Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OFF THE WIRES - Soundtrack, Film & Game Music News Just In

INTRADA Announces:


INTRADA Special Collection Volume 27

INTRADA's latest Special Collection release features a 1950s
double-header from the vaults of 20th Century Fox. WARLOCK (1959)
boasted an all-star cast that included Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark,
Anthony Quinn and Dorothy Malone. The plot seems simple enough at first
-- cowboys from the nearby San Pablo ranch regularly terrorize the
frontier town of Warlock. The townspeople hire gunman Clay Blaisdell
(Fonda) as the new marshal to restore law and order. Things
are no longer quite so simple. Leigh Harline provided a striking and
dramatic main theme and underscores the action with a brooding intensity.

The robbery plot of VIOLENT SATURDAY (1955) provides the backbone for a
story about everyday life in a small-town America. Three crooks (Stephen
McNally, J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin) plan a cunning weekend heist
which will have dramatic repercussions for many in the Arizona town,
including the mine manager (Victor Mature) who tries to understand his
misbehaving son (Billy Chapin); his alcoholic boss (Richard Egan)who
tries to cope with an unfaithful wife (Margaret Hayes); and the bank
manager (Tommy Noonan) who can't hide his peeping-tom behavior and the
the local librarian (Sylvia Sidney) he threatens over late loan
payments. Ultimately, they are all caught up in the chaos and death
associated with the robbery. Hugo Friedhofer wrote a sparse and complex
score, deliberately choosing which scenes to accompany.

Both scores are presented in stereo directly from the original stereo
session elements. This Intrada Special Collection release is limited to
1200 copies.

INTRADA Special Collection - Volume 27
Available December 2005
For cover art, track listing, and sound samples, please visit

From Costa Communications

Depicts Journey of Renowned Writer Truman Capote
In Writing of In Cold Blood

(LOS ANGELES, CA) - Recognized as a pioneer of combining non-Western sound sources with orchestral and electronic minimalism in film music, BMI composer Mychael Danna has recently scored "Capote" for director Bennett
Miller. Danna's score sets the tone for the inspirational true-life story of novelist Truman Capote, who has decided to investigate the murders of the
Clutter family in Kansas as a possible subject for a non-fiction novel after being tired of writing fiction. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and
Catherine Keener and is directed by Bennett Miller. It is written by Dan Futterman based on the book by Gerald Clarke.

In the film, Philip Seymour Hoffman portrays Truman Capote's emotional and psychic dissolution during the period of investigation about Clutter murders and creation of the book In Cold Blood. The complex love-and-hate association between Truman Capote and the murderer Perry Smith shows the slow erosion of Capote's personality as the film develops. According to
Hollywood Reporter, "Mychael Danna's muted score, relying heavily on the piano, never intrudes but only amplifies the dramatic content."

Starting off his film music career by scoring feature debut "Family Viewing" for Atom Egoyan in 1987, Danna was honored with Canadian film award by this score. He has been nominated for eleven times in the Canadian film award. He also earns reputation by the incorporation of ethnic influences into the body of contemporary film scoring aesthetics. This fame led him to work with acclaimed directors such as Atom Egoyan, Ang Lee, Scott Hicks, Gilles MacKinnon, Mira Nair, James Mangold and Joel Schumacher.

Danna studied music composition at the University of Toronto, winning the Glenn Gould Composition Scholarship in 1985. He also served for five years as composer-in-residence at the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto from 1987 to 1992.

Danna has proven his versatility from scoring Moroccan music in "8MM" to
American old-time music in "Ride With the Devil" to European medieval and Persian music in "The Sweet Hereafter", as well as all the eight movies by director Atom Egoyan, including "Where The Truth Lies", "Aarat", "Felicia's Journey", "Exotica", "The Adjuster", and "Speaking Parts". In addition to "Capote", his film work this year will include "Black" for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and "Tideland" for director Terry Gilliam.

From Top Dollar PR



Award-winning Composer Records Cinematics and In-game
Soundtrack with Hollywood Studio Symphony

Los Angeles, California - November 29th, 2005 - Following his work on the dramatic orchestral music for the cinematics in Prince of Persia Warrior Within, award-winning composer Inon Zur recently recorded the east-meets-west flavoured orchestral score for Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM, the third volume in the acclaimed Prince of Persia=AE franchise from Ubisoft. Zur applied his film and television scoring background to create an epic soundtrack worthy of the silver screen and conducted the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra at the Eastwood Scoring Stage, Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.

The team members for Zur's recording session included: Simon Pressey - Ubisoft Artistic Audio Director, Dori Amarilio - mixing engineer and co-producer, Paul Taylor - orchestration and music preparation, Debbi Datz-Pyle - orchestra contractor, and Greg Deenan - Warner Bros. Studio manager.

Simon Pressey, Artistic Audio Director for Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM, said, "Inon has really out done himself; His music brings to life the dramatic emotion of the Prince of Persia's epic story, seamlessly blending the powerful majestic beauty of the symphony with evocative, exotic eastern ethnic instrumentation that's totally authentic for the world of the Prince. The Hollywood Studio Orchestra, unlike any other in the world, has an innate sense when interpreting music for picture; the result is spectacular and moving in the same instance. The professionalism of the crew at the Eastwood scoring stage is unparalleled, and the sound indescribably beautiful."

Additionally, Zur collaborated with Stuart Chatwood, who composed the music for Prince of Persia=AE The Sands of Time. By combining Zur's cinematic orchestral and unique ethnic instrumentation with Chatwood's own distinct rhythmic styles, Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM delivers the most cinematic and immersive audio experience in the franchise to date.

Commenting on the collaborative component of the game's score, Pressey added, "The combination of Stuart's music that is laced with unforgettable melody and in-the-pocket ethnic groove, and Inon's turn-on-a dime powerfully descriptive orchestration is making this the soundtrack that I've always wanted for the series. The collaboration between them has been wonderful with selfless exchange of ideas, which makes for the sum being greater than the parts. I hope everyone enjoys the music as much as I am!"

Inon Zur's powerful orchestral scores have previously featured in the promotional trailers for Hollywood movies such as Kingdom of Heaven, Fantastic Four, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and The Pacifier. His highly emotive music can also be heard in the hit television series Into The West from Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television. Inon Zur is managed by Four Bars Intertainment (North America) and Wave Generation (Canada). For more information visit

Scheduled for release this Holiday season, Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM takes the best features of Prince of Persia=AE The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia Warrior WithinTM and combines them with new gameplay elements such as a second playable character, an intuitive Speed Kill system, outdoor Babylon environment, chariot combat racing and more. With such elements, Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM is poised to take the action-adventure gaming experience to a new level.
For more information visit

Prince of Persia The Two ThronesTM is to be released in December 2005 for the PlayStation=AE2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox=AE video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCubeTM and the PC-CD Rom.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CD REVIEWS - Four Brothers & Chicken Little

Four Brothers
Music by David Arnold
Varese Sarabande VSD-6679 (EU)
13 Tracks 37:22 mins

David Arnold's latest score for director John Singleton's urban revenge thriller, really hits the mark, as did his scores to their previous outings on Baby Boy and Shaft. The film music fan in him comes out in a score that gives a considerable nod towards the blaxploitation and urban thrillers of the '70s. His main theme is an easy, jazzy mover, with sax and trumpet sharing the lead, and this theme and variations thereon makes welcome re-appearances throughout the score, with Thanksgiving a nice laid-back variation, featuring a soulful wordless vocal by Bobette Jamison-Harrison. Plenty of percussion moves the music along, with light keyboard touches, reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin's urban scores of the period.
The score is mainly performed by a select bunch of musicians, but orchestra is effectively added to the mix now and then, particularly when the composer uses a John Barryish string sound.
By contrast to all this retro-style scoring, the full-on action sequences are more in the vein of John Powell's Bourne scores, with electronics much in evidence.
For those of you who mourn the fact that Shaft remains sadly unavailable on disc, you might just find something similar to enjoy here.

Chicken Little
Various Artists plus score by John Debney
Walt Disney 61372-7 (U.S.A.)
15 Tracks (6 score) 39:16 mins.

For this the first computer-generated animation from Disney, John Debney has come up with a rousing, highly enjoyable, if not terribly original, romp of a score, which is sadly only represented by a scant 15 minutes or so, spread over 6 tracks at the end of the album. The remainder of the tracks feature numbers by artist such as Patti LaBelle, Joss Stone, Barenaked Ladies, Diana Ross and R.E.M., with three additional vocal excerpts from the film's voice cast.
But what of Debney's score, well, other reviewers have pointed out references to other scores
like Independence Day, and I would also venture the Back to the Future films but, as I said before it is all highly enjoyable, whether it be the scary and furious choral action of The Sky is Falling and Chase to Cornfield, or the largely Western-styled The Big Game, or the lighthearted Dad Apologizes and Dodgeball, the first of which also introduces some warm Americana, heard again in the final track Driving With Dad. It's all good stuff, and would that we had more of it on the album.

Monday, November 28, 2005

CD REVIEWS - Two from Intrada

Planet of the Apes - The TV Series
Music by Lalo Schifrin and Earle Hagen
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 25
31 Tracks 68:46 mins.

I remember as if only yesterday watching this TV spin-off from the successful series of Planet of the Apes feature films. Hard to believe then that it's been more than 30 years. Finally, we have a soundtrack release, thanks to Intrada, which presents music from all Lalo Schifrin's episodes, including of course his splendid main title theme; together with an episode score by Earle Hagen (of I Spy fame), which in fact utilises Schifrin's theme rather more than the composer does in his own scores.
The music for the features was scored by a small handful of composers and was largely highly inventive and challenging music. To his credit, Schifrin's scores, though obviously on a slightly smaller scale, bear favourable comparison. You won't find melodies here, but if you enjoyed the scores for the features, you'll certainly enjoy Schifrin's efforts. It is every bit as challenging, otherwordly and downright barbaric when it needs to be, and Hagen does a creditable job of following suit.
Author of Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture, Eric Greene, provides the accompanying liner notes and there's plenty of full-colour artwork and stills to complete this excellent package.

Last Flight Out
Music by Bruce Broughton
Intrada Signature Editions ISE1005
17 Tracks 50:35 mins.

Somehow this small independent movie eluded my radar, but as we hear so little of Bruce Broughton's music on disc these days, I just had to check it out. As befits a dramatic tale set in South America, the composer provides a suitable "jungle" sound, with Latin percussion and flutes and guitar, reinforced though by synths (well, this is a low-budget picture, after all). The synths do slightly spoil things, particularly in the exciting action moments, where one can imagine live instruments sounding oh so much better, but the music still manages to grab you. Quieter moments tend to emphasise the live instruments more and there are some emotional moments to enjoy. The main theme, voiced mainly by guitar is particularly nice and makes a welcome return from time to time. Two essentially country ballads by Aaron Barker, once a big Nashville hopeful, who seems to have gone the way of so many these days, round out the disc.
Bravo, Intrada, for continuing to put out CDs of this underrated composer's work. Now if only you could release all these Emmy-winning TV scores he keeps coming up with.
Check out Intrada's range of releases at and, in case you didn't already know, they also sell current soundtrack releases on other labels.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Music by David Newman
Varese Sarabande VSD-6682 (EU)
23 Tracks 50:03 mins.

A cinematic spin-off of a short-lived Sci-fi TV series from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, here David Newman provides a slightly more conventional approach than series composer Greg Edmonson, whose score was somewhat offbeat and unconventional for the genre. The guitars from the series are still in evidence here though, albeit used sparingly,like in Serenity, the flowing Going for a Ride and the End Credits.
Newman's voice for the score is cello, mostly heard in somewhat melancholy mode, but occasionally more optimistically. Along the way there is much dissonance and some exciting, though seldom sustained burst of action, all achieved through a combination of orchestra, percussion and electronics.
Fans of Edmonson's original series approach will be delighted to hear that Varese Sarabande are also issuing an album of his score. I will be interested to compare the two.

Music by Kenji Kawai
12 Tracks 47:27 mins.

Kenji Kawai has here written another fine score to the Mamoru Oshii's sequel to the original anime film Ghost in the Shell. Dominating the score is a rather wonderful choral action piece, heard in three variations, the longest being over 9 minutes long, which features very traditional sounding Japanese female choir, sometimes a capella, at others supported by light, or powerful percussion, with Taiko drums, at others by an electronic pulse, or strings, or a combination of all these elements. Whatever, it's exciting stuff.There are also a couple of lightly percussive variations on a theme, lead by chimes, the second of which develops with the addition of electronics, and this music also makes a brief appearance in the lengthier of the choral tracks. There is some pretty dull ambience in two or three tracks along the way, but the aforementioned tracks, with the addition of two excellent English language vocals by Kimiko Itoh, the first a laid-back jazz ballad, the second an exotic and haunting ballad, make this album a desirable purchase. It might be a little hard to track down, but you might try eBay, which was where I found my copy.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

CD REVIEW - A History of Violence

A History of Violence
Music by Howard Shore
Silva Screen SILCD 1194 (UK)
14 Tracks 40:20 mins.

After his epic journey through the whole Lord of the Rings phenomenon, Shore is now slipping back into more intimate, familiar, territory (especially so now his King Kong score has sadly been rejected), reuniting with long-time collaborator director David Cronenberg for this tale of an unassuming man, whose act of courage in thwarting a robbery, attracts the unwelcome attention of mobsters, convinced he is not the man he claims to be.
Shore's music is largely low-key, dark and suspenseful, but with powerful horns and timpani supporting any violent on-screen action. There are however a couple of more gentle themes, introduced at the start of the album. Tom is noble and has a Celtic feel, while Cheerleader is warm and tender, with flute and strings. Hints of these themes appear throughout the score, but they only find freedom again in Ending, when presumably the danger is resolved.

Friday, November 25, 2005


La Maschera Del Demonio/La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo
Music by Roberto Nicolosi
Digitmovies CDDM035 (Italy)
26 Tracks 56:18 mins.

Two horror films by Mario Bava from the early '60s, better known in the U.S.A. as Black Sunday and The Evil Eye, here receive a premiere release of their original scores by the late Italian composer Roberto Nicolosi (Black Sunday was re-scored for U.S. audiences by Les Baxter and it was this music which enjoyed a CD release on the Bay Cities label a few years back).
Both Nicolosi scores would not be out of place in the old Universal horrors or the more recent Hammer chillers; both are dark, menacing and suspenseful, with striking crescendos, and sport little in the way of light relief, though Evil Eye does feature some jazzy source music, a light and fluffy Fellini/Rotaesque travelling theme, and a briefly heard love theme.
Among the colourful and informative accompanying booklet features are stills and artwork from the films and a biography of the composer.

Rosemary's Baby
Music by Krzysztof Komeda
Harkit Records HRKCD8135
24 Tracks 42:52 mins.

Harkit here present an extended version of Komeda's unsettling music for 1968's Rosemary's Baby, starring Mia Farrow and directed by Roman Polanski, supplementing the original album tracks with a flowing jazz vocalese of the famous main theme by Urzula Dudziakj and Walk Away, plus two solo piano rehearsals of the theme by the composer himself.
In addition to the several different variations of the main theme, including of course Miss Farrow's familiar wordless vocal, the score itself features many eerie moments, including ritualistic chanting, as well as more lightweight, even trippy moments, and even some pseudo-Westernisms in Dream.
The accompanying informative booklet includes a biography of the composer and is presented in English and Polish.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


The Fly/The Fly II
Music by Howard Shore/Music by Christopher Young
Varese Sarabande VSD-6688 (EU)
Disc 1 - 23 Tracks 37:42 mins. Disc 2 - 12 Tracks 47:41 mins.

Coupled together are the scores, originally released separately by Varese Sarabande for the 1986 reimagining of the 1958 horror, The Fly, and its subsequent 1989 sequel.
Howard Shore's music for The Fly is big and operatic, especially so in the early tracks on the album and at its powerful conclusion, utilising canons (repetitive fugue-like musical figures) to good effect. There is very little sunshine to be found in this story of a scientific expeiment gone tragically wrong. The score seems much more ambitious in scope than much of Shore's music written for previous collaborations with director David Cronenberg, and also many of his scores that followed, for that matter, and perhaps it was therefore this score more than any other that got him the epic assignment that was to be the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
By contrast, Christopher Young's sequel score is typical of much of his early film work, paying close homage to the late Bernard Herrmann who, along with Jerry Goldsmith, haunted much of his music at the time. His main thematic material here is infused with rising brass and crashing cymbals, straight out of the Harryhausen fantasy films, and ethereal string writing ala Vertigo or Fahrenheit 451. He does however find his own voice in the lengthy Musca Domestica Metastasis, Accelerated Brundle Disease and Bartok Barbaro, all eerie and dissonant. In fact the score is a good companion to Young's two Hellraiser entries.
Accompanying the set is an eight-page booklet, with Jerry McCulley's essay on the films, featuring comments by Cronenberg, Shore and Young.

An Unfinished Life
Music by Deborah Lurie
Varese Sarabande VSD-6683
23 Tracks 35:42 mins.

For this modern western starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, Deborah Lurie, a new name to me, has come up with a very nice slice of Americana, with plenty of fiddle and guitar work on display, as well as sensitive piano. Most of the tracks are quite brief, which can be a little frustrating but, listening to the album as a whole, the music flows quite nicely. I certainly look forward to hearing more from this composer.

Music by Stephen Warbeck
Varese Sarabande VSD-6678
11 Tracks 41:59 mins.

Stephen Warbeck's score for this Anthony Hopkins/Gwyneth paltrow starrer is a surprise, in that I have never heard the composer take a minimalist approach before, but his guitars, strings and marimbas-driven music is very effective in a Philip Glass kind of way. Some sensitive piano, and melancholy string-work fills in the gaps, but one is always keeping an ear cocked for the return of the composer's flowing minimalism.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Just in from Costa Communications:-

For Immediate Release


(Beverly Hills, CA) Music talents Graeme Revell, BT and Hans Zimmer were
among the industry professionals who participated in the fourth annual
Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference, presented by Audi,
on November 15 -16 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The conference featured a keynote Q & A with award-winning composer Hans
Zimmer who discussed his unprecedented collaboration penning the music for
Warner Bros. Pictures' "Batman Begins" in collaboration with James Newton
Howard. In another key Q & A session, composer Graeme Revell offered
insights into his transition from member of industrial/experimental rock
group SPK to Hollywood heavyweight.

"Crash" director Paul Haggis and composer Mark Isham spoke at the
Director/Composer Line, a forum to discuss the chemistry and relationship
between filmmaker and scorer. Harry Gregson-Williams, now scoring the first
of the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, described his experiences composing
lavish scores for big productions, including "Kingdom of Heaven" for Ridley
Scott. Composer BT and director Rob Cohen, who have collaborated on films
such as "The Fast and the Furious" and "Stealth," teamed up to give this
year's Vanguard Address.

Other conference highlights included sessions on such topics as creating music
for movie trailers, commercials and games, the anatomy of a film and a
networking opportunities with top music supervisors in the industry, in
addition to roundtable discussions, networking cocktail parties, live artist
performances from Charlie Sexton, Teddy Geiger, and HAPA with a guest
appearance by Kenny Loggins.

Annually, the conference examines the crucial and evolving role of music in
film and television and provides a dynamic forum for the exchange of ideas
among film, TV and music professionals including producers, directors,
composers, record label execs and music publishers.

This year's conference was presented by Audi. Other sponsors included ASCAP,
Blaise Noto & Associates, BMI, Reel Maui, SESAC and Shoot.

About The Hollywood Reporter
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, top news-gathering and
publishing organization The Hollywood Reporter is a must-read for
entertainment's most powerful, influential people. More than 144,000 key
decision makers worldwide rely on the publication for fuel for thought that
enables success in a continually evolving business and creative environment.
The Hollywood Reporter provides comprehensive coverage of the global
entertainment industry with six editions: Daily; Weekly International;
Special Issues; E-Mail; THR-East; and its Neal Award-winning Web site -

About Billboard
Now in its 111th year, Billboard is the world's premier music publication
and a diverse digital, events and brand-licensing platform. Billboard
publishes the most trusted charts and offers unrivaled reporting about the
latest music, video and digital entertainment issues and trends. Billboard
is the flagship property for the Billboard Information Group, which also
consists of,, Entertainment Law Weekly,
Billboard Chart Alert, Billboard Information Network (BIN), Billboard
Directories, Billboard Licensing & Events and Billboard Radio Monitor.
Billboard's many strategic partners include Fox-TV, Microsoft, mForma,
Reuters, Sirius Satellite Radio, Telemundo, Univision Radio, ABC Radio
Networks, Azteca America and Billboard sister companies Nielsen SoundScan
and Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. These partnerships leverage Billboard's
proprietary data, charts and information resources to develop broadcast
entertainment, digital and mobile platforms and contextual commerce
applications that expand Billboard's franchise and consumer reach.

Both The Hollywood Reporter and the Billboard Information Group are units of
VNU Business Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based VNU, an
international publishing and information company.

About Audi
Audi of America is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and markets
performance-oriented European luxury vehicles: the A3, A4, A4 Cabriolet, A6,
A8 L, TT and the allroad quattro. For more information about additional
Audi-related events and corporate news, visit


Francesco De Masi 1930-2005

News reaches me via of the passing of Italian composer Francesco De Masi, of cancer at the age of 75.
Born in 1930, De Masi first became involved in film scoring, whilst studying composition at San Pietro a Maiella in Naples, assisting his teacher and uncle Achille Largo on a score he had been asked to write. His first film compostion was for the documentary Fiat Panis in 1951, and he subsequently went on to compose for more than 200 film and TV productions, working in just about every genre, although we will perhaps be most remembered for his scores for the "sword and sandal" genre, including Goliath and the Sins of Babylon, Samson in King Solomon's Mines, Hercules vs. the Giant Warriors, The Revenge of Spartacus and 7 Slaves Against Rome; and more especially for his many Italian Western scores, including 7 Dollari Sul Rosso, Vado…L'Ammazzo Torno, Ammazzali Tutti e Torna Solo, Sartana Non Perdona, Arizona Colt, Ringo Il Volto Della Vendetta and 7 Winchester Per Un Massacro, many of which are thankfully now available on CD. In the 1980s he found some success with the Thunder series, and with his homage to the many Western scores he wrote, the wonderful music he composed for the Chuck Norris modern Texas Rangers adventure Lone Wolf McQuade.

Hot off the wires -

INTRADA Announces:

Composed by Todd Boekelheide and David Conte

Between 1909 and 1962, the Ballets Russes Companies made an indelible
mark on the arts of the 20th Century. The first company, founded by the
brilliant impresario Sergei Diaghilev, attained great fame by expanding
ballet beyond its traditional Russian roots and collaborating with the
most creative artists of the day. Igor Stravisnky, Henri Matisse,
Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, and George
Balanchine all contributed to an explosively creative environment that
greatly advanced the vocabulary of ballet.

Less well known is the story of what happened to the Ballets Russes
after Diaghilev's premature death in 1929. His influence and legacy had
come to be so synonymous with the art of ballet that upon his death it
was feared ballet itself would disappear. It is this story, starting in
1932, that forms the heart of the 2005 documentary film BALLETS RUSSES.

The original score for "Ballets Russes" presented a fascinating
challenge, for the original music would rub shoulders with famous and
familiar ballet music. The original score is warm and sensitive --
orchestral with an abundance of transparent strings, woodwinds, French
horn and harp.

Available December 2005
For cover art, track listing, and sound samples, please visit

Debbie Wiseman

Finally, Debbie Wiseman tells me that, although she composed and recorded her score some months ago for The Truth About Love, the film will not be released until next year, and she doesn't know if a soundtrack album will be forhcoming.

In the meantime, you could hear her music on the recent two-part BBC drama-documentary Catherine The Great, and she is currently working on an adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel called Johnny & The Bomb, which starts on the BBC on the 8th January, two days after the new series of Judge John Deed begins. She tells me she is also due to score Middletown, a film starring Matthew Macfadyen, which is currently shooting, with recording scheduled in March, for an Autumn 2006 release.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


The Howling
Music by Pino Donaggio
La-La Land Records LLCD 1037 (U.S.A.)
34 Tracks 45:58 mins.

Around the late '70s, early '80s, Italian composer Pino Donaggio developed a very distinctive string sound, very reminiscent of the late Bernard Herrmann, for various entries in the horror/thriller genre, most notably for director Brian De Palma, but he also scored early films by Joe Dante, before the director hooked up with Jerry Goldsmith. One of these was 1980's The Howling, a werewolves in the woods tale, most remembered for Rob Bottin's ingenious transformation effects.
Donaggio's dramatic and stabbing strings perfectly complimented the events on screen, with his carnival-like, hypnotic vocal motif, allied to powerful brass often accompanying the more terrifying moments. Church organ adds a splendid gothic touch, with subtle electronics added to the mix. Lighter moments are given a light country-pop feel, as with the strangely sunny End Title.
The score is here presented in an expanded form to the original album release, and includes a further 12 tracks, including some brief electronic stingers. As with all La-La Land releases, a colourful and informative booklet accompanies the CD, featuring comments by both composer and director.

The Beautiful Country
Music by Zbigniew Preisner
Mellowdrama Records MEL102 (U.K.)
17 Tracks 50:07 mins.

Polish composer Zibigniew Preisner is another to have a very distinctive string sound and his sensitive, melancholy approach is perfect for this new film by Has Petter Moland, with who he previously collaborated on 2000's Aberdeen. The film tells of a young half-caste refugee's escape from impoverishment and servitude in Vietnam, a journey that leads him to America, by way of internment in a Malaysian detention camp and, judging by the music, it's a pretty bleak affair, dominated by Preisner's strings, complimented by piano and guitar, with subtle electronic atmospheres, and with ethnic Asian touches, largely signified by a delicate, ethereal flute theme, first heard in Letter to my Mother, and lightly percussive travel music, like in Saigon and Malaysia. The score culminates in the jazzy Time Passing, with vibraphone, piano and guitar featured prominently.

Land of Vikings
Music by Alan Williams
Silverscreen SMCD019 (U.S.A.)
13 Tracks 31:51 mins.

If only every composer was as enterprising as Alan Williams, who for some time now has been putting out CDs of his music, one of the latest being this compilation of his music for the documentaries Parting ands: An Ielandic Saga and The Green land: Wildlife in the Land of Vikings, both films directed and produced by the award-winning filmmaker Bo Landin and Scandinature Films.
Williams' score is dominated by haunting ethnic flutes, seemingly straight from the mists of time, performed by Joe Stone. Guitars and hand drums feature in the more flowing passages of the score, which is performed by a combination of live musicians and synths. John Barry fans may like The Green Land, a pastorale that could easily have come straight out of Dances With Wolves, and will find it reprised in a travelling variation in Parting Lands. Another peaceful track is Nightfall, a flute and synths nocturne, with guitar joining.
Overall, a largely low-key, but affecting little album, this is the first of a number of Alan Williams CDs I shall be covering, both new and slightly older, over the next few weeks but, in the meantime, should you wish to find out more about the composer and see his range of CDs, visit

Monday, November 21, 2005


The Dukes of Hazzard
Music by Nathan Barr
Promo (U.S.A.)
17 Tracks 35:08 mins.

Unfortunately, there is no commercial CD release of Nathan Barr's score for Warner Bros.' recent film version of the popular '80s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, which is a shame as, on the strength of this promo, it sure is an enjoyable romp in the country-rock vein, wonderfully played by the composer and a select bunch of musicians, including ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.
I think the publicity best sums it up: "Barr's score inflects the free-wheeling good times that come with car chases, short-shorts wearing Southernbelles and seeing right prevail over wrong in Hazzard County." The composer himself describes it as "Allman Brothers meets AC/DC meets ZZ Top." Laid-back fiddle and guitars depict the country cousins and their kin and a menacing harmonica figure describes Boss Hogg, whilst Barr's chase music is fast-flowing and infectious and we are treated to two more examples of that in the two bonus tracks of chase music not used in the film.
For those of you not familiar with the composer, he is a gifted musician who began studying at age four, and has studied and performed all over the world. After studying an eclectic array of strings and percussion instruments in Japan and experiencing operas and orchestras in Bali and China, Barr toured Europe with the Julliard Cello Ensemble, and after graduating college, joined the industrial band V.A.S.T., playing guitar and electric cello. Looking to explore a career in film music, he moved to Los Angeles in 1996, where he met Academy-Award winning composer Hans Zimmer, who mentored him for several months before he landed his first feature. Barr has since scored dozens of films including From Dusk Til Dawn 3 and Cabin Fever, as well as several TV series. He resides outside Los Angeles with his wife, recording artist Lisbeth Scott, well-known as the soloist for films including The Passion of the Christ, Shrek and Shrek 2.

Cul-De-Sac/Knife in the Water
Music by Krzystof Komeda
Harkit Records HRKCD8137 (U.K.)
16 Tracks 34:53 mins.

One of three CDs recently released by Harkit Records of scores by the late Krzystof Komeda, a composer best known for his association with director Roman Polanski. Harkit previously released an earlier version of Cul-De-Sac, but a jazz vocalese version, sung by Ewa Bem and Walk Away, of Komeda's main theme has here been added. This theme, a jazz-waltz, first heard in a somewhat offbeat arrangement and subsequently reprised throughout the eight featured tracks, is at its best in the popped-up version heard in Track 7. A secondary, sax-lead jazz mover also features and there are a couple of nice radio source tracks to enjoy. A score very much of the '60s.
The other eight tracks on the album are taken from the composer's first collaboration with Polanski on 1962's Knife in the Water and are really more for hardcore jazz fans than soundtrack collectors. Performed by a small jazz combo, sax dominates throughout and there is very little thematically to latch on to.
An excellent and informative booklet accompanies the CD, with notes in English and Polish.

Varese Sarabande CD-Club News

As promised, here are the four new Club releases, as announced by Colosseum of Germany:-

Broadcast News (1987) by Bill Conti Cat.No. CD VCL 1105 1042 - premiere release.
The Scalphunters (1968) by Elmer Bernstein Cat. No. CD VCL 1105 1043 - featuring two bonus demos of songs written for but not used in the film.
The Left Hand of God (1955) by Victor Young Cat. No. CD VCL 1105 1044 - 50th anniversary premiere release.
Top Secret! (1984) by Maurice Jarre Cat. No. CD VCL 1105 1045 - CD reissue of the popular LP release.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP - Week Ending 20th November 2005


John Debney recently enjoyed an unprecedented three top ten hits in one weekend at the U.S. box office, with Chicken Little, Zathura and Dreamer. They placed 1, 2 and 9, making a combined total of $50,000 over the weekend ending 13th november. No other composer in recent memory has accomplished this feat. Earlier this year, Debney received ASCAP's Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement Award and premiered his The Passion of the Christ Symphony in Rome, where he received a pontifical blessing from the Vatican. He subsequently performed the piece in Southern California's Crystal Cathedral to benefit the American Red cross' Hurrican Katrina relief efforts. But now he has returned to film scoring with a vengeance, having also just wrapped on the score for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, with Idlewild, Yankee Irving, Evan Almighty and Lucky 13 forthcoming. Look for reviews of his Zathura and Dreamer CDs here in the near future.

Another busy composer is Graeme Revell, whose scores for the games Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: The Big Red One will shortly be covered here, as well as his CDs for the recent remake of The Fog and the sci-fi actioner Aeon Flux (both on Varese Sarabande Records). The latter is set 400 years in the future, where most of the Earth's population has been wiped out by disease, save for aone walled city-state, and stars Charlize Theron as the top operative in an underground rebellion, sent to kill a government leader, but who uncovers a world of secrets along the way.


Interesting things are happening on the game music front these days and, as well as covering the aforementioned Call of Duty scores, I will shortly be reporting on Chance Thomas' exciting score for Peter Jackson's King Kong, a couple of Medal of Honor scores by Christopher Lennertz, Tim Larkin's Myst V: End of Ages and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and Socom 3: US Navy Seals by James Michael Dooley. In the meantime, here's some news:-

Jesper Kyd's latest Hitman score is for Hitman: Blood Money, for which he utilised the 150-member Budapest Symphony and Hungarian Radio Choir, as well as composing several electronica tracks. Kyd says "it is a dynamic and diverse score that closely follows the latest exploits of Agent 47, the most challenging score in the series yet, and I firmly believe it will be the best sounding Hitman game to date." The game will be released in Spring 2006 on Play Station 2, Microsoft Xbox and PC. Hopefully, like others in the series, a CD will be available.

Richard Jacques of Headhunter fame has completed his orchestral score for Empire Interactive's Starship Troopers game, which expands upon the events and storylines developed in Paul Verhoeven's film of the same name. Jacques says "the score is very much in keeping with the Starship Troopers movies, and a variety of new themes and musical settings have been created. It is a 'symphony of bombast' that the fans demanded." Describing his approach to writing the major themes, he added "the Bugs have a simple motif comprising of a rising interval, giving them a spikey edge as if they were to just come out of nowhere and lunge forward to attack. The Troopers, in contrast, have various heroic major key themes and the interplay between the two is evident throughout." The composer's main theme premiered as a live symphony suite during the 2004 "GC" - Games Convention concert at the Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, Germany, performed by members of the Prague Symphony. Currently there are no plans for a Starship Troopers soundtrack album, which is sad news indeed.

Nile Rodgers' Sumthing Else Music Works have a growing reputation for releasing game soundtracks and they recently released David Clynick's score for the Xbox 360 title Perfect Dark Zero. Set in the year 2020, three years before the original Perfect Dark game, players of Perfect Dark Zero assume the role of Agent Joanna Dark in a sci-fi thriller centering on espionage, conspiracy and a mysterious global conflict. Clynick, along with Grant Kirkhope composed the score for the original game and for its prequel he has combined epic sci-fi soundscapes with a hypnotic, electronic dance feel that sets the pace and tone for one of the most highly-anticipated Xbox 360 launch titles. The progressive style of the game's surreal and melodic score is complimented with adrenaline-pumping tracks written exclusively for the game by cutting-ege band MorissonPoe and San Francisco house music DJs Kepi and Kat. Album producer Nile Rodgers says "the Perfect Dark Zero soundtrack is one of the tightest, most exciting, kick ass high tech/emo/groove/dance soundtracks ever to drop. It's gonna rock your world! This is the beginning of the future of game soundtracks."

Another Sumthing Else release is Steve Burke's score for another Xbox 360 game, Kameo: Elements of Power, featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic and Kings Choir. The action/adventure game is a larger-than-life journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration and innovative morph-into-monster action. The future of the world depends on Kameo, who must master her new ability to transform into various warriors and harness their elemental powers to save her family from Thorn, the evil troll king. I'll try to get a hold of both these CDs to review for you in the near future.

Game score veteran Inon Zur has composed the original score for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, the expansion pack to THQ Inc and Relic Entertainment's real-time strategy hit Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Jonathan Dowdeswel, Relic Entertainment's producer for Dawn of War, says "coming off of Dawn of War, we realised that we had underutilised the effectiveness of music to enhance the user experience in the game. For Winter Assault, we wanted to strive for a much tighter connection between action, music, and story. We decided to work with Inon Zur and focus all of the music composition to relate directly to the Signle Player campaigns. Each mission would have its own theme and mood. Inon did a great job of establishing those themes." He adds "on top of all that, Inon offered to spend some time in our studio discussing exact musical placement in our missions with our Lead Designer, which took the musical experience up another notch. It has been a fantastic working relationship. We're really happy with the results, and look forward to working together in the future." Unfortunately, very little of Inon Zur's music is available away from the games he composes for and, as yet, there is no news of a CD release for this score either.

CD Releases

Intrada have announced a December release for their premiere presentation of Bruce Broughton's complete score for the 1985 western Silverado, taken from the original 24-track session masters for the first time, in collaboration with the composer and original studio session engineers. This 2-CD set offers over a half hour of previously unreleased music with state-of-the-art sound. All-new packaging and liner notes from the composer add a finishing touch.
For cover art, track listing and sound samples, visit

Also set for December on the label is the premier release of Laurence Rosenthal's score for the 1998 Hallmark Hall of Fame production The Echo of Thunder, which is based on the award-winning novel by Libby Hathorn and directed by Emmy Award-winner Simon Wincer. The story vividly captures the struggles and triumphs of a close-knit Australian family. Rosenthal fashioned a probing, sensitive orchestral score, with a focus on haunting themes and sensitive orchestrations. Solo writing for clarinet, flute and oboe against strings are standout features. Balancing these gentle colours are several exciting pieces accompanying numerous outdoor sequences. In addition to a full symphony orchestra, Rosenthal incorporates the distinct sound of the digeridoo in a couple of key sequences to identify the locale. A special limited "Signature Edition" of 1000 copies, you can check out the cover art, track listing and sound samples by visiting

Exciting news from La-La Land Records is that they are to release a 40th anniversary limited edition 2 disc set of music from the fondly remembered sci-fic series Lost in Space, featuring more than 65 minutes of previously unreleased music and a collectable 16-page CD booklet with in-depth, exclusive liner notes. For further detail, samples, and to order your copy, go to I hope to review the set for you in due course, but don't delay, as I'm sure it will sell like hotcakes!

Howard Shore's complete score for the first Lord of the Rings film The Fellowship of the Rings will be released shortly on the Reprise label, in the States at least. I'm sure it will be a pricey item, but one that many film music fans will not want to be without.

Varese Sarabande announce their new Club titles tomorrow, and I'll bring you details as soon as I have them.


You have probably heard the sad news that Film Score Monthly are to cease publication of their print magazine. Well, they have just announced that they are going forward with an online pay site -- FSM Online -- that will provide all of the content of the print magazine - plus a lot more to come - and to prove it they have uploaded a sample, which is accessible at their site Lukas Kendall says "Film Score Monthly is very personal for me - I've literally been publishing it for half my life - and it broke my heart to think about ending it. The financial decision had to be made, but it left me horribly sad. So I can't begin to express my hope and joy that the magazine can continue online, and be even better than it was before, as FSM Online. He goes on to say "these next few weeks - days, or hours even - will be pivotal as we need enough subscribers to go forward for 2006. If enough people sign up, FSM Online can continue virtually indefinitely. If not, I don't know what we'll do."
Lukas and the guys also recently began podcasting, with a discussion on Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams' new film in release. For details of how you can listen to these podcasts, again visit their website.

Go to for interviews with Patrick Doyle on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Julian Nott on Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. They also carry the news that Christopher Young, who scored the train sequence in Spider-man 2, will be writing the complete score for the third film in the successful series.

At you can have a "first listen" to Harry Gregson-Williams' music for the eagerly anticipated The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the CD of which will be released on December 13th. You can also read a photoessay on the recording of the score.

Both these sites are regularly worth visiting, as they carry the latest news and CD reviews, and another worth visiting is fo similar reasons.

Two Spanish language sites worth visiting for their English translations of most of the interviews they carry are, where their latest are with Debbie Wiseman, Inon Zur and John Ottman; and, where you can read interviews with Vladimir Cosma, Asche & Spencer, Graeme Revell, Gary Stockdale, Trevor Rabin, Dario Marianelli, Mark Isham, Alex Wurman, Winifred Phillips, Ramin Djawadi, Lalo Schifrin, Bill Conti, Bruce Broughton, Rolfe Kent, and Sir Malcolm Arnold.

The premiere site for game music news, reviews and interviews is, where their latest interviews are with Perfect Dark Zero composer David Clynick and Kameo: Elements of Power's Steve Burke.

That's all for now. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring you details of those Varese Sarabande Club releases tomorrow - and a couple more CD reviews.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

CD REVIEWS: Three more releases from Digitmovies

La Coda Dello Scorpione
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM028 (Italy)
32 Tracks 65:42mins.

Digitmovies here present the complete premiere recording of Bruno Nicolai's score for the 1971 Giallo directed by Sergio Martino and starring Anita Strindberg and oft-time Italian Western star George Hilton.
A slow, repeating guitar-driven theme is at the heart of the score, emerging often from a large number of dissonant tracks, but relief from all the chaos is at hand in the shape of Foglie Rosse, a piano and strings love theme, often with a flowing western-styled accompaniment. A secondary love theme for mandolin and strings is also present on a number of tracks, and a more sunny, easygoing theme also makes its presence felt.
The album closes with an uncredited male vocal Shadows.

La Notte Che Evelyn Usci'Dalla Tomba
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM040
19 Tracks 64:11mins.

Another Nicolai Giallo score to find release on Digitmovies is that for another 1971 film directed by Emilio P. Miraglia, and starring another popular Western star Anthony Steffen.
Again, there is a good deal of dissonance in the score, occasionally with a jazzy feel, and the composer's love theme for trumpet and orchestra, with the always fantastic voice of Edda Dell'Orso, comes as welcome relief. La Festa is an interesting track, commencing as it does with a flute-lead dance, continuing on with a go-go track with vocal I Get You, before concluding with a romantic jazz combo version of the love theme. Il Fantasma Di Evelyn also presents a fascinating variation on the theme, with its tumbling piano accompaniment.
Two bonus tracks round out the disc, the first an unused instrumental version of I Get You; and a longer, slightly popped-up vesion of the love theme.

99 Donne
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM040
19 Tracks 64:11mins.

The final Nicolai score covered here is again from 1971, for a Jesse Franco women in prison movie, featuring the acting talents of such as Mercedes McCambridge, Maria Schell and Herbert Lom.
The disc commences with the gospel-influenced song The Day I Was Born, courtesy of an unknown female vocalist, and the score that follows is a mix of seduction and suspense with some action thrown in. There are no track titles, but I would pick out track 3, a bold & brassy electric guitar-lead mover with choit; track 4, a John Barryeque, sultry, slow jazz theme; track 10, an elegant, sax-lead waltz; and track 24, the best development of a sad string theme, first heard in track 8. Overall, it's varied and colourful, with a predominently jazzy feel.
Don't forget that all these Digitmovies releases are accompanied by colourful and informative booklets.

Well, that's all the CD Reviews for this week. Tomorrow I am aiming to bring you a news roundup of the film and game music scenes.


Foyle's War
Music by Jim Parker
Harkit Records HRKCD 8200 (U.K. Release)
24 Tracks 49:27 mins.

Four-time BAFTA winner Jim Parker's music for the World War II-set ITV drama series Foyle's War, starring Michael Kitchen, is featured on this new release from Harkit Records. The CD is a mixture of score and source music (also composed by Parker), which score fans will find frustrating, particularly as what score proper is on offer is up to the composer's usual high standards and includes the lonely, yet propulsive Main Title theme; the sad Foyle's Regret, the elegant National Gallery; the lovely airy waltz La Chanteuse; the pastoral Fishing, the romantic piano of Andrew's Theme; the spirited, heoric Spitfires; the sad, Jewish-flavoured The Refugees and the jaunty snoopiness of Sam's Theme. All this leaves me begging for more, but I am sure fans of the series, and of '40s music, will treasure what is after all a lovely, tuneful album, and will also appreciate the accompanying colourful 20-page booklet, which is filled with info on the series and its setting, and also includes comment by creator and writer Anthony Horowitz and the series' principal cast.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Music by John Frizzell
Milan Records M2-36143 (U.S. Release)
20 Tracks 49:45 mins.

Jane Anderson's '50s-set film stars Julianne Moore as a mother of ten, supporting her family by entering and winning commercial jingle contests, and sees composer John Frizzell incorporating "down home" elements into his orchestra-based score, in particular utilising the services of Sara (fiddle) and Sean (guitar) Watkins of rising "Newgrass" band Nickel Creek. The resulting music is often highly infectious, whether it be folk-based or purely orchestral, as in the light music-styled Anatomy of a Contest. There are also a couple of very '50s pop/rock efforts and some delicately scored intimate moments. Somewhat jarring however is the Thomas Newmanesque sound that accompanies the mystical and more downbeat moments, but this is a minor fault in what is an excellent slice of Americana. Sharing the album are numbers by the likes of Les Paul and Mary Ford, Kay Starr and modern-day artist k.d. lang. Even actor Woody Harrelson gets in on the act.

Friday, November 18, 2005


The Best of Thunderbirds
Music by Barry Gray
Silva Screen SILCD1195 (U.K.)
Disc I - 29 Tracks 79:10mins. Disc II - 5 Tracks 14:34mins + CD-Rom Content

Featuring the best tracks from Silva Screen's previous Thunderbirds releases (FILMCD606 and FILMCD609), together with previously unreleased slections, this splendid double CD boxed set also features original voice cast vocals taken from various mini-albums released around the time the series first aired, as well as CD-Rom content, featuring a gallery of promotional brochures, including the first ever information booklet on Thunderbirds, produced by ITC in 1964/5. All this and a colourful 24-page booklet, with stills and info on each featured episode. FAB!

Also available from Silva Screen is Bollywood (SILCD1204), a double-disc anthology of songs from popular Indian cinema, past and present, taken from the archives of Saregama India Ltd, the sub-continent's oldest and most well-known record label. And the label have also repackaged their compilation of Geoffrey burgon TV scores, first released in 1992 as Brideshead Revisited and now entitled The Chronicles of Narnia to coincide with the DVD release of the BBC TV series, and also no doubt in readiness for the upcoming feature film version, which incidentally looks great from the clips I have seen, and which will carry a score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Other scores on the Burgon disc, apart from Brideshead and Narnia, are Testament of Youth, Bleak House (not the current BBC incarnation) and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Over 58 minutes of music on 24 tracks.

Cinderella Man
Music by Thomas Newman
DECCA 988 1410 (U.K.)
25 Tracks 47:01 mins.

Thomas Newman provides a characteristically spare and understated score for this Russell Crowe boxing biopic. As usual, many of the tracks are very brief and therefore difficult to latch on to, and often feature Newman himself at the piano. There are however a couple of driving action tracks Corn Griffin and Pugilism, and the triumphant and brassy Big Right and Cinderella Man. An infectious Irish jig Turtle concludes the Newman tracks, which share the album with popular music of the time by such colourful names as Miff Mole and his Molers and Bud Freeman and his Windy City Five, together with the more famous Eddie Cantor.

Also on DECCA is the original soundtrack to the new Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers (DECCA 988 3781), starring Bill Murray. Three jazzy tracks with saxophone to the fore feature by Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke, together with songs from such as Marvin Gaye, The Allman Brothers and The Greenhornes.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Tre Donne - Correva L'Anno Di Grazia 1870
Music by Ennio Morricone
Digitmovies CDDM038 (Italy)
CD I - 13 Tracks 44:55mins CD II - 17 Tracks 52:39mins

Morricone fans will lap up this excellent release from Digitmovies of music composed by the maestro for a series of four TV movies dating from 1971, written and directed by Alfredo Giannetti, all starring Anna Magnani. In the event only three of them were boradcast, with the fourth Correva L'Anno Di Grazia 1870 receiving a theatrical release. The four separate stories depict different times in Italian history: the First and Second World Wars, Italian Risorgimento and the early '70s.
As for the music, previously it received a single belated LP release, which was later reissued, but here, with the co-operation of C.A.M. and under the supervision of the composer himself, is presented the most complete representation, featuring some music from the original abum, but much that is heard for the first time.
Disc One features nine tracks from 1943: Un Incontro, largely based on a melancholy main theme and more hopeful secondary motif; as well as Maschore, a march of differing moods. Four tracks from La Sciantosa round out the disc, and include a soaring theme for trumpet and choir, a pleasant waltz and a dark march.
Disc Two commences with eight tracks for Correva L'Anno Di Grazia, in which the hopeful, sometimes quite delicate secondary motif from 1943: Un Incontro returns. There is also a tranquil theme Passeggiata Sulla Via De Mare for mandolin, guitar and orchestra, and the wonderful Sulla Via Del Campidoglio, with its dramatic start, noble mid-section and flowing ending, replete with choir. Finally, for the '70s-set L'Automobile, Morricone presents a more contemporary feel with some psychodelia, but also with a breezy new opening track and Per Anna, a nice little theme for mandolin and guitar.
All Digitmovies releases come with a colourful accompanying booklet, providing a guide to the films presented and their music, with stills and artwork. No self-respecting Morricone fan will want to be without this important addition to the great man's discography.

Tutti I Colori Del Buio
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM019 (Italy)
29 Tracks 78:09 mins.

One of several releases of the late Bruno Nicolai's work on the enterprising Italian label, this Edwige Fenech starrer from 1972 deals with devil worshippers in 1971 London and whilst much of the score is suspenseful and dissonant, it does feature a light pop love theme Magico Incontro, heard in various arrangements throughout the disc, enhanced by the great voice of Edda Dell'Orso, who also performs it as a song with English lyrics. An action motif, very reminiscent of Ennio Morricone's thriller writing of the time features, and some Eastern myticism courtesy of instrumentalist extraordinaire Alessandro Alessandroni, as well as the choral theme Sabba, first heard a capella, but later mixed with the aforesaid Eastern elements.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Welcome. Here you will find news and reviews from the film, TV and game music worlds, but first I suppose a few words about me are in order.

As an English child of the '60s, I grew up on the TV shows of the time, both British and American, and I guess even then the music of these shows made an impression. I would play at being Napoleon Solo with Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. running through my head, and other themes I remember with fondness from those times include Edwin Astley's for The Saint and Danger Man, Paul Sawtell's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, John Williams' themes for Lost in Space and even the music for continental imports like The Singing Ringing Tree and The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe left their mark.

At the cinema, John Wayne was a hero and Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk from Hatari was an early favourite, but Dimitri Tiomkin's music for The Alamo was a major influence. Many times I would recreate the climactic battle with my toy soldiers, always with the music for those scenes running through my head. I had no soundtrack albums, but the music just seemed to stick. This too was one of the first experiences where I found music alone could bring a lump to my throat.

My first album purchases were double LP collections of western themes and music from the James Bond films, plus a cassette of Elmer Bernstein's music for The Magnificent Seven and Ennio Morricone's RCA LP of selections from the first two Dollars films.

As I grew into my teens, my visits to the cinema became more frequent and that was when the film music bug really hit home. I began buying up soundtrack albums for films I had seen, but also, as I learned more about the art and its history, I invested in great scores of the past. My favourites included the aforementioned composers, as well as Miklos Rozsa and, through my discovery of Charles Gerhardt's splendid RCA series of albums, Korngold. Curiously, I remember not having a particular likeness for the late great Jerry Goldsmith's film work at the time, finding it hard to appreciate away from the screen, something I still find today with the equally great Bernard Herrmann, whose work on the Hitchcock films I particularly admire. My stance on the former was later to change as one great score followed another during that mid-'70s to mid-'80s period. Another who became a great favourite of mine and possibly yours too was John Williams, who first came to my attention splendidly accompanying Paul Newman's helicopter flight at the opening of The Towering Inferno. But again I had my doubts initially, finding his Star Wars theme somewhat like a sped-up Lawrence of Arabia and so declining to join the initial clamour for it. A viewing of the film however soon had me jumping on the bandwagon, and that finale from Close Encounters - well, need I say more.

All this time I was gathering info wherever I could; joining every film music related society I could track down and subscribing to every magazine that came along - and often too quickly went. A modest, but always regular publication continued solidly on its way throughout and I soon began a frequent correspondence with Colin A. Adamson's New Zealand Film Music Bulletin, eventually being offered a regular column. The Jeff Hall Report, as it became known, ran right up until Colin's retirement at the end of 1999 and I built up many valuable contacts as I sought to bring news and reviews of the latest and best in film music.

Feeling these contacts were too valuable to lose, and with the increasingly exciting situation of so many great scores from the past being made available, often for the first time, I took the plunge and produced my own equally modest publication, which Colin kindly allowed me to call Film Music Bulletin. I very much enjoyed the venture, though it was hard work on my own, and gradually expanded the content to include interviews with composers, aided now by the wonders of the internet and e-mail, but after failing to reach my target number of subscribers, reluctantly I had to call it a day, the last issue appearing in January of 2003.

A loyal follower of both incarnations of the Bulletin, David Ades of The Robert Farnon Society came to the rescue, offering me a column in the Society's quarterly magazine Journal Into Melody, and thus a third incarnation of the Bulletin appeared, albeit in its most modest form yet. I'm proud to say that my column appears there to this day but, as my contacts continue to grow, the volume of CDs that come my way is such that there is no longer enough room in my column to do them justice. Therefore I made the decision to set up this site.

I hope you enjoy my new venture, and will visit often, and that you will find my CD reviews particularly helpful. I do my best to cover just about everything I can get my hands on, from all corners of the globe, whether it be film or TV music, both new and old, and am finding the new developments in the videogame music industry particularly exciting. So watch this space. I look forward to your company.