Friday, 15 May 2009

A Close Encounter of the Audio kind - Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - John Williams - Soundtrack

Advantages: Includes previously unreleased and unused music

Disadvantages: None

I don't normally listen to film soundtracks - in fact I rarely take notice of them, and in some respects this means the composer has done his job. 

Would I be too bold in saying that your average person who enjoys a film, but is not a film buff or cinema goer, doesn't take too much notice of the soundtrack, but enjoys it passively as part of the overall film? 

Very few film soundtracks stand out in my mind. Star Wars does. A Clockwork Orange does, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind's soundtrack definitely does. This might have something to do with the fact that I have seen these films a number of times. 

I have had the opportunity of hearing both the original vinyl soundtrack, dating all the way back to 1977, and the recently released extended CD, which has much more than the original vinyl. 

I am no musicologist and when all is said and done I have no knowledge of classical music. Close Encounters soundtrack is orchestral - when it comes to classical music and art, I can only say I either like it or I don't, I may not be able to say why. 

This soundtrack is one of those ocassions when I can't say why I like the music. I do know when I am listening to it, I am transported in my mind back to the scenes of the film. 

Both old vinyl and recent CD have that same crescendo, that you will know from the film (I won't describe it, it will spoil watching the film), which will make you jump, in a similar fashion to the classic Jaws scene. There is a feeling of menace, urgency and eeriness throughout much of this soundtrack, and other feelings of hope and near resolution. One my favourite pieces is Track 14 (CD) "The Mountain". Where Roy and Gillian finally get to a first glimpse at what has been haunting them. I won't describe the scene, as it might spoil things, if you have seen the film you will know what I mean. 

There is a rather magic, if not cheesey, finale to this album starting with track 24 "Wild Signals", which is essentially the showcase of 'that' Iconic five note motif, which has been parodied to Kingdom Come over the years. This is interesting and the film must be seen to appreciate this piece of music. 

I also think the end sequence is rather special - not only does it nicely incorporate 'the five tones', but John Williams magically weaves a classic Disney tune into it - I won't say which, as it is pivotal to the story. this end peice has such a great feeling of relief, resolution and conclusion, with just a teensy hint of 'what if?' and 'what next?' 

Parts of the soundtrack reminds me of bits and pieces of the music from Hitchcock films, as indeed do many of the actual scenes from the film - try comparing this film with North by Northwest, and you might just see what I mean. 

This soundtrack, to me, is different. It stands out. I actually wanted to own this, as well as the film's DVD. 

Did I mention Spielberg made the visuals and John Williams made the music? That is magic in itself.

Summary: A nice reminder of a special film. Spielberg and Williams work their collective magic.

Find Close Encounters on

No comments:

Post a Comment