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

Sunday, July 01, 2007

New scores from George S. Clinton & Murray Gold

I'm back, with a new PC and a stack of discs to catch up with, starting with a couple of promos of new scores worthy of your attention though, sadly, there is no news of a commercial release for either. Still, the films are quality productions, worth checking out in their own right, let alone for their excellent scores.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Music by George S. Clinton

In May, HBO premiered their new film Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, based on Dee Brown's best seller of the same name. The film tells the events preceding the Sioux massacre of 1890 and stars Aidan Quinn and Anna Paquin, with music by Austin Powers composer George S. Clinton.
Clinton's music for the aforesaid spy spoofs was great fun, but here the composer is in most serious vein and spent time researching Native American music to weave it in and out of his orchestral/ choral score, calling upon master Lakota flutist John Two-Hawks to bring much of it to life. Clinton composed some two hours of music over a four-week period and, thanks to the composer's publicists I got to hear around 30 minutes of the score.
Of his approach Clinton says "I had the choir sing Lakota text at times to further integrate the Native American and the traditional orchestral elements of the score." The results are often proud, but poignant and increasingly tragic, as one would expect, with the final two cues on the CD a mix of mysticism and lamenting. Along the way there is a Native American dance, "Spotted Eagle Song,"by Darryl McDonald.
The score's "Main Title" starts out with Two-Hawks' flutes, before seguing to a powerful piece of action writing for orchestra and choir. More action can be found in the racing opening to "White Horse" much later on.
Clinton's main theme is introduced in the disc's third track "The Train - Civilized," a sweeping affair with piano and strings, becoming more subdued with subtle choir. The theme concludes the disc in "Cross and Feather."
Strangely at odds with the rest of the disc is a very catchy, Thomas Newmanesque piece "Assimilation." Could this be another case of "the curse of the temp score," I wonder?
Based on the thirty minutes on this promotional disc, this appears to be a worthy, serious work by a composer, largely known for much lighter fare. It is to be hoped we shall hear more of his serious side in the future.

Death at a Funeral
Music by Murray Gold

Opening on August 17th in the U.S. is Frank Oz's Death at a Funeral, winner of this year's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. This story of a dysfunctional British family, starring Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Graves, Ewen Brember and Peter Dinklage, features a score by Murrya Gold, currently riding high with his excellent music for the Doctor Who revival and its various spin-offs. The third series of the Doctor's adventures in time and space has just concluded on BBC television in the U.K. and again featured some wonderful music, which it is to be hoped might make it to disc, on a second volume of selections, following Silva Screen's successful first volume release.
Murray's music for this comedy is of course much different fare, but no less entertaining. It's a totally joyous affair, very continental in style, with bouncy Mediterranean sounds and even a Parisian-styled accordion waltz. The main theme opens the promo, again kindly supplied by the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, in a vocal rendition, by uncredited female singer. It's a breezy, guitar-based tune, which receives various instrumental treatments throughout the subsequent score, sometimes uptempo, at others more laid-back, with acoustic guitar or piano taking the lead. Besides this theme, there are plenty more similarly catchy pieces throughout, with also a strident, comic march and just a touch of poignancy here and there. Many of the tracks are very brief, and some end rather abruptly, which would perhaps make an album release difficult, but there is nearly 40 minutes of music on the disc and it all makes for a highly enjoyable listen.
If he's not careful, Murray Gold might well make a career for himself in the international market. Leave him be, you guys, the Doctor needs him!


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