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

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am reminded that you it is still possible to order the two releases issued on the Airstrip One label in 1999/2000. They are Dominic Muldowney's score for the 1984 (when else) remake of Nineteen-Eighty Four, and a pairing of Howard Blake's scores for The Duellists (1977) and The Riddle of the Sands (1979).
I reviewed both scores on their respective releases, both in the New Zealand Film Music Bulletin, for which I was UK Correspondent at the time, and the subsequent and sadly short-lived incarnation of the Bulletin under my own editorship. This is what I had to say at about Nineteen Eighty -Four in the NZFMB (my review of the Blake scores will follow at a later date):-

Nineteen Eighty-Four (Airstrip One AOD 1984)

Released on the fiftieth anniversary of the exact date of the first recording session, comes, finally, Dominic Muldowney's largely rejected score for Michael Radford's vision of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. At the time of the film's release, director Radford was so displeased at Virgin's treatment of his work, including replacement of much of the score with tracks by Virgin-backed band Eurythmics, that he declined a BAFTA Best Picture nomination.
Digitally remixed by sound designer and composer Alan Howarth from the orginal 24-track analog master tapes, this 54-minute CD, released by new label Airstip One in the USA, features Muldowney's score as originally intended. Normally I frown upon use of the Ondes Martenot, having been battered to death by certain composers' overuse of the instrument, but it is used sparingly and very effectively thoughout this score to give the music as somewhat off-centre feel. At the heart of the score however is the hymn-like "Oceana, 'Tis For Thee," performed both instrumentally in a number of tracks, most effectively in "Main and End Titles" and the particularly sensitive rendering of "The Place Where There is No Darkness;" chorally in "Party rally;" by soprano in "Winston Meets O'Brien;" and in a combination of the two in "Victory Square."
The Ondes Martenot really shines in the almost sunny "Dead Insects and Cheap Perfume," ably supported by violin, whilst "Paddington Station/The Hiking Song," begins with a distant march, as if played over a P.A. system, before turning into a rousing marching song, performed by children's choir. This march is to re-surface in equally rousing orchestral form in "The Inner Party Speaker."
"A Room Upstairs at Charrington's " introduces a folksy tune, given voice, though again distantly, by solo female as "The Washerwoman's Song," before being take up by orchestra.
Throughout, a six-note fanfare insinuates itself, sometimes opening cues, at others cropping up at some point, and receives variations in the penultimate track "Winston at the Cafe."
There is no doubting this is a score of the highest calibre, and I should love to see the film - plus score - as originally intended. Bravo then to producer Christopher Landry and Airstrip One for this overdue release, which is accompanied by a 12-page booklet, that includes an introduction by Radford, never-before-seen photographs and pre-production drawings, supplied by the film's production designer, Allan cameron, as well as liner notes by producer Landry.
Go to to order your copy.


Post a Comment

<< Home