Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hawkins. Goldsmith. Brilliant.

I've never seen the TV show Hawkins. Essentially, nobody has.

Originating as a 1973 TV movie starring James Stewart, it became a short-lived series and vanished into oblivion. From the descriptions, it sounds like a progenitor to Matlock.

The show disappeared. But the music lives on.

Thanks to Film Score Monthly, Jerry Goldsmith's score for the pilot film, Hawkins on Murder, made it onto CD. And I'm so delighted that it did.

The disc opens with a rather shocking sting of electronics which soon gives way to the Theme from Hawkins. It's a terrific little title tune, also used in the subsequent series. It's eminently hummable and just plain charming. It mixes a sort of Goldsmithian americana sound with a touch of electronics, setting up musically the idea of a country lawyer in the big city. Goldsmith really was a genius at making music that truly deepened and underscored thematic material from the films themselves.  When I sat on Main Street practicing my saxophone, I'd often tune up by playing the theme from Hawkins. It's one of Goldsmith's unappreciated gems.

The remainder of the score for the film crosses into pretty typical territory, covering nice suspense builds and a touch of melancholy, with that sprightly Hawkins theme sometimes easing into the picture. There's a lovely theme, a Sarabande, often introduced with solo guitar, and some eerie Moog moments.

Synthesizer also features prominently in the next section of the CD, the score for an Andy WIlliams telefilm called Winter Kills. It, too, features a rather jaunty Main Title, but this time surrounded by some pretty harsh music. A lot of it has the same feel as the early segments of Logan's Run.

The third section of this wonderful CD highlights Goldsmith's score to a much-loved TV movie called Babe. Anchored by a lovely title tune introduced on guitar and harp, it's delicate and tender, bouncy and rhythmic, and, ultimately, tinged with sadness.

Goldsmith's contribution to Hawkins only lasted for the pilot film. The subsequent series featured scores by other composers, including the great Jerry Fielding. His music for Hawkins appear on another FSM release, Zigzag / The Super Cops. Fielding creates some lovely takes on the Hawkins theme while also bringing in his own signature sound. Some spots even reminded me directly of Fielding's Star Trek

I love Jerry Goldsmith. I love TV music. This disc is, as those darned kids today might say, all win.

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