The Film Music of Phillip Lambro
Composed By: Phillip Lambro
Produced by: Perseverance Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Massachusetts-born Phillip Lambro began studying music in his early teenage years in Boston. It was here that he began his musical career at the age of eighteen, playing Chopin at the city’s Symphony Hall. Continuing his studies in Florida and later in California, Lambro went on to compose several works. He was one of the youngest composers ever to be programmed on two occasions by the Philadelphia Orchestra and his compositions are performed internationally. Phillip Lambro has composed works for numerous films, including Blood Voyage, Murph the Surf and Crypt of the Living Dead. Lambro has also completed a memoir entitled Close Encounters of the Worst Kind which has been featured over global network radio.
Now, Perseverance Records releases a new CD entitled The Film Music of Phillip Lambro which compiles the never-before-released musical scores of four individual films – Mineral King, Father Pat, Celebration and Git!. The soundtrack begins with music from Mineral King, a 30-minute documentary film created in 1971 in hopes of preventing Walt Disney, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, from opening a ski resort in California’s Mineral King Valley. The creators of the documentary sought to prove that this ski resort would summarily destroy the local environment. The movie was instrumental in putting a stop to the development of this area. Phillip Lambro used trumpets, banjos, strings and the mouth organ to illustrate scenes of wildlife and nature. Pianos were used to impart a sense of treachery, perhaps indicating that the people seeking to develop this land would ultimately cause its destruction.
Following the eight tracks from Mineral King are another eight tracks, this time from a 1970 documentary entitled Father Pat. This documentary was created by the Catholic Family Theater to celebrate Father Patrick Payton, known worldwide for his global ministries to families and to prayer. Lambro, a devout Raelian atheist, was the consummate professional in composing this musical score. Using a 60-piece orchestra, Lambro composed a rather reverent musical score for Father Pat.
Immediately following the musical score for Father Pat are four tracks of composition for the 1971 documentary entitled Celebration. Created by the United States Information Agency, this documentary was designed to teach members of foreign countries about the various forms of celebration enjoyed by the citizens of the United States. The most notable track in this set is the San Gennaro Italian Celebration Bleeker Street, New York. For this track, Lambro employs traditional Italian accordion music to denote the celebration. The composition would fit perfectly in a movie set in Old-World Italy.
Following Celebration are five tracks of musical score from a failed western entitled Git! The hero of the film is a wandering would-be country singer. Thus, Lambro employs classic acoustic guitar as the hero’s main theme and contrasts the guitar with trumpets and orchestra to denote action sequences. According to Lambro’s memoirs, when the director/producer suggested putting lyrics to the Main Theme, Lambro suggested that they be sung by someone he felt was the title character personified. Unfortunately, Ellis Kadison did not agree and the performing talents of Glen Campbell were not realized until later years.
Listening to The Film Music of Phillip Lambro, I can’t help but think of the old westerns I used to watch as a kid. I’m also reminded of the old Lassie adventures I used to watch on television when I was young. The truth is that most of the musical score created for these films by Philip Lambro have basically the same flare. I played this score at work and one of my co-workers agreed, citing moments in the soundtrack that reminded him of certain moments in Lassie history – Oh no! Timmy fell in the well. Lassie’s going for help! Yay! Lassie saves the day! Somehow, I just couldn’t take these tracks seriously. They all had the melodramatic flare of old time movies. Yes, I am aware of the years these movies were released in, but somehow, the scores seemed that much older. If you harbor nostalgia feelings for that sort of thing, then The Film Music of Phillip Lambro is just what the doctor ordered. If not, steer clear of this CD.