Planet Of The Apes: Music Written For The FilmMajor labels may drop re-releases, even expanded ones, of classic rock albums at the drop of a hat; asking for the same treatment for a soundtrack album – especially one that still sells well in its present form – is a completely different species. Such is the case with Jerry Goldsmith’s career-defining score from 1968’s Planet Of The Apes. It’s not the complete score, every note recorded for the movie, and yet it’s still in demand with a certain niche audience that isn’t likely to break out of its niche. Where’s the incentive to re-license everything, secure new rights, pay union musicians from 48 years ago for even more minutes of their music again? (Understand, I’m not articulating my own belief there, but rather the thoughts that must be going through the head of a music label.) That’s why John O’Callaghan, author of a well-regarded book on Goldsmith’s Apes score, opted to start from scratch: get the license to use the original sheet music and arrangements to produce a brand-new recording.

But isn’t that road fraught with peril too? Well…yes. O’Callaghan has had more access to the orchestrations and timing notes than anyone since the music personnel who worked on the original film, and carefully timed things out to the correct tempo. Perhaps most impressively, he rented out the same exotic percussion instruments used for the 1968 score sessions and recorded them acoustically. Where Music Written For The Film Planet Of The Apes falters is in the choice – almost certainly dictated by budget – to used sampled and synthesized instruments for everything else. In some cases, this isn’t actually bad; O’Callaghan has some nice string samples at his disposal. But it’s the brass instruments that are let down by this recording. Very few of the brass instruments heard here are going to convince anyone that there’s a real player at the real mouthpiece of a real horn (or tuba, etc.). A few of the samples are just about credible, but generally speaking, the synthesized nature of the music almost robs the fancy acoustic percussion of its credibility. Though with the project’s likely low budget, I’m not sure what the alternative would’ve been.

3 out of 4On the upside, we finally have a complete recording of the Planet Of The Apes soundtrack, and it’s quite enjoyable. The downside, however, is a reliance on synths and samples that are sometimes less than convincing. The alternate arrangements presented in the bonus tracks are fascinating, as are the liner notes (derived from O’Callaghan’s book, “Simians & Serialism”). It’s an interesting companion to Goldsmith’s 1968 recording, but not a replacement for it (which its author acknowledges). Listen in the same spirit as someone listening to a decent cover band, or perhaps the Cult Files collections of the 1990s.

Order this CD

  1. Planet of the Apes (Main Title) (2:19)
  2. Crash Landing (6:53)
  3. The Searchers (2:32)
  4. The Search Continues (4:59)
  5. The Clothes Snatchers (3:13)
  6. The Hunt (5:14)
  7. A New Mate (1:13)
  8. The Revelation (3:23)
  9. No Escape (5:42)
  10. The Trial (1:47)
  11. New Identity (2:29)
  12. A Bid For Freedom (2:39)
  13. The Forbidden Zone (3:27)
  14. The Intruders (1:11)
  15. The Cave (1:25)
  16. The Revelation Part 2 (3:26)

    Bonus Tracks:

  17. Planet of the Apes (Main Title) (2:19)
  18. The Searchers (2:32)
  19. The Revelation (3:23)

Released by: Pithikos Entertainment
Release date: 2016
Total running time: 60:14