Jerry Goldsmith’s spectacular score gets an expanded 2-CD premiere!
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Doug's Tech Talk
Jerry Goldsmith’s spectacular score gets an expanded 2-CD premiere! Wildly successful 1999 reboot of Universal Picture’s famed series of 30’s and 40’s horror entries all began with Boris Karloff in 1931. Stephen Sommers directs with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Hyde, Kevin J. O’Connor. Kevin Jarre executive produces, Sommers also writes screen story and script. Often getting front and center attention is mammoth 91-minute Jerry Goldsmith score, utilizing huge orchestra and chorus in the largest scale writing of his latter career. Numerous themes appear, dynamic action cues abound! Much to the joy of Goldsmith fans everywhere, celebrated composer made welcome return to his beloved rhythmic vernacular with emphasis on aggressive orchestral ostinatos dominated by real percussion, low brass and strings. Electronics, a staple of Goldsmith’s post-1980’s writing, play a more subordinate role in this score, typically used to just add subtle exotic color in suspense sequences. Powerhouse fortissimo action music, thundering ideas usually take the spotlight. While entire augmented brass section of Goldsmith’s London orchestra gets an incredible workout, the wall of French horns commands special attention! Score also brings about welcome return to the composer’s then-long dormant busy style of string writing, especially exhilarating during action sequences. Decca label released a solid 57-minute album at time of film’s release but interestingly composer and engineer Bruce Botnick dropped every cue from entire mid-section of film, comprising film reels 8, 9, 10 and portions of 11. New 2-CD expanded premiere on Intrada includes every one of those previously unreleased cues which include stunning action material for “The Flies”, the fierce “Sand Storm” music, the riveting final “Escape From The Tomb” and the dramatic “The Prep Room” sequence. Highlighting the generous array of new music are two versions of the 5-minute action cue “The Locusts”, a stand-out piece reminding fans of Goldsmith’s sizzling action voice in a look backwards that the composer rarely chose to do. Film version appears with busier ending while unused version has stream-lined ending but lengthier middle-section. Two different approaches to one great previously-unreleased cue! After full 91-minute score concludes on first portion of CD 2, nearly 10 minutes of additional alternates play, followed by Decca’s original 1999 album of highlights. Bruce Botnick personally remixed entire expanded score from the original Sony 3348 format 48-track digital scoring session masters, courtesy Universal Pictures and Universal Music Enterprises, a division of UMG. Audio sonics are magnificent with instrumental detail not previously audible. On a score this massive, it makes quite a difference. Jeff Bond provides compelling liner notes, Intrada art director Kay Marshall assembles colorful package with flipper-style booklet cover allowing listener to choose original Decca artwork of the sand storm sequence or alternate campaign featuring the principal cast. Goldsmith’s last truly major work given the royal treatment! Mike Ross-Trevor engineers scoring sessions, Bruce Botnick engineers film and album mixes, Jerry Goldsmith composes and conducts augmented 90-piece London orchestra plus Ambrosian Singers. It’s a big one! Intrada Special Collection 2-CD release available while quantities and interest remain!
04. The Locusts (Original)* (4:51)
05. My Favorite Plague (Original)** (3:59)
Extras Time: 9:52
Original 1999 Decca Soundtrack Album
06. Imhotep (4:15)
07. The Sarcophagus (2:13)
08. Taureg Attack (2:20)
09. Giza Port (1:57)
10. Night Boarders (4:03)
11. The Caravan (2:48)
12. Camel Race (3:22)
13. The Crypt (2:23)
14. Mumia Attack (2:15)
15. Discoveries (3:36)
16. My Favorite Plague (3:54)
17. Crowd Control (3:09)
18. Rebirth (8:28)
19. The Mummy (6:15)
20. The Sand Volcano (5:38)
Original Album Time: 57:46
Total CD Time: 79:06
*Not Previously Released
**Includes Material Not Previously Released
Tech Talk From The Producer…
The most epic film score composed by Jerry Goldsmith in the 1990s was for Stephen Sommers’ wildly successful 1999 revival of The Mummy, bringing back one of the celebrated Universal cinematic monster icons, dating back to the 1930s. Utilizing a large orchestra with augmented percussion, full chorus and a judicious use of synthesized colors sprinkled throughout, Goldsmith composed and recorded nearly 100 minutes of music (including about ten minutes of alternates) with nods to his beloved action-and-suspense vernacular of the late ’70s and early ’80s, an era he seldom looked back upon by 1999. By this time, Goldsmith was usually rooting his rhythmic ideas in heavy doses of electronics, anticipating the upcoming scoring trend that evolved into the sound-design style that continues to this day. However, in a welcome move with his score for The Mummy, Goldsmith happily revisited a musical language he had largely moved away from, using real percussion, low brass and strings to deliver almost all the rhythms.
To present this entire score, including a handful of alternate versions of cues, we were given access to the complete sessions, recorded using the Sony PCM3348HR DASH 48-track digital format, about as state of the art as it came in the day. It took seven days during mid-to-late March to get everything down on tape, engineered by Mike Ross-Trevor at AIR Studios and Whitfield Street Recording Studios, both in London. The 48-track masters were then brought back to Sony Pictures Scoring in Culver City, where Bruce Botnick mixed everything down for both the six-channel (5.1) picture needs and the Decca stereo album that was released in 1999.
Goldsmith and Botnick selected 57 minutes of highlights for the album. Interestingly, they chose nothing from the middle of the film, eschewing all of reels 8, 9, 10 and most of reel 11. As a result, several sensational cues were not included on that Decca album, including some of the most exciting and dramatic sequences in the score. All of them are included in this expanded Intrada 2-CD release. Amongst many others, hear for the first time the fierce “Sand Storm” music, the action-packed “Escape From The Tomb,” “The Flies” and “The Prep Room.” We have also included both the film version of “The Locusts” (with a busier ending) and the alternate version with a streamlined ending and longer middle section. Goldsmith, indeed, recorded three different versions of this cue, with the third being the one included on the Decca album.
Another change for the album occurred with the “Giza Port” cue early in reel 4. The Decca album version featured chorus, but for the film itself the chorus was dropped. Both versions appear in this set. Still another change was made with “My Favorite Plague.” The alternate version, used in the film, had very active “sweeteners” (synthesizer embellishments), a tighter middle section and a re-scored chorus. The original version, used on the Decca album, featured less active sweeteners but a slightly longer mid-section and the original chorus. Again, both versions can be found on this Intrada release.
CD 1 offers the score in picture sequence, utilizing the takes heard in the film. Due to its 90-minute duration, this presentation continues on CD 2. Following are a pair of “extras”: the unused original versions of “The Locusts” and “My Favorite Plague.” And since Jerry Goldsmith and Bruce Botnick assembled the original Decca release from a hybrid of both film takes and alternates, we have included this unique assembly on CD 2 after the two extras.
For Intrada’s complete score presentation plus the alternates, Botnick has prepared brand-new digital two-track mixes of everything, using the 48-track session masters and revisiting his own work from 1999, albeit using today’s enhanced audio capabilities. For the complete Decca album presentation, we have used the digital two-track album master. All source material was housed in the vaults of Universal Pictures in pristine condition and has been used in the preparation of this release with their kind permission.
Universal’s The Mummy (1999), directed by Stephen Sommers, was one of the most successful films that Jerry Goldsmith ever scored. His music was surely a big part of that success. Listen now and discover why!