LALO SCHIFRIN Sky Riders [released 3rd August 2009]
CD: As a thriller, 'Sky Riders' is frankly quixotic. It posits a sketchy tale of an American industrialist (Robert Culpt) whose wife (Susannah York) and children are snatched by terrorists from their Athens home and spirited away to an abandoned monastery perched like an eagle's nest on a remote and impregnable peak in Thessaly. The Greek police (their chief played, inexplicably, by the adorable Charles Aznavour) are helpless; all seems lost until the timely arrival of the kidnapped woman's former husband (James Coburn), a kind of soldier of fortune who swiftly hits on a plan: a daring guerrilla rescue by hang glider. It's worth noting that Sky Riders, however minutely it may figure in Lalo Schifrin's overall career, marks something of a watershed for the composer. Recorded in February of 1976 (a busy year that would include music for a total of five feature films, a television movie and a generous sprinkling of episodic TV), it would prove to be the last, for a time, in that long, innovative line of jazz/funk-dominated scores with which Schifrin made his reputation. Later in the year, he would score – and earn an Academy Award nomination for – Voyage of the Damned, delving into a more conventionally orchestral if still compelling style. For the next two decades – until director Brett Ratner asked him to revive the funky mode of Enter The Dragon for Money Talks (1997) – this was the musical arena in which Lalo would explore and delight. The score has never been released before, not even on LP. This is the complete original score.
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