Other Composers

Michael Small (1939-2003) - the thriller king

Michael Small - Mobsters soundtrack CD cover Michael Small grew up in New Jersey where he took piano lessons, and he wrote musical comedy shows while at college. His formal musical education began when he moved back to New York where he also studied privately with Meyer Kupferman. As a film composer, Small is noted for his contributions to thriller movies, such as "Klute", "Marathon Man" and "The Drowning Pool". But there is considerable variety in his musical output and he has composed a few songs for his movies. Suffering from prostate cancer, he died in 2003 at the age of 64.

Michael Small - Marathon Man and The Parallax View One of the most iconic films scored by Michael Small is "Marathon Man" starring Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, who tortures Hoffman with his dentist equipment. You can hear a hint of the dentist's drill in Small's "Main Title" and also in one key scene, but the score as a whole is notable for its mood of unsettling suspense. The piano features throughout the soundtrack and also provides some relief during the Love Scene. Soundtrack fans will note that Small uses a certain 4-note figure which James Horner has made his own, using it on many scores including "Avatar". An album has been released which pairs the complete score of "Marathon Man" with another thriller "The Parallax View" which has a quirky military feel to it. The album is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Films by Michael Small:

    Michael Small - Wagons East soundtrack CD cover
  • Klute - jazzy in a 70s urban way
  • Child's Play
  • The Parallax View - a conspiracy thriller starring Warren Beatty as a reporter facing up to the powerful Parallax Corporation
  • The Drowning Pool
  • The Stepford Wifes
  • Marathon Man - very effective suspense music with piano featuring prominently
  • Pumping Iron - the documentary with bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • The Driver - some Jazzy/Bluesy music and Ryan O'Neil is OK!
  • Comes a Horseman
  • Night Moves
  • Wagons East
  • Continental Divide
  • The Lathe of Heaven
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • The Star Chamber
  • Black Widow
  • Brighton Beach Memoirs
  • Jaws: The Revenge
  • American Dream
  • Mobsters

Michael Small Recommendations:

Although Michael Small composed scores for many films, not many of his soundtracks are available on CD. At the time of writing you can find a handful of titles at Amazon including the following: