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

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A bumper crop of reviews today to make up for my not being able to do any for the last couple of days, due to work and ill health. Oh well, here goes:-

Journey to the Center of The Earth
Music by Andrew Lockington
New Line Records (US)
24 Tracks 67:19 mins

This latest of many film versions of Jules Verne's classic story, opening in US theatres on July 11th, is shot in 3-D and stars Brendan Fraser. The soundtrack album has just been released and I'm working here from an advance copy, so I am afraid I don't have a catalogue number for you, but it should be readily available from your usual soundtrack retailer.
The score is by Andrew Lockington who, after years of working with Mychael Danna on numerous projects, is now picking up a few scoring assignments himself, especially following his much-praised music to 2006's Skinwalkers. For this score, the composer utilises a large orchestra and choir, together with the Japanese drumming ensemble Kiyoshi Nagata.
The album opens in adventurous fashion with the "Journey Theme," which is to return in variations on occasion, but, in this instance, develops into some exciting action at its conclusion. And it's this action writing which probably impresses the most, as with his Skinwalkers score, and there's plenty of it to enjoy in tracks such as "Mine Car Adventure," "Water Drop," "Storm," "Dinosaur!" and "Volcano;" but Lockington also provides some light relief here and there, and suitable moments of awe and splendour, as in "Climbing Sneffels" and "The Center of the Earth;"as well as poignant interludes, like "Goodbye Max," which is followed by the determined "Building the Raft." "The Return," sees the "Journey Theme" and variations bringing things to a satisfying conclusion.
I have no doubt that, on the strength of this and Skinwalkers, we shall be hearing much more of Andrew Lockington in the future.

Buffalo Bill L'Eroe Del Far West
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4116
32 Tracks

This much expanded release of Carlo Rustichelli's score for the 1964 western starring Gordon Scott (perhaps better known as one of the better on-screen Tarzans) as the famed Indian Fighter, Pony Express rider and showman, presents the original LP tracks, plus 12 more not featured on that release.
For an Italian western, Rustichelli's main theme is not typical of the genre, but being an early entry is more in the style of the Hollywood western scoring of the time, an easy-going, clip-clopping theme for orchestra, with harmonica and trumpet taking turns to lead on the excellent 4-minute opening stand-alone version. We then get another version as the album tracks are first presented, followed by the introduction of the composer's theme for Indian attack, in "La Carovana va...," another Hollywood stereotypical piece. Plenty more exciting action material follows throughout, and includes a sturdy, heroic theme introduced in "Inseguimento," with the title theme also cropping up to good effect here and there. A more gentle, nostalgic version of the theme, for harmonica, features in "Notte Serena Nel West;"
whilst "Far West" features a glorious, trumpet and harmonica-lead, travelling version; and the camp fire source version "Bivacco" is for harmonica alone.
In between the theme variations and the action, there are some tense, suspenseful moments, but some tuneful source material, featuring a couple of dance-hall instrumentals, provides some light relief.
The bonus tracks of previously unreleased material feature alternate versions of many of the album tracks, giving a generous playing time of over an hour of fine music.
The colourful accompanying booklet features stills and artwork from the film, plus cast and credits. Visit

The Film Music of Thomas Newman
Silva Screen SILCD1262 (UK)
14 Tracks 51:59 mins.

This latest film composer collection from Silva Screen, released on 18th August, brings together themes from Thomas Newman's more acclaimed assignments, faithfully performed by the label's orchestra of choice, The City of Prague Philharmonic, with London Music Works featuring on a couple of tracks from American Beauty, and the theme from the TV series Six Feet Under.
The other films featured are The Good German, Road To Perdition, The Horse Whisperer, The Green Mile, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Little Women, Cinderella Man, Finding Nemo, Meet joe Black and The Shawshank Redemption.
With such an extensive body of work under his belt, I am sure there will be something missing that you would have liked to be included (my own personal regret is that Scent of a Woman or Naked Tango are not featured), but overall this is a fine representation of Newman's work and would make for a good introduction to anyone new to the world of film score appreciation.
Each selection is accompanied by a brief guide to the film and its music by Music for the Movies' Michael Beek, as well as introductory notes, in the accompanying eight-page booklet.


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