Audio: On the Score with Marc Streitenfeld

By • May 29, 2012

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

If you’re looking for a musical instance of how everything old can become new again, you won’t find a better example than on the planet that holds a horrifying metaphor for the legend of “Prometheus.” It lies on the outer rim of the “Alien” universe that Jerry Goldsmith first trod upon for director Ridley Scott with spectral, melodic stillness and guttural percussion, conjuring a score as terrifying strange as that film’s iconically innovative monster.

Now as Scott returns to the franchise that chest-bursted his career, his brave new musical voyager Marc Streitenfeld is sure to lovingly quote the maestro’s theme upon landing. However, this is a scoring exploration that’s a completely different beast. For if Goldsmith touched down on an already blighted LV-426, Streitenfeld’s score for “Prometheus” doesn’t go to hell quite that quickly. For like so many cautionary parables before it, this soundtrack’s majestic orchestra, haunted voices and noble brass conjures all the possibilities of touching a god-like race, until their intentions prove the time-old sci-fi / horror adage that man was not meant to boldly go. It’s an eerily mesmerizing and frightening lesson taught by experimental samples, revelatory strings and shocking dissonance, a score that provides one haunting discovery after the next. Yet as brilliantly weird as Streitenfeld gets, “Prometheus”’ soundtrack never loses its humanity in the horror bargain, emotion that puts the composer’s striking work firmly in its own world.

Demonstrating the kind of determined evolution that an alien would envy, Streitenfeld has advanced under the watch of fellow Teuton Hans Zimmer, assisting him on “Beyond Rangoon” and “The Rock,” technically advising “Prince of Egypt” and “The Thin Red Line,” and then coming into contact with Ridley Scott as a music editor on “Gladiator,” “Hannibal” and “Black Hawk Down.” Streitenfeld would soon go beyond assembling temps, supervising and cutting score to composing his own music for the filmmaker, showing his diverse skills with the comedic winemaking of “A Good Year,” the dark soul mojo of “American Gangster,” “Body of Lies”’ propulsive spy games and the epic historical adventure of “Robin Hood.”

Yet for the numerous subjects that Ridley Scott has tackled, it’s always been the genre that the director’s legion of fans has yearned for him to return to, perhaps none more fervently than a sequel (pseudo or not) to “Alien.” And it’s something to be said for one of Hollywood’s most consistently interesting, and ever-developing composers that a good share of “Prometheus”’ fresh blood lies within its music. Now, on a new episode of “On the Score,” Marc Streitenfeld reveals the daunting, and much-anticipated task of capturing a classic’s aural atmosphere with his own unique take on a legendary galaxy of terror.

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a Buy the Soundtrack: PROMETHEUS
a Buy the Soundtrack: ROBIN HOOD
a Buy the Soundtrack: AMERICAN GANGSTER
a Buy the Soundtrack: BODY OF LIES

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