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.
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
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: