World premiere expanded CD of early James Horner score for exciting crime thriller set in Moscow, directed by Michael Apted from Martin Cruz Smith novel, starring William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy, Joanna Pacula. For the 1983 film Gorky Park, composer James Horner brilliantly blended orchestral and synthesized textures, wielding an impressive array of stringed instruments (including balalaika, mandolin, guitar, oud, harp and cimbalom), and featuring such distinctive textures as accordion, the piercing otherworldly tones of Nyle Steiner’s EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) and the cavernous groanings of Craig Huxley’s Blaster Beam.  The miasma introduced during the main title is both brooding and clamorous, evocative of the institutionalized corruption that follows.  During the film’s frequent chase sequences the music shifts gears, becoming a churning machine that drives the action relentlessly forward.  The contrast between agile drum kit, serving up a funky urban vibe, and a weighty motif in fortissimo low brass—a potent combination of unison trombone, contrabass trombone and tuba—is particularly striking. This material builds on Horner’s score for 48 Hrs. and anticipates later works such as Commando, although each of these retains a unique palette and energy. In stark contrast to the score’s bleaker and more corrosive elements is Horner’s theme for Irina, an aching minor-mode melody that emerges from a dreamlike mist of vibraphone and shimmering strings.

To present James Horner’s complete music for Gorky Park, Intrada had access to the original recording session elements vaulted by MGM, including both 2˝ and ½˝ rolls of tape.  Remixing was critical in that previous releases featured a unique anomaly.  The array of gentle instruments such as the harp and vibraphone playing lengthy, exposed pianissimo passages (with long pauses built into the phrases) resulted in a noticeable degree of background noise, easily removed now, but not back in 1983 when the master was prepared. Perhaps in compensation, the original “stereo” mixes for these cues were essentially mono mix-downs with high strings (violins, violas) and low strings (cellos, basses) panned dead center. Some of the nuances— such as harp and vibraphone—were also focused in the center. The tracks played back with less noise, but lost almost all of their stereo separation as a result.  With this new presentation, James Horner’s score can be heard in beautiful, crisp stereo sound — and the release features over twice as much music as the previous albums including additional music, alternates and film versions.

When three faceless bodies are found in Moscow’s Gorky Park, the case falls into the lap of Arkady Renko (William Hurt). The detective attempts to ditch the case when his old KGB nemesis Pribluda (Rikki Fulton) begins sniffing around, but their mutual superior Iamskoy (Ian Bannen) insists that Renko follow the investigation wherever it may lead. But things grow complicated when he encounters William Kirwill (Brian Dennehy), a bullish American detective out for vengeance, and a beautiful dissident named Irina Asanova ( Joanna Pacula). All roads converge on Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin), an American sable fur mogul whose powerful connections may prove to be the end of Renko.

 Horner takes inspiration from icy cold murder site ambiance in night-time Gorky Park, launches with intense cluster of chimes, pizzicato bass, swelling brass to establish oppressive mood. Suddenly the soaring melodic strains of Tchaikovsky overtake grimness with splash of color for skaters unaware of faceless dead bodies nearby. With this stunning opening, Horner already works both drama, locale into his dynamic score. Composer will use similar original score/Tchaikovsky overdub technique throughout score. As story moves through suspenseful investigation, tender love, riveting chases, Horner fluidly responds with his compelling music following suit. Love theme is memorable. Ditto aggressive action cues. Score has seen several previous truncated 36-minute releases but all of them suffered from odd audio mix rendering several cues in mono, especially those featuring strings such as with gorgeous love theme. (Film itself was in mono.)

To present entire score in true stereo for first time, courtesy MGM, Intrada went back to original session masters made by Dan Wallin at Record Plant Recording Studios on 2″ 24-track tape, then subsequently mixed by Wallin down to 1/2″ multi-track stereo, then finally to brand new two-track stereo mixes for our CD. Working with these mixes, we discovered Horner had scored several cues with alternate versions, all of which are included as “extras” in this CD. Other new highlights include striking motif for “Andreev”, who recreates murder victim’s faces, exciting “Pasha And Golodkin Shot”, fiercely rhythmic “Setting Up The Deal” plus several others. Extra treat! Working with multi-tracks allows us to present all cues containing Tchaikovsky overdubs in both familiar final versions plus in Horner score-only versions for interesting study in contrasts.

Finally, Horner wrote cocktail piano source cue (“Stockholm Salted Peanuts”) for late sequence in picture and nostalgic, bittersweet piece appears as closing extra to wrap generous-length CD. Liner notes by John Takis plus graphic design by Joe Sikoryak tie everything up with nice bow. James Horner conducts. 

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 289



01. Main Title (2:51)
02. No Faces (1:53)
03. Chase Through The Park (1:57)
04. Following Kirwill (3:00)
05. Andreev (1:26)
06. Pasha And Golodkin Shot (1:04)
07. Irina’s Chase (3:43)
08. Arkady And Irina (Film Version) (2:12)
09. Irina’s Theme (Album Version) (3:32)
10. The Sable Shed (Album Version) (6:40)
11. Following KGB (2:03)
12. Iamskoy’s Death (0:43)
13. Setting Up The Deal (2:36)
14. Farewell At The Airport (Album Version) (4:19)
15. Releasing The Sables/End Credits (Album Version) (4:23)

16. Main Title (Without Classical Inserts) (2:51)
17. A Leather Bag With The Gun (0:39)
18. First Flashback (0:44)
19. First Flashback (Without Classical Insert) (0:33)
20. Tailing KGB (0:43)
21. Second Flashback In Arkady’s Office (1:22)
22. Second Flashback In Arkady’s Office (Without Classical Insert) (1:07)
23. Arkady And Irina (Album Version) (2:28)
24. Regaining Consciousness (0:55)
25. Love Montage (1:21)
26. Irina’s Theme (3:48)
27. The Sable Shed (Film Version) (6:40)
28. Irina’s Confession (1:11)
29. Farewell At The Airport (Film Version) (2:59)
30. Releasing The Sables/End Credits (Film Version) (4:25)
31. Stockholm Salted Peanuts) (Cocktail Piano) (4:00)