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Music Conducted By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By
Alexander Courage

Recorded By
Bruce Botnick

Performed By

Album Produced By
Nick Redman

Varese Sarabande CD Club

Previous Release(s)
Pony Express PECD 4002
VCL 0204 1028 (selections)

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time

Limited Edition Release

Reviewed By
Connor Bowen

Cues & Timings

1. Practice (4:50)
2. The Stars (1:05)
3. Statistics (1:52)
4. Steps (1:07)
5. Apologies (2:13)
6. Forever (1:37)
7. Diane’s Missing (2:34)
8. That’s It (:55)
9. Passing Time (:37)
10. A Night’s Sleep (1:40)
11. Weekend Duty (2:12)
12. The Password (4:40)
13. The Vision (3:44)
14. New Message (2:29)
15. Hello, Jeff (:39)
16. Let Me Tell You (3:18)
17. A Variation (2:18)
18. The Lure (1:00)
19. Abduction (2:40)
20. Don’t Tell (:52)
21. Drink (4:01)
22. Surprise (2:07)
23. Where’s Jeff? (3:46)
24. Let’s Talk (9:00)
25. End Titles (3:17)

Soundtrack Ratings







The Vanishing

In 1988, George Sluizer created a fine independent thriller that critics seemed to love. It would be an obvious move for Hollywood today, but having a film remade for an American audience just 5 years later must have seemed silly at the time (and by the same director no less). The 1993 remake was panned by critics and when seeing the final product now, it’s surprising to know just much disdain it was met with. It may not be a classic, but it’s an engaging thriller that pretty well-made, especially with a creepy, quirky performance by Jeff Bridges. Of course, a critically-bashed film from this period isn’t quite complete without a score by Jerry Goldsmith. In fact, this score is a prime example of the maestro’s work: weaving together themes and motifs in clever and compelling fashion for a movie hardly worth that much effort.

The complete 65-minute score begins with Practice. Here, the antagonist Barney is introduced immediately with a descending two-note motif on woodwinds. Soon following is our villain’s theme, on woodwinds, and over a bed of tingling electronics. This theme and motif seem to convey that this character just seems to be a bit off, and what follows on screen certainly portrays what the music suggests.

The next few cues are short and showcase the development of the two-note motif as well as some great writing for bass clarinet. Stars introduces a subtle electronic motif for an infinity symbol which plays a role later in the film and score.  Apologies brings forth two new themes as the protagonist, Jeff, and his girlfriend are introduced. One, played almost immediately is a frantic string idea that accompanies the obsession theme of the film’s plot. Though played only briefly, it’s great foreshadowing of what’s to come for these characters. The second is a delicate, somewhat sad love theme on piano for Jeff and his soon-to-disappear Diane. More of Barney’s bass clarinet and synths appear as well as the obsession theme as Barney lurks around.

Forever develops the love theme and Diane’s Missing plays the obsession theme in full for the first frantic search. Here, some synth, horn, and tam-tam motifs appear that will play a bigger role towards the score’s conclusion. A few short cues develop things further as Jeff finds a new love, Rita, years after Diane’s disappearance. The next major cue is The Password and the two-note motif, love theme, and eventually obsession theme play out in the most subtle and suspenseful of fashions.

The Vision focuses on the love theme and New Message, Hello Jeff, and Let Me Tell You, and The Lure introduces heavier synth work and Barney’s theme as he makes a much bigger presence in the film. A Variation is the only non-score addition to the album and is somewhat of a curio, but is fine on its own as a jazzy piece relating to what we’ll hear in the end title. Abduction, builds slowly with the two-note idea and Barney’s theme very quietly in the background on synths. Finally, more electronics build to a crescendo as we finally find out where Diane went. Here, the two-notes cry out, almost implying the sound of a scream. Don’t Tell brings back the infinity motif from Stars as the last act of the film begins.

Drink is a continuation of the two-note motif along with tingling synthesizer and an occasional jump into action as Jeff is somewhat taken under Barney’s spell while Rita chases down answers on her own. A few appearances of the love them and Barney’s theme intertwine, building up to a sinister but very laid back ending as Jeff is drugged.

Surprise and Where’s Jeff are signature Goldsmith action as Rita and Jeff go head-to-head. Piano, Timpani and tom-tom along with pizzicato and brief dissonant strings intercut one another as Barney makes his attacks.  The final action cue, Let’s Talk, begins with the usual two-notes, this time on muted French horn. Continuation of previous themes (including ingenious appearances of the infinity theme) goes on for quite a bit as Barney and Rita match wits. As Rita makes her way to working out a special deal with Barney, the action music returns as she makes a getaway to find Jeff. The frantic obsession theme kicks it into high gear as percussive hits and horn accompaniment raise keys to an exciting fortissimo timpani and piano showcase for Barney’s last return.  As the antagonist is taken care of, one final cry of his theme accompanies. A melancholy appearance of the love theme and some final pounding synths crescendo to a light ending cadence signifying a happy ending of sorts. End Titles is a jazz piece with strings and some electronic input that develops on a small theme heard in That’s It and A Night’s Sleep. Though some might say it’s a bit too similar to The Russia House, it’s a surprisingly nice ending, though a bit downbeat.

The end of the album provides a tiny bonus as we hear Goldsmith say to his musicians, “Really Nice!”. The same can be said for this whole score and, while surprisingly ignored by Goldsmith fans, it proves to be a perfect example of his work, creativity, and dedication. As the review might indicate, each cue is big on foreshadowing what’s to come through the subtle introductions and appearances of themes and motifs. Though the two-note idea can become tiresome, this score is a fun ride and perfectly fit for the film it serves. Of course we all know this is what Goldsmith was all about; and the album presentation is wonderful with crisp sound and interesting liner notes. It can also be said that during this period, Jerry had worked on Basic Instinct and Malice, two scores which essentially requested the same type of music. But all three stand alone and The Vanishing is a wonderful hidden gem for Goldsmith fans and film score enthusiasts in general to seek out.