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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CD REVIEW - Napoli Violenta

Napoli Violenta
Music by Franco Micalizzi
Beat Records CDCR 79 (Italy)
30 Tracks 52:39 mins

For this crime thriller from the late '70s, Franco Micalizzi composed an interesting main theme, a kind of combination of a folksy tarantella and brassy, dramatic crime theme. This is played over the opening track "Folk and Violence." The tarantella style is used sparingly in the remainder of the score, with its most conventional appearance in "Naples Alley." The crime theme however receives numerous variations, mixed in with the composer's dramatic action music.
Sad and reflective moments feature instrumental variations on the score's principal song "A Man Before Your Time," a very strongly melodic offering, performed by The Bulldogs, but lyrically it is not so memorable. It's a dramatic piece and translates well to its telling placements within the score.
There is another song on the album, "Tira 'a Rezza oj Piscatore," a strong ballad with a pop beat, performed by the ever exc ellent Raoul.
Enjoyable album though this is, there are just too many action/suspense tracks, which pretty much sound alike, save for the addition of electronics and percussion in some cases, and it all gets a bit wearing after a while. Really, this is a rare case where a 35 minute album, like in the days of the film's release, would have been preferable.
The disc is accompanied by a colourful and informative booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, together with notes in Italian and English by Massimo Lusuardi. Incidentally, if you would like to read more of Lusuardi's comments on the score, visit

Monday, May 28, 2007

CD REVIEW - Don Camillo e i Giovani D'Oggi

Don Camillo e i Giovani D'Oggi
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Digitmovies CDDM077 (Italy)
24 Tracks 54:10 mins

This was the first in the popular adventures of the priest Don Camillo not to have starred the great Fernandel and have been scored by Alessandro Cicognini. Gastone Moschin donned the collar, with American Lionel Stander his chief opponent, whilst Carlo Rustichelli took over the scoring duties.
Rustichelli's score is very much of its times, with its '70s rhythmic sensibility, whilst looking back toward the previous decade, with his lush mix of choir and strings for the film's principal romantic theme, and the inclusion of a '60s-styled go-go dance track.
The aforementioned main theme is an easy-going piece of pop which builds to some lush passages for strings and choir (I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni), which are very engaging. There is a pared-down Italian vocal of the theme later in the album, followed by the concluding "Finale" version, where choir and orchestra combine in the best rendition of the theme/song. Earlier on, variations on the theme are entwined throughout a number of tracks, together with that of the secondary theme, a catchy, lounge-style number. Along the way, there are a few moments of drama and suspense, the most atypical track being track 16 (there are no track titles), an increasingly tragic and dramatic cue. There are also some source cues, like the a sing-song "Don Camillo" number and a brass band march. There is also a religious church organ solo.
But overall it is a tuneful experience and very entertaining, whilst the main theme will stick in your brain for some time to come.
Six bonus tracks include two versions of a nice, acoustic-based alternate main theme, plus an alternate version of the finale, and accompanying the disc is the usual colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, together with Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes.
Visit to keep up the date with news of the label's releases.

Friday, May 25, 2007

CD REVIEWS - Disturbia & My Name is Earl

Well, not reviews as such, as both albums are collections of songs, rather than underscore. And I don't do song albums.
Lakeshore Records releases are finally being distributed in Europe through Colosseum and are available in the UK through Pinnacle, who of course also distribute Varese Sarabande releases, so I hope in future to be able to cover both label's releases on this site.
Disturbia is a kind of Rear Window-like thriller, and is actually scored by Geoff Zanelli. The album I have here (Lakeshore CST 8121-2) is, as I said, a collection of songs featuring the artists Nada Surf, This World Fair, Guster, Louque, Love Stink, Buckcherry, Afroman, Noiseshaper, The Summer Skinny, Priscilla Ann, Minnie Riperton and Lou Rawls, with only the latter being a familiar name to me. No news as yet of a score release, I am afraid, though the label often do releases both score and song albums.
On 11th June EMI Records will release a compilation of songs (cat number 388 6122) from the TV series My Name is Earl, which I understand is quite popular, though I have never seen it. With so much music to get through, it only leaves me time to view the odd favourite show and take in a film now and then, though that is usually only to assess the music. Anyway, to the point, the CD opens with a soundbyte from the series and then features songs by Jerry Reed, Uncle Kracker, Los Lobos, Young M.C., Matthew Sweet, Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock, Sammy Davis Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd,, Harry Nilsson, John Hiatt, Nescobar-a-lop-lop & The Camden County Band (who perform a vocal of Earl's Theme), and Van Nuys. Quite a diverse collection of artists this, and most of them I have actually heard of for once; and I'm even familiar with a couple of the songs.
Well, I'm off to enjoy the bank holiday weekend now, so I may not get back to you for a few days. To all you UK surfers - have a good one!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CD REVIEW - Milano Trema: La Polizia Vuole Giustizia

Milano Trema: La Polizia Vuole Giusitzia
Music by Guid & Maurizio De Angelis
Digitmovies CDDM078 (Italy)
25 Tracks 53:39 mins

The De Angelis brothers not only have to be the among the most prolific composers to have worked in Italian cinema, but their many projects over the years showed a great gift for melody. Even this 1973 crime thriller has a couple of knockout themes. "Blue Song" is initially heard as a catchy moog synthesizer and orchestra piece in track 1 of this album, followed immediately by a slower version with flute, and then a nostalgic piano rendition in the first part of track 3. In fact in the 14 tracks that make up the score, there are no less than 8 versions.
The other fine melody is "And Life Goes On," an easy-going song of the kind the brothers churned out for numerous projects, with countrified lyrics, sung first in Italian by Susy Lion, and then later presented instrumentally (the English language version follows in the bonus material, which is how I know the style of the song). The remainder of the score is largely action and suspense, very much of the period, including a typically bluesy caper groove.
No less than 11 bonus tracks, alternates and outtakes, follow, again dominated by "Blue Song," which appears a further 6 times in different variations. Great melody though it is, it does start to wear one out a little after so many outings. The aforementioned English version (again sung by Ms Lion) of the song is followed by another instrumental and a longer Italian rendition. A couple more action/suspense cues round out the bonus material, one unusually tense and dissonant.
Presented in fine stereo sound, the disc is, as always, accompanied by a colourful accompanying booklet, featuring stills and artwork from the film, together with introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano and Pierluigi Valentini. Visit

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Latest Releases from Film Score Monthly + News from Costa Communications



For more detailed information, click on this URL

From Costa Communications

June 1-16 - Cape Town South Africa

(Hollywood, CA) Hollywood HEART once again returns to South Africa, teaming with the Cape Town Film Commission to commemorate Youth Day, the 31st anniversary of the Soweto Uprising. Executives from Hollywood HEART will journey to CPT June 1-16 for a whirlwind few weeks of speeches, celebrations, radio & TV interviews and most importantly, two Movie Team projects with children from the area's foster home & townships.
Hollywood HEART (Hope, Education, Arts, Recreation, Teamwork) originally began as Camp Pacific Heartland in 1995. David Gale, Executive Vice President of MTV Films, founded the camp to address the social and recreational needs of Southern California children affected by HIV and AIDS.
The Movie Team became an independent program in 2001 after years of success as part of the Hollywood HEART's Camp Pacific Heartland programming. A unique filmmaking workshop, The Movie Team utilizes the film industry background of its founders, board members and volunteers to give children the opportunity to write, direct, produce and star in their very own short films. This hands-on approach, in which kids actively participate in the challenges of filmmaking, gives children and adolescents the chance to feel productive, collaborative, creative and proud of their final films. In creating The Movie Team, Hollywood HEART has broadened its impact beyond children affected by the AIDS virus to include any deserving child who has the desire to experience the magic of filmmaking.
Because Hollywood HEART is a Los Angeles-based organization, it can easily tap into key resources to insure successful Movie Team programs. Professional screenwriters, directors, actors, cinematographers, editors, make-up artists, and costume designers are among are regular volunteers. Children actively participate by brainstorming for script ideas, learning about plot, dialogue, and theme, creating their costumes and make-up design, learning how to use camera and sound equipment, designing props and scenery, and finally starring in their very own original film. Once the movie is complete the kids are invited to an exclusive screening and after-party, usually at a real Hollywood studio, where they receive a VHS or DVD copy of their film to take home.
There are two versions of The Movie Team program: a three day intensive workshop or a one to two hour class held weekly during a four to nine week program. Hollywood HEART has worked with established organizations including the Hollygrove Residential Facility for orphaned, abused and neglected children and the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood, to tailor The Movie Team experience to meet the specific needs of their children. Many of these children have later credited The Movie Team program with keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.
Each Movie Team programs costs an average of $4000, which is funded completely by Hollywood HEART, to cover the expenses of hiring a coordinator and a production assistant; meals for the children and volunteers; rental of various camera and sound equipment; costumes and make-up; van rental for transportation; cost of script copies and other administrative expenses; editing, screening, and video dubbing costs; and insurance. Hollywood HEART brings The Movie Team to the partnering organizations and the programs are free of charge to the children served.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Long, Long Trailer/Forever, Darling

The Long, Long Trailer/Forever, Darling
Music by Adolph Deutsch/Music by Bronislau Kaper
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.3 (US)
31 Tracks 79:46 mins

Today's younger generation will have little or no idea just how popular American comedienne Lucille Ball was in the '50s and early '60s, initially with her husband Desi Arnaz, and then on her own after their breakup. They were literally the queen and prince consort of the small screen, both in America and in here too, where I remember the show always being on when I was very young. With their success on TV, Lucy turned her attention back to the silver screen, where she had failed to make an impression in numerous films of the '30s and '40s.
The couple's first foray was in 1954 for The Long, Long Trailer, which saw them as a honeymoon couple hitting the open road. The score was provided by Adolph Deutsch, a London-born composer in Hollywood who, though he did manage to score a couple of classics in his time (The maltese Falcon and High Sierra), never really ascended to composer royalty. His score for The Long, Long Trailer is quite sparse and features several source cues for the scenes before and immediately following the wedding ceremony, all of them very enjoyable, featuring various band combinations. But the heart of the score is provided by the wonderfully carefree song "Breezin' Along With The Breeze," written in 1926 byHaven Gillespie, Seymour Simons and Richard Whiting. After the opening triumphant instrumental version in the "Main Title," Deutsch sprinkles variations on the song throughout his underscore, which is suitably slapsticky when required, but also quite romantic; and Lucy and Desi get to sing it as their road trip begins.
Desi also gets to sing over the longest musical sequence in the film, that surrounding Lucy's efforts to cook in the trailer.
For 1956's Forever, Darling, in which James Mason appears as an angel attempting to save our couple's marriage, a composer at the top of his game was assigned. Bronislau Kaper was coming off of his delightful score for The Glass Slipper, with The Swan yet to follow. Not only was he a conummate composer, but also a writer of great song tunes and "Forever, Darling," with lyrics by the great Sammy Cahn, whose witty performances on the Michael Parkinson chat show used to delight me in the '70s. It's one of those songs that once heard stays with you for an age, and is first heard over the "Main Title," sung by The Ames Brothers. Again, Kaper weaves the song throughout his subsequent underscore, which also has more than its share of slapsticky and romantic moments. But there is also a quite eerie, shimmering theme for Mason's appearances, and with his intentions not initially clear to Lucy's character, the music takes on quite menacing proportions. An interesting track is where the couple go to the cinema and witness a film where Mason is lead actor (apparently his angelic image is created by Lucy's mind - he may well appear as Brad Pitt or George Clooney should there be a modern-day remake!). As quite a departure from the rest of his score, Kaper provides a suitably exotic and adventurous score for the African-set movie. The Ames Brothers return at the end of the score to put their satisfying stamp on affairs.
Four bonus tracks at the end of the disc present firstly, a sparkling "Outtakes Suite" from Forever, Darling, mostly featuring the song in instrumental variations, but The Ames Brothers do again briefly appear. Then there is the single version of the song, performed by Desi and His Orchestra, together with the "B" side, the optimistic and enjoyable "The Straw Hat Song;" and finally, a full orchestral version of the "Breezin' Along With The Breeze" sequence featuring Lucy and Desi, as opposed to the more scaled down version that appears earlier in the disc.
As always, there is a colourful accompanying booklet, with plenty of stills from the films, together with album producer Lukas Kendall's notes and cue-by-cue guide.
I have to admit that when I first heard that this disc was to be released, I thought it a strange choice, but my doubts were soon put aside on playing it. These are delightful scores indeed and well worth preserving, so full marks again to Lukas and his associates for putting them out there.
For further information and to listen to sound clips, go to

Monday, May 21, 2007

CD REVIEW - La Banda del Gobbo

La Banda del Gobbo
Music by Franco Micalizzi
Digitmovies CDDM084 (Italy)
18 Tracks 35:03 mins

This is the premiere release, in fine stereo sound, of Franco Micalizzi's complete score for the Tomas Milian cop thriller La Banda del Gobbo, from 1977.
The music is very much in similar vein to Hollywood and British cop thrillers of the time, with the main theme, of which a good deal of the score consists, a jazz-funk action piece, reminiscent of Dominic Frontiere's theme for 1976's John Wayne starrer Brannigan, with a touch of Laurie Johnson's The Professionals thrown in.
The theme is first heard on electric piano and then developed by moog, brass and percussion, and makes for a very catchy "Titoli." It then features in many of the following tracks, either in familiar fast-paced guise, or mid-paced, or in more laid-back form. There are some mostly brief pieces in between, like the Mediterranean dance in track 3; the disco number of track 6; the suspenseful tracks 8 and 16; the church organ solo in track 14; the death march in track 17; and last but not least, the very nice lost love pop ballad of track 12, voiced by an uncredited vocal group.
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, filled with colour stills and artwork from the film, together with introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano and Pierluigi Valentini.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

CD REVIEW - Fenominal e il Tesoro di Tutankamen

Fenominal e il Tesoro di Tutankamen
Music by Brunoc Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM079 (Italy)
30 Tracks 62:55 mins

The artwork for this 1968 comic-book styled film depicts hero of the piece Fenominal as a typical lycra-suited crimefighter. The colour stills from the film however show a man in a polo neck jumper, flared trousers, gloves and what looks like a large sock over his head, so I guess this was no high-budget affair. The music however is highly enjoyable, even if very dated to the '60s.
Lovers of I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni will be particularly delighted as they feature throughout, whether singing the Batman-like "Fenomenal" at the start and end of the score, or providing the vocals for the many swinging jazz-pop cues that come in between. If you think The Man from U.N.C.L.E. meets Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you'll know what to expect stylistically. Sometimes the music swings easy and laid back, sometimes in fast flowing fashion, all of it is highly infectious. Along the way we have some sneaky suspense; a go-go track; a lovely laid-back mover with Edda providing her customary wordless vocals; an easy-listening romantic slow dance; a fine waltz with organ leading the choir; a slow romantic variation on the same theme, with Edda again doing the honours; a bossa nova for electronics and percussion; an airy flute solo; and some otherwordly and eerie organ work.
All-in-all then, a highly enjoyable listen throughout, and all in very fine stereo sound, with accompanying colourful booklet, with plenty of stills and artwork from the film, as well as Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes. Visit

Saturday, May 19, 2007

CD REVIEW - La Provinciale

La Provinciale
Music by Ennio Morricone
Rai Trade FRT418 (Italy)
16 Tracks 54:46 mins

Ennio Morricone's powers certainly don't appear to be diminishing with age. He is still turning out top-rate scores for films such as this 2006 TV drama, starring Sabrina Ferilli.
The CD starts out with the first version of "La Spaggia," which takes a while to develop then leaves one wanting more. The theme is reprised in an alternate version in the penultimate track.
Next comes the title track, which starts out quite intimately before developing passionately for massed strings. Again, the music is repeated in a slightly shorter version this time in track 8, where flute and saxophone also have their say. "La Mare" is the other track that receives more than one airing. It first appears in track 4, with repeating piano and sweeping strings, but then woodwinds join to add warmth to the cue. The alternate version is the final track on the album, where is receives an even more passionate arrangement, bringing proceedings to a satisfactory close. Other tracks of note are "Delitto e Romorsi," with its sax-lead passion; the happy, if initially restrained "Sereno e il Cielo;" "Tornate e Ricordare," which becomes increasingly passionate, voiced by flute, strings and oboe, with subtle female voice here and there; and the low-key romance of "Stress Controllato."
Darker elements of the score feature in "Ombre," which moves darkly on piano; "Succede a Orvieto," with its disturbing, dissonant violin and strings; and the suspenseful "Stress."
Another quality score from Maestro Morricone, who has been well supported by Rai Trade recently, with the label also putting out his scores for Una Storia Italiana (FRT414) and Gino Bartali L'Intramontabile (FRT416). Visit

Friday, May 18, 2007

CD REVIEW - Damn The Defiant!/Behold a Pale Horse

Damn The Defiant!/Behold a Pale Horse
Music by Clifton Parker/Music by Maurice Jarre
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.4 (US)
26 Tracks 65:05 mins

This is the fifth FSM reissue of music first released on Colpix LPs and pairs Clifton Parker's score for the 1962 Mutiny on the Bountyesque Damn The Defiant!, which starred Alec Guinness and Dirk Bogarde; and Maurice Jarre's music for the 1964 Gregory Peck starrer Behold a Pale Horse, which saw him as a kind of latter-day terrorist during the period following the Spanish Civil War, making incursions over the border from France to continue the struggle, though his side have lost.
The custom at the time of these album releases was to rearrange cues into a more satisfying listening experience, sometimes combining cues, or shortening them, all to provide a running time of around 30-35 minutes. Both these scores were in fact quite short in any case, so that the albums actually had to be padded out to meet the required running time. The result, particularly in the case of Defiant, is some repetition of material, but it's interesting stuff all the same and both scores are worthy of reissue.
Damn The Defiant! starts out with the "Main Title," in which a shanty-like opening gives way to the sweeping main theme. The theme is later repeated twice more on the album, together with a noble variation in "Midnight on the Defiant." The following "Vizard Theme," an expectant mover, developing into full-blown action, also is repeated a couple more times. "Sailing on the Tide" finds the composer in romantic mood. "Unrest among the Crew" features tense suspense writing, which continues in "The Defiant Reaches Corsica," becoming dirge-like, with anguished strings. The other track not repeated from anywhere earlier is "Crawford at Vizard's Deathbed," which presents agitated strings after a violent opening. However, this then is repeated to double the length of the track.
After Maurice Jarre's large-scale, sweeping score to Lawrence of Arabia, Behold a Pale Horse finds him in much more restrained mood. Much of the main thematic material is propulsive and often march-like, but mostly in a restrained form, with just occasionally the main march bursting forth proudly and heroically. Along the way, there is some innocent flute-lead scoring, and some brief Spanish guitar interludes. Harpischord is another key instrument in the score, often playing spare variations on the main thematic material. There's a little suspense here and there, with the eerie and dissonant "Manuel in San Martin" standing out. The presence of Omar Sharif as a Catholic father is delineated by solo organ in "Father Francisco's Conscience Struggle."
Interestingly, an EP was also issued at the time of the LP release, and contained two tracks not included on the latter. These in fact prove to be the most satisfying tracks from the score, the first, a rousing orchestral version of the main march theme, entitled "Exile March," which commences and ends with wordless choir carrying the tune; the second, a "symphonic medley" of much of the secondary material in the score.
As always, the disc is accompanied by a splendid 16-page booklet, with artwork from the films, together with Lukas Kendall's notes on the films and their scores, together with the usual cue-by-cue guides, and even the original LP liner notes.
Despite the repetition, particularly in the Parker selections, the disc is well worth your attention, presenting an example of Maurice Jarre's early work, following on the heels of his initial great triumph, and a rare example of Parker's music, little of which is available on disc.
Visit for sound samples and more information.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

CD REVIEW - Il Figlio Di Spartacus

Il Figlio Di Spartacus
Music by Piero Piccioni
Digitmovies CDDM080 (Italy)
24 Tracks 50:17 mins

This 1962 entry in the Italian Peplum genre, featured Steve Reeves (Hercules) as the son of famous rebel gladiator Spartacus and was a kind of sequel to the Hollywood film of the same name.
The disc gets off to a good start with the bold, horn and timpani-driven title track, which is less a theme than muscular action music. This music, along with a noble and triumphant march, first heard in "Un Grande Eroe" and reprised in "Rando, Figlio di Spartacus" and "Il Trionfo di Rando," is the best there is to offer in this score and is reprised in "Combattimento" and the following "La Furia di Rando." The remainder of the score is pretty uninteresting, with much dark, threatening and mysterious music, often featuring timpani or weird organ playing, along with a couple of ethnic-styled dances.
Three bonus tracks present shorter versions of the "Combattimento" and "Il Trionfo di Rando" cues, plus an alternate version of one of the dances.
Recorded in mono, the CD is, as always, accompanied by a colourful booklet, featuring colour stills and artwork, plus Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CD REVIEW - Uccidete il Vitello Grasso e Arrostitelo

Uccidete il Vitello Grasso e Arrostitelo
Music by Ennio Morricone
Digitmovies CDDM083 (Italy)
10 Tracks 39:39 mins

This 1969 thriller, also known by its English title of Kill the Fatted Calf, was previously issued on CD in 1991, but here we have an extra three previously unreleased tracks. True, one of them is the interminably long (10 minutes+) atonal track "Ai Confini della Follia (versione 2)," but the other two are variations on previously available themes and worth having.
The disc gets off to a fine start with the catchy, almost march-like "Lungo La Stradina," a beat-driven theme for flutes and orchestra. This theme is reprised as a "tick-tocking" version in "Echi del '700" and as a later uptempo version.
Morricone's secondary theme is first heard as a sad little flute and piano theme in "Ai Confini della Follia," and in more laid-back form in "Ricordo Tanti Fiori," with flutes over a backbeat. Finally, a second version of this track, which concludes the disc, again presents an easy-going, flutes-lead treatment.
The title track is given three treatments. Firstly, as a purposeful mover, with a harpsichord solo in the middle; secondly, as a punchy variation with organ and piano in the middle; and thirdly, with the voice of Edda Dell'Orso and dissonant organ.
And that's it basically, a largely three-themed affair, but all of them highly listenable, and in fine stereo sound. Just program out that atonal track and you'll doubtless enjoy the remainder of the disc as much as I did.
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the CD, with Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes and colour stills and artwork. Visit

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CD REVIEW - Missione Speciale Lady Chaplin + News from Costa Communications

Missione Speciale Lady Chaplin
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM082 (Italy)
27 Tracks 70:07 mins

This 1966 spy thriller is part of Italy's answer to the popularity of the genre in the UK and the States during these years, when James Bond, Derek Flint and Matt Helm were all the rage.
Here we have CIA special agent Dick Malloy (Ken Clark) on the case, and a genuine link with the Bond series in particular is the presence in the cast of Bond girl Daniela Bianchi (From Russia With Love).
The music is by Bruno Nicolai, and is not the only score he provided for such films. It is largely jazz-swing based, as were a number of the UK/US scores, although these were generally in a more poppy style.
The Dick Malloy theme is a splendid swinging jazz theme and crops up in variations throughout this lengthy score, never outsaying its welcome. There are a number of other jazzy pieces, sometimes attached to the theme, and "Lady Shake" is a particular highlight - real music to spy by. By contrast, there is a lush stringed romantic theme, first heard in "Arabella," that also makes its presence felt throughout, and a number of easy listening dance tracks.
On the less tuneful side, there are quite a few suspenseful and mysterious moments, the latter mostly involving eerie vibraphone and electric organ, plus plenty of tense and dramatic action, often utilising snippets of the main themes . In short, it's a fine genre score that, despite its length, really doesn't outstay its welcome.
Recorded in very good mono sound, as always, Digitmovies releases come with colourful and informative accompanying booklets. This is no exception, with plenty of colour stills and original artwork, plus Claudio Fuiano's notes on the film and score.

From Costa Communications

"Dreamgirls"& "Spider-Man 3"

(Los Angeles, CA) Over the past few years, Deborah Lurie has quietly become attached to the biggest blockbusters. Her musical arrangements and original compositions have repeatedly made their way to the top of the Billboard and Box Office charts. Just this year alone, her string arrangements can be heard on the top-selling releases from RCA's rock band Daughtry and the motion picture soundtrack for Golden Globe's Best Picture and the #1 selling DVD, "Dreamgirls." She also composed additional underscore for the film, adding to an increasingly influential role as a film composer which also found her collaborating this year on the #1 film in the world, "Spider-Man 3," as she did with "Spider-Man 2."
Since first gaining recognition for her score to Joe Nussbaum's cult classic, "George Lucas in Love," Lurie has quickly become a strikingly versatile and critically acclaimed rising voice on the Hollywood music scene. She is known for strongly thematic and memorable scores that impart unique character to a wide array of styles--from symphonic music to hard rock. Her original scores range from Lasse Hallstrom's "An Unfinished Life" to MGM's "Sleepover," and the upcoming Warner Brothers comedy "Spring Breakdown."
In addition to her original scores, Lurie is known for high-profile collaborations, beginning when she reunited with "George Lucas in Love" director Joe Nussbaum in 2004, to score the pre-teen comedy "Sleepover" for MGM. For the score, Lurie wrote parts for a 50-piece orchestra and co-write a pop love song, "Remember," with Gabriel Mann. Since then, Lurie has been a frequent collaborator of Danny Elfman. She composed additional music for the IMAX film "Deep Sea: 3D" starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet; and arranged/orchestrated on "Charlotte's Web" and "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory." She has also collaborated numerous times with composer John Ottman, composing the score for "Imaginary Heroes" based on Ottman's theme and arranging music for blockbusters such as "X2."
Other recent arranging credits include the top selling album by The All-American Rejects, hard rockers Papa Roach, and the chart topping band Three Days Grace. Beginning with the #1 hit single "The Reason," Lurie has collaborated on two CDs with the band Hoobastank, as well as an orchestral live concert and DVD in Paris. Lurie's longest and most prolific collaboration in rock music is with producer Howard Benson, Grammy nominated this year for Producer Of The Year. Lurie's work in pop/rock music began with musical productions for the live stage, including arranging/producing the music for The Pussycat Dolls live at The Roxy, starring Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani among others and arranging/producing the music for the Off Broadway musical bare.

Monday, May 14, 2007

CD REVIEW - Per un Pugno nell'Occhio

Per un Pugno nell'Occhio
Music by Francesco De Masi
Digitmovies CDDM081 (Italy)
24 Tracks 35:57 mins

It's no secret that I am partial to Italian westerns, but of the serious kind, not the comical, most of which I find just plain irritating. I am sure that, from the mugging featured in this disc's artwork by the film's comic duo, Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia, I should hate this film from 1964 with a vengeance. I do not however hate the music, for one of my favourite Italian western composers Francesco De Masi was in charge and took a largely serious approach to the score, and it carries all the cliched western trademarks (the first track alone just about covers everything from gunfire, trumpet, harmonica, chimes, Jews harp, harpsichord, guitar and organ - they all have their say). However, as this track proceeds a strong main theme emerges, in the finest traditions, and makes frequent appearances throughout the score, sometimes laid back and easy-going, at others bold and galloping, with harmonica maestro Franco De Gemini often taking the lead.
Other key themes and moments in the score include "Consuelo Dolce," a romantic stringed piece, with violin solo; the Spanish bullfight styled music of "Fuoco alle Polveri;" "Tango del Capitano," which needs no explanation; "Gli Eroi alla Riscossa," a dramatic pice, with swirling strings and horn calls; and the great, trumpet-lead showdown music, first heard in "Entrata de los Pistoleros." Variations on some of these pieces crop up in subsequent tracks.
There is a little bit of comedy here and there along the way, and some suspense, but this too often with comic touches.
Sound is in mono, but still pretty good, despite its age, and the accompanying booklet, as always, is filled with colour stills and poster artwork from the film, together with notes by Claudio Fuiano & Luca Di Silverio. I'm very happy indeed to have the opportunity of adding this score to my collection of Italian Western music.
Don't forget to visit to keep up to date with all the label's fine releases, and watch out for more reviews of their product from me in days to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Essential Hans Zimmer Film Music Collection

The Essential Hans Zimmer Film Music Collection
Music by Hans Zimmer & others
Silva Screen SILCD1238 (UK)
Disc 1 - 11 Tracks 51:23 mins Disc 2 - 12 Tracks 55:49 mins

This latest in Silva Screen's "Essential" series presents suites and themes from 18 of Hans Zimmer's films, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic and Crouch End Festival Chorus, with the less epic selections being performed by a select band of musicians. The result, while wholly enjoyable, with fine performances throughout, is nevertheless a bit of a disappointment in that with 40 minutes or so of disc space still available, truly essential Zimmer scores like Black Rain, Backdraft, The Power of One, The Lion King, As Good As It Gets, The Prince of Egypt, Mission: Impossible 2, Black Hawk Down, Spirit; Stallion of the Cimarron, King Arthur and The Ring, are not represented.
What remains are three selections from Gladiator (including both vocal and instrumental versions of "Now We Are Free"); The Thin Red Line; Thelma and Louise;The Da Vinci Code; Rain Man (two selections); Days of Thunder; Pearl Harbor; The Last Samurai; Crimson Tide (two selections, including a Zimmer arrangement of "Eternal Father Strong to Save"); Green Card; Regarding Henry; Batman Begins (co-composed with James Newton Howard); True Romance; Driving Miss Daisy; and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
What? I hear you exclaim, but that's only 15! What about the other 3? Well, perhaps, though credited to Klaus Badelt, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a legitimate selection in that I have read where it is suggested Zimmer in fact composed the themes. Similarly, The Rock, though largely attributed to Nick Glennie-Smith, bears the distinctive Zimmer stamp, and again I have heard tell that Glennie-Smith had assistance from Zimmer, among others, to complete the score. What does seem crazy however, especially in view of the absence of so many fine Zimmer scores, are the inclusions of Richard Harvey's "Kyrie for the Magdalene" from the Da Vinci Code' and Patrick Cassidy's "Vide Cor Meum" from Hannibal.
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend this nonetheless fine collection of music to anyone seeking a taster of what Zimmer has been up to these 20 years or so, but as for calling it "Essential," well, that's another matter.

Friday, May 11, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Western Film Music of Bruno Nicolai Vol.3

The Western Film Music of Bruno Nicolai Vol.3
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Saimel 3998010 (Spain)
31 Tracks 53:06 mins

The main score featured on this disc is for the 1970 western Arizona Si Scateno...e Li Fece Fuori Tutti! and starts off with a maddeningly irritating song "Arizona Gun," performed by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandro Alessandroni. If I say it is akin to the infamous "Birdy Dance," you'' know what I mean. The lyrics are plain childish. Thankfully, the song, though undoubtedly a catchy tune, is only heard three times on the disc. Instead, we have much more acceptable versions, with Alessandroni whistling and Franco De Gemini playing harmonica, sprinkled throughout the score.
With such notable forces, one might expect this to be a classic of the genre, but it is unlikely to set your world alight. In addition to the main theme, there are some nice little melodies on show, but usually only briefly and not sticking around long enough to make a huge impression, though the sunny, Mexican-styled tune, first heard in track 12, makes a few more appearances. Much of the score is given over to a tense, staggered theme and also to a somewhat reserved showdown theme. There's some nice travelling music here and there, some of it based on the tension theme, which adapts quite well. My favourite moment in the score is actually a purposeful travelling variation, heard in track 24.
As a very nice bonus, the disc includes three tracks from 1971's I Corvi Ti Scaveranno La Possa and two from 1972's Uomi Avvisato, Mezzo Ammazzato... Parola Di Spirito Santo. Track one from the former starts eerily and then becomes increasingly inspirational. Track two is a gentle, Mexican-styled tune; whilst track three features the organ-lead main theme, giving way to a sad violin. Track one of the latter is a jaunty, whistled theme (Alessandroni again), with a choral bridge; whilst the second track is the galloping, Mexican-styled "Liberated," performed in Italian by I Cantori Moderni.
Unfortunately, the accompanying booklet, whilst featuring colourful poster artwork, is in Spanish only. Perhaps Saimel should take a leaf out of some of the Italian labels' books, and cater for an international audience, especially as music for this genre is so popular. This is a minor quibble though, for having the music available is what matters the most.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

CD REVIEW - Selections from Final Fantasy XII

Selections from Final Fantasy XII
Music by Hitoshi Sakimoto
31 Tracks 73:23 mins

Nobuo Uematsu is recognised as master of music for the long-running Final Fantasy games series, and some memorable stuff he has written over the years too. But this latest in the series, though featuring one theme by the illustrious composer, is scored by Hitoshi Sakimoto.
Not having heard all the scores for the series, and being largely familiar only with re-recorded orchestral versions of Uematsu's themes, I cannot really comment on how this score compares to previous entries. All I can say is that I was well entertained.
The score is realised by a mixture of synths and samples, though the lengthy and impressive opening track "Opening Movie" sounds pretty much orchestral to me, and introduces the composer's adventurous main theme, which will get its best workout in the closing score track "Struggle for Freedom," an exciting and lengthy conclusion to the score.
Some may find the many tracks that fade out at the end, rather than finish properly, somewhat irritating, but I am used to this from listening to many game scores over recent times.
Sakimoto's score then is a mix of exciting action music and lighter movers, all very melodic. Occasionally, ethnic percussion and voices give it a different colour, and there are one or two ethereal moments along the way, with heavenly voices making their presence felt. Sampled choir is used sparingly throughout. Most of the tracks are of a decent length, though there are one or two very brief cues that don't really give anything a chance to develop. The best cues are definitely those opening and closing the score, but others like "The Dalmasca Estersand," "Flash of Steel" and "The Mosphoran Highwaste" generate a fair bit of excitement.
The disc concludes with a very nice ballad "Kiss me Good-bye," performed by Angela Aki, and a bonus DVD is including, with Ms Aki peforming the song, along with clips from the game. There is also a lavishly illustrated accompanying booket, with introductions to the composer and Ms Aki, as well as lyrics to the song.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

CD REVIEW - Red Dawn

Red Dawn
Music by Basil Poledouris
Intrada MAF 7099 (US)
23 Tracks 68:24 mins

I have a particular fondness for the early collaborations between director John Milius and composer Basil Poledouris. I always find Big Wednesday a moving experience and just love the operatic quality of Conan. Red Dawn is maybe not as inspiring as those two, but still nevertheless an interesting little film, with a chance to catch early performances from such as Patrick swayze, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell.
Poledouris's score was in fact Intrada's fist ever soundtrack release, and I can remember eagerly ordering and waiting for my copy of the LP, as it then was. Of course those were the days when only around 30-minutes playing time was the norm. Now, many years later, the label has released the full score, dedicated to the memory of the much-missed and recently deceased composer.
The film's premise is a Soviet invasion of America and follows the escapades of a group of Colorado teenagers who take to the hills and offer armed resistance to the Soviet occupation.
Poledouris's score, a mix of orchestral and electronics, provides relentless, menacing accompaniment to the Soviet invasion and flag-waving heroics for the teenage "wolverines, " as well as some dirge-like tragedy and a few rare, tender moments. His main theme is a grim-but heroic march, first heard in the "Main Title" and it's splendidly rousing stuff. After the lengthy "Invasion" cue, with its electronic simulated helicopter sounds and menacing action, the score settles down to a mix of suspense and tragedy for a while, as the conquered locals are rounded up. The youngsters first strike back in "Fire!," where the wolverines' and Soviets' themes clash. A tender "love scene" offers some respite from the action before drum-lead action returns in "Attack of the Wolverines." The bleak "Winter" follows, before the wistful "The Eulogy." The next action set-piece is "Attack of the Helicopters," which again pits the main themes against one another, leading on to the tragedy of "Toni's Death" and grimly expectant "Toni's Last Grenade," which ends with an elegiac variation on the heroic theme. The concluding cue "Death and Freedom" provides a peaceful resolution as the two brother wolverines (Swayze and Sheen) accept their fate, with the music turning elegiac, before the "End Credits" provides the most stirring rendition of the main theme to close. Another rejected version of this final track, with proud trumpet, first heard at the end of the "Main Title" is presented as a bonus track, along with a solo percussion track and another alternate cue, with a brief variation on the main theme.
Accompanying the disc is a splendid 20-page booklet, filled with colour stills from the film, together with album producer Douglass Fake's detailed notes on the film and its music, including a cue-by-cue guide. Order your copy from
Now, I really must dig out my copy of the film and have another look.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

BOOK REVIEW - From Beat to Beat - Memoirs of the Man of the Harmonica

From Beat to Beat - Memoirs of the Man of the Harmonica
40 Years of music and cinema as experienced by Franco De Gemini
Beat Records Company BBK 001
Softback 236 pages

Not content with their ever extending catalogue of fine Italian music releases, Beat Records have issued their own Franco De Gemini's memoirs of his 40 years in the business of performing and preserving many fine film scores (and more).
It's a lavishly illustrated little gem of a book, sprinkled with many fascinating photos of De Gemini's family, friends and colleagues, plus of course of the man himself, as well as a lavish section at the end of the book, where full colour reproductions of the covers of many of the Beat album releases over the years can be poured over.
As for the text, well De Gemini's many English speaking fans will be delighted that, save for the "commentaries from friends" section, just before the album cover gallery, the text is given both in Italian and English.
What emerges from the pages of this book is that Franco De Gemini has obviously enjoyed his life, both professionally and personally, and there are many humerous moments retold along the way, not only of his professional encounters with filmmakers and composers, but of his social encounters too, often revolving around good food and drink. It really is an absorbing and highly entertaining read from start to finish, and the author does a great deal to bring to life in the imagination many of the names we have routinely seen on album covers and booklets over the years.
As if the book itself wasn't enough, a bonus 77-minute CD accompanies the book, and features 19 splendid tracks, not only featuring the fine harmonica playing of Franco de Gemini, but highlighting compositions and performances by many of those mentioned in the book. There's something for everyone here - not just film scores, but also some opera and even Mahler - all released on the Beat Records label.
If you are a fan of classic Italian film music, don't delay - order your copy today at and enjoy!

Monday, May 07, 2007

CD REVIEW - Goodbye Bafana

Goodbye Bafana
Music by Dario Marianelli
Varese Sarabande VSD 6811 (EU)
16 Tracks 38:01 mins

Dario Marianelli is undeniably one of the current up-and-coming talents in film music, but I am yet to be convinced, and this disc certainly doesn't help his case as, like yesterday's offering, Amazing Grace, I found his latest score totally dull and uninvolving.
Based on a repeating four-note figure, the score lacks a great deal of passion, and even the African touches, including a few dance-styled moments, are not as rhythmic and interesting as some similarly-localled scores have in the past been. Instead, we are left with a score that is largely gloomy and mournful, with just a few moments that threaten to inspire some emotion.
Very disapponting.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

CD REVIEW - Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
Music by David Arnold
Sparrow SPD 88509 (EU)
24 Tracks 43:15 mins

Quite a change of pace is this film dealing with William Wilberforce and his anti-slavery campaign from David Arnold's most recent work on the latest James Bond film and comedy Hot Fuzz, and I have to say, whilst very worthy, his music for the film makes for very dull and uninspiring listening on CD. Of course that is wholly appropriate for much of the film's content and I am sure it serves the film well, but it very nearly sent me to sleep whilst trying to evaluate it.
There is much brooding and sad material to be heard, with low, wordless choir bracketing much of it. Occasionally, when moments of hope appear, Arnold provides appropriately propulsive and mildly uplifting sounds, with some passionate and triumphant string writing featuring, but this only really reaches heady heights in the concluding "Triumph." All in all then, a disappointing listen on disc.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

CD REVIEW - Uno di Piu' All'Inferno

Uno di Piu' All'Inferno
Music by Nico Fidenco
GDM 4103
13 Tracks 34:45 mins

The third and shortest of the new Nico Fidenco western releases in the Hillside series is again a score from 1968, another western, this time starring George Hilton.
The CD brings together the three previously released album tracks with the remainder of the unreleased score, all in stereo sound; and again, it is pretty much a one-themed score.
This theme is first heard as an echoey English language vocal by Gianni Davoli. "Forgive and Not Forget" is not the greatest Italian Western song, but not bad all the same. The theme pretty much crops up throughout the remaining tracks, save for a couple of versions of "Gun Strip Minuetto," another genteel piece, with brief breathy vocals by Edda, whcih becomes more strident as it continues.
There are a number of tense, suspenseful and dramatic variations on the main theme, but plenty of more enjoyable treatments, either galloping, with trumpet lead or with Edda and choir, or in laid-back travelling mode, s well as a low-key version for guitar and choir in "Amore Nel West." "Momento Patorale" is a strange piece, with flute in a repetitive, ascending figure, but ends with a more straight-forward harpsichord variation on the theme.
The concluding track starts out with a reprise of "Momento Pastorale," before building to a dramatic crescendo, then seguing to an organ version of the main theme, before Davoli returns with a brief vocal reprise.
The accompanying eight-page booklet again features colour stills from the film, as well as original poster artwork. Again, the address to go to for your copy is

Friday, May 04, 2007

CD REVIEW - Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior

Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior
Music by Jonathan Elias
Varese Sarabande VSD 6806 (EU)
23 Tracks 62:09 mins

We haven't heard much from Jonathan Elias in recent years, a composer mostly known for his scores for genre films such as Children of the Corn and for TV productions, but now, out of the blue, comes a score for a new film and what's more there's a rare chance to hear his music on CD.
The film appears to be about an abandoned Viking boy, raised by Native Americans, who goes on to fight with them against returning Viking warriors.
Elias was obviously given a decent budget, as he makes use of the City of Prague Philharmonic and Chorus, supplemented by two percussionists . The choir is used sparingly, but effectively, mostly in the action sequences, but percussion is present throughout, and much of the music is drum-driven.
The album gets off to a fine start with powerful drumming, then dissonant choir, in the "Opening Credits," before orchestra joins for a propulsive finish. However, it has to be said that such moments are few and far between in the score, as there is a good deal of mysterious, atonal, ethnic-styled writing to be heard. There are however a few good action cues, like "Vikings Attack," which ends somewhat poignantly with boy soprano, after some menacing and powerful music. "Ghosts Fight Begins" begins dark and threateningly, before building to percussive action, and "First Kill" has a big choral opening, then moves triumphantly to a choral crescendo, before some savage, percussive conflict intervenes. "Quick Kills" presents some episodic action, with quite a bit of dissonance, and "The Last Stand" builds to choir-enhanced action music.
Early on in the score there is some almost spiritual string writing in "Starfire" and this returns in the concluding "Prophecy Fulfilled," before boy soprano and choir take us to a satisfying climax.
A somewhat patchy listening experience then, and maybe this is due partly to the length of the disc, but it's good to have Elias back in the frame, and I'm sure his score will work well in a film that I'm looking forward to seeing.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

CD REVIEW - Lo Voglio Morto + News from Costa Communications

Lo Voglio Morto
Music by Nico Fidenco
GDM 4101
26 Tracks 59:34 mins

The second new Nico Fidenco western score released in the Hillside Series also dates from 1968 and again stars Craig Hill.
Another generous CD presentation gathers together tracks previously released on the original album, including three in mono, and previously unreleased selections, all in pretty good sound, age considering. It is very much a one-themed score, with the majority of tracks presenting variations on the excllent main theme. There are just a few suspenseful, tension-filled offerings, mostly late on.
The theme is first heard in the opening "Clayton Ballade," where solo recorder starts it off, to be joined by choir, all in rather mournful style. It then develops into a galloping trumpet-lead affair. A flamenco guitar version is next up in "Clayton Guitar," and then two vocal versions by Lida Lu follow, the first in English, the second in Italian, both with whistled intro and exit, presumably by Alessandron Alessandroni, whose I Cantori Moderni feature throughout the score, as does harmonica player par excellence Franco De Gemini, whose haunting solo starts off the next selection, a galloping variation, appropriately entitled "Galoppata Tragica." "Pastorale" presents a version with female choir and guitar.
Thereafter, as previously noted, it's basically a collection of variations on these initial approaches, though there is a hinky-tonk piano version in "Funny Saloon." Two bonus tracks close the album, which appear to be the songs without vocals.
As with yesterday's featured release, the disc is again accompanied by an eight-page booklet, featuring colour stills from the film, plus original poster artwork. Order your copy from

From Costa Communications


An intimate portrait about the lead singer of Dead Can Dance featuring masterful performances and interviews by Brendan Perry, Russell Crowe, Michael Mann, Hans Zimmer and more.
Over a career that spans almost two decades with Dead Can Dance, award-winning movie soundtracks and a series of acclaimed solo and collaborative albums, Lisa Gerrard has established herself as one of the world's most ground-breaking and in-demand artists. The documentary film SANCTUARY: LISA GERRARD is due out on DVD via Milan Entertainment on April 24 and will have its North American Premiere at this year's Seattle International Film Festival.
SANCTUARY: LISA GERRARD, directed and produced by Clive Collier, illustrates the essence of Lisa's music, her singing as strong spiritual expression, and her connection with nature. The documentary film talks about the different components of Lisa's career: her beginnings with the formation of the Dead Can Dance group with Brendan Perry in the 80's, her film and solo careers, the reformation of Dead Can Dance for a world tour in 2005, and aspects of her family life which support and influence her work.
Lisa's career is a musical journey that began in the early 1980s when she and fellow Australian Brendan Perry formed Dead Can Dance, one of the world's most extraordinary bands whose boast is that they never fit into any neatly manufactured genre or lazy pigeonhole. With Lisa's otherworldly voice counterpoised by Brendan's mellifluous tones, from the outset they thought nothing of setting discordant electric guitars and dark, rolling bass lines against cellos, trombones and timpani.
Throughout the DVD's 90 minute running time SANCTUARY: LISA GERRARD follows the much sought-after composer of soundtracks to point out that, in many ways, working in films has been a logical progression. Much of the work of Dead Can Dance had a cinematic quality that led to the group's music being used in the cult movie "Baraka," TV commercials and even a car chase scene in "Miami Vice." Among the films she has scored or contributed to are "The Insider" and "Ali" for which she received Golden Globe nominations and "Gladiator," for which she received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.
With unique access to a reclusive artist, SANCTUARY: LISA GERRARD contains music performances, photographs and behind-the-scenes footage never seen or heard before. Brendan Perry, Patrick Cassidy, Russell Crowe and many more colleagues, friends and family offer valuable insights throughout the film.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CD REVIEW - All'Ultimo Sangue + News from Costa Communcations

All'Ultimo Sangue
Music by Nico Fidenco
GDM 4102
36 Tracks 64:03 mins

The first of three splendid new releases in their Hillside Series, of music by Nico Fidenco for Italian movies of the '60s is for the western All'Ultimo Sangue, which starred Craig Hill and dates from 1968.
Presentation of the score could not be better as, not only are we treated to the original album tracks in very good mono sound, but also six alternate tracks, again in mono, all of these presumably specially recorded for album release, plus the film score proper in stereo.
As was the case at the time, themes were often rearranged and extended for a better listening experience on record, and so often when you hear one against the other, the album tracks win out, and that is the case here, with the mono tracks being largely more enjoyable than the stereo cues. Mind you, these tracks don't get off to the best of starts, with the opening "La Miniera" not being the most attractive, a menacing piece, with propulsive electric guitar. This is followed by "Attento Cliv," which is a genteel, flute-lead theme, and sounds totally out of place in a western. Track three reprises the menacing music, but thankfully things look up from there, with "Cordero" being a catchy Mexican dance.
The score's main theme is very memorable and gets its first and best workout in the next track "Chaleco," where it is played leisurely, with recorder, choir (I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni) and trumpet. The following "Chaleco Marcetta" reprises the theme in a whistled marching version, and then "Chaleco Triste" presents the theme in pastoral mode with flute, guitar, recorder, and vocals taking turns with the melody. The final album version of the theme is "Chaleco Galoppata," which as the title suggests, is a fine, if all too brief, galloping rendition.
The alternate mono tracks present different arrangements of the album themes, some excellent in their own right, like the alternate "Chaleco Galoppata," featuring choir.
The stereo score tracks of course present their own versions of the main themes, but they are mostly much shorter than the album cues, with the longest track just under three minutes in length. So, whilst it's great to have the score proper available for the first time, it is the album tracks I will most likely return to more often.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful 8-page booklet, featuring stills and original artwork from the film. Go to to order your copy, and to browse other titles.

"Meera Kahan" Devotional Songs of Meera Bai Come to Life with Music
Release June 12

(Hollywood, CA) Kosmic Music announces the release of "Meera Kahan," a CD combining the lyrics of legendary Indian poet Meera Bai with the music of Indian composer Ajay-Atul. Ajay-Atul uses a chorus, woodwinds, percussion and traditional Indian instruments including the veena and the tabla to bring Meera Bai's passionate and devotional poetry to life. Kosmic Music will release "Meera Kahan" on June 12.
Meera Bai was born in 1498 in Rajahstan. Her incredible devotion to Krishna affected all parts of her life, including her marriage; she refused to honor her husband because she believed she was already married to Krishna himself. Although no one knows exactly how many "bhajans," or prayerful songs, she composed, historians believe the number lies somewhere between 200 and 1300. The seven tracks on "Meera Kahan" tell a small piece of Meera Bai's story and her devotion to Krishna.
Ajay-Atul is an Indian composer whose credit list includes scores for "Shock," "Viruddh. . . Family Comes First," "Gayab" and "Savarkhed: Ek Gaav." In addition, his music was featured on the soundtrack for "Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!" For "Meera Kahan," he utilized traditional Indian instruments and arrangements to complement a choir singing Meera Bai's works.
Kosmic Music U.S., Inc. recently launched in Los Angeles. The label, originally rooted in India, seeks to bring together talented writers, composers and musicians from around the globe. Its catalog includes wide-ranging releases spanning World Music, Health & Healing, Meditation & Relaxation and Soundtracks. A spin-off label, Kosmica, devoted to Electronica, releases its first CD in May. Kosmic Music is distributed nationally by Allegro.
Kosmic's other current releases include "Dhyana Mantra," a collection of Sanskrit chants, and "Akhand," a collection of Vedic chants, both released April 10. Upcoming releases include "Siddhi States," an electronic album, also due out May 8.
Kosmic Music U.S., Inc is a leader in its genre. With offices in Los Angeles, Kosmic Music fuses Eastern and Western styles of music representing the best of World, Film, Healing and Meditation music. Kosmic Music is distributed in North America through Allegro.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

DVD REVIEW - Music By Gabriel Yared

Music By Gabriel Yared
Digital Classics DVD
52 mins approx.

An imminent release from Digital Classics DVD is Music By Gabriel Yared, a fine portrait of the composer of The English Patient and Cold Mountain.
Filmmaker Rani Khanna follows Yared as he guides us from his early days in The Lebanon and Brittany, to his time in Brazil, where he first honed his musical skills, to the present day, where he is seen working on the score for Cold Mountain and preparing for a concert in Rio.
The film is sprinkled with extracts and scenes from his ballets and film scores, and the composer is seen playing themes on the piano, rehearsing the Brazilian musicians in music from Betty Blue, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Camille Claudel, and performing music from one of his ballets.
Director and frequent collaborator Anthony Minghella is interviewed, and there are scenes of the two working on Cold Mountain, including footage from a recording session for the score.
Covering so much ground in such a short running time makes the portrait a little shallow perhaps, but it is a good introduction to the composer for anyone not overly familiar with his work, and with so little currently on DVD for the film music fan, it is a more than welcome release. In any case, those of you looking for a bit more depth, might find rewarding the scenes in Rio where Yared deconstructs his themes from Betty Blue and The Talented Mr. Ripley in front of an audience.
So go on, grab your copy of this DVD and, who knows, further film composer portraits may be considered.