Planet of the Apes

Music by Jerry Goldsmith

There are at least two extant recordings of this soundtrack on CD: the first is the Project 3 release (PRD 5023); the second is this one released several years later by Intrada (Intrada FMT 8006D) which includes one extra track, "The Hunt". The Project 3 release has inexcusably under-recorded the first note of the "Main Title" track, an error not present on the LP release from the same label. It also generally doesn't have as wide a stereo image as the remastered Intrada release. Nevertheless, by the time the Intrada release was prepared, the master tapes had apparently degenerated rather badly, and hence the piano sounds particularly anemic on FMT 8006D by comparison with the earlier Project 3 release. Both releases are also quite short: 25:45 for the Project 3 disc; 31:06 for the Intrada release. Don't let these drawbacks deter you, though.

The music itself is excellent. This is one of the all-time greatest movie scores ever written. Strikingly avant-garde by any standards, and especially so for a big Hollywood movie from 1968, it is somewhat reminiscent of avant- garde classical composer Edgar Varese's big orchestral works (e.g., Arcana). Composer Jerry Goldsmith scored the film for an extremely unusual orchestral ensemble including tuned mixing bowls, a bass slide-whistle, and the cuika, a Brazilian instrument that sounds amazingly like the vocalizing of an excited ape. Unusual playing techniques such as horn players who were asked to blow air through their instruments with their mouthpieces put on backwards, and electronic post-processing of the orchestral recording further add to the eerie, nightmarish quality of the music. Extremely effective in the film, this is the rare soundtrack album which can also stand totally on its own as a tour-de-force musical composition. Highest recommendation.

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