea of what is going on in the film. This was John Williams a few years before his advaenture scores, like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, which has some of the same rapid rhythmic drive to it and also the very effective string writing which became a standard practice in future Williams scores, especially after his Oscar-winning score for JAWS.

There are also almost 9 minutes of alternates and source music by John Williams , including the snappy Dixieland number, "Hotel Lobby" (track 25 - 1:40), and an alternate mix for "The End" (track 28).

As with all Film Score Monthly CD releases, the CD booklet is attractively designed by Joe Sikoryak. The booklet notes by a team of four writers (Scott Bettancourt, Mike Matessino, Jeff Eldridge, and Alexander Kaplan) are well written and very informative.

This particular soundtrack probably would have received more attention if it wasn't for two other Williams scores that same year. You may have heard of them of these two -- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and STAR WARS. Obviously they overshadowed this very good Williams soundtrack.

BLACK SUNDAY would make a very satisfying addition to your John Williams collection and because of the high quality of the overall FSM production has been chosen as Best of the Month.


--reviewed by Roger Hall

Comments regarding this review can be sent to: Film Music Review

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Film Score Monthly


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