Dynamic 2-CD set features complete action-packed Trevor Jones soundtrack for Renny Harlin top-drawer outdoor thriller, set high in Rockies (actually Italy's Dolomites), starring Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker. Jones scores sweeping scale, intense action with arguably his most exciting orchestral score to date. Spectacular music anchors with rich, wide-open theme often heard on solo trumpet, then surrounds with wall-to-wall action. Original 1993 Scotti Bros. release carried roughly half of score. Intrada release offers complete 92-minute masterpiece, newly remixed from actual 48-track digital session masters courtesy StudioCanal! Dynamic elements included scoring sessions on 24 tracks, 7.1 film mixes on 8 more tracks, channels for left, center & right recording studio ambience, 3 channels for additional electronic colors plus stereo mixes of cues used on earlier album: an incredible array of mixing options all contained within those 40-odd channels! Intrada was able to re-create instrument placement, spread of original mixes while creating crisp, all-new mixes for our final CD masters! New highlights include exciting air-to-air hijack & robbery ("Being Tricked/Matheson Revives"), pulsating "Qualen's Timebomb/Jessie's Close Call", riveting entire final helicopter fight running over 9-minutes! Informative liner notes by John Takis. David Snell conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra. Intrada Special Collection release limited to 2000 copies!
The score Trevor Jones composed for Cliffhanger is a fascinating display in musical symmetry. Two themes provide the bulk of the melodic material, each theme has two parts. Even the overall score itself displays two diverse components — rich melody and ferocious action. The main theme is broadly drawn, characterized by wide intervals and a steady feel of forward motion. The first portion is often heard on solo trumpet while the less-frequently heard second portion features strings. Jones uses the entire theme to bookend his score. The other thematic building block is a winding four-note figure which is often followed by a second group of four similar but slightly altered notes. This shorter idea permeates much of the action music and at times actually functions as a melody unto itself. How Jones treats his musical themes while balancing warm melody with dynamic intensity makes for rewarding listening.
The score is epic, running for more than 90 minutes, with nearly all of it in the finished film. Indeed, three-fourths of the film actually features musical scoring! The original 1993 CD release on the Scotti Bros. label offered a little over half of it, with the emphasis on melody and suspense. But the real stars of this score are the lengthy, aggressive action cues, many of which appear in this new Intrada release for the first time. Eschewing mere dissonance, Jones instead creates powerful action music via imposing ostinatos in low brass, virtuoso passages for trumpets and strings and unrelenting rhythmic drive.
To present this complete score on CD, Intrada was given access to the original 48-track digital session masters courtesy of Studio Canal. Interestingly, the orchestra session recordings themselves typically comprised 24 of the tracks with additional tracks assigned to both 7.1 film mixes and separate tracks reserved for far left, near left, center, near right and far right ambient room sound. On sequences used on the original album, additional two-channel mixes were created and assigned to their own tracks. Finally, Jones augmented his large London Philharmonic forces with an array of synthesizers and electronic percussion effects and patched those colors directly into the orchestral film mixes since they were recorded separately from the orchestra sessions. Since we had access to all of these tracks, we were able to remix the multiple channels of orchestra and synthesizers into brand new two-track mixes for the entire score while retaining the instrumental positioning and integrity of the stereo mixes created for the original album cues.
So now it’s time now to wrap yourself with heavy winter garb, plunge into an icy cold environment—and turn up the volume. The pulse-pounding excitement of Trevor Jones music for Cliffhanger will surely heat things up.