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The Omen
Undeniably classic horror score. -Isaac Engelhorn (11/4/2001)
Track List:
  1. Ave Satani 2:31
  2. On This Night 2:33
  3. The New Ambassador 2:35
  4. Where is He?
  5. I Was There 2:25
  6. Broken Vows 2:09
  7. Safari Park 3:22
  8. A Doctor, Please 1:42
  9. The Killer Storm 2:53
  10. The Fall 3:43
  11. Don't Let Him 2:46
  12. The Day He Died 2:13
  13. The Dogs Attack 5:52
  14. A Sad Message 1:42
  15. Beheaded 1:45
  16. The Bed 1:06
  17. 666 :44
  18. The Demise of Mrs. Baylock 2:53
  19. The Altar 2:02
  20. The Piper Dreams 2:39

Total Time: (49:11)

Composed by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Conducted by:
Lionel Newman

Performed by:
The National Philharmonic Orchestra

I've heard and read for years of just how evil and demonic-sounding Jerry Goldsmith's scores for The Omen trilogy were. Well, soon after getting this CD and then watching the first two movies of the series, I can easily say that this music comes nowhere close to what it's cracked up to be. While that may sound like an incredibly harsh statement, it's probably really not what you think. The thing about The Omen is the fact that since most people decide to single out the choral pieces, they say that this is the most "evil" music that they've ever heard. Well, it's not true. The choir is mildly ominous, slightly satanic, maybe fun to listen to, but certainly not scary, and I find it hard to believe that so many people only think of the score with the choir in mind.

This new release shows better than ever just how beautiful (yes, I did just write *beautiful*, you read it right) the music is. It's *not* all doom and gloom, and, with this release, that fact can finally be made known to the general public. The original release was slightly longer than 30 minutes with some of the best, most enjoyable parts left out, leaving mostly only what people do remember from this score, which as I have already made quite clear is (you guessed it)... "the choir". What was left off of the original album was several minutes of development of the love theme. Though this really only of consequence near the beginning of the score, I found it quite interesting to hear so much of this and not hear as much choral as I was expecting. Much of the straight orchestral music is dissonant, yes, but it never becomes unbearable or too overpowering.

As I said, the choral music itself is nowhere near as nasty as people seem to say. There are parts that get downright wicked like "The Demise of Mrs. Baylock" which smacks you in the face with dissonant female shrieks. "The Altar" gets quite vicious too, though it's nothing that anyone can't stand. Of course, there have been many comparisons made between the opening track (actually the film's end credits) "Ave Satani" and Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana. As just about every other soundtrack reviewer has stated on this topic up to this point, the track from The Omen sounds *nothing* like Orff's work. Just because the two pieces use a chorus in Latin, people seem to think that they are alike, but they are not. The musical styles are completely and utterly different, and I don't understand why anybody sees a resemblance at all.

The song at the end of the disc, performed by Jerry's wife Carol herself, doesn't really add much to the listening experience, though it does kind of provide a calmer, more soothing ending to the disc than the "Ave Satani" chorus at the end of "The Altar". I could probably do without the song since it doesn't even appear in the movie anyway.

As usual, the performance of the National Philharmonic is terrific, conducted by Goldsmith's late friend Lionel Newman who conducted a number of Jerry's other scores like Alien and the rest of this trilogy.

I've read in places that this is the greatest horror score of all time. I wouldn't go that far, especially since I like the recent House On Haunted Hill by Don Davis much better anyway. Because of its lasting popularity, The Omen can easily be considered a classic even though I only rate it an 8.0, and because of its elevated status, I can easily recommend it to anyone. BTW, I haven't heard the score to The Final Conflict, the last score in the trilogy, but I'm going to be getting it soon and I've heard that it's better than this.

The Omen is Copyright 1976/2001 Varese Sarabande. Produced by Jerry Goldsmith. The Deluxe Edition CD produced by Robert Townson. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.