Crack all the jokes you want about Mike Oldfield and his Tubular Bells becoming the hit theme song for The Exorcist. While Oldfield is an amazing guitarist who could play with the best of them, with a lithe synth touch that became a trademark, the bottom line is that the man is a serious composer. All the proof one needs apart from his own records like Incantations and Hergest Ridge is this killer movie score. While Oldfield used a purely Western and neo-classical formal approach to write the music for Roland Joffé's dramatization of true events, his musical mates were among the best in the business at helping him to bring it off: David Bedford wrote arrangements and directed the choir, while Eberhard Schoener helped to conduct and direct another choir (!) and master percussionist Morris Pert lent his talents to the mix as well. While many scores written during the 1980s come off as laughable fluff in the 21st century, Oldfield's score for The Killing Fields is in many ways far more memorable than the film itself. The music here is full of drama, dynamic, textures, and unexpected twists and turns even in the smallest of the incidental pieces, and carries within it a certain majesty that lacks pomp and remains graceful throughout.
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