After Varese Sarabande in 1986 on LP and CD and Kritzerland Records in 2011, which included two presentations of the score, it was the turn of Intrada to launch a new edition of Gorky Park (1983). Why? Simply because the perfectionism of Intrada's craftspeople, Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson, led them to look for a few unreleased tracks and a stereo sound quality on the entire disc, which was not the case in the previous editions.
To present entire score in true stereo for first time, courtesy MGM, Intrada went back to original session masters made by Dan Wallin at Record Plant Recording Studios on 2" 24-track tape, then subsequently mixed by Wallin down to 1/2" multi-track stereo, then finally to brand new two-track stereo mixes for our CD. Working with these mixes, we discovered Horner had scored several cues with alternate versions, all of which are included as "extras" in this CD. Other new highlights include striking motif for "Andreev", who recreates murder victim's faces, exciting "Pasha And Golodkin Shot", fiercely rhythmic "Setting Up The Deal" plus several others. Extra treat! Working with multi-tracks allows us to present all cues containing Tchaikovsky overdubs in both familiar final versions plus in Horner score-only versions for interesting study in contrasts. Finally, Horner wrote cocktail piano source cue ("Stockholm Salted Peanuts") for late sequence in picture and nostalgic, bittersweet piece appears as closing extra to wrap generous-length CD.
Gorky Park is the first collaboration of the composer with director Michael Apted, who will reunite in the early 90s with Class Action and Thunderheart. Adapted from Martin Cruz Smith's novel, the film was shot in Helsinki and Stockholm but the plot takes place in Russia during a police investigation. Three disfigured corpses lie in Gorky Park, in the heart of the city. Inspector Renko conducts the investigation and his investigations lead him to the high spheres of the Soviet political power.
In the early 1980s, James Horner had only a few years of service as a composer for the movies but he had already written strong and bold pieces of music. Just listen to the other projects of this prolific year 1983 to be convinced. Just like scores such as Krull, Brainstorm and Testament, Gorky Park is one of the most fervent representatives of the composer's style of writing at that time.
The Main Title accompanies the future victims happily skating to the sound of two pieces of Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake and the 1812 Overture) broadcast by the audio system of the park. James Horner creates discomfort by interrupting these two classics from the Russian repertoire with dissonance and menace, with piano chords, windchimes, a harp, synthesizers and percussive sounds produced by the strings (slapping).
The score cleverly combines morbid atmospheres (Faceless Bodies, the central part of The Sable Shed) which will be used in Aliens (1986) and pursuits punctuated by roaring trombones (Following Kirwill, Following KGB). Note that two years before Sting uses it in his hit song Russians, Sergei Prokofiev's variation of the Romance melody from Lieutenant Kijé is heard in the second part of Following Kirwill. Romanticism is represented by Irina's Theme, Arkady and Irina, Airport Farewell that develop the beautiful love theme to the sound of a harp and a cymbalom. The combination forms a crystalline texture sound like the bright light of the sublime Joanna Pacuła. The horn brings some warmth to the theme during the separation of the two main characters in Airport Farewell.
Simplistically some will reduce Gorky Park to a dissonant blend of percussive and synthetic elements, which are specific to a musical direction already heard the previous year in 48 Hours, and which will be developed later in Commando and Red Heat. But they will be wrong to omit the other aspects of this score, notably its more orchestral, deep colors.
Thank you Intrada for giving us another opportunity to appreciate this music to its fair value.
The tracklist of this new and apparently definitive edition:
01. Main Title (2:51)
02. No Faces (1:53)
03. Chase Through The Park (1:57)
04. Following Kirwill (3:00)
05. Andreev (1:26)
06. Pasha And Golodkin Shot (1:04)
07. Irina’s Chase (3:43)
08. Arkady And Irina (Film Version) (2:12)
09. Irina’s Theme (Album Version) (3:32)
10. The Sable Shed (Album Version) (6:40)
11. Following KGB (2:03)
12. Iamskoy’s Death (0:43)
13. Setting Up The Deal (2:36)
14. Farewell At The Airport (Album Version) (4:19)
15. Releasing The Sables/End Credits (Album Version) (4:23)
16. Main Title (Without Classical Inserts) (2:51)
17. A Leather Bag With The Gun (0:39)
18. First Flashback (0:44)
19. First Flashback (Without Classical Insert) (0:33)
20. Tailing KGB (0:43)
21. Second Flashback In Arkady’s Office (1:22)
22. Second Flashback In Arkady’s Office (Without Classical Insert) (1:07)
23. Arkady And Irina (Album Version) (2:28)
24. Regaining Consciousness (0:55)
25. Love Montage (1:21)
26. Irina’s Theme (3:48)
27. The Sable Shed (Film Version) (6:40)
28. Irina’s Confession (1:11)
29. Farewell At The Airport (Film Version) (2:59)
30. Releasing The Sables/End Credits (Film Version) (4:25)
31. Stockholm Salted Peanuts) (Cocktail Piano) (4:00)
Photo credit: © Eagle Associates / MGM