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

Friday, March 10, 2006

Latest News from Costa Communications



Proving that these penguins have legs, Warner Independent Pictures' March of the Penguins won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film ranks as the second-highest grossing non-large format documentary in history. Milan Records released Alex Wurman's emotional soundtrack for the documentary last fall. Without dialogue, images and music blend to tell the noble and emotional story of one of Earth's most resilient and determined species. "Alex's soundtrack conveys the character of the penguins, the emotional heat and the epic adventure of their arctic journey," says Adam Leipzig, President of National Geographic Feature Films. "It's a great score from a great composer that deserves to be noticed."

"The chance to be a voice for such beautiful and dynamic characters rarely comes to a film composer," says composer Alex Wurman. "The lack of verbal presence from the lead role was liberating."

Fred Selden's flute follows the steps of the penguins throughout their challenging journey and subtly evokes the difficulties, the joys, the dangers, and the sorrows that the penguins encounter. Alex's score stays fresh and strongly evokes what the images or the narration cannot always explain. "There are no actors or dialog, so the film rides on a marriage of Alex's music with the film images." explains Leipzig.

Salon's Stephanie Zacharek writes, "there's more drama, and more heartbreak, in 'March of the Penguins' than in most movies that are actually scripted to tug at our feelings." Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this film - directed by Luc Jacquet and presented in the United States by National Geographic Feature Films and Warner Independent - tells with vivid images the dramatic and emotional story of the penguins in their quest for love, family and procreation. Luc Jacquet and his crew followed the penguins in Antarctica during their thousand year-old pilgrimage to meet their mate and preserve their species. More than a documentary, March of the Penguins enters the soul of a deserted continent where the birds with no wings must face snowstorms, hunger, loneliness and predators in order to give birth to and protect their offspring.

"The images on the screen provided all the inspiration one could want. They challenged me again and again to match their beauty and emotional range," says Wurman. "From them I learned that courage does not need to be understood, only found."

After studying music at the American Conservatory of music in Chicago,
Wurman started his film career composing and arranging for Hans Zimmer, contributing to blockbusters such as Armageddon, A League of Their Own and
The Lion King. Independent films started coming his way, and soon he was working with hip directors such as John August, Doug Liman and Ron Shelton, with whom he has collaborated several times. Winning the respect and admiration of directors, producers and reviewers, Wurman's resume reflects the quality and diversity of his talent, boasting films such as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Hollywood Homicide, Anchorman and Play It to the Bone.

Film Opens March 31. Soundtrack Releases March 21

Emmy winning composer Mark Adler scores "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School" for Samuel Goldwyn Films and director Randall Miller. Starring an impressive and diverse cast that includes Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, Donnie Wahlberg, John Goodman, Sonia Braga and Mary Steenburgen, the film is a story about a widowed man's life turned upside down when he embarks on a journey to find a dying man's long lost love. The movie opens March 31 in limited release. Milan Records releases the soundtrack March 21.

Adler took his first inspiration for the score from Robert Carlyle's decision to give his character an Irish accent, which director Randall Miller suggested as a jumping point in developing the score's main theme. Adler and frequent collaborator Sid Page worked together to find a tone on his violin that suggested Irish Uillean pipes. For a number of contemplative scenes between Robert Carlyle and John Goodman's characters, Adler used fragments of the fiddle theme against an ambient backdrop of tuned Tibetan bowls, high and low wind chimes and piano layered with gamelan and muted strings to create a meditative atmosphere. The result is a lyrical score that conveys the memory of first love, and how those feelings can stay with you into adulthood. The romantic sentiment is found in the score's melodic orchestration, played quietly with minimal accompaniment. This emotive score plays in dramatic counterpoint to Adler's re-recordings of classic big band tunes for the film, and a dance band tune he composed for a pivotal scene.

Mark Adler's feature film scores include Paramount Classics' "Focus," based on the novel by Arthur Miller and starring William H. Macy and Laura Dern, with the soundtrack released by Milan Records. He has been a regular at the Sundance Film Festival; having scored over a half-dozen Sundance films over the years. These include the Miramax film "Picture Bride," which won the Audience Award in 1995. Other credits include the Wayne Wang films "Eat A Bowl of Tea" and "Life Is Cheap," numerous National Geographic Specials, and three Oscar-nominated feature documentaries. Recent feature projects include "When Do We Eat?" with Jack Klugman and Leslie Ann Warren.

He also wrote and produced source music for the Philip Kaufman films "The
Unbearable Lightness of Being," and "Henry and June," and was involved as a producer in the recreation of indigenous Brazilian music for the Saul Zaentz production "At Play in the Fields of the Lord." He recently composed original music for "The Road To Memphis," directed by Richard Pearce as part of the Martin Scorsese-produced series, "The Blues." This range of experience has resulted in an eclectic musical style, often drawing on jazz, folk, world music, and traditional orchestral idioms. In 1999 he won a Primetime Emmy for his work on HBO's "The Rat Pack," which featured Ray Liotta, Joe Mantegna and Don Cheadle.


Post a Comment

<< Home