Composed and Conducted by BILLY GOLDENBERG

After more than four decades, stunning Billy Goldenberg soundtrack for landmark 1971 Steven Spielberg film finally sees release on CD. Film with Dennis Weaver had remarkable success both in TV, theatrical incarnations. Weaver makes business trip, heads back along semi-deserted open highway. Terror strikes early when he passes large truck. Soon car, truck engage in nerve-shattering, ever-escalating duel. Sensational film launched feature-length directing career for Spielberg, gave Goldenberg opportunity to create one of the most experimental scores then attempted for television. Aggressive, atonal, intense!

While much of score was dropped from finished film, Intrada CD presents entire work with full-length cues as Goldenberg originally composed and conducted them. Then-unusually complex recording process involved 35mm three-channel stereo layer for basic orchestra, then additional three-channels for keyboards, percussion, yet three more for bells, organ, guitar, sometimes still more for extra layer of synth effects. Happily, every multi-track layer from every roll appears, maintained in pristine condition in Universal vaults. Various layers were synched in complex multi-track mixing process, resulting in vibrant stereo mix of Goldenberg’s score. In many portions, complex atonal string ideas lay on top of pulsating rhythms with dissonant effects weaving into, out of fabric.

For lengthy sequence at small diner, Goldenberg opts for unaccompanied strings, slowly shifting about in decidedly tonal manner, creating uneasy suspense as Weaver studies various patrons, silently looking for driver of truck. Here, scoring engineers opted to record strings on single layer with almost no contrast in dynamics, style, allowing for machine-like timbre from what are typically more emotional instruments. While highlights abound, end title to score (“The Duel”) is particularly noteworthy. After all dust settles, Goldenberg opts for incredibly stark – and profound – use of just two tones from synth and waterphone, then reduces further to solitary synth that plays, repeats, slowly fades to silence to accompany memorable closing shot, allowing actual credits to roll sans music at all. Lonely, haunting finish to revved-up ideas that preceded it. Wow! Four flavorful country instrumentals scored by Goldenberg appear as extras, heard only in brief fragments in film but allowed to play here in full. Unused alternate version of ending is also included. Flipper cover art from designer Joe Sikoryak, generous array of stills, informative liner notes from writer Jeff Bond complete exciting package. Billy Goldenberg conducts.

The 1971 Universal telefilm Duel was the first feature-length movie directed by Steven Spielberg, starring the original “monster truck”—a rust-covered, behemoth Peterbilt truck hauling a massive tanker trailer full of gasoline—and featured a white-knuckle game of wits between the truck’s seemingly insane, murderous driver and a panicky everyman played by Dennis Weaver.  Composer Billy Goldenberg was given scoring duties to bring this rust-colored score to life, ultimately ranking as one of the most abstract and experimental works in the composer’s output. Less a presentation of themes than it is a collection of unnerving effects and moods, Goldenberg’s music gets inside the addled brain of David Mann (Weaver) producing a portrait of terror and disintegrating rationality as Mann struggles to fight back against his implacable, anonymous foe. Goldenberg scored for a group of 39 players, limited to strings, harp, keyboards, guitars and percussion, with no brass or woodwinds. Veteran percussionist Emil Richards provided a number of exotic instruments from his vast collection amassed from around the world, and Goldenberg hired Paul Beaver to supply effects with a Moog synthesizer.

The scoring sessions were also innovative for the day, incorporating a then unheard-of-for-television process of recording onto three separate channels (the typical recording format for Universal during that era), then making takes with other instruments on three channels in sessions of their own for overlaying one on top of the other, sometimes gaining up to twelve recordable channels long before such multi-channel recording processes were commonly in use.  In spite of everything ultimately being mixed down to mono for the film’s presentation, Universal retained every multiple three-channel   recording session layer on separate rolls of ½″ tape. This allowed us to create true stereo takes of nearly every cue, with only the diner source cues in mono. Listeners will thus be hearing some of the most complex television scoring of all time with stunning stereo detail that reveals numerous innovative techniques vividly on display for the first time.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 305
Date: 1971
Time: 47:39
Tracks: 19
01. Universal Emblem (0:28)
02. Passing The Truck (2:12)
03. Truck And Car Encounter (1:33)
04. Studying Drivers (2:24)
05. Mann’s Thoughts (3:37)
06. Lone Driver Eating (2:01)
07. Truck Leaving (1:17)
08. Truck Stops (3:06)
09. Hide And Seek (1:27)
10. Truck Waiting #1 (2:38)
11. Truck Waiting #5 (1:52)
12. Truck Racing Car (4:47)
13. Final Duel (4:50)
14. The Duel (End Title) (2:30)The Extras
Radio Source Music (Billy Goldenberg)
15. Instrumental No. 1 (3:40)
16. Instrumental No. 4 (2:15)
17. Instrumental No. 2 (3:33)
18 Instrumental No. 3 (2:33)
19. The Duel (Alternate End Title) (1:02)