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Testament (1983)
Music by James Horner
Testament Testament
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 2000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: April 2011
Catalog #: Vol. 14, No. 8
# of Discs: 1

Films about nuclear holocaust and its aftermath are often action-packed spectaculars with over-the-top orchestral scores. Testament (1983) is a modest-budget production that takes an entirely different approach. It focuses on the residents of a small Northern California town as they deal—not with the direct impact of the blast—but with the insidious and deadly effects of radiation poisoning.

Testament stars Academy Award nominee Jane Alexander as a suburban mother who must cope with the loss of her husband, two of her children, and an uncertain future for herself and her surviving son. It is an incredibly moving story about bereavement and grief which has lost none of its expressive power over the years.
James Horner’s music for Testament, composed between his two hugely symphonic Star Trek scores, is a marvel of meaningful minimalism. Horner uses a small ensemble of only 10 players, with much of his score consisting of mere individual lines (solos, duets, trios) that are gut-wrenchingly direct and moving in their simplicity. From the evocative main theme voiced on solo French horn to the heart-breaking lullaby for the youngest son (played by six-year-old Lukas Haas), the score packs tremendous emotional wallop into a musically compact frame.
FSM has sourced the complete score for Testament from the three-track film mixes by Shawn Murphy printed on the score’s 1" 32-track digital 3M master tapes. The score was recorded at Walt Disney Studios’ now-defunct Stage A (rarely used for feature films of the period, due to its small dimensions), while the master tapes were transferred in 2010 by Walt Disney Imagineering, who operate one of the last surviving 3M multitrack digital machines.  
Although the score for Testament is short, FSM feels that—given the subject matter and the high emotional content of the music—it would be wrong to pair it with anything else. The 16-page booklet includes the usual background essay and track-by-track analysis (by Scott Bettencourt and Frank K. DeWald), plus numerous film stills.
Testament is a powerful film made more potent by the fresh and simple approach of a promising young composer who was obviously inspired by the film’s story. Listeners can expect to be equally moved by his efforts.
James Horner Scores on FSM
About the Composer

James Horner (b. 1953) is one of the most successful and in-demand composers of the modern era, capable of everything from traditional symphonic scores (Star Trek II, Aliens, Willow) to off-beat, ethnic and atmospheric approaches (Patriot Games, Sneakers)—often blending the two, as on the record-breaking and double-Oscar-winning Titanic. Classically trained, he originally intended to be a concert composer, before the realities of that field led to film assignments in the B-movie world of Roger Corman—and a rapid ascension through the Hollywood ranks. His credits read like a history of the modern-day blockbuster: 48 Hrs., Cocoon, An American Tail, Field of Dreams, Glory, Legends of the Fall, Apollo 13, The Mask of Zorro, The Perfect Storm, Troy and Avatar—to name but a few. IMDB

Comments (144):Log in or register to post your own comments

Nice! This is a short but beautiful score, particularly if you dig Horner's intimate dramatic scoring.

Oh, my.


Cool. Remember owning this on a boot once.

I love how these ol' Horner treasures are being unearthed and given the treatment they deserve. I wonder what the man himself feels about it.

Lukas, is this limited to exactly 2000 units, no more? If so, I'd like purchase more than one, for some friends. They're out of the country on vacation.

Is this the first FSM Disney score release?

f*cking brilliant!!!! Too bad I can't afford anything for a week until paycheck arrives :(

Is this the first FSM Disney score release?[/endquote]

It's Paramount.

It's so nice to finally see TESTAMENT officially released on CD. Well worth the price even for so short a score. It's too bad FSM couldn't pair this with Horner's equally emotional and restrained score for the next year's THE STONE BOY. (But I think they may be owned by different studios.)

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
James Horner

Paul C. Shure

Pamela Goldsmith

Douglas L. Davis

Arni Egilsson

Gary G. Gray, Sheridon W. Stokes

French Horn:
Vincent N. DeRosa

Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Larry Bunker

Nathan Kaproff

Harvey R. Cohen, Camillo Fidelibus, Barbara Franklin, Joel Franklin (Guzy), Arthur J. Freeman, Eric L. Stonerook

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