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 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

Since Intrada has just released one of Michael Small's two 1984 scores, KIDCO, I thought I'd start a discussion on Small's score for the Paramount film FIRSTBORN directed by Michael Apted and starring Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Christopher Collet, Corey Haim, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Robert Downey Jr. This one's never been released on DVD, but it was an HBO staple back in the day.

Along with a great song soundtrack (including Talk Talk's "It's My Life" and "Why Is It so Hard?, the latter of which only appeared in the film and its accompanying LP), the film boasted some very effective, memorable--I can still hum the two primary themes from memory--original pieces from Small. The main theme, as I recall, was mostly keyboard or synth, and very effectively conveyed the sadness of the kids (Collet and Haim) over their disintegrating home life; the second theme was more rock-based, using synth and guitar, and was used for the climactic sequence with Collet on motorbike. I haven't seen the film in years...perhaps there isn't much more music from Small than I recall here, but those two themes, undeniably from 1984, really fit with the film's use of choice synthpop tunes including the aforementioned Talk Talk tracks as well as Re-Flex's "The Politics of Dancing" and The Nobodys' "No Guarantees." It reminds me of the way Bill Conti's first KARATE KID score incorporated some rock-based themes into the score, which are very much of a piece with some of the New Wave tunes used on the same soundtrack (Gang of Four's "Desire" comes to mind). If there isn't enough material for a full FIRSTBORN score LP, Small's work for the film should at least be released as part of a compilation or in conjunction with another Small score of similar length.

 
 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Saw this theatrically when I was 13, but don't remember the music at all. Would love to revisit the movie. I'm a fan of all things Small, so I would welcome a release of this soundtrack.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

Saw this theatrically when I was 13, but don't remember the music at all. Would love to revisit the movie. I'm a fan of all things Small, so I would welcome a release of this soundtrack.

It's likely the music on the soundtrack--the pop music, that is--that's been keeping this from DVD and, as result, out of most people's minds for the past 15-20 years or so. If you like everything Small, then I think you will enjoy, although it is not reminiscent of his most famous '70s work.

 
 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   Mike Skerritt   (Member)

... the second theme was more rock-based, using synth and guitar, and was used for the climactic sequence with Collet on motorbike.

Indeed:

ETA: The music cue starts at 2:07.



Although I always thought it was funny that they capped what had been a relatively intimate family drama with a car chase.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 10:37 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

... the second theme was more rock-based, using synth and guitar, and was used for the climactic sequence with Collet on motorbike.

Indeed:

ETA: The music cue starts at 2:07.



Although I always thought it was funny that they capped what had been a relatively intimate family drama with a car chase.


Thanks, Mike.

Yes, I recall that Ebert was very disappointed in the turn the film took in its last act. He still gave it 3.5 stars, IIRC, but it went from being a "perfect" film in his eyes to something much less.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 5, 2011 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

Small's really nice main theme I spoke of plays at the beginning of this clip (when Weller and Collet drive back to the house) and in the end credits. There's more orchestration in this rendition than I recalled. End title begins at 5:25; the rock theme, or "rebel theme," I really like begins at about 8:20 in this clip:


Beginning at about 5:10 of this clip is the rendition of the main theme I prefer and remember:


The "rebel theme" as it appears in the film proper (beginning at 5:19):


Looking at these clips, I can see that there is a lot more score than I remembered and the sound is more expansive than the synth and guitar I recalled.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2012 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

FIRSTBORN has finally been released on Blu-ray and DVD!

http://www.olivefilms.com/films/firstborn-blu-ray/
http://www.mondo-digital.com/firstborn.html
http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3916firs.html

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2012 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   Redokt64   (Member)

FIRSTBORN and TARGET are two Michael Small scores that really need a release. I know our moderator is also very fond of ROLLOVER. If it is anyone, it will more than likely be Intrada... maybe Lukas will be involved in it???

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2012 - 2:00 PM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

FIRSTBORN and TARGET are two Michael Small scores that really need a release. I know our moderator is also very fond of ROLLOVER. If it is anyone, it will more than likely be Intrada... maybe Lukas will be involved in it???

FIRSTBORN is a Paramount title.

ROLLOVER is Orion / WB.

TARGET is CBS, whose catalog is handled on home video by Paramount...not if the music rights fall under a similar arrangement.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 11:12 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

Listening to my just-arrived CD of Michael Small's FIRSTBORN and CHILD'S PLAY and thrilled to be doing so...thanks Intrada!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 11:22 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

Listening to my just-arrived CD of Michael Small's FIRSTBORN and CHILD'S PLAY and thrilled to be doing so...thanks Intrada!

Looking at musician credits for FIRSTBORN, happy to see some ace players, including members of the famed Wrecking Crew: Larry Bunker (percussion), Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Michael Boddicker and Ian Underwood (keyboards), Chuck Berghofer (bass) and others from the world of jazz and pop.

 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

It's a strikingly beautiful score, plus some fun '80s synth stuff. I'm very glad it has been released. VERY!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

It's a strikingly beautiful score, plus some fun '80s synth stuff. I'm very glad it has been released. VERY!

Glad you're such a fan as well, David! I agree with your assessment. Some really lovely compositions for piano and keyboard, as well as the synthpop "motorbike theme," which is indeed quite fun.

NEVER thought I'd see this get a release, back in the day, when this seemed to be on HBO every day after school. Small's themes stayed in my head all these years later.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 2:57 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

My favorite part of the score was the Ending music. Hoping the CD release would have more of that cool, so "Michael Small" Theme. Looks like it don't. I may pass.

I ripped that End piece from a VHS years ago and I've enjoyed it a million times. The rest of the score really doesn't grab old Zoob. But I still love Maestro Small.

Have you ever bought a whole CD for just one track?

 
 Posted:   Apr 22, 2014 - 6:15 PM   
 By:   Wedge   (Member)

There's a very nice alternate finale on the CD that you also might enjoy, zooba.

And to answer your last question -- yes. Yes, I have. More times than I care to admit. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 23, 2014 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   nitzschemorricone   (Member)

My favorite part of the score was the Ending music. Hoping the CD release would have more of that cool, so "Michael Small" Theme. Looks like it don't. I may pass.

Give it another listen, Zoob. The "main theme," or what might be dubbed "Jake's Theme," which is featured prominently in the "End Title" music is heard often THROUGHOUT the score in various permutations.

 
 Posted:   Apr 23, 2014 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


Everything Small recorded is on the CD. The movie cuts some stuff up and, in particular, made a mishmash out of the original and revised climactic fight cues -- we did not replicate that editing, but have both versions presented in full.

Lukas

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 24, 2014 - 6:48 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO ZOOBA- Oh my, I think it is very common to buy a cd or LP because of one cut or one theme that you fall in love with. Sometimes all the rest is icing on the cake. The more the better. But in film music over the years if you got at least one great theme you are on the way. When you think about it, do you agree?
l

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 24, 2014 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Thanks guys. I will actually pick this up because I do love Michael Small and any release of his music is always welcome and something to enjoy. The samples provided didn't give me an indication that the main ending theme that I like so much was in those. But as someone noted, the theme does pop up in other cues so I look forward to that. And you get the score of CHILD'S PLAY as well, so that's a plus. Interesting choral stuff there, I've never heard from him.

Something about Michael Small's music is just so unique and different and always interesting and engaging and then his COMES A HORSEMAN score is such great rousing western stuff, along with heartbreaking and touching melodies. His music always has a deep passion, beauty and energy unlike anyone else's. Love him and miss his presence in the industry. Would have been honored to have met this brilliant Maestro and been able to tell him how wonderful I thought his music was!

Gold Bless him!

 
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