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Music Conducted By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By
Arthur Morton

Recorded By

Performed By
The National Philharmonic Orchestra

Album Produced By
Nick Redman and Neil S. Bulk

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1296

Previous Release(s)
US 33 Mainstream S 6081
US 33 Citadel CT 6008
US 33 Citadel CT 7007
US CD Varése VCD 47238
Sony Legacy JK 57890
Intrada Special Collection Volume 120

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time

Limited Release

Reviewed By
Brandon Moore

Cues & Timings


1.Main Title 2:28
2.The New Arrival 1:26
3.A Pretty Medal 1:45
4. First Blood 2:26
5.The First Victory :43
6.The Captive 1:49
7.The Victim 2:36
8.The Cobra 1:41
9.The Attack 5:33
10.The Dinner Party :59
11. A Small Favor :58
12.Love Theme from The Blue Max (#1) 1:19
13.A Good Man :28
14. Intermission-Play Out 1:08
15. Intermission-Play In 1:43
16.The Bridge 3:19
17.Love Theme from The Blue Max (#2) 1:36
18.Retreat-Part I 3:16
19.Retreat-Part II 4:31
20.Stachel in Berlin-Part I 1:19
21.Stachel in Berlin-Part II 1:16
22.Nothing Needed :43
23.Kaeti Has a Plan 3:33
24.Stachel's Last Flight 2:01
25.End Title and Cast 2:45

Disc 1 Time: 51:20


1. Main Title-The Blue Max 2:28
2.Love Theme from The Blue Max 1:48
3.Retreat 1:27
4. First Blood 3:03
5.Waltz 1:12
6.Confirmed Kill 4:21
7.The Lonely Victor 3:32
8. Intermission Title :44
9.Bridge Duel 3:16
10.Battle 7:41
11.Food Riot 2:32
12.End Title 2:38
13.Watch on the Rhine 1:48
14.Pour Le M�rite March 2:18
15.Deutschland (German National Anthem) :51


16.Student Song Medley 2:14
17.Polish Girl* :44
18.Freut Euch des Lebens 1:30
19.Artist's Life #1 * :46
20.German Parade March* :31
21.Artist's Life #2 * 1:02
22.Gloria March :26


23.The Attack (original version)5:36
24. First Blood (revised opening) :57
25. First Blood (discrete version) 2:27
26.The Attack (alternate edit) 6:34
27. Retreat Parts 1 & 2 (intended film edit) 7:41
28.End Cast (alternate take) 1:15

Disc 2 Time: 71:23

Soundtrack Ratings







The Blue Max

The Blue Max (1966) was an ambitious and epic score from a young Jerry Goldsmith. The World War I film focuses on an arrogant German infantryman named Bruno Stachel (George Peppard), turned fighter pilot who climbs the ranks for the coveted Blue Max medal, awarded for twenty enemy kills. It was written at a time when war film music contained the intelligence in compositional form and a memorable use of melody. Unfortunately, a majority of this incredible effort was a victim of editing and would be replaced in favour of sound effects. Goldsmith once commented that the director John Guillermin was non-responsive at the scoring sessions, saying Guillermin found the music too dissonant. Goldsmith said "I don't think Guillermin likes it. But what the hell. These are war scenes, and they show that war is horrible. I can't write noble music for that."* Regardless of the outcome, Guillermin had been extremely happy at securing Goldsmith for the project and left the sessions satisfied, praising Goldsmith for his wonderful score. The music was then, and remains a masterpiece and proved incredibly influential for future composers in later years, most notably on James Horner's Project X.

The Blue Max contains one of the finest themes from Goldsmith's career. The theme's goal is the sensation of flight, a sound that the composer would often return to. It begins with a descending four note bell motif followed by trumpets and often contains two lines moving in contrary motion. This effectively gives a rising and falling motion perfect for the now antique flying machines. The theme is lofty with plenty of glock and woodwind trills. Toward the end of A Toast to Bruno (the first cue cut from the film), Goldsmith ingeniously builds the excitement of the main theme starting on bassoon, gently rising throughout the woodwinds, and all moving over a shifting "wrong" bass line. A wind machine is used in First Victory and blends wonderfully with the chiming of the tubular bells and bell tones in the trumpets.

In The New Arrival, the main theme is introduced in a grim minor variation that is used throughout the score. Darkly representing Stachel's obsession with winning the Blue Max, it is complete with long snare drumming, a lyrical horn statement in The Cobra, and then with full brass orchestration in The Attack. This latter cue combines elements from the beginning of the score with the trilling woodwinds, rising jabs in the trombones, the major/minor versions of the main theme, and a new rising dissonant Dies Irae motif in the strings. Adding to the structure and complexity of the score is the musical form of a passacaglia with Goldsmith's ostinato starting in the low strings (First Blood).

A gorgeous love theme, masterfully composed in a minor key and a true Goldsmith trademark, is effectively performed by a solo piano. For this Goldsmith hired his own former teacher, the virtuoso Jakob Gimpel. It's a variation on the main theme, an elision with some notes missing, using a rising line that helps string the score together. There are also some elegant miniature waltzes on the main theme performed on violin. The album includes the entrance and intermission music for the film, termed by Goldsmith at the time as 'popcorn music', containing beautiful statements of the main theme (Finale to Part 1, Prelude to Part 2).

Goldsmith's approach to the aerial battle sequences is complex, but the feeling of brutality and the horror of war is captured perfectly in the music with jagged and sharp statements in the low brass and strings. The Bridge is an exciting action highlight of the score. The fast paced strings repeat a note staccato as the main theme is supported again by the wind machine. Pounding timpani and tambourine add drive with blaring brass, dissonant strings, harp glissando and tam pounding to the end.

Retreat starts with the low strings stating the Dies Irae. The passacaglia continues again on the minor version of the theme first with the horn then moving to the trumpets and strings. Goldsmith's writing in the brass is unequalled with its swelling terraced dynamics in the horns and trombones hinting at his exciting action scores to come. A massive texture modulation ensues near the end with the Dies Irae motif and minor theme building with a battery of percussion. The love theme is soon taken over by the minor main theme (Kaeti Has a Plan) and the main theme is given a dream like final statement after Stachel's death (End title).

The score is a landmark in Goldsmith history for being his first collaboration with the legendary National Philharmonic Orchestra, a relationship that would go on to span four decades. Originally to be performed by 99 players, Goldsmith revealed in interview that Guillermin demanded it be rounded up to 100 players, even though, as Goldsmith pointed out, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The director of course got his wish.

The Blue Max soundtrack had a number of incarnations on LP before it was released on CD in 1985 by Varese Sarabande. By sheer luck the original multi track masters were discovered at the 20th Century Fox archive by Len Engel who had turned up with some rusted film cans and said "Did we ever do a 'TV series' called The Blue Max?" This unprecedented find paved the way to a release that preserved a series of previously unreleased music for the first time. In 1995 Sony Legacy added more score plus the source music and was regarded as the definitive presentation of this true film music classic. That was until Intrada went back to the archives and presented the complete score, included superior takes and assemblies of cues and added the missing exit music and Balloon cue. But more importantly addressed the processed sound of the Sony release. Then in 2014 we have this 2 CD version. The full film score, album, source music and a selection of alternate takes. All with even more improved sound!