World premiere release of legendary Jerry Goldsmith's earliest film score to date! Writing music for only his second feature film, Goldsmith launches his unique approach to action and thrills. This taut 1959 black and white thriller with Vince Edwards briskly tells the tale of a convict breaking out of prison with a cannister of what he thinks his pure heroin. What he's really stolen is, of course, a deadly radioactive test material. He runs loose in the city, the police pursue and Goldsmith mirrors the action with his then brand-new signature ideas of quirky piano rhythms (played by John Williams!), low brass ostinatos, challenging horn parts, trumpets paired with chimes, menacing percussion figures, nervous xylophone motifs, riveting chase cues, jagged woodwind ideas, transparent orchestrations and more! (An obvious training ground for THE SATAN BUG in more ways than one!) The picture was a brief 81-minute thrill ride with Goldsmith providing a mere half hour of score, but both picture and music were perfectly paced. Intrada presents the score from original 1/4" mono session elements (as recorded for the picture) courtesy Sony Pictures. Tapes were in good condition save one solitary cue, missing from scoring master but fortunately preserved on separate music & effects track (with minimal effects!) Original film campaign art plus informative liner notes from Jeff Bond complete package. An important addition to any library of film soundtracks, CITY OF FEAR offers listeners the very first glimpse of Goldsmith just getting started in what became his most famous scoring style: action! Jerry Goldsmith conducts. SOLD OUT!
Jerry Goldsmith was just starting his feature film scoring career when City of Fear came along. His very first picture had been a western called Black Patch for Warner Bros. in 1957, and he would follow it in 1959 with another western called Face of a Fugitive, for Columbia. In August of 1958, however, he recorded the music for another feature assignment, a taut thriller called City of Fear, also for Columbia, which would be released six months later in February of 1959.
It’s fun to make comparisons between City of Fear and Goldsmith’s higher-profile picture from 1965, The Satan Bug. Not only because the films share a common story — a deadly substance stolen by a madman, leading to a massive manhunt and potential evacuation of an entire city—but with only his second film score, Goldsmith was introducing
musical ideas that would become personal trademarks not only with The Satan Bug but in scores throughout his entire career.
Enjoy discovering in City of Fear such familiar devices as the striking of chimes in unison with muted trumpets, the extensive use of wooden xylophone during rhythmic passages, the cuica and numerous metallic percussion effects, rhythmic ostinatos that drive action cues, melodic ideas being built from short motifs and significant passages for the composer’s favored solo trumpet. These and other beloved Goldsmith signatures were introduced with City of Fear.
Already a stylistic trope at this point in his career, Goldsmith was customizing his orchestral palette to include specific colors, rather than defaulting to the conventions of the day. With Black Patch he had used an orchestra without trumpets, lending a dark edge to the brass writing. In City of Fear, Goldsmith scored his music for an orchestra without violins or violas. His reliance on brass, woodwinds and percussion with low strings and piano gives the score a brittle quality matching the nervous, frenzied pace of the film.
For this premiere release of Jerry Goldsmith’s second motion picture score, Intrada had access to the ¼" full-track (mono) session tapes made in August of 1958, courtesy of Sony and Columbia Pictures. The 53-year old tapes showed modest signs of age but any tiny imperfections were offset by unusually crisp dynamics and recording quality. The tapes contained every cue Goldsmith recorded with the single exception of one brief cue ("Motel"), which had to be transferred from the music & effects only tracks. Fortunately these effects were minimal with the music getting prominence. Happily, Sony kept all of the scoring paperwork as well, with slates and cue sheet titles. This enabled us to assemble the music in the order Goldsmith intended, using the actual titles he had created.
Goldsmith only wrote 29 minutes of music for the picture. Much of it is truncated in the film with numerous cues chopped and others repeated. This CD allows listeners to hear all of his music as it was originally composed and recorded. Enthusiasts will also enjoy hearing the piano artistry of a young John Williams as well.
Enjoy now the thrilling opportunity to hear Jerry Goldsmith introduce a plethora of musical trademarks with his earliest available film score and, in fact, his very first action film score, City of Fear.
Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.
Recorded in August 1958, at Columbia Recording Studio, Hollywood, California.