Silverado (1985)

Book Origins

Silverado (1985) Bruce Broughton

First released March 12, 2015

A friend of mine showed his copy of The Matrix to Bruce Broughton. He was already an admirer of the music, and was impressed enough with the layout and modern concept that he reached out to me about publishing Silverado. He was able to get a copy of the hand-written material from Sony, and informed me that there were actually only a handful of minimal changes made at the recording session. Getting the rights to self-publish was a relatively quick process, owing to the on-going relationship Bruce already had with the studio. It’s a well-written score, and as the story goes, all the musicians responded to it so enthusiastically that upon finishing the recording they all gave Bruce a thunderous applause in praise of his fine work.

About Silverado

Westerns had been nearly left for dead by the early 1980s. That all changed when the Lawrence Kasdan production of Silverado was released in 1985. Kasdan assembled an all-star cast of actors whose careers were just beginning. It was released at the same time as Back To The Future, which means it had to compete against the summer blockbuster. While not an overwhelming success, it found increasing fans because of home video and cable. Its success can largely be attributed to the classic score by composer Bruce Broughton.

Broughton wrote music that was more akin to the Western scores of the 1940s & 50s as opposed to the minimalist approach espoused by composers of the genre in the 1970s. For his efforts, the composer was awarded an Academy Award® nomination for best score. Central to the score is the famous theme which is divided into two parts: the beginning fanfare and the actual melody. There’s a secondary “settler’s theme” which can be heard most prominently in the End Credits and the concert suite that’s so often performed by orchestras.

The composer’s in-depth knowledge of each section of the orchestra is put to such good use that there’s an endless variety of orchestral combinations. The film is scored for a large orchestra that utilizes explosive brass, dizzying string passages, and a percussion section that boasts no fewer than 40 individual instruments, many of which are non-typical in a Western score, like ang klungs and flapamba. Peppered throughout are steel-string guitar, 12-string guitar, and tack piano; all subtly reminding the audience of the location and time of the film.

Now musicians, music students, conductors – any music lover – can study Silverado in this durable, high-quality edition, carefully reproduced and edited from the original handwritten manuscript.