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Soundtrack Review

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Unforgiven (1992)
(2017 Vinyl Reissue)


Composer: Lennie Niehaus
Label: Varèse Sarabande
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Release Date: 11 August 2017

Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Picture in 1992, Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven is considered one of the best Western films of all time. Lennie Niehaus's powerful score helps tells the story about Old West gunslingers in a small Wyoming town. Re-issued in timing with the 25th anniversary of the film's release, this LP is presented on ‘prairie sand’ coloured vinyl and is limited to 1000 units...

Varèse Sarabande is releasing three soundtracks this month (August 2017) as vinyl LP packages exclusive to Barnes & Noble. They include the classic movie musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968 - Cast Recording); Saban's Power Rangers (2017 - Brian Tyler); and this release, Unforgiven (1992 - Lenny Niehaus).

It's funny how your mind plays tricks on you. I was a student when Unforgiven was released. I bought the soundtrack on CD and it helped me get through a lot of late night, last minute, assignments. I pretty much played it until the disc was worn thin. I haven't listened to it in over 20 years, and when I knew I was reviewing it my main memory was that it played a lot of variants on the main theme. Turns out that the main theme, while woven throughout the score, is nowhere near as invasive as I remembered.

I also realised for the first time (and it's shocking that I didn't spot this before) that the main theme is very similar in construction to the theme from The Deer Hunter (1978).

The album contains 24 tracks (35 min, 10 sec) and there are so many highlights that it's hard to know where to start praising it. 'Will Rides In' is a particular track of note, and 'Bucket of Water' brought to mind Barry Gray's music for Thunderbirds.

As I'm not a huge vinyl fan (I spent years hating the format as classical and soundtracks tend not to fair very well and are so easy to get scratched) and I was hugely relieved when CDs arrived, allowing crystal clear digital recordings with no hiss or clicks. But, if you're a fan of the format then you'll relish the opportunity to be able to pick up this great score for your collection.


Darren Rea