SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT (2CD)

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 196
Date: 1973
Time: 1:26:35
Tracks: 23
World premiere 2-CD release of thrilling Ron Goodwin score for colorful Stephen Weeks film about unusually mystical episode of King Arthur and Knights of Round table legend, with Nigel Green as The Green Knight challenging all to best him and Murray Head as Gawain, rising to the task. Numerous battles across the realm inspire Goodwin to compose colorful adventure score brimming with bold, rhythmic energy, sweeping melody. Film offers many duels with lance, axe and sword, Goodwin responds with extended brass fanfares over thundering rhythms that propel combatants onscreen. Offering contrast is gorgeous minor-mode love theme. Also getting spotlight throughout is imposing four-note motif for low brass that heralds many appearances of Green Knight. Adding yet another layer of musical color is mystical, impressionistic material for strings, harps, vibraphone that highlight fantasy elements of tale. Goodwin actually scored numerous sequences twice for post-production changes in film, sometimes beginning cues in identical manner but then going in vastly different directions. Intrada presents entire score recorded by composer at Anvil Studios in England, mastered from beautiful 1/4" two-track stereo masters vaulted by Goodwin estate, licensed courtesy MGM. 2-CD set includes every original cue as well as each re-scored sequence, delivering a dynamic musical journey through the ages! Handsome package design by Joe Sikoryak, informative notes by John Takis. Ron Goodwin conducts. SOLD OUT!

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  • More Info
  • Track List
  • Doug's Tech Talk
  • Musicians List
  • World premiere 2-CD release of thrilling Ron Goodwin score for colorful Stephen Weeks film about unusually mystical episode of King Arthur and Knights of Round table legend, with Nigel Green as The Green Knight challenging all to best him and Murray Head as Gawain, rising to the task. Numerous battles across the realm inspire Goodwin to compose colorful adventure score brimming with bold, rhythmic energy, sweeping melody. Film offers many duels with lance, axe and sword, Goodwin responds with extended brass fanfares over thundering rhythms that propel combatants onscreen. Offering contrast is gorgeous minor-mode love theme. Also getting spotlight throughout is imposing four-note motif for low brass that heralds many appearances of Green Knight. Adding yet another layer of musical color is mystical, impressionistic material for strings, harps, vibraphone that highlight fantasy elements of tale. Goodwin actually scored numerous sequences twice for post-production changes in film, sometimes beginning cues in identical manner but then going in vastly different directions. Intrada presents entire score recorded by composer at Anvil Studios in England, mastered from beautiful 1/4" two-track stereo masters vaulted by Goodwin estate, licensed courtesy MGM. 2-CD set includes every original cue as well as each re-scored sequence, delivering a dynamic musical journey through the ages! Handsome package design by Joe Sikoryak, informative notes by John Takis. Ron Goodwin conducts.
  • Play all clips

    01. Titles (4:25)
    02. March Of The Degenerated Knights (4:20)
    03. Let The Game Begin (3:46)
    04. Gawain's Galop (3:57)
    05. Green Light Flashes (4:09)
    06. The Chalice (3:58)
    07. The Black Knight (5:31)
    08. The Ring (2:16)
    09. Sweet Mother Of God, What Have I Done (1:44)
    10. The Crossbow (4:33)
    11. The Cave (3:46)
    12. Linet Awakens (3:39)
    CD 1 Time = 46:21

    01. Oswald And Seneschal (2:15)
    02. Staff Fight (4:39)
    03. Fortinbras (1:20)
    04. The Battlement (6:49)
    05. Tower On Fire (4:17)
    06. Bertilak's Castle (2:18)
    07. The Altar (1:09)
    08. This Make Good Seeing (3:21)
    09. The Battle (8:17)
    10. Deal Me My Destiny (4:22)
    11. Live On, Sir Gawain (1:09)
    CD 2 Time = 40:14

  • Tech Talk From The Producer…

    Ron Goodwin offered some of his most robust and melodic orchestral scoring for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Under his own baton, he recorded over an hour of music at Anvil Studios in February 1973, with Eric Tomlinson as his engineer. Interestingly, the film underwent so many changes during postproduction that Goodwin had to come back and record another twenty minutes of music to accommodate the changes.

    Filmed under the simplified title Gawain and the Green Knight and starring Murray Head, Ciaran Madden, Nigel Green and Ronald Lacey, actual theatrical presentations didn’t occur until some three years later, in 1976. At this point the title had grown to the longer Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and entire scenes had undergone alteration.

    Where typically such changes in the scoring department were handled by deleting bars of music, altering the timings and placement of the cues and other editorial manipulations, in the case of Sir Gawain, Goodwin found himself actually going back to the newly edited scenes and scoring them all over again. Often he began a newly scored cue in similar fashion to his earlier version but then took new turns with the piece at hand, writing all new ideas to reflect the changes.

    As a matter of film trivia for listeners, the director and cowriter of the film, Stephen Weeks, was fascinated with the medieval legend of a magical knight who sought challenges with other knights to best him in combat—so much so that he filmed the story again years later under the even longer title of Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, now with the added star power of Sean Connery, Trevor Howard and the reappearance of Ronald Lacey. Adding to the plethora of Rons associated with the tale, this new version also had a score by a man named Ron; however, in this case the composer was Ron Geesin.

    In the preparation of our 2CD set of the complete music for Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, we were given access to the original ¼˝ two-track stereo masters made at Anvil Studios and retained by the composer. We are grateful to Ron Shillingford of the Ron Goodwin Estate and James Fitzpatrick of Tadlow Music for locating and transferring the four precious reels of tape used in the production of our album.

    Normally we would present the entire score as used in the finished film and include an “extras” section for the alternate versions of the music, but in this particular case we found the original versions of the cues and their re-scored counterparts to be so different yet equal in musical strength that it became more appropriate to combine them in the body of the program instead of presenting them separately. Goodwin often kept these cues in complimentary keys, even where the content underwent changes, making it musically possible for us to allow both versions to play one after the other as unified longer pieces.

    We also had access to all of the cue sheets and Goodwin’s original spotting notes, allowing us to assemble everything in the exact sequence Goodwin scored for the picture, including all of his alterations and re-scored sequences.

    Ron Goodwin filled Sir Gawain And The Green Knight with rich and colorful music evoking the medieval period of the tale, including some incredibly poignant minor-key ideas for the love scenes, but what stand tall are his robust action cues, often preceded by a dynamic descending brass fanfare-like motif that represents the Green Knight throughout. Played from start to finish, the entire score envelops the listener in a dazzling tapestry of castles and kings, knights and jousts, maidens and distress … and combat by lance and sword. Prepare for a rousing musical trip back to another time—ages ago!

    —Douglass Fake