The Secret of NIMH

Jerry Goldsmith

" The secret is ... that I'm not enjoying it like I should. "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Composed in the same year as Poltergeist (yes similarities can be spotted), it's a strange thing that I have such a hard time connecting to The Secret of NIMH. I always have somehow, and I hoped this expanded treatment could finally change my mind. Technically and thematically, one can only admire a score like The Secret of NIMH, ridiculing once again the bulk of today's music in mere detail, thematic presence and craftsmanship. Apparently Jerry was also very proud of his music, continuing to perfect it even after he got his paycheck. So thematically (there are after all numerous themes on board) there is nothing to bad mouth this score for. Themes (though gently) weave through one another, assisted occasionally by the hunter's theme of Peter and the Wolf by Tjakofski ("Allergic Reaction / Athletic Type", "Escape From NIMH / In Disguise"). There's even grand choral music on board, and even though it's animation, Poltergeist does occasionally attack your senses (the opening of "The Sentry Reel / The Story of NIMH"). It even opens the best track of all, namely the final track with the soaring version of the theme "Flying High / End Title". But why o why do I have little connection to the music in general? There is nothing wrong with the song versions of the theme (though they could have been better), thematically it's all detailed and fine (though missing the broader explosions), all the while there is indeed a bit of darkness to the music. That with softer / longer tracks explains perhaps why my mind never totally focuses on the music. Again, for me this is personally and purely my taste saying: you've heard better. But I have no doubt a lot of people will adore this more than I. And who I am to doubt the main voters of filmmusic land. Good score, just not totally for me.

Multiple themes, including a soaring main theme and a much underused secondary theme (after a minute in "Escape from NIMH / In Disguise")
I like the Peter and the Wolf theme, somehow it makes perfect sense here.
Keep in mind that the score is rather dark and serious. It's no children's affair.
Why can't I connect to this music? Everything seems to be on board, yet it doesn't work for me.

Track Listing

1. Main Title (3.18)
2. Allergic Reaction / Athletic Type (2.45)
3. Flying Dreams – Lullaby: Sally Stevens (3.19)
4. The Tractor (3.02)
5. The Sentry Reel / The Story of NIMH (6.08)
6. At Your Service * (3.41)
7. Escape From NIMH / In Disguise (5.04)
8. Flying Dreams: Paul Williams (3.25)
9. Step Inside my House (4.45)
10. No Thanks (2.05)
11. Moving Day (8.01)
12. The House Raising (4.37)
13. Flying High / End Title (2.45) Excellent track

Bonus Cues
14. Flying Dreams – End Title Demo: Sally Stevens (3.18)
15. Flying Dreams – Demo: Paul Williams (3.23)
16. Flying Dreams – Demo (Piano Duet) * (3.26)

* Previously Unreleased

Total Length: 65.47
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 5/5)

Released by

Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 332 (regular release 2015)

Conducted by

Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations by

Arthur Morton, Alexander Courage & Chris Boardman

Performed by

The National Philharmonic Orchestra & The Ambrosian Singers