Released 2006 FormatCD TypeJewel Case Added onThursday, 30 July 2009 GenreSoundtrack Length56:34 N of discs1 Edition date 2006 CountryUSA LabelIntrada Special Collection Catalog NumberVolume 29 Edition detailsLimited edition of 1200 copies
The late Michael Small remains one of the most unsung composers within the film music pantheon of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Partly due to the type of films he chose, partly due to the understatedness of the music he wrote, Small never achieved the kind of popular recognition many of his colleagues did. For his filmmusical output, relatively few of his works have been preserved on disc - the few that have (KLUTE, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS [lp only], JAWS THE REVENGE, MOBSTERS, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, CONSENTING ADULTS) have become fairly elusive. Small scored some of his era’s most significant pictures (KLUTE, THE PARALLAX VIEW, THE DROWNING POOL, THE STEPFORD WIVES, NIGHT MOVES, MARATHON MAN) yet only one of these titles is available on a legitimate soundtrack album (or will be, when UK’s Harkit Records releases KLUTE next month), and rarely is Small remembered the way Bernstein, Goldsmith, Williams, Schifrin, and others have been. So it’s very good news to find Intrada’s new release, limited to 1200 copies, preserving Small’s fine score to Bob Rafelson’s stylish 1987 thriller, BLACK WIDOW. The movie was a terrific example of style over substance – the insubstantial plot about a seductress (Theresa Russell) marrying a series of wealthy men only to murder them and collect their estates, succeeding due to her assumption of multiple identifies, becomes a sensual neo-Noir by focusing upon duelling female protagonists (the other, wonderfully portrayed by Debra Winger, a dowdy investigator on Russell’s trail who becomes attracted in more ways than one). Small’s score is characteristic – he shuns broad melodies and transcendent leitmotifs in favor of more concise figures and introspective musical collectives to create instead what Julie Kurgo describes in her CD notes as a “piercing psychological intensity” through a strings-heavy ensemble. Michael Small had a terrific affinity for discovering the psychological core of a character’s or a storyline’s essence, and was able to emphasize that through the carefully realized implementation of tone, nuance, texture, and counterpoint, while maintaining a tonality that is as romantic and as sensual as Winger’s suppressed yearnings and Rafelson’s sleek and suggestive directing style.
Randall D. Larson - Originally published online at mania.com in “Soundtrax” for March 16, 2006.
Reprinted with permission of Randall D. Larson