Remembering Jerry Goldsmith today on this, the 10th anniversary of his passing. He was 75 and left us way too soon. For anyone that doesn't know, Jerry was one of the most influential and prolific composers ever to work in film and television. His work included the Twilight Zone, Patton, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Planet of the Apes, Rudy, Gremlins, Total Recall, First Knight, Air Force One, the Universal Pictures logo and way too many others to list and earned him 18 Oscar nominations and one win for the Omen.

I had the honor of knowing Jerry just a little through his son Joel (who we also lost to cancer a couple years ago). When Jerry died, Joel gave me his dad's Walter Piston orchestration book (pictured). I keep it as well as this photo of the two of them at the one session we all worked on together in the corner of my studio as a tribute to the influence both of them had and continue to have on me as a composer and a person.

As a composer Jerry was a genius and a craftsman making his music both sophisticated and accessible. Every great composer develops a musical language of their own making their music identifiable within a few notes and Jerry's was one that many now famous composers "spoke" early in their careers before finding their own sound. 

There was something about his practical approach to scoring and orchestration that I, as a young composer was able to wrap my head around. I once heard him say that "there's no room for subtlety in film music". He didn't mean it in as broad of a sense as it might sound, in fact he was talking about an unnecessary alto flute line that an orchestrator had added to a big, loud orchestra piece but it stuck with me. I used to believe that subtlety was everything and I still believe it has it's place but now I'm more inclined to boldness than I used to be.

I was lucky enough to see Jerry conduct many sessions at the hallowed grounds of the now defunct Paramount Pictures Stage M and Todd AO as well as the Sony and Fox Stages. Watching him work with orchestras and directors was like watching a magician or a master craftsman at work. He had such confidence and familiarity with the orchestra and the process, that it seemed effortless (and this can be a very stressful and terrifying experience under the best of conditions). He may have been a bit gruff but the orchestra respected and loved him and he knew better than anyone how to work with a director. It was the most invaluable experience I've ever had and I'm grateful that I was there at just the right time to have been able to see it.

Now, my daughter sings the Universal pictures theme every time it comes on and will on occasion attempt to play the Gremlins theme on the piano. Makes me happy to see his music live on and make it's way into the hearts of the next generation. Music is immortal and through it, some of us who make it are lucky enough to live forever. 

Miss you Jerry.

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