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Section Header
Testament
(1983)
1996 Bootleg

2011 FSM

Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
James Horner

Labels and Dates:
Vivo Music (bootleg)
(November, 1996)

Film Score Monthly
(April, 2011)

Also See:
Glory
Class Action

Audio Clips:
1996 Bootleg:

2. Testament: Riding the Bike (0:27):
WMA (177K)  MP3 (218K)
Real Audio (136K)

10. Testament: Recollection (0:36):
WMA (231K)  MP3 (290K)
Real Audio (181K)

12. In Country: Main Title (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

19. In Country: Finale and End (0:36):
WMA (231K)  MP3 (290K)
Real Audio (180K)

Availability:
The 1996 Vivo Music bootleg is a professional pressing from Romania, complete with barcode, and sold for about $30 through soundtrack specialty outlets for several months before selling out. Original copies escalated to over $100 in value not long after. The same content from In Country and a 9-minute suite from Testament also appear on a 1999 Natty Gann Records bootleg that primarily features Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. The 2011 FSM album is limited to 2,000 copies at an initial price of $20 through the same specialty outlets.

Awards:
  None.










Testament

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Buy it... on the Romanian bootleg release containing both Testament and the 1989 score for In Country if you appreciate James Horner's more somber, humbling dramatic works for solo instruments over very basic orchestral accompaniment.

Avoid it... if only the quality of the finale from In Country is worth the trouble of finding that rare collection of early Horner music, because while Testament is an interesting score, it is a frightfully depressing listening experience when separated to a presentation on its own.



Horner
Testament: (James Horner) The 1983 apocalypse film Testament was originally produced as a television project for PBS's "American Playhouse," but the quality of the film was considered so high that Paramount decided to purchase the rights for a full theatrical release. Its production qualities are still those of a made-for-TV film, with minimal, improvised special effects, strong acting performances (rewarded with an Oscar nomination for lead actress Jane Alexander), and a reliance upon a strong adaptation of Carol Amen's short story, "The Last Testament." The plot resembles many that prevailed due to societal fears that festered in Ronald Reagan's nuclear-ambitious period of the early-80's, with the concurrently seen telefilm "The Last Day" better remembered for its more famous cast and melodramatic treatment of everyday America after a nuclear war. The unrestrained and stark reality of Lynne Littman's Testament is a disturbing experience to say the least, with the primary suburban family in its story slowly dying off as radiation spreads and the skies grow dark. The coping of average people in such an aftermath of global annihilation is no light topic, and some audiences likely found Testament too overly disturbing to tolerate. It is understandable that James Horner's score for the film is equally depressing, carefully augmenting a handful of scenes with very underplayed melodrama while much of the story was left unscored to allow the gravity of the plot to sink in. Although the composer had already hit the mainstream with his immense science fiction music by this time, his work here is built for an ensemble of only ten players and usually consisting of duets or solo trumpet or woodwind performances, yielding an extremely respectful stance while mourning a lifestyle lost. The resulting intellectual, largely unheralded score for this somber glimpse at unexpected heroism may provide some pleasant surprises for a learned Horner collector sympathetic to the composer's less obvious dramatic techniques.

The standout tracks in Testament include the cue for the bike ride shared by father and son before the war, with Horner providing one of his more enjoyable family theme variations for horn, synthesizer, harp, piano, and strings (an interesting precursor to his children's work a decade later). A title theme for horn exists separately, a variation on this consistently utilized idea recollected by haunting choir in the late moments of the score. Less engaging is a theme for another specific boy in the family, eerily dying in its progressions as appropriate. On the whole, striking solo performances define Testament; the respect that Horner shows with the melodic simplicity of his work is shown in the fact that he mirrors the hopeless optimism of the primary character (the family mother) with slowly deteriorating statements of the title theme in a persistently major key form. It's interesting to notice how many mannerisms in this early Horner score would manifest themselves in much greater depth later in his career. The sound quality for the score is outstanding given its age, and it is reproduced well in the film despite existing in a monaural soundscape. It has existed on several bootlegs, the most well known of which a 1996 Romanian "Vivo" label album that also features Horner's more accessible In Country as an appended suite of 30 minutes in length, though in 2011, Film Score Monthly released the Testament score in slightly longer form to account for a variety of source recordings. For many years, this bootleg and the others that followed were a considered top collectibles and fetched unreasonable prices on the secondary market, but not for Testament; the solemn but heroic fully orchestral journey heard in In Country is far more appealing and drove most of the demand for the combined presentations on album. With both the two humbling scores sharing a common introspective style, the Romanian bootleg is a strong recommendation for collectors of Horner's dramatic works. Aside from that, completists will find FSM's product for Testament alone to be an intriguing glimpse at the composer's trademark mannerisms in early developmental stages, despite the topic's overwhelmingly depressing demeanor. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For James Horner reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 98 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.18 (in 187,216 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





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 Track Listings (1996 Vivo Music Bootleg): Total Time: 55:56


Actual Track Listings: (translations in color)

• 1. Testament (1:41)
• 2. O Plimbare Cu Bicicleta (Riding the Bike) (1:17)
• 3. Picnic-Ul (The Picnic) (2:19)
• 4. Carol Isi Alina Copiii (Carol Comforts Her Children) (5:55)
• 5. Asta-I Casa Noastra (This is Our Home) (0:48)
• 6. Amantirile Dragostei (Love Memories) (1:28)
• 7. Boala Lui Scottie (Scottie's Illness) (2:34)
• 8. Pregatiri De Start (Ready to Start) (1:06)
• 9. Noaptea Focului (Night of the Fire) (2:17)
• 10. Reamintire (Recollection) (3:04)
• 11. Ultimul Testament (The Last Testament) (2:39)
• 12 - 19. Suita din In Country (Suite from In Country) (30:14)

Expansion of In Country Tracks:

• 12. Main Title (4:59)
• 13. Letters From Vietnam (2:31)
• 14. A Night With Tom (3:52)
• 15. Dwayne's Wishes (2:51)
• 16. Listen Sam (2:35)
• 17. Night Camp (1:32)
• 18. The Road to D.C. (2:07)
• 19. Dwayne E. Hughes/At the Vietnam Memorial/Finale and End (9:55)




 Track Listings (2011 FSM Album): Total Time: 30:57


• 1. Main Title (Main Theme From Testament) (1:40)
• 2. Bike Talk: Dad & Brad/Bike Ride: Dad & Brad/Brad's Bike Challenge (2:24)
• 3. The Picnic (1:29)
• 4. Liz Plays Pied Piper/Pied Piper Play/Pied Piper Flute/Pied Piper Piano (1:14)
• 5. Pied Piper Curtain (0:39)
• 6. Carol Consoles Liz/Carol Says Goodbye to Neighbor (6:07)
• 7. Mother and Daughter Talk (2:24)
• 8. Carol Bathes Scottie (2:40)
• 9. Brad and Henry Call CQ/Brad and Hiroshi Ride Double (1:29)
• 10. Carol and Priest Graveside/Desire to Live (2:36)
• 11. Hiroshi Hands Teddy to Carol/End Credits (5:15)

Bonus Tracks:
• 12. Liz Enjoys Mozart (source) (1:50)
• 13. Fania Plays Mozart (source) (0:37)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert of the 1996 Vivo Music bootleg is not in English, but contains a note about the film Testament. The 2011 Film Score Monthly album's insert includes information about both that film and its score.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Testament are Copyright © 1996, 2011, Vivo Music (bootleg), Film Score Monthly. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/2/96 and last updated 3/3/13. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.