Wednesday, July 13, 2011

'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' Soundtrack

I love Lalo Schifrin's music for 'Mission: Impossible'. When I was a kid I wanted to hear that theme every week, probably more than I wanted to see the show. A match is struck, fuse is lit, flute and clarinet trill, and we're off. Here's a love letter to the theme:

Michael Giacchino composed the soundtrack for 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol'. I especially like the nod he gives to the original TV show by starting with a (very sexy sounding) metal lighter being flicked open. Then, comes the shink of the flint strike and flame whooshing to life.

This time, though, the trill is darker, and is punctuated by wild loose, almost intoxicated trumpets. familiar theme -- Giacchino makes us wait. Instead, we go into a meandering stealthy piano passage, with bongos (another nod to Schifrin's original).

The writing feels more rooted in classicism than other movie composers. The piano/winds in the first 33 seconds reminds me of 20th century Russian music, especially the piano concertos of Prokofiev.

At 34 seconds more winds join in and meandering drunkenness becomes more of a march, laced with intent. Lines straighten and we get some direction. Resolve builds to :47. Then, a pause for breath (or to reconsider, maybe quit and go home to sleep it off), then that strutting MI theme (so damn 'look at me'), with full wind ensemble, driven by some very no-nonsense drumming, full of swagger -- there's no turning back here, and no reconsideration.

While the foundation is powerful, the melody on top is stretched, almost lazy by today's standards, and feels more like a 19th century motif with longer, more elegant lines. The undercurrent, however, is punched up with ripping glissandi and bursts of machine-gun repeated notes.

Then, at 2:09 we return to the opening figure, this time accompanied by a suspense-filled walking bass. The ensemble is eager to get back to the theme however, and at 2:38 we return, a graceful solo trumpet carrying the tune. Snares add the military element (found in the movie's plot), then the finale, con brio, still maintaining a classical sensibility.

To compare, here's some of Giacchino's music from 'Star Trek'. Again, fluid, classical. 1:38 to 2:22 reminds me of Brahms.

Lovely stuff. Looking forward to 'MI: Ghost Protocol' and whatever Michael Giacchino scores in the future.


No comments:

Blog Archive