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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008



(April 29, 2008- Burbank, CA)- Walt Disney Records will release the original soundtrack for Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on May 13, 2008. The recording features score written by award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams and songs performed by Switchfoot (“This Is Home”), Regina Spektor (“The Call”), Oren Lavie (“A Dance ‘Round The Memory Tree”), and Hanne Hukkelberg (“Lucy”).

In 1950, the scholar, critic and writer C.S. Lewis published The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first of his seven-volume series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and established a modern legend. Adults and children alike fell in love with his stirring, action-packed adventure that was set in the middle of World War II bombing raids yet transported readers into an alternate and far more enchanted universe of mythological creatures waging an epic battle between good and evil.

Harry Gregson-Williams reunites with director Andrew Adamson for the 5th time after composing the scores for his Academy Award®-winning Shrek (co-composed with John Powell), the hit sequels Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for which he collected Golden Globe and Grammy nominations for his score. He is one of Hollywood’s most sought after composers, working on a variety of high-profile projects, both animated and live-action.

Over the last several years, Gregson-Williams has composed such notable scores for Shrek the Third,Gone Baby Gone, Chicken Run, Man on Fire, Flushed Away, Domino, Spy Game, Déjà vu, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerin, Smilla's Sense Of Snow, The Replacement Killers, Bridget Jones: The Age of Reason, Enemy of the State, Antz and Kingdom of Heaven, among others.
The multi-platinum selling rock band Switchfoot has written and recorded the original song “This Is Home,” which is heard in the body of the film and over the end title credits. They shot a video for the song with director Brandon Dickerson, who filmed their most recent video for “Awakening.”
“We are so honored to be a part of the Prince Caspian film with ‘This Is Home,’” says Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman. “The Narnia stories have a really special place in my brother Tim and my lives. Our dad used to read these to us at bedtime when we were boys. Our imaginations were shaped on these amazing novels.”

The characters of C.S. Lewis’ timeless fantasy come to life once again in this newest installment of the Chronicles of Narnia series, in which the Pevensie siblings are magically transported back from England to the world of Narnia, where a thrilling, perilous new adventure and an even greater test of their faith and courage awaits them.
“As [the film’s director] Andrew Adamson and I began early discussions about the musical possibilities for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” composer Harry Gregson-Williams said, “it became clear that the movie could take a score with plenty of edge and bite to it this time around, supporting the fast moving action and adventure that quickly unfolds.”
One year after the incredible events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Kings and Queens of Narnia find themselves back in that faraway wondrous realm, only to discover that more than 1300 years have passed in Narnian time. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz, who rules the land without mercy.
The fast forward 1300 years in the future allowed Gregson-Williams to re-address themes from the first film as well as creating new ones. Director Andrew Adamson described, “For Prince Caspian, Harry drew not only on the beloved themes of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but also developed original, sympathetic themes for Caspian and the Telmarines. Harry has threaded these themes with the same beauty and originality as he has woven all the notes that form his wonderful scores.”
The four Pevensie children will soon meet an intriguing new character: Narnia’s rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian, who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne.
Gregson-Williams embraced the challenge of composing for these new characters. He described, “The early introduction of a fearful Prince Caspian fleeing for his life from the dangerous Lord Miraz gave me a wonderful opportunity to introduce this new and somewhat darker musical landscape right from the opening.”
Also drawing inspiration from C.S. Lewis was Switchfoot. “‘This Is Home’ was inspired by the book after re-reading it for the opportunity to write for the film,” continues the band’s frontman, Foreman. “I am always taken by [C. S.] Lewis' ability to write about the bittersweet beauty in this world; this home we aren’t really made for but is the place we work out our humanity in the midst of our longing for our true home.”
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media present The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in theaters on May 16, 2008. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Original Soundtrack will be in stores on May 13, 2008.






(Hollywood, CA) “Living Green” now applies to music. Grammy nominated composer Chris Walden releases “SYMPHONY No. 1: THE FOUR ELEMENTS,” recorded with the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra available May 20 on Origin Classical Records. The album, conducted and produced by Walden, returns the composer to his classical music roots. An EPK is available at Walden explains, “I attempted to create music that would have a similarly visceral impact on us as the elements found in nature.”

“SYMPHONY No. 1: THE FOUR ELEMENTS” takes listeners through the Earth’s elements that surround life. The first movement GAIA (earth) opens with a big bang, followed by low strings playing a long sustaining D-flat. The earth swings at a frequency that gives a sound into space. That frequency is a Db. The second movement HUDOR (water) opens with the strings playing random-like pizzicato notes that eventually develop into a musical theme. Just as rain begins with a few drops and then builds into a torrent. Later in this movement one can also hear a single drop falling into water, creating ripples on the surface, and building to waves crashing into a shore. The third movement AER (air) commences with a high-register melody played by the violins minus any vibrato, like a light breeze over a desert landscape where there is nothing but sand and wind. In the fourth movement THERMA (fire), Walden encapsulates everything from a single candle flame which develops into a raging fire storm. The themes of the other three movements also are reprised in this movement.

Chris Walden continually challenges himself musically. Since emigrating to the U.S. ten years ago, the German-born musician has built an illustrious career as a film composer and the creator of the leading West Coast Big Band, Chris Walden Big Band. Their first U.S. release “Home of My Heart” received two Grammy nominations. In Germany, after studying classical and jazz composition at the University of Cologne, he went on to record and conduct with Germany’s leading classical symphonies and most talent musicians including clarinetist Sabine Meyer and pianist Myleene Klass.

Chris Walden’s additional accomplishments include writing over 400 arrangements for symphonies worldwide including the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra and the West Australian Philharmonic. He served as musical director for the German Movie Awards Show which led him to scoring of international films. On the popular music side, Chris Walden has arranged for David Foster, Paul Anka, Michael Bolton, Sheryl Crow and he is currently arranging for American Idol.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The Visitor
Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Varese Sarabande VSD 6890 (EU)
18 Tracks 54:01 mins

This acclaimed Sundance Film Festival entry follows a widowed professor, whose life is given new purpose when a vibrant young couple enters his life.
The music is by Polish composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek and is a suitably low-key accompaniment, largely for piano and string quartet. The score is beautiful, yet melancholy for the most part though, as the opening "Overture" would suggest, there are more hopeful things to come, as the story proceeds. Much of the early part of the score however finds piano and strings either drifting or flowing along, as we follow the professor's aimless progress.
Things take a more dramatic turn, with the strings coming to the fore in "Trip to the Detention Center," whilst the composer strays from his small ensemble to enhance the feeling of despair in "Tarek Arrested" with electronic shadings, with more gloom provided by "Waiting For Tarek," and the melancholy "The Loneliness;" and there's a cold opressiveness to "The System Says NO."
"Evening With Mouna" brings a little lightness and elegance to proceedings, with "Looking At The Liberty Statue" providing further lightness and a little hope, and there's the first hint of tenderness in Walter and Mouna Together," with something of a waltz developing for "Walter Feels Alive Again." This leads to "Back To the Detention Center," which is altogether more hopeful, with guitars making a rare appearance to propel it along.
Kaczmarek seems to have composed a couple of piano "Etudes" for the film, which the professor obviously performs on screen (I haven't seen the film). The first, incomplete one, features almost half way through the album, with the much more hopeful second obviously providing the emotional climax to the film, and Bernard Bayer deserves a special mention as the soloist.
The disc concludes with more source music, this time composed and performed by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the rhythmic, upbeat strains of "Je'Nwi Teni."

Subject: New Georges Delerue CD from DCM Classique!

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Monday, April 28, 2008


Beat Records Company of Italy have just sent me their latest soundtrack release, for the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer starrer NON C'E DUE SENZA QUATTRO, which I shall be reviewing for you shortly. In the meantime, they have informed me of a very special 4 day event, to be held between the 19th and 22nd of June.
Cinevento De Masi is dedicated to the Italian Westerns, and will feature concerts (with Maestros Roberto Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi and the "Maggio Musicale Fiorentino" orchestra), screenings and debates, with many interesting guests; together with an "Independent Short Film Competition." For the latter, Beat are inviting submission of short independent movies that will screen in the presence of distinguished directors, such as Lamberto Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Enzo G. Castellari and Mario Caiano. Choice of subject is open and successful entrants can expect awards and the possibility of future publication of their work by Beat Records productions.
The Competition is intended for Italian entrants but, if there is enough interest, there is the possibility of a special section being created devoted to other countries. So, if you are interested in entering your film, it should be forwarded to the following address:-

Beat Records Company srl
C.A. Valentina Imperi
Via Filippo Nicolai 16
00136 Roma

If you wish any further information on the Competition or indeed the Festival in general, please contact Valentina at, and keep an eye on the website at for updates to the programme of events.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The Spiderwick Chronicles
Music by James Horner
Lakeshore Records LKS 339802 (US)
15 Tracks 71:37 mins

This magical family adventure recently made a favourable impression on its release in UK cinemas and stars talented young English actor Freddie Highmore, old enough now to be trusted with an American accent, among its case of youngsters, ably supported by the likes of Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, Mary-Louise Parker and David Strathairn.
Music for the film was provided by James Horner and this more than generous album showcases what is his best score for many a while. Of course his style will be instantly familiar, and the usual Hornerisms are on display; but whatever your opinion of his music, there's no doubting it always serves its subject well. He really is a master of his art.
It's quite a dark score for much of its playing time, with much threat and some really menacing action writing, but there are also magical touches, with subtle use of voices, and there are a few moments of calm, where the composer introduces some tenderness and innocence. Horner also features a kind of quirky, comic march for the Hogsqueal character.
Standout track for me is "The Flight of the Griffin" which, after a gentle start becomes ever uplifting until it positively soars, complete with Troy-like brass fanfares. After all the dark action, "Jared and Mulgarath Fight for the Chronicles" introduces a more heroic figure as victory is achieved over the forces of darkness, with "Coming Home" and the "Closing Credits" bringing matters to a gentle, peaceful end.
Recommended not just to Horner fans, but to everyone who appreciates good film music. This is certainly one of the better scores of the year so far.

Composer Alan Williams has notified me that his new website is now open. Excellent though his previous site was, this is even better, with plenty of great features. There is plenty of music to sample, plus video clips showcasing his work, as well as biographical details, credits, interviews, a photo gallery, and reviews of his constantly expanding Silverscreen catalogue. Well worth a visit. Go to and enjoy all that is on offer.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Music by George Duning
Harkit Records HRKCD 8147 (UK)
17 Tracks 43:13 mins

It's been a long time since I received anything from Harkit Records, but George Duning's music for the 1958 romantic comedy Houseboat, starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, just dropped through my door.
Duning is perhaps best known for his "Moonglow" theme, featured in Picnic but, though he never really made it to the A-list of Hollywood composers, he still wrote many a fine score in his time, including Bell, Book & Candle (also available from Harkit) and the original 3:10 To Yuma; and still received three Oscar-nominations for Jolson Sings Again, No Sad Songs for me and From here to Eternity.
Houseboat, originally available as an LP on the Columbia label, is a delightful, melodic album, a mix of score and original source music.
Sophia displays her vocal talents on the somewhat cheesy, but nevertheless catchy, "Bing! Bang! Bong!" and memorable "Love Song from 'Houseboat," the melody of which Duning weaves into his score in arrangements for guitar, trumpet and orchestra. The composer also comes up with a charming theme of his own, initially for harmonica and orchestra, first heard in the "Prelude;" at other times in more romantic mood, as in "Houseboat Haven - Cinzia and Tom." In complete contrast is Duning's dramatic music for the opening of "Lame Brain David - Pig-Headed," though the "Love Song" ends the cue on a happier note. A quirky comedy motif appears in "Cinzia's Gown," though again the "Love Song," at one point with a bluesy refrain, wins out, before giving way to Duning's main theme, which also dominates "Tom and Elizabeth;" the two themes reuniting, with the harmonica making a return in "Love in a Dinghy," before they bring the score to a satisfying conclusion in "Reconciled - End Title."
Duning's scource music is of the big band jazzy variety, popular at the time, and is all very tuneful and enjoyable.
With two such memorable themes as the basis for his score, George Duning produced a winning work for Houseboat, beautifully represented on this fine album, which is accompanied by a synopsis of the film and brief biography of the composer.
Visit for details of the label's other soundtrack releases.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Music by Joby Talbot & various artists
Lakeshore Records LKS 339142 (US)
14 Tracks 53:47 mins

For this modern fairy tale, starring Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon (who also produced) and James McAvoy, Lakeshore Records has released an album which is a combination of score and songs.
Composer Joby Talbot, whose best known film score to date is for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has produced a magical musical accompaniment, which could be described as Philip Glass meets Danny Elfman meets Michael Nyman, which is to say that the often magical elements are akin to the kind of work Elfman was producing for the likes of Edward Scissorhands some years ago, with a degree of minimalism in the music which nods towards the film work of the other two esteemed composers. Whatever, it works, and the barely 20 minutes of score presented here, has one begging for much more.
The score seclections get off to a great start with "The Story of the Curse - Parts 1 & 2," which take us through a broad range stylistically and emotionally - real fairytale stuff, often busy, occasionally menacing, sometimes boisterous, but also delicate when required. "Penelope Breaks Free" with its soaring strings is suitably uplifting, whilst "Fairground" has that music-box-like Elfman-styled touch. "The Wedding" builds quite menacingly, before taking flight - all very anguished, and ending in sad piano and flute. By complete contrast, the final score selection "The Kiss" leaves us emotionally satisfied, with its soaring strings, flowing piano and pop-styled beat.
Of the songs, the country stylings of Schuyler Fisk and Dave Bassett on "Waking Life" most appeal to me, with the remainder mainly being in the modern style of pop/rock songs in need of a decent vocalist, though Paper Moon's "String of Blinking Lights" and James Greenspun's "Your Disguise" have some appeal. There is also quite an uplifting instrumental by Wenzel Templeton & Robert Pegg, continuing the mood created in "The Kiss."
In conclusion, I've heard worse score/song mixes, but more selections from Talbot's fine score would have suited me more - but then I would say that, wouldn't I?


Happy 30th Anniversary Varese Sarabande! Special 4 CD set!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Sorry I've been absent for a few days, due to other commitments. I'm back now with a vengeance though with reviews of two recent releases from Lakeshore Records, plus news of yet more releases from label of the year Intrada.

Under the Same Moon
Music by Carlo Siliotto
Lakeshore Records Promo (US)
13 Tracks 28:14 mins

I must admit to not having heard a great deal of Carlio Siliotto's film scores. The Punisher didn't realy impress me, but I was much more taken with his work on Nomad the Warrior. Both these scores could not be more different than his intimate, melodic work for Under the Same Moon, which follows a young Mexican boy, who, on the death of his grandmother, crosses the border into the USA to reunite with his mother.
This charming, though rather brief album gets off to a fine start with the lovely, if somewhat poignant piano, accordion and orchestra of "La Misma Luna," continuing on into "La Fantasia De Carlitos." The theme again appears at the conclusion of "La Muerte De La Abuela," before the score takes a slightly menacing turn in "El Cocho," which has more of a Mexican feel than anything that has gone before, with "La Mano" building on that menace. A much sunnier feel is provided by "El Viaje y Enrique," though this gives way to more sentimental fare. What follows is very much in the same vein, a mix of sadness, anxiety, sentiment and eventual joy; mostly melodic and suitably innocent in feel, with guitars and accordion never far away to provide the appropriate colours. One cannot fail to be charmed by simple, melodic charm of Siliotto's score and its delightful main theme.
The album is of course readily available from soundtrack retailers, with presumably the same contents as this promo disc, kindly furnished by the label.

Man in the Chair
Music by Laura Karpman and various artists
Lakeshore RecordsLKS 33992 (US)
15 Tracks 50:26 mins

Laura Karpman has written many an acclaimed score for TV, documentares and video games, without really cracking the feature film market. I fear her latest attempt for Man in the Chair, starring Christopher Plummer, will not do her any favours in this respect. It doesn't help that the soundtrack album only presents four brief excerpts from her score, the rest of its playing time being given over to songs by a number of artists completely unknown to me, like The Frames, Eric Anders, and Rene Reyes, plus widely differing source instrumentals by Israeli band Zino and Tommy, some of which aren't actually half bad; and even a couple of Carols by the LSO and Nashville Children's Choir.
Concentrating solely on Karpman's score, it's really quite spare, with piano, strings and woodwinds giving a feel of sadness to "Not Forgotten, though the track ends somewhat business-like. "Lockup" is a mercifully brief piece of electronica, with "Mr. Moss Pt.1" having a kind of ethereal quality, mixing both orchestral and electronic elements. Karpman's final offering is something of an extension of her preceeding track, though with orchestra most predominant. With all four cues totally around six minutes, it really is hard to judge the composer's overall impact on the film.



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Friday, April 18, 2008


Blue Dragon
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Sumthing Else SE-2032-2 (US)
Disc 1 - 25 Tracks 56:53 mins Disc 2 - 27 Tracks

To videogamers, Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu is a god-like figure, based largely on his music for the long running Final Fantasy series. I haven't heard all of these scores, but they are usually a mix of beautiful melodies and exciting action pieces, sometimes with a rock sensibility. But the composer has of course written music for other games, including 2006's Blue Dragon, for which a double disc soundtrack album has been available in the far east. Now, thanks to its licensing relationship with Mistwalker, Sumthing Else Music Works has been able to release the album for Statesside consumption.
Stylistically, Uematsu's music for the Xbox 360 fantasy game is very much in the same vein as his Final Fantasy scores, with principal melody being the beautiful, pianistic "Waterside," which opens disc one as a solo, but ends disc 2 in a fine arrangement for both piano and orchestra, preceeded by another special arrangement of the bold "Blue Dragon Theme." In between, the score, a mixture of orchestral and electronic, is all over the map, and features some exciting action pieces, like "Crisis" and "High Speed Flight;" the hard-rocking "Dragon Fight," "Knock it Down," "State of Emergency," "Revival of the Ancients" and "Release the Seal;" the latter a surprising mix of rock and (initially) a capella choral work; together with the beat-driven "Advance!" "Take Back the Shadow!" and "Drill Machine." There are also inspirational marches like "Advancing Ground," "Army of the Holy Sword," "The Road to Gibral" and the grand, Oriental-styled "Gibral Castle;" as well as the big and bad guitars of "Nene's Paradise" and "Ancient Styronghold." Melodic tracks like the lovely "Cave," "Smiling Face," "Zola's Theme," "Peaceful Waterside" and the poignant "Desolate Town" and "Frozen Village," bring some calm, and even a sunny Caribbean-styled track "Debbie, the Tribe of Dance lovers" is thrown into the mix.
On the the downside, a few sometimes cutesy, and quite simplistic electronic pieces are to be found, and they can be somewhat irritating. Also, most of the cues appear to be lifted directly from the game soundtrack and, as is the nature of the beast, some of them are very brief and fade out at the end. However, overall, there is some very good music to be found on these two discs, and melody is key, which suits me fine.
In addition to the score, Uematsu collaborated with lyricist Hironobu Sakaguchi on a handful of songs, most unfortunately sung in Japanese, by uncredited vocalists, but given English titles in the track listing,the best of which is the lovely female-voiced "My Tears and the Sky," though both "Bad But Bat," featuring children's choir, and "Happy Birthday," again with female vocal, have a simple charm, and are quite infectious.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Eye of the Devil
Music by Gary McFarland
Film Score Monthly Vol.11 No.1 (US)
17 Tracks 48:44 mins

The FSM label does not always bring us momumental film scores, but occasionally releases an undiscovered gem, as is the case with Gary McFarland's score for Eye of the Devil, a 1966 chiller, also known as 13, starring David Niven and Deborah Kerr. It's a little-seen film and the composer's name meant nothing to me when I picked up the disc. In fact he only composed one more film score after this, for Who Killed Mary What's 'er Name?, another film I am unfamiliar with, before his tragic and somewhat mysterious death at the young age of 38.
Though principally a jazz composer, arranger and performer, McFarland was taking an increasing interest in film composing and, on the evidence of this disc, could easily have made another career for himself in that field.
The score's "Main Theme" opens the album, introduced as a harp solo, played on-screen at a dinner party. This blossoms on horns and strings in the following "Philippe's Study." It's an attractive piece that actually found a life of its own away from the film, being recorded numerous times under various titles. An LP of the score, which was recorded in England with members of the National Philharmonic, under the baton of Jack Parnell, was actually planned at the time of the film's release, but was cancelled when the film performed poorly following its delayed release due to production problems. The theme receives a number treatments throughout the score, most of them lush and positive. There are however many eerie, mysterious moments, McFarland often making use of vocal combinations in some quite spare, but also soothing, ethereal passages.
"Procession" is an interesting track, presenting a tuneful opening for peeling bells," which gives way to a soothing choral, before the bells take over again.
A devilish Hunting horn theme adds suitable menace in "Christian Galloping" and "The Grave in the Forest" and "Nightmare" offers dissonant action writing. The climax of the film features what is best described in the press release as a "bolero of death," which starts out quite sparingly in "You Must Help Me" and is developed through the following two tracks, before ending in a furious climax. The main theme returns in all its glory for the finale "Jacques and the Eye."
As a bonus, the percussive jazz accompanying the film's trailer is tacked on at the end of thedisc.
All in all, the score holds up well in comparison with other similar genre offerings of the time. I'm thinking of the Hammer horrors, and McFarland's jazz sensibilities also bear some similarity to the work of Jerry Fielding, Michel Legrand and their contemporaries.
As always, the disc's accompanying booklet features stills from the film, together with detailed notes and cue-by-cue guide, courtesy of John Bender and album producer Lukas Kendall. Go to for further details, samples and to order your copy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Nim's Island
Music by Patrick Doyle
Varese Sarabande VSD-6889 (EU)
16 tracks 53:13 mins

That most consistently excellent of contemporary film music composers, Patrick Doyle, has another new score out for Nim's Island, a charming family film, starring Jodie Foster and Little Miss Sunshine herself, Abigail Breslin.
As is most often the case, Doyle's music is orchestral, with the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by James Shearman, with delightful, sunny and melodic material, perfectly suitable both for the island setting and also illustrative of childhood innocence, opening the score in the title track and "Baby Turtles." There are however darker colours at work for the perils that beset the film's characters, with plenty of exciting and powerful action writing, like in "Volcano & Door," "The Great Outdoors," "Volcano Erupts,""Helicopter Storm," and "Alex Nearly Drowns," together with the semi-comedic "Lizard Attack," for which the composer utilises choir, and almost slapsticky "Woman Overboard." Choir again subtly enters in the awe-filled opening of "Alex Swims Away."
The lovely, singing strings of "It's Empty" restore calm after all the preceeding events, with the gorgeous and inspiring "Nim Sees Jack" bringing this fine score to a very satisfying conclusion.
I'm sure I've said it before, but Patrick Doyle has to be the most consistently excellent composer working in films today. I always await his next score with eager anticipation.

From Costa Communications:-



the 10,000 steps

Lisbeth Scott & Greg Ellis’ Debut Collaboration as biomusique

(Hollywood, CA) Kosmic Music releases biomusique’s “the 10,000 steps” [street date May 13th]. Biomusique is the group name of acclaimed singer/songwriter Lisbeth Scott (“Chronicles of Narnia,” “Munich,” “Passion of The Christ”) and eclectic percussionist Greg Ellis (“The Matrix, “300.”) The project brought the two noted L.A musicians together in a creative process that spanned months of intensive recording – and birthed a work of sweeping, cinematic beauty.

Working in the aerie of his Beechwood Canyon studio with its panoramic city views, Ellis' multi-instrumental talents were broadly exercised to support and embellish Scott's extraordinary, multi-textured vocals. He contributed not only the shimmering pan-global sounds of his subtle, signature percussion -- Balinese gongs, Tibetan bowls, African udu, Indian table & nagara, Middle Eastern frame drums -- but also bass, guitar, dulcimer and trumpet.

Ellis’ intricate, carefully-crafted arrangements sensitively frame the tonal nuances achieved by Lisbeth Scott’s luminous voice in masterfully precise performances, with eclectic instrumentation surging bravely around some of her vocal tracks with understated grandeur and a deft chiaroscuro – or in other pieces enhancing her voice with the delicacy of fine filigree. Instrumentally, Ellis is joined by bassist Dan Lutz; African drummer/vocalist Mabi Thobejane; guitarist Sugizo (also on electric and acoustic violin), as well as by Lisbeth Scott -- who plays piano (the maiden recording for her 1911 Steinway grand), harmonium, guitar and calimba.

“The songs range from poignantly moving to serene and radiant, weaving a richly textural tapestry of emotion and sound – a ‘sonic sculpture,’ similar to a film score”, as Ellis describes it. This is hardly surprising, as both Ellis and Scott have long been ubiquitous as contributors of note to major film music; Greg's prolific work has shaped the sound of such films as the “Matrix” series, “Fight Club,” “Dukes of Hazzard,” and “300,” among others, while Scott's includes music forNarnia,” “Shrek,” “The Passion of the Christ” (for which she received a Gold record), and Spielberg's “Munich.”

With the unmistakable words of a film composer, Scott describes the spontaneity and flow of “the 10,000 steps” creation process: "My lyrics present themselves with visuals all the time. A movie begins in my head…and I simply describe what I see. As soon as I heard Greg's dulcimer playing for the song "Ohroo," I saw a fluid and strong young horseman riding across an open land with mountains in the distance…Iceland? Finland? He was riding at night in desperation, not a minute to spare, longing for the woman he loves, calling the whole time…and she far away in a tiny room, asleep, dreaming of him. And then I realized the metaphor: we all wait, we all dream, we all wonder what our awakening will be…when we are already in it! Do we create this magical world to relieve us of the pain we feel?"

In addition to their film work, both Ellis and Scott maintain eclectic musical careers. Ellis is well-known as half of the ambient world music ensemble Vas, in which he collaborated with singer Azam Ali (now of Niyaz) over four albums on EMI's Narada label. He also released his solo, Kala Rupa, through Narada. Ellis has toured with Beck, Billy Idol, and most recently UK-based Juno Reactor. He has performed with such world music heavyweights as Indian tabla masters Zakir Hussain, Bikram Ghosh and Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Grateful Dead’s Micky Hart, Brazilian percussion monster Airto Moreira, and Japanese taiko drummers Kodo – as well as with master musicians from Iran, Africa, and Turkey. An advocate for the healing power of organic rhythm and "real time" music, Ellis has presented seminars at the national conferences of the American Music Therapists Association, and was invited to speak at the World Conference on Music Therapy in Oxford, England. His RhythmPharm organization is dedicated to the dispensing of organic, unprocessed rhythm as "audio-pharmaceuticals" called RhythmTonics.

Originally trained as a classical pianist at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston native Lisbeth Scott has creatively collaborated with artists as diverse as Paul Schwartz, INXS, John Prine, Mark Isham, John Martyn, Tom Rush, and composer John Williams – who for the film Munich composed a solo expressly for her, calling her distinctive voice "absolutely ravishing." She has produced and released four critically-acclaimed solo projects, including her sophomore effort Dove – which was named Record of the Year by New Age Voice and reached #2 on the New Age music charts. Lisbeth Scott has toured nationally and internationally.

Biomusique will bring their lushly resonant sound to live audiences across the U.S. and internationally the coming year. Those fortunate enough to catch the live concerts will come away feeling moved and restored by the other-worldly beauty of the unique new sound genre.

Kosmic Music U.S., Inc. is based in Los Angeles. The label originally rooted in India, brings together talented writers and musicians from around the globe. Kosmic Music maintains the integrity of World music as well as fuses Eastern and Western styles. The label releases include World, Health & Healing, Meditation & Relaxation and Soundtracks. Kosmic Music is distributed nationally by Allegro and all music is downloadable


“the 10,000 steps”

ananda 5:00

caeli et terra 8:17 .

the tender green 7:12

ohroo 3:20

redemption 7:00

empty spaces 9:00

persephone 8:00

10,000 steps 6:00

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Justice League: The New Frontier
Music by Kevin Manthei
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1066 (US)
21 Tracks 57:26 mins

The recent straight-to-DVD release of animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cook, which tells of the formation of the League, was scored by Kevin Manthei, who is probably best known for his music for many video games. However, this is certainly not his first foray into the animation world, with his score for Invader Zim a popular favourite. His recent work includes games like Marvel Universe Online and Kung Fu Panda, as well as films like the anime-inspired Batman: Gotham Knight and The 24th Day.
Manthei's score for Justice league is largely achieved by synths and samples, though live trumpet and woodwinds do feature. The result however is a very epic orchestral sound, unlike many contemporary animation scores, inspired by the likes of Bernard Herrmann and Aaron Copland.
The album opens with a questing, mysterious theme over the "Main Titles," which is followed by some very dark, ominous sounds in "The Centre/Hal Shot Down," before a poignant ending.
Manthei's score is filled with leitmotifs, in the old tradition, with themes for The Centre, Flash, Hal, Green Lantern and J'onn J'onzz and these are woven into the score that follows which, as one would expect from an animated film, closely follows the action. There is much dark, mysterious and downright menacing music for the villains, and of course plenty of exciting action material, at its most powerful featuring choir, with some fine heroic writing, and the film noir elements largely surrounding the J'onn J'onzz character, all sax, piano and muted trumpet, add interesting contrast. The noble, trumpet-lead "Victory" brings a fine conclusion to the score, with the "End Credits" suite splendidly reprising many of the score's principle themes.
The accompanying booklet features plenty of artwork from the film, together with detailed notes on the score by both the composer and also Michael Goguen, Supervising Producer of the film.
Go to for further details, samples and of course to order your copy of this fine album.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Heavy Metal
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Film Score Monthly Vol.11 No.2 (US)
27 Tracks 72:40 mins

2008 just keeps getting better and better! Already we've seen some great releases of long sought after scores, like The Blue and The Gray, North and South, FSM's own Superman Box and the latest, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. Now, we have the complete score for 1981's Heavy Metal, which though it may replace my much-worn LP, I will always treasure that disc and certainly don't plan to part with it any time soon.
1981 was a time when I would actively seek out any new score from my favourite composers and, as so often was the case, I obtained the Heavy Metal score LP (there was a songs one as well) before I had even seen the film. What I discovered, despite the not so promising cover artwork, was a true gem and made me keen to seek out the film, which fortunately came to our modest little cinema; and I have to say I loved it. It was 1996 however that I was finally able to add it to my film collection, with the long delayed video release. Since then, I have of course replaced that with the DVD release, with its bonus features.
Although the film, one of the first truly adult animations, was, like the title suggests, filled with rock songs, the very nature of this series of sci-fi/fantasy stories, demanded a proper dramatic score and Elmer Bernstein certainly delivered one in spades. Some episodes called for more score than others and, although "Harry Canyon" had an effective film noir-styled accompaniment, and "Bomber and the Green Ball" from "B-17" remains one of my favourite album tracks, a real tour-de-force this; it was really the "Den" and "Taarna" episodes that saw the composer at his inspired best. "Den" boasts some beautiful romantic material, as well as one of Bernstein's most heroic anthems. As for "Taarna," my favourite episode from the film, this received some truly brutal and menacing scoring, making use of the by now much-cliched "Dies Irae." The highlight however is "Flight," one of my favourite all-time film music cues and, amazingly, the theme at its heart wasn't even composed for the picture, but in fact was written for the previous year's Saturn 3, but subsequently rejected. Lucky for us that it was, as Bernstein transformed it into a beautiful, soaring piece, featuring one of the composer's first uses of Ondes Martenot, not here performed by Cynthia Millar, who subsequently collaborated with Bernstein on sadly far too many projects that followed, turning an effective orchestral colour into an irritating gimmick; but by JeanneLoriod, sister-in-law of renowned classical composer Olivier Messiaen.
FSM presents all the material previously available on the Full Moon/Asylum LP, some of which was specially arranged for album release and is here included as bonus material, following the score presentation; all accompanied by the usual colourful booklet, with much artwork from the film, together with extensive notes and cue-by-cue guide by Paul Andrew MacLean and Alexander kaplan. Go to for further details, samples and of course to purchase this unmissable film music gem.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Bone Dry
Music by Scott Glasgow
Intrada MAF 7103 (US)
21 Tracks 72:48 mins

Congratulations to Intrada Records for being voted "Film Music Record Label of the Year," by the International Film Music Critics Association, an award I cannot really argue with, though Film Score Monthly must surely have run them close. Intrada has consistently released rare and interesting titles in the past months and years, with their "Special Collection" releases being particularly rewarding of late. Only recently the guys have released Bruce Broughton's monumental score for the epic mini-series The Blue & The Gray, Michael Small's much sought after music for Comes a Horseman, and perhaps the biggest coup of all, Jerry Goldsmith's Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend; for Disney has often shown reluctance in releasing scores from their back catalogue of films. Let's hope this marks a new era of co-operation and that we shall see other long neglected Disney film scores released in the future.
Of course, all these are limited editions and therefore the guys at Intrada are unable to supply me with review copies, which is personally sad for me, as I would love to cover all of their fine releases for them. They do however occasionally put out a regular release of a new or recent score, and these they do favour me with. So, I am pleased to be able to bring you my review of Scott Glasgow's Bone Dry, a recent thriller, set in the Mojave desert, starring Luke Goss, Lance Henriksen and Dee Wallace; which gave the composer the opportunity to experiment a little, as he is wont to do. Imaginatively, he uses plucked cactus as a primary colour in what is a mostly ominous, atmospheric and often threatening score, more textured than thematic, largely realised in Glasgow's studio, with synths and samples, though there are moments of high drama and excitement, like in "Cactus Torture," with its relentless opening and menacing dissonances, and the rhythmic chase music of "Hood Ornament," and excitement of "Desert Chase." An odd poignant moment can be found however, as in the keyboard opening of "Nightmare."
Director Brett A. Hart was able to secure an augmented budget when Glasgow felt that the beginning and end scenes needed orchestra to provide a more emotional, human feel, and the last few tracks on the album feature the 50 strings of the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague, recorded by means of a link-up between Prague and Los Angeles, a technology that is being increasingly utilised these days. The results give an effective end to the score, with an overall feeling of anguish and desperation, leading to a huge emotional release in "Redemption."
With his willingness to experiment with unusual and interesting sounds, plus his dramatic sensibilities, Scott Glasgow is an emerging talent worth keeping an eye on.
The accompanying eight-page booklet features stills from the film, plus quite extensive notes by the composer and his director.
Go to for further details and samples, and of course to order your copy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Following on from my review of the Aleph records release of the Sudden Impact soundtrack a couple of days ago, you may like to know that Lalo Schifrin has recently written a score for Spooks, which is a new military horror series from Devil's Due Publishing. Spooks was created and co-written by Lalo's son Ryan, with whom he previously collaborated on the film Abominable, the soundtrack of which was reviewed on this site.
Spooks the comic sold out within its first week and all four issues will be turned into a graphic novel in July. If you want to sample the music you can hear it on the website for the comic at, but the soundtrack will be released by Aleph Records through iTunes on May 6th.

You may also like to know that Codemasters has licensed tracks from Schifrin's Bullitt score for He$st, a new action-driving game set in San Francisco, circa 1969. The video game will be released during the summer.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Music by George S. Clinton
Costa Communications Promo (US)
16 Tracks 40:40 mins

I have yet to see a Harold & Kumar movie, not being that much into comedy these days. This sequel to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, due for release in U.S. theatres on April 25th, finds the pot-smoking duo as suspected terrorists on the run.
Composer George S. Clinton, probably best known for his Austin Powers scores, follows in recent comedy traditions by supplying their antics with a mostly serious score, featuring a very authoritarian, martial-styled theme that opens this promotional disc, supplied by the composer's publicists, and crops up throughout the subsequent score.
After much sneaking around in "Osama Ben Kumar," the track ends with a burst of action. The following "CockMeat Sandwhich" features some dark and threatening textures, with a Middle-Eastern bent, before again errupting into exciting action, complete with ethnic percussion. Clinton perhaps unsurprisingly weaves the National Anthem into "America," with a return to the menacing textures in "Van-V Leaves." "Bambi-Cell" offers some light romance, before slide guitar and banjo offer a southern feel, with more menace playing out the track.
The remainder of the score largely consists of variations on much of the material that has gone before, though "Hewitt-Heel-Airport" offers lighter fare, before its punchy conclusion, and "Pardon - HK Arrives" is suitably reverential. "Kumar's Poem" concludes the score sunnily.
Although the soundtrack album is to be released by Lakeshore records just prior to the film's release, Amazon's track listing indicates yet another song compilation, with just one track devoted to Clinton's score. That isn't to say that a score album will not follow though, for the label has sometimes issued both song and score albums for a film.
Clinton next reunites with Mike Myers for the music to Paramount's The Love Guru, which has a June opening in the U.S.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Sudden Impact
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Aleph records 040 (US)
22 Tracks 58:49 mins

Lalo Schifrin's Aleph Records label has done his fans and that of film music in general by having previously released his scores for Dirty Harry, Magnum Force and also that of Jerry Fielding for The Enforcer, which Schifrin had been unable to score. Now comes the soundtrack for the fourth in the Dirty Harry series Sudden Impact, which came some seven years after The Enforcer and immediately demonstrates the changes in musical styles between Schifrin's '70s series entries and this 1983 production.
The album opens with what plays like a source cue, with somewhat jazzy brass playing over a typically '80s groove. "Murder By The Sea" continues the feel, with an easy travelling groove, before a soft flute-lead theme takes over, which ends on a sinister note, foreshadowing the dark doings and suspense of the following cues "Too Much Sugar," "Frisco Night" and "Target Practice."
A change of pace comes with the initially melancholy "Road to San Paolo," before an uplifting travelling motif takes over. "Remembering Terror" opens with Caliope music, before suspense intervenes. It then goes through an almost music box-like tune, interrupted by a rock groove, before ending suspensefully again. Schifrin generates some excitement with the two subsequent action cues "Cocktails of Fire" and "Robbery Suspect," which are followed by the partly source rock cue "Ginley's Bar," but which also features a mix of poignancy and suspense. More suspense follows in "Another Victim;" then we have a welcome, though brief, break with the easy listening piano lounge track "You've Come A Long Way," before the suspense returns to close. More sinister and suspenseful goings on pervade "Darkness," with the flute theme from "Murder By the Sea" making another appearance in "Crazy," amongst yet more suspense. Action and still more suspense follows in "Hot Shot Cop," "Alby and Lester Boy," and "The Automag."
"Unicorn's Head" begins with a real unhinged, gothic feel, presenting something of a twisted take on the Caliope music from earlier, before an action climax. The action continues in "A Ray of Light," before ending in an uplifting '80s groove.
"Stairway To Hell" is somewhat experimental, with its spare percussion and keyboard runs providing yet more suspense, which continues into the concluding "San Francisco After Dark," before an urban sax-lead theme provides a satsifying resolution.
The album, which comes with Nick Redman's guide to the film and its music, ends with a bonus track, an alternate take on the "Main Title."
Whilst perhaps not as enjoyable as the composer's first two Dirty Harry outings, Sudden Impact nevertheless has plenty to offer fans of the composer, particularly in the moments of action and suspense, which are comparable to his earlier works. The '80s grooves however are sadly somewhat dated.


For more detailed information, click on this URL:

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Music by Tyler Bates
Lakeshore LKS 339912 (US)
23 Tracks 64:09 mins

For this futuristic thriller about a crack team sent into quaranteed Britain to retrieve a cure for a deadly virus that years earlier had decimated the population, we find composer Tyler Bates continuing to build on his reputation following his fine work on 300.
Recorded in England, Bates' music for the film combines orchestra and electronics, with telling contributions from the Metro Voices, producing a work that is filled with powerful, pulse-pounding action, often beat-driven; as well as plenty of suspense and menace, where the electronic atmospheres really come into their own; with poignant moments, underlying the characters' sacrifices along the way, and big emotional pieces like "Exodus" and "Finish Her Off," that could almost have come out of a biblical epic.
The album commences with a number each from Adam and the Ants and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and ends with Ariel Rechtshaid's brief rendition of "The Can Can," all sensibly kept away from the score, so that it may be enjoyed without interruption.
The accompanying booklet features a note from the film's director Neil Marshall, in which he rightly praises the composer's contribution to the project.

From Costa Communications


Ceremony Slated for May 21 in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2008 - Prolific composer Christopher Young will receive the Richard Kirk Award for outstanding career achievement at the performing right organization’s annual Film & Television Awards on Wednesday, May 21 in Los Angeles. Staged at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the black-tie, invitation-only dinner will also honor the composers of the past year's top-grossing films, top-rated prime-time network television series and highest-ranking cable network programs.

Named in honor of former BMI Vice President and film & television department founder Richard Kirk, the Richard Kirk Award is bestowed on composers who have made significant contributions to the realm of film and television. As the 2008 honoree, Christopher Young joins an elite list of peers that includes George S. Clinton, Jerry Goldsmith, Thomas Newman, Michael Kamen, Danny Elfman, Alan Menken and John Williams.

Award-winning composer Christopher Young has carved out his enviable niche in the upper pantheon of Hollywood composers with unusual speed and unerring flair. The UCLA Film School alumnus first turned heads with fiendish scores for horror and science fiction projects, and he proceeded to garner accolades for work on macabre and fantastical films including Hellraiser, its Saturn award-winning sequel and Species, along with BMI award-winners Ghost Rider, The Grudge and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Young became a master of suspense, composing music for thrillers including Copycat and BMI honoree Entrapment, as well as dramatic and critical tours-de-force including Golden Globe nominee The Shipping News, Wonder Boys, Rounders and BMI award-winner Swordfish. He also fleshed out the haunting nuances and electrifying action sequences of box office gold Spiderman 3. The New Jersey native has also excelled in television composition, earning two Emmy nominations for telefilms Last Flight Out and Norma Jean & Marilyn. A dedicated mentor, Young has taught classes at USC, served as an advisor for the Sundance Institute Film Composers Lab and created an innovative residential development to house aspiring composers in Los Angeles. He describes his progressive two-pronged approach to composition as the exploration of the contemporary music’s abstract ideas and the infinite pursuit of “the great American tune.”

Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI’s most recent financial results, $839 million in performing right collections for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, were the highest for any copyright organization in the world. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for over 65 years. The non-profit-making U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Music by Inon Zur
Sumthing Else Music SE-2038-2 (US)
22 Tracks 64:32 mins

Although Inon Zur has written music for film & TV, he is best known for his work in the video game field. Unfortunately much of his fine music remains unavailable on disc, but at least friends of the game score Sumthing Else Music have released one of his recent efforts for sci-fi first person shooter game Crysis. It's a generous length too at more than an hour.
Zur's music for Crysis is a mix of orchestra (the Northwest Sinfonia), choir and electronics, and makes for a powerful listening experience, much of it marching relentlessly forward, with much percussion, some of which has a jungle feel, others creating a more mechanical sound.
There are poignant moments too, as in the fateful choral "Sometimes You Lose" and also suitably otherwordly, ambient, suspenseful and threatening textures. "Pyrrhic Victory" provides a suitably heroic conclusion.
One or two tracks feature snatches off dialogue and effects, but don't be put off by this, as they are brief and placed at the opening and/or end of each such track, thereby offering minimal interference to the music that follows.
In conclusion, yet another fine game score by a man who is a master of the art. Would that more of his fine music for the medium were available to listen to away from the game. Samples of what we're missing can be found on the composer's website at

Monday, April 07, 2008


Music by John Powell
Varese Sarabande VSD-6886 (EU)
19 Tracks 39:54 mins

After the sheer fun of his score for Horton Hears a Who!, John Powell has provided a very different score for a very different film, concerning an Iraq vet who returns home after his tour of duty only to find himself recalled to the field.
Powell's main theme is a noble, lonely piece for trumpet, something along the lines of Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Last Castle. It both opens and closes the album and often supports the more poignant, elegiac moments of the score thereafter. "Graveside" is a suitably mournful piece, unusually with a somewhat bluesy electric guitar treatment, a style that is to return powerfully in "Tommy Breaks" and other troubled moments. "Going Awol" fairly pulses along to its climax, wherein the main theme makes its telling presence felt. "The Base" is a busy, perhaps surprisingly upbeat affair, with guitars again prominent; whilst piano takes the lead, supported by strings, in the emotional "Call Carlson," and offers the solo "Theme For Peace."
The lengthy and emotional "The Greatest Tragedy" closes the score in fine fashion, culminating in a powerful final statement of the main theme, with massed strings and martial drums; with the final track on the album being devoted to a song by The Marshall Tucker Band.

Extreme Music has a new release available. The double disc set Teen Pop (XCD 150) features a good mix of contemporary pop stylings, with the first disc being devoted to 16 vocals by a number of artists unknown to me, but then, as someone who never gets time to listen to pop, and who often skips over the songs on a film soundtrack, I barely know the names of some of the current bestsellers. The second disc presents instrumental versions of these numbers, and of course there are the customary 30 second versions of all. In these days of pop-dominated film and TV scores, these selections would sit comfortably on the soundtracks of any number of productions or trailers therefor.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


The Cinema Collection
Music by Alan Williams
Silverscreen Music SMCD 022 (US)
Disc 1 - 35 Tracks 74:36 mins Disc 2 - 42 Tracks 79:38 mins

I think I've only ever come across one composer-produced collection that possibly betters this one and that's the one released a good few years back Michael J. Lewis. Not that his music is necessarily better, it's just that it is presented in suites from each film featured, which I would actually have preferred in this case too. However, here Alan chooses to present his music in categories, namely Adventure, Romance, Action, Mystery/Suspense, Family, Drama, Comedy and World, which is ideal for the purposes of presenting his work to prospective employers and, on the strength of the content of these two generous discs, it should surely net him plenty of tasty projects in the future.
There is just too much great music on offer for me to cover each track in detail, suffice to say that much of the music is highly melodic, something sadly missing in a lot of contemporary scores, and covers just about any style, occasion and emotion you can imagine. There's romance, sentiment, exciting action, high adventure, comedy, drama, mystery, suspense, despair and nostalgia Williams also shows his mastery of ethnic sounds, with his selections from the likes of Amazon, Kilimanjaro and Dead Sea Scrolls.
Much of the music is drawn from the many soundtracks available on the Silverscreen label, but there are also tracks never before released on disc. If, amazingly, you haven't yet discovered the music of Alan Williams, this splendid collection will have you thirsting for more. There's plenty to choose from on the composer's website at What are you waiting for?

Friday, April 04, 2008


Superman: The Music (1978-1988)
Music by John Williams, Ken Thorne, Alexander Courage, Ron Jones et al
Film Score Monthly FSM Box 02 (US)
8 Discs over 600 minutes of music

The coup of this year or any other year for that matter is Film Score Monthly's monumental release of the complete scores for all four Superman-Christopher Reeve movies. John Williams of course wrote one of his greatest ever film scores for 1978's Superman - The Movie, which was brilliantly directed by Richard Donner, and if you thought Rhino's release of the Superman-The Movie score was fabulous in itself, this presentation is perfection, featuring as it does, on discs one and two, the complete score, plus 25 minutes of alternate cues.
Discs three and four are devoted to the scores for Superman II (1980) and Superman III (1983) (or, as I like to call it, Richard Pryor I), where, with Williams unavailable, Ken Thorne, new series director Richard Lester's composer of choice, actually did a very creditable job in adapting Williams' music from the first film. The original LP releases of these scores didn't do them justice at all, and these presentations make it seem as if you're hearing the music for the first time.
It was nine years after the original Superman film debuted that Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released and again Williams was unable to score the picture, but did manage to provide some new themes for his recommended composer/arranger Alexander Courage to work with. The results were excellent, and have long been sought after by soundtrack collectors. Here, at last, we have the complete score, presented on discs five and six, with alternate cues and source music, some of which was provided by Paul Fishman.
Disc seven is an unexpected bonus, as it presents Ron Jones' music for the short-lived spin-off Superman animated series from 1988. There are over 79 minutes of fine music here, and although Jones utilises Williams' Superman Theme, the remainder of the scores are akin to his fine work on the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.
Finally, disc eight, entitled "Extra!" cobbles together additional alternatives, source music and songs from the first three Superman films, including the songs written by hot composer of the time Georgio Moroder for Superman III.
Accompanying all of this often stunning music is a wonderful 160-page hardback book, lavishly illustrated with stills and artwork from the films and featuring just about everything you need to know about the productions, the composers/arrangers, and their music, including the customary FSM cue-by-cue guide.
As you can imagine, this limited edition item does not come cheap but, in view of its exhaustive content, is definitely value for money. Go to for further details, samples, and of course to order your copy.

From Karen Pitchford, Publicist, KHJ Communications Ltd


Friday 6th – Sunday 8th June 2008

A three day celebration of the creative world of Michael Nyman

“a most intriguing musician” The Independent

When Michael Nyman first became a music critic forty years ago and coined the phrase “minimal music”, he could not have foreseen the extraordinary musical and artistic journey that would await him as a composer. In celebration of his powerful creative output over the past thirty years, a three-day celebration of Nyman’s work will be held from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th June 2008 at London’s newest concert venue, Cadogan Hall. This multi-media festival includes not only music and film but features for the first time Nyman’s own photographic and video work and will also act as the unofficial launch for Nyman’s record label, MN Records. The event will also show Nyman’s gratitude to his most intimate musical collaborators: The Michael Nyman Band, the Nyman Quartet, the contralto Hilary Summers and sopranos Marie Angel and Sarah Leonard, along with some newer collaborators such as violinist Francesco D’Orazio and Wingates Brass Band.

The celebration will present six concerts performed over three days and includes

a great curtain raiser with the Michael Nyman Band and Marie Angel performing the already notorious 8 Lust Songs (formerly ‘I sonetti lussoriosi’) to coincide with the MN Records release on 2nd June 08; a new arrangement of ‘For Kiyan Prince’ (2007), dedicated to the murdered QPR youth player, together with music from the soundtracks to Peter Greenaway’s ‘The Draughtsman's Contract’ (1983); ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ (1989) and ‘Prospero's Books’ (1991)
This will be preceded by the first live performance of ‘Lift Music’ (2008); the purely minimalist 2 Violins (1981); extracts from The Fall of Icarus (1989/2007) in a new arrangement by Tony Hinnigan for string quartet and piano ‘The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi’ (2001) for string quartet and voice, featuring Sarah Leonard
Wingates Brass Band in music from the Nyman Brass album including the first concert performance of a brand-new commission for the National Pensions Convention to celebrate the centenary of the Old Age Pension
The Michael Nyman Band in the first UK performance of Violin Concerto 2A (2007) performed by Francesco D'Orazio plus a rare performance of Nyman’s legendary score for Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent film ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ (2002)
Michael Nyman in The Piano Sings: solo piano music from the album of the same name and introducing ‘Granpa Delivers [at last] (2008) and th first London concert performance of his score for Jean Vigo’s 1930 film ‘A Propos de Nice’ (2001)
The Michael Nyman Band with Hilary Summers in a rare performance of Six Celan Songs (1992) along with Nyman’s recently-released ‘remix’ album Mozart 252 with music from ‘Drowning by Numbers’ (1989) and ‘Letters, Riddles and Writs’ (1991)

James Rushton, Managing Director of Chester Music and Nyman publisher commented: "This festival encapsulates, as much as any single series of concerts can, the sheer range, diversity and energy of Michael Nyman, the man and his music. This is a rare and very exciting opportunity to celebrate the work of this popular and greatly individual composer via his favourite medium, the Michael Nyman Band, and other performers with whom he has closely worked over many years."

Box Office: 020 7730 4500 / /

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Music by Randy Newman
Varese Sarabande VSD-6887 (EU)
20 Tracks 43:58 mins

When I first picked up the CD and saw George Clooney and his latter-day American Football teammates staring out at me, I couldn't wait to put it in the player, thinking this might be the opportunity for another classic Americana score from Newman, like the brilliant The Natural. I was immediately disappointed to find that, rather than resemble The Natural, Newman's music was closer to his Ragtime, being a period jazz score. However, disappointment over, I gave it another spin and found that, on its own terms, it is really a rather enjoyable score, featuring strong themes, like the "Good Old Princeton" anthem that crops up proudly from time to time, an easy-going, Elmer Bernstein-styled theme, first heard in "Dodge," and a very nice, tender love theme, first heard in "Ah, Love."
Along the way, there are more conventional jazz pieces, sometimes riotous, at others more reserved and a little melancholy; there's even something of a Charleston feel to "Dan Higgins." Light comic moments can also be found, but very little conventional sporting action and triumph, more often heard in films of this nature. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable listen but, given the choice, I'd still take The Natural with me to that desert island.



Click the link for further details and information on how to order!

CELEBRATED musician and composer, Michael Nyman, is lending his support to the increasingly vociferous campaign to save London's popular and famous theatre and arts centre, The Drill Hall, by performing a one-off benefit concert on Sunday 6th April 2008 at 7.30pm

Nyman, together with soprano Marie Angel, will perform 'I sonetti lussuriosi', a set of erotic texts by Renaissance poet Pietro Aretino, written to accompany a series of explicit engravings and set to music by Michael Nyman.

Further details from / The Drill Hall, 16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX / Box Office: 020 7307 5060

Karen Pitchford

Publicist, Michael Nyman

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Italian Police Deluxe 3 CD Box
Music by Stelvio Cipriani, Bruno Nicolai and Guido & Maurizio De Angelis
Digitmovies CDDM100 (Italy)
Disc 1 - 16 Tracks 51:54 mins Disc 2 - 21 Tracks 51:41 mins Disc 3 - 16 Tracks 48:13 mins

As I mentioned some days ago, enterprising label Digitmovies has reached the fabulous milestone of 100 releases of fine retro Italian film music. To celebrate they have released a splendid 3-CD box, featuring three scores for police thrillers of the '70s, all previously unreleased in complete form.
Disc One features Stelvio Cipriani's music for 1973's La Mano Spietata Della Legge and largely consists of variations on a strong, flowing main theme, which is reprised in many differing arrangements, some romantic with piano and strings, or flute, or guitar; others more uptempo, with bongos driving them on. The theme is also presented in a Bossa Nova arrangement, as is a second, easy-going theme. There is also a disco-styled version. There is a little bit of suspense along the way, and "Violenza" presents a double-bass-driven jazz mover, but the score is largely one-themed, though the theme is strong enough not to outstay its welcome.
Disc Two presents Bruno Nicolai's jazzy score for 1975's L'Uomo Della Strada Fa Giustizia, which starred Henry Silva and Luciana Paluzzi. Again, a strong main theme dominates the score and appears in many of the score's tracks, initially with a jazz piano intro, but more often it goes straight into the largely sax-lead fast-flowing theme, though electric guitar gives some variations a hard edge. Nicolai also gives us a very nice love theme, often with a music box-styled intro, which again is reprised a number of times. Some suspenseful moments, with a real eerie, gothic feel sometimes, make their presence felt here and there, and there is also some easy listening source but, like the Cipriani score, the strong main theme leaves the strongest impression on the listener.
Disc Three features the De Angelis brothers' score for the Fabio Testi starrer Il Grande Racket. Now, normally one can rely on the composing team to come up with plenty of catchy melodic material, but this is a real departure from the norm, a hard-edged, piece of abrasive beat-driven rock, noisy and violent, with wailing guitars etc., and quite trippy and unsettling at times. It all makes for a far from comfortable, uncompromising listening experience.
The usual quality booklet accompanies the music, featuring colour stills and artwork from all the films, guides to each entry and their music by Claudio Fuiano and Pierluigi Valentini, together with Luca Di Silverio's introductory notes, commemorating this historic 100th release by the label.
Keep up to date with new Digitmovies releases by visiting the label's website at

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Horton Hears a Who!
Music by John Powell
Varese Sarabande VSD
34 Tracks 59:54 mins

With his scores to such recent animations as Ice Age 2 and Robots, John Powell has shown he is a contemporary master of the art and, with his latest effort for what is possibly the most successful cinematic adaptation of a Dr. Seuss story yet, he only reinforces that mastery.
There is much variety in the score, with moments of drama, excitement, awe and inspiration, sometimes featuring both orchestral and choral forces, together with much lighter, comical moments, with suitable quirkiness when required, a surprising Latin feel on occasion, and even a little funk thrown in.
As you can probably guess by the sheer number of tracks, quite a few of the cues are quite short, as is often the case in animation, but the disc has been presented so that one track flows easily into another and, although stylistically the music is all over the shop, it is filled with melodies, or fragments thereof, all of it blending together in a pretty seamless whole, making for another thoroughly enjoyable listening experience from the pen of one of the finest composers working in film today. One of the scores of the year thus far.