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Jerry Goldsmith composed music for both major theatres of World War II in 1970: He scored the European battles in Patton and Pacific action in Tora! Tora! Tora! A joint American/Japanese production, Tora! was a painstaking and spectacular re-creation of the notorious Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into war.
Unlike the character-driven Patton, however, Tora! Tora! Tora! concentrates on larger themes of war, nationalism, and the failure to communicate. Composer Goldsmith had more than ample experience with both the musical language of Asia (evidenced in The Spiral Road, Morituri, The Sand Pebbles and The Chairman) and the war epic (demonstrated in In Harm's Way, Von Ryan's Express and The Blue Max), making him a perfect choice. He chose to score the implacable forces of war and fate and the ancient cultural underpinnings of the Japanese warriors so vividly depicted in the film.
The split production actually presents the Japanese more heroically than the bumbling Americans, and the score is written accordingly. Goldsmith's rich title theme is decorated with menace, but at its core is a description of tragedy and tradition: Japanese martial honor unbowed by the exigencies of diplomacy. Eschewing the idea of battle music, Goldsmith left the film's climactic attack unscored and saved his most violent orchestral passages for the diplomatic and tactical preludes to war. The score bristles with the unique instrumentation and overlapping rhythms so characteristic of Goldsmith's period at 20th Century-Fox in the '60s.
The result is a powerful work, full of majestic Asian writing and pulsating action cues that capture the unsettling sound of conflict. The CD includes every note written for the film, plus a suite of military band and dance source music and a pair of unused variations on the main theme, played on solo piano and as a pop-flavored arrangement—all in stereo. The 16-page booklet is in full color, with a wealth of behind-the-scenes pictures of the elaborate, effects-laden production.
Tora! Tora! Tora! was previously available only as a 15-minute re-recorded suite on Varese Sarabande's Patton/Tora! Tora! Tora! CD from 1997. This new CD features the original film performance; the complete score totals 36:43 and represents every last note the composer wrote for the picture. The film performance is markedly different from the more concert-hall ambiance of the re-recording. Climb Mt. Niitaka! Order yours today!