To address the concept of espionage, and not to mention Connery himself, Goldsmith inserts a slight touch James Bond's mechanical instrumentation, making restrained, but smart use of his library of synthetic rhythm-setters. To address the danger of the romance, he offers us a glimpse of the ominously nervous strings that we would eventually hear in full for Basic Instinct.
Not always are the solo bass and electronics geared towards suspense, though. The third element of Goldsmith's score is the reasonably sized string section, which is added to provide a whimsical effect for the grand, romantic performances of the title theme (this could also just be a smaller string ensemble simply mixed over itself... it doesn't matter either way). During these moments, the electronics cease their systematic beats and blossom into chimes and twinkles.
Even on its addictively attractive album, however, The Russia House still caused frustration for Goldsmith himself. Not only was his theme unwanted for no less than two films, but the MCA album, as presented, was unwanted by the composer as well.
By saying "no" to a lot of assignments they held out for Fred Schepisi's adaptation of John Le Carre's book The Russia House. The movie had quality written all over it and although it failed to make massive box office, the movie garnered enough respect to make it critic friendly and musically Goldsmith wrote one of his most respected works. At the time he placed this ahead of Islands in The Stream as his own personal favorite.
Fred Schepisi's polished adaptation was tailor made for scoring, with emphasis placed on the Russian locations, and at times looking like a travel log, it had to play over some of the best photography lensed for film. Goldsmith's classy jazz score is introduced over the cold grey skies of
Regardless of the love story this is still a cold war spy drama set against a post glasnost
As Blair and Katya become wiser to the coercion of the
Goldsmith clearly adored this project, closing his score with a lengthy romantic end credit (The Family Arrives) in celebration of the family being reunited, with warm strings, minor electronics and improvised Jazz. The Russia House is evidence of Goldsmith at the top of his game and is also interesting at revealing the original theme he developed for his unused score to the movie Alien Nation. Thankfully though The Russia House became its well deserved home.
MCA issued a lengthy CD, with a crisp recording and proved a wonderful show case for the talents of both Marsalis and Mike Lang (it was no coincidence that Marsalis turned up in James Horner's Sneakers). One of the longest CDs approved by Goldsmith, he was ironically criticized by some for its length. But his agent, Richard Kraft, took the blame for that."
2. Introductions ()
3. The Conversation ()
4. Training ()
5. Katya and Barley ()
6. First Name, Yakov ()
7. Bon Voyage ()
8. The Meeting ()
9. I'm With You/
What Is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter) ()
12. Full Marks ()
13. Barley's Love ()
14. My Only Country ()
15. Crossing Over ()
16. The Deal ()
17. The Family Arrives ()