Although Alan Silvestri
began scoring movies back in 1978 with THE DOBERMAN GANG, I must admit that I did not really take much notice of his music until his first major movie score which was for ROMANCING THE STONE in 1984, of course the composer had begun to build a name for himself in television with music for popular shows such as T J HOOKER, MANIMAL and also a handful of episodes of STARSKY AND HUTCH. I like many other collectors have followed the career of composer Alan Silvestri
with interest since those early days and still am unable to control my foot tapping when I hear the strains of the CHIPS theme. For me personally Silvestri stepped into the film music arena when I felt that music in film had began to loose its way slightly, the pop song score was becoming more prominent and beginning to dominate the film scoring process, also film studios were putting more and more trust into music supervisors as opposed to actual film music composers, it was quicker to clear the performance rights etc on songs rather than get a composer in to write an original score, the end result they seemed to think was just as effective, a notion and practice that I still to this day disagree with. After the success of ROMANCING THE STONE, Silvestri’s career in film took off and at times the composer would produce rich and grand sounding symphonic works such as THE ABYSS, VAN HELSING and the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies, but other times would slip into a more contemporary persona creating up beat and slick sounding soundtracks that elevated and enhanced such pictures as RICHOCHET, DELTA FORCE and THE BODYGUARD, plus he was able to fashion poignant and more intimate works and also underline comedies as in
THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT,CASTAWAY and DEATH BECOMES HER, he also scored his fair share of animation as in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, FERNGULLY and POLAR EXPRESS. In recent years he has returned to the blockbuster and has been in demand to enhance the actions of CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, G.I.JOE and the big screen antics of THE A TEAM. One of the composers recent assignments is RED 2, which stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkolvich and Anthony Hopkins
. In which a retired CIA agent portrayed by Willis re-unites his team of operatives for a worldwide mission to track down a missing nuclear device. Silvestri’s score is a powerful and up-beat one, the composer utilizing electronic elements to great effect and combining them with orchestral flourishes which both compliment and augment each other, Silvestri provides the film with a soundtrack that matches the action perfectly and also helps to create a tense atmosphere and a sense of taught and vibrant urgency.
The score is a fusion of both symphonic and up beat electronic but the combination works so well you will at some point find yourself tapping your feet too it and really getting into the up beat sections and becoming tied up with the scores swift pace and momentum, the synthesized sections are as I have already said either acting as a background to strong orchestral passages or are them selves the foreground or main content of the composition with symphonic becoming the support, either way there are many highly rhythmic as well as dramatic moments within this soundtrack. Track number one, MAIN TITLE, opens with juddering near piercing synth line, that has an upbeat synthesised backing track which straight away grabs the listeners attention, Silvestri throws into the mix a series of grand sounding orchestral stabs that punctuate the proceedings and add a sense of danger and drama to the composition, percussion also lends a hand to beef up the piece and power it along, although a very short lived composition it certainly has the desired effect of making an impact. Track number two, SAFE HOUSE, begins in a rather subdued way, but soon builds into a crescendo of sorts that is created by synths and percussive elements, the cue seems to rise into near action mode but then falls away back into a more brooding persona, again the track is rather brief but as with the opening cue does make a positive and also a powerful musical statement. Track number three, SPEAKING OF SUSAN to me seems to contain more symphonic or conventional instrumentation, and it is the drive strings that push this composition forward, Track number four, PENTAGON is also a pure action cue, more driving and urgent string flourishes that act as the foundation for the cue, the composer adds electric guitar and percussion with an upbeat and rhythmic backing track to infuse drama into the proceedings. The remainder of the score is composed in the same vein, it is an all action soundtrack that does not hold back and is at times relentless but is always entertaining, certainly well worth adding this to the collection.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light