Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

One of Jerry Goldsmith’s all-time most important soundtracks is expanded at last! Roman Polanski’s landmark, Academy Award-winning Chinatown left 1974 audiences (and other film makers) with an impact that still reverberates to this day. Stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, writer Robert Towne, producer Robert Evans… all found themselves together, making the film of a lifetime! Sharing in that spotlight of success was composer Jerry Goldsmith, fashioning one of the most successful – and innovative – scores of a prolific and remarkably brilliant career. Private detective J.J. Gittes sets out on a routine investigation and winds up mired in an increasingly involved and complex web of deceit, deception, corporate crime, greed… and murder. He also finds himself drawn into a love affair that finds him inexorably doomed to repeat tragic mistakes from his past. To provide a musical score that could meld the 1930’s Los Angeles milieu with issues relevant in modern times, Goldsmith made the now-legendary decision to anchor the music with a lonely, winding minor-key theme for solo trumpet in 30’s period garb, then surround it with material in his trademark contemporary vernacular. The results were perfection: masculine-but-melancholy period trumpet amidst modernistic glissando strings, ringing chimes, scratching percussion effects, multiple harp arpeggios, dissonant harmonies, striking pizzicatos, everything combining together with brooding intensity until it all comes full circle, just like the story. Especially noteworthy are numerous devices from four pianos, tinkling in the right hand, jabbing in the left, hitting in collective cluster. Intrada now presents, courtesy Paramount Pictures and universal Music Group, two programs of this “perfect” score: first a remastered stereo reissue of the famous original ABC label 1974 album, second the complete score as it appears in the film, including music previously unreleased! Previous CD reissues of the 1974 album have been mastered it extremely “hot” levels, compressing the dynamic range and losing much of the level nuance between the various orchestral colors. For this Intrada presentation, an all-new mastering affords more appropriate levels, improved dynamics, better orchestral nuance… and less distortion at last!

Jerry Goldsmith’s score to Chinatown is a testament to his genius as a composer.  Goldsmith urgently scored the film in merely 10 days, replacing an avant garde/period score by composer Phillip Lambro.  Goldsmith eschewed any reference to the 30s setting, noting that audiences would figure it out without musical reinforcement, thereby freeing the music to work more deeply on the story.  He immediately knew what kind of ensemble he wanted for the score: strings, four pianos, four harps, two percussionists and solo trumpet —  the latter intended as its own character. Goldsmith wrote a bluesy, melancholy theme for solo trumpet for the film’s opening titles, introduced with a distinctive effect of brushed piano strings, with harp and piano accompanying the trumpet melody. The languid sound of the trumpet suggested the period perfectly, while the rest of the score operates in Goldsmith’s distinctively modernistic, 20th-century style—the universal language of mystery and suspense. It’s hard to argue that there was ever a more perfect union of film and music.

Until now, all that has been available of this brilliant music was a blend of score and source standards spread across a brief 1974 album, produced by Tom Mack for the ABC label and running just 31 minutes.  It has been issued twice on CD.  Intrada presents an expanded edition of Chinatown, with the first 12 tracks presenting the original 1974 album, remastered from the stereo masters for a more suitable natural sound of the ensemble (previous CD releases altered the dynamic range and overall levels considerably).  The remaining tracks offer the entire score for the first time in the intended picture sequence. These precious recordings have been mastered from what may be the only surviving session elements in existence: a pair of aging 1/4˝ seven-and-a-half IPS full-track (mono) rolls retained by the composer and transferred to DAT some three decades ago.

The story featured J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a detective who gets involved with two mysterious women: Ida Sessions (Dianne Ladd) and Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway). The latter is the wife of Hollis Mulwray, designer of the city’s water supply system, and daughter of Noah Cross, a powerful businessman.  After following Hollis Mulwray, Gittes discovers the city is diverting tons of water into the ocean during a drought. After Hollis Mulwray and Ida Sessions are murdered, Gittes finds out that the Mrs. Mulwray is hiding a mysterious daughter, as well as a horrific secret involving her and her dangerous father.

For the complete score presentation, Intrada was given access to what appears to be the sole remaining “master tape-quality” source material of the complete scoring sessions: a 1/4″ full-track (mono) copy of the tape preserved by the composer himself, containing every cue he recorded. A number of important distinctions between the score as recorded for the film and the album are evident: different codas to the closing trumpet line and piano  codas in the titles, judicial edits in the album takes, etc. Of special reward are the previously unreleased cues, including the lean, austere trumpet solo of “No Trespassing” when Jake enters the orange groves. Of particular interest is the haunting trumpet variant of the main theme (“Second Thoughts”) ending on a rare and otherwise unrelated (for this score) major key as Jake showers, reflecting on events leading up to this unsatisfying juncture in his life. While in mono, the complete score offers clean, warm overall sound with crisp detail. A “flipper-style” booklet cover from Joe Sikoryak plus detailed notes by Jeff Bond is still another asset to this important release. Jerry Goldsmith conducts.

Date: 1974
Time: 72:18

01. Love Theme From Chinatown (Main Title) (1:59)
02. Noah Cross (2:27)
03. Easy Living (Ralph Rainger & Leo Robin) (1:49)
04. Jake And Evelyn (2:41)
05. I Can’t Get Started (Ira Gershwin & Vernon Duke) (3:35)
06. The Last Of Ida (2:59)
07. The Captive (3:05)
08. The Boy On A Horse (2:05)
09. The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields) (2:16)
10. The Wrong Clue (2:32)
11. J.J. Gittis (3:05)
12. Love Theme From Chinatown (End Title) (2:03)
Total Album Time: 31:23

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
13. Love Theme From Chinatown (Main Title) (1:56)
14. J.J. Gittis (3:10)
15. Noah Cross I (1:32)
16. Mulwray’s Office (1:29)
17. A Late Swim (0:25)
18. The Boy On A Horse (2:06)
19. Easy Living (Ralph Rainger & Leo Robin) (1:48)
20. The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields) (4:35)
21. Noah Cross II (1:11)
22. No Trespassing (0:55)
23. Some Day/The Vagabond King Waltz (Rudolf Friml & Brian Hooker) (3:18)
24. The Last Of Ida II (0:54)
25. Jake And Evelyn (2:46)
26. The Captive (3:15)
27. Second Thoughts (1:03)
28. The Last Of Ida I (2:50)
29. The Wrong Clue II (2:15)
30. The Wrong Clue I (1:19)
31. It’s Not Worth It (1:11)
32. Love Theme From Chinatown (End Title) (2:01)
Total Soundtrack Time: 40:46