Inspired by Brockway to do something Metallica, I immediately thought of Ennio Morricone. Actually, I thought of "Ecstacy of Gold" and then thought of Ennio Morricone. Originally composed for Clint Eastwood in his famous "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," this rather short fanfare has a certain western feel to it. This is not is only wild west piece for orchestra. In fact, he has something of a harmonica concerto, (the true instrument of the cowboy). It is from "Once upon a time in the west."
Anyway, back to "Ecstacy of Gold"... The San Fransico Symphony has a very stirring rendition of the piece. The tubular bells, along with the muted solo trumpet wailing on the main theme give the piece a haunting feel from the very beginning. The theme itself paints a vivid aural picture. One can almost imagine a dusty town in Southern Texas, where the law is taken into the hands of the local sherriff. Enter the snare drum, propelling the action, and intensifying the emotions. Quickly the piece builds, with the woodwinds taking theme, then passing it on to the strings. The strings are absolutely beautiful. The piece climaxes with the brass echoing the strings sending the symphony to a desperate conclusion. It reminds me of a showdown between the good and bad guys, both about to draw their pistols. This piece definately raises your heart rate a few beats.