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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Nights in Rodanthe
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Varese Sarabande VSD 6924 (EU)
18 Tracks 35:21 mins

Diane Lane reunites with Richard Gere for their third film together for this new romantic comedy, which receives a score from a new name to me, Jeanine Tesori, but apparently she is a composer of Broadway musicals. including Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek The Musical. Just how she became involved in this film, and whether or not this is her first film score is unknown to me, but it's always good to hear from a new voice and this is a quite amiable, if unremarkable effort, if indeed it is a first time outing.
The music is orchestral, with guitar and piano to the fore and plays on the emotions, with warm, feelgood tracks like "White Wine Dinner;" "Walk on the Beach;" "Maps in Bed;" and "The Goodbye;" and more poignant fare in the likes of "Devastation;" "Opening Shutters; "Ecuador;" with its ethnic flute shadings; and "Loss," with its wordless female vocal; with the cello and piano of "Tell Me About Him," having a foot in both camps. Along the way, there are a few dramatic moments, like the tense "Face Off With Charlie" and "Embrace."
"Jean in Miami" is an interesting guitar track, as it is propelled unusually by tamborine; as is the harp, cello, guitar and xylophone combo in "Jean's Studio;" and the carefree, uptempo "Box Montage," which throws electric organ into the guitar and percussion-lead mix.
The positive mover "Horses" leads into the "End Credits Suite," which brings together the main thematic material to provide for a warm, feelgood conclusion.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Eagle Eye
Music by Brian Tyler
Varese Sarabande VSD 6927 (EU)
22 Tracks 77:28 mins

You can usually depend on Brian Tyler to come up with some pretty exciting action music. He has done so consistently in the past for projects like AVPR, Timeline, Fast & the Furious: Rambo et al, and this new Shia LeBeouf thriller is no exception, with much of the music on this generous CD being high octane stuff indeed.
After a weighty opening, the title theme proceeds with much power and bombast, with the action kicking in over the "Main Title," a fast and thrilling ride, featuring variations on the main theme. The theme is again present in the initially expectant "Final Manipulations," before the action kicks in again. More excitement can be found in "Escape," "Ladders," "Clutch Then Shift," and "The Case;" whilst "Delivery offers a menacing countdown to a big climax; with the menace continuing in the subsequent "Hidden Message,"where the main theme bursts forth powerfully at the close; and the later "Injection." The lengthy "Operation Guillotine" builds to a powerful crescendo, the moves expectantly to the climax; with the final showdown presumably enacted in the powerful "Potus 111," with its dissonant stringed climax.
In between, "Honor" adds a touch of nobility and a slight martial feel to proceedings; whilst "Ariia" and "Loss of a Twin" add a note of tragedy, with poignant piano solos. There's a contemporary, electric guitars-driven feel to "Copyboy" and a similar treatment is given to the main theme over the "End Title," bringing things to a benign close.
Many of the album's tracks, particularly the action cues are quite a decent length, allowing for plenty of development in the music and providing a satisfying listen.
Another winner for Tyler, who incidentally has recently written another action-packed score for "Bangkok Dangerous."

Friday, September 26, 2008


Miklos Rozsa: Orchestral Works, Vol.1
Chandos CHAN 10488 (UK)
12 Tracks 74:46 mins

Though not a film music related release, I am gladly reviewing this fine compilation of Miklos Rozsa's concert works for orchestra, performed by Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic, which is available next month, largely because a) I just love the great man's music, and b) like Korngold, Rozsa's concert work is always melodic and not that stylistically removed from his film work, unlike other composers who have written much more challenging (and let's face it, dull) music for the concert hall, in stark contrast to their work in films.
Four works are presented on this generous album, which commences with 1956's Overture to a Symphony Concert (revised in 1963), a work that shortly precedes his epic film scores Ben-Hur, El Cid and the like, and can be appreciated by fans of those works, starting as it does with a typical fanfare, as can often be found in his epic scores and going on to present some pretty stirring and turbulent stuff on the way to its thrilling climax.
Three Hungarian Sketches (1938, revised 1958) follows. The first movement is often quite busy and suggestive of a wild folk dance at times, but actually ends on quite a whimsical note. The second movement starts quite serenely, but picks up, becoming quite majestic, before ending as before as essentially a nocturne. The material from the opening movement gets a thorough and thrilling workout in the closing movement, with only brief, quiet interludes.
Rozsa's Tripartita (1971, revised 1972) was his penultimate orchestral concert work. The opening movement, after a quiet start, soon becomes quite forceful and even threatening, in the style of the composer's film noir scores, powering its way to the conclusion. Movement 2 is again something of a nocturne, starting out quite mysteriously on flute, but become more impassioned and even quite anguished in the strings, before ending as it began, only with violin taking the lead. The rhythmic third movement brings the piece to a pretty exciting close, only pausing for a subdued mid-section, featuring a conversation between oboe and violin, which even then becomes quite dramatic.
Finally, the disc ends with the composer's Hungarian Serenade, composed in 1932, and revised in 1946. There are five movements, the first being quite a joyful foksy march. In complete contrast is the following strings-only serenade, which gives way to the often boisterous third movement, though it does feature a quite noble mid-section. The fourth movement is a somewhat introspective nocturne, before the fifth's joyful folk dance concludes the piece.
Accompanying the disc is the usual informative booklet, in three languages, with extensive notes by Andrew Knowles on the man and each featured piece.
Although I've managed to acquire most of Rozsa's concert works on one format or another over the years, the release of these pieces (and hopefully more on subsequent volumes) on CD is very much welcome indeed, and will hopefully introduce new admirers to the Hungarian composer's work. Visit

From Costa Communications:


Premieres at ScreamFestLA on October 16, 2008

In Theaters Halloween 2008

(Los Angeles, CA) Composer Elia Cmiral creates a haunting score for “Splinter,” the first full-length film by award-winning director Toby Wilkins. In the film, a convict and his girlfriend carjack a couple on a weekend retreat in the woods. The couples soon find themselves trapped together in an isolated gas station, on the run from a deadly parasite that occupies the woods outside. Cmiral will attend the film’s premiere at ScreamFestLA as the festival’s Centerpiece film on October 16, 2008. It opens in theaters on October 31, 2008.

ScreamFestLA, a film festival devoted entirely to the horror genre, showcases some of the best independent short and full-length horror films each year. “Splinter” director Toby Wilkins won Best Horror Short for his film “Staring at the Sun” in 2005, garnering the attention of producer Sam Raimi, who then chose Wilkins to produce, direct, and write a number of short films for his production company, Ghost House Pictures. This year, the festival runs from October 10th to October 19th at Grauman’s Mann Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, Calif.

No stranger to the world of thrillers, Cmiral scored “Tooth & Nail” and “The Deaths of Ian Stone,” both featured at last year’s After Dark Horrorfest. Most recently, he finished scoring “Pulse 2: Afterlife,” the sequel to last year’s Wes Craven film, “Pulse,” for which he also wrote the score. This was Cmiral’s second collaboration with Craven, having scored “Wes Craven Presents: They” in 2002. In addition, he scored John Frankenheimer’s suspense thriller “Ronin,” starring Robert DeNiro. Cmiral continues to provide highly original and evocative scores for major Hollywood studios as well as independent filmmakers, including “Journey to the End of the Night,” “Stigmata,” “Bones” and “Species 3.”

Born in Czechoslovakia, Elia Cmiral quickly established himself as one of Europe’s leading young composers after graduating from the prestigious Prague Music Conservatory. He wrote scores for several European films and three ballets before coming to the United States to attend USC’s famous Film Scoring Program, after which he was hired to produce tango-based music for “Apartment Zero,” composing a now-classic full length score in a scant ten days. By the mid-1990s, Cmiral had garnered a reputation with Hollywood executives, leading to his scoring the successful “Nash Bridges” television series.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


There has never been a better time to be a Laurie Johnson fan. The veteran composer is of course best known for his classic theme for the cult TV series The Avengers, but over his lengthy career he has written numerous scores and themes for film and TV, as well as concert works for orchestra and various bands.
One of his most requested film scores, for 1974's Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, was finally issued on CD by BSX Records last year, and is still available to buy from, where you can also pick up copies of the two tremendous 3-disc sets released last year and this by Edsel in the EU The Music of Laurie Johnson Vols.1 & 2. If you are based in the UK though, you can pick up a copy of each of these very reasonably from, where postage is free.
In addition to all of these great recordings, you might also like to pick up a copy of Johnson's 230-page autobiography Noises In The Head, published by Bank House Books in the UK. The book covers all aspects of his career and is liberally illustrated with fascinating black and white photos. I got mine from
Going back to Captain Kronos, directed by Johnson's long-time friend and collaborator Brian Clemens, the score features a splendidly adventurous, questing "Main Titles" theme, heard first as track 2 on the album, following the tragic events of the opening "Innocent Maidens Drained of Life," and making welcome reappearances, in variations, throughout the score. When Bernard Herrmann moved to London in the '70s, he and Johnson became friends, and the latter of course went on to work with his music in 1978's It Lives Again. The great man's influence can be heard all over the Captain Kronos score, with characteristic Herrmannisms abounding. Johnson's subtle use of zimbalom adds a gypsy feel to some of the music. The BSX recording (BSXCD 8831) features just under an hour of music, including some interesting bonus tracks, some featuring sound effects. A colourful 8-page booklet accompanies the disc, and features Randall. D. Larson's extensive notes on the film and its music. As a real fan bonus, there is also a foreword by the film's female lead, the ever-popular Caroline Munro.
The Edsel box sets are great value for money, with each release featuring 3 CDs absolutely packed with music. The first set is most notable for finally making available a whole disc of music from The Avengers, which makes the release highly desirable in itself, but the second disc also features themes from shows and films such as This Is Your Life, The New Avengers, Animal Magic, The Professionals, Whicker's World, World in Action, First Men in the Moon and Dr. Strangelove; concluding with thJohnson's symphony Synthesis. Disc 3 features a variety of works for military bands.
Volume 2, only recently released, presents a whole disc of music from The Professionals, another popular British TV series; with disc 2 featuring a handful of TV themes, most notably Jason King, some early singles, plus extensive suites from Johnson's scores for the films The First Men in the Moon and Ibsen's Hedda; concluding with the fabulous concert work Concerto for Trumpet, Tenor Sax and Orchestra. The third disc is again a "Royal Military Spectacular," prsenting four pieces, including the splendid The Battle of Waterloo, narrated by Bernard Miles.
Each disc in both sets has its own colourful accompanying booklet, featuring plenty of reading on the works presented.
It only now needs Johnson's splendid score for The Belstone Fox to be issued on CD to make this reviewer fully satiated.

From Costa Communications:




(Hollywood, CA) German-born film composer Marc Streitenfeld reunites with director Ridley Scott to score Scott’s newest film, “Body of Lies.” This is Streitenfeld’s third score in a row and eighth consecutive music collaboration with Scott. Warner Bros. gripping and powerful film, “Body of Lies,” will hit theaters on October 10, 2008.

Streitenfeld traveled to Morocco to collaborate with Scott for this intense and sophisticated film, which required a score to support its strong and urbane style. Streitenfeld used a 90-piece orchestra as well as woods and choir to create this edgy but also moving score. Recording all the elements separately allowed Streitenfeld to have more command over the final sound mix.

“Body of Lies” stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe and is a film adaptation of the 2007 novel by American writer and journalist David Ignatius. The film was shot in the United States and Morocco, North Africa and is about a CIA operative (DiCaprio) that is sent to Jordan to track a high-ranking terrorist. The spy is aided by the head of Jordan's covert operations (Crowe) in an uneasy alliance that leads to a cultural and moral clash between the men.

Born in Munich, Germany, Streitenfeld relocated to Los Angeles at the age of 19, first working briefly as a musical assistant for composer Hans Zimmer, then independently as a music editor and supervisor on several blockbusters. Streitenfeld was nominated for a Golden Reel Award for his work on Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” and was nominated for a BAFTA award for “American Gangster.” Streitenfeld also composed for “A Good Year” by Scott’s request and has had a long relationship with the award-winning filmmaker. “I’ve done quite a few films with him now and every experience has been really good,” Streitenfeld said. Prior to his work as a composer, Streitenfeld had collaborated with Scott as music editor, music supervisor and technical score advisor on several projects, including “Matchstick Men,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Gladiator.”





Score Album Available on Bulletproof October 7th

Film in Theatres October 10th

(Hollywood, CA) Composer Andrew Lockington’s recent score to Walden Media’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” solidified him scoring their next film “City of Ember,” starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins. Lockington created an original epic score by incorporating a 90-piece orchestra along with an 85-member choir. “City of Ember” opens October 10th; score album will be released by Bulletproof (through Universal) available on October 7th.

The composer wanted his score to emulate the magnitude of the film. ‘“Moments of incredible beauty and emotion peek through in contrast to the dark landscape that is “City of Ember,”’ Lockington said about the film’s score. Lockington recorded and mixed the score at the legendary Abbey Road. The score features unique percussion elements accented by mystical wind instruments that could only be compared to "whale music." Special features to the brass section include four Wagner Horns that lend their bold signature to the score's main theme.

“City of Ember” tells the story of an ancient city whose existence becomes threatened when a generator keeping the city alive begins to fail. The lamps that light the city start to flicker and the food supplies begin to run out. Two teenagers race against time, to unlock the mystery of the city's existence in attempt to save the city and its people.

Lockington is a protégé of award-winning composer Mychael Danna (Little Miss Sunshine). Lockington’s credits include “Skinwalkers,” “Saint Ralph,” “Touch of Pink,” and the scores for the HBO features “Xchange” and “Stranger Inside.” More recently, Lockington scored the indie film “One Week,” which premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Man on Wire
Music by Michael Nyman
Decca 478 1126 (UK)
16 Tracks 78:08 mins

Director James Marsh's documentary concerning tightrope Philippe Petit's amazing, if illegal, feat of walking the high wire between New York's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, features largely music by Michael Nyman, drawn from his extensive back catalogue, concentrating especially on his work for Peter Greenaway, though other pieces from the likes of The Piano and The Libertine feature.
The director was inspired to use Nyman's music from watching Petit practicising on his purpose built wire in his back yard, where he is always accompanied by a variety of music, largely classical and gypsy in origin. but one piece struck him, "Memorial," written by Nyman for Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Petit quickly agreed to the use of the composer's music in the film, and this generous album presents 12 of his most memorable compositions, along with two dramatic orchestral/electronic pieces composed by Josh Ralph, accompanying the criminal activities of Petit and his team as they break into the towers and hide out, prior to the walk.
Completing this enjoyable album are two of my favourite classical piano pieces, the mysterious Gnossienne No.1 and the elegant Gymnopedie No.1, by Erik Satie, performed by Pascal Roge.
Accompanying the CD is a 16-page booklet, featuring notes by both Petit and Marsh, together with information on both the director and Nyman.
In conclusion, if you are already a fan of Michael Nyman's music, you will probably already have all the selections of his music on this disc but, if not, they serve as a pretty decent introduction to his pretty unique style; and, along with the two Satie pieces, and suitably tense and sneaky score tracks by Ralph, make for a very entertaining album indeed.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Spike Lee's new film Miracle At St. Anna is something of a departure for the director, a war film, set in Tuscany in 1944, which "follows the 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division as the soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines and separated from their unit. Unlike your average flag-waver however, Lee apparently concentrates more on the characters and how they live through the experience. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, with an outdoor concert of its music score given the following day.
Of course it was a given that Terence Blanchard would be on board as usual to supply said score and the composer's publicists, Costa Communications kindly sent me a 35-minute score sampler, which I was looking forward to playing, to see how the composer would approach what I believe would also be his first war film.
Blanchard's "Opening Credits" feature a nice, quite low-key, piano solo. The score's main theme "The Prayer" follows, a passionate orchestral piece. After these brief cues, and by complete contrast, we have the 12-minute "War is Hell," which slowly and grimly trudges ever more fatefully towards its powerful conclusion, with its orchestral variations on the opening theme, supported by an interesting mix of bongos and martial percussion.
"Paisons - Massacre" is a sad lament for string quartet, followed by "Americans Arrive," which is something of a slow waltz, largely quite low-key, but more pronounced at times. Romance enters with the folksy "Renata You're Beautiful." The stealthy "Tim Boyle Theme, again a kind of dance follows, and then the almost comedic "Train & Angel" continues the mood. "Crossing the Mountain" is a little broader, but quite brief, with "Stamps and Bishop Argue" displaying a little discord, before the music concludes satisfyinglywith the emotive "Final Theme."
Overall then, the score is largely dance-like in character, which is certainly a different approach to a war film. Interesting, but unlikely to be housed with other genre efforts you may have in your collection.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Black Sheep
Music by William Ross
Composer Promo
14 Tracks 18:42 mins

BSX Records has been doing its best to champion the music of William Ross recently, releasing his scores for Driftwood and September Dawn but, whislt a few more of his scores have been made commercially available, much of his work remains unavailable, expect on promotional discs that he has kindly put out and which I would urge you to track down. You can probably get them from, who recently sent me his score for the zany 1996 comedy Black Sheep, starring the late Chirs Farley and David Spade. It's a pretty brief affair at less than 19 minutes, but I was glad for the opportunity of hearing it.
The "Main Title" starts off the score in finest military fashion, though it sails pretty close to Elmer Bernstein's Great Escape march. "The Bat" follows, which threatens to develop into Ride of the Valkyries, but instead becomes a slapsticky, circus-styled piece. "Garfield County" simmers in finest Deep South style on harmonica and guitars; whilst "Mike's Big Fall" mixes the same approach with some frantic action. Sentiment is introduced on tender piano in "Mike's Goodbye." "Rec Center Fire" features menacing brass, timpani rolls and cymbal clashes, with the piano returning for more sentiment in "Brothers." The brief "Drake's Compound" has a jungle feel with flute and percussion, leading into the suspenseful "Break In" and "Spies." A marching band accompanies "Governor's Reception," followed by more suspense in "Hostage Situation," leading to the initially heroic "A Fine American," the track ending with a soft piano variation on the opening march theme, which continues into "Finale," before marching us forward into a big final flourish.
They say good things come in small packages and, despite its brevity, this is an entertaining enough score, so check it out, but don't stop there, pick up as many of William Ross' promos and commercial releases as you can lay your hands on. He's one underrated talent, but much appreciated by those of us in the know.

Friday, September 19, 2008


From Top Dollar PR


Epic Original Score Performed by The City of Prague Philarhmonic Orchestra and Choir

New York – September 18th, 2008 – Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing relationship with SEGA, proudly presents VIKING: Battle For Asgard - The Soundtrack. The original soundtrack album to the combat action video game will be available at retail outlets on September 23rd through Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Music Works label and digital download service and will also be released on iTunes.

VIKING: Battle For Asgard - The Soundtrack features the epic orchestral score composed by Richard Beddow, Walter Nair, Simon Ravn and performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.

Developed by The Creative Assembly, creators of the award-winning Total War™ series, VIKING: Battle for Asgard throws the player into the middle of a fierce struggle taking place within the realm of the Norse Gods. As Skarin, the player experiences a beautifully realized Viking landscape filled with discovery, stealth and epic battles. For more information on the game, visit

SEGA, the SEGA logo and Viking: Battle for Asgard are registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. The Creative Assembly is a trademark of The Creative Assembly Limited. All rights reserved.

About Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc.
Since its creation in the late 1990’s by the world-renowned song writer, musician and record producer, Nile Rodgers, Sumthing Else Music Works has become the acknowledged industry leader in licensing and distributing video game soundtracks. Possessing full in-house services worldwide, from creation of original video game soundtracks through physical distribution, Sumthing is partnered with the world’s leading video game developers and publishers including BioWare, Bungie Studios, Capcom, Crytek, Eidos Interactive, Epic Games, Gearbox Software, Microsoft, Mistwalker, Rare, SEGA, Silicon Knights, Sony Computer Entertainment and Ubisoft. Their catalogue of titles includes the best selling video game soundtrack of all time, Halo 2: Volume One, as well as award-winning titles Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Contracts, Hitman: Blood Money, Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Unreal Tournament 3 and many others.

For Sumthing’s full catalogue please visit and their digital download service at

Sumthing Else Music Works and Sumthing Distribution logos are copyright of their respective companies. All other names of companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

From Costa Communications


Ed Harris Takes on Bad Guys through acting, directing and singing

Jeff Beal wins third Prime-Time Emmy for music this week

(September 17, 2008 - Los Angeles, CA) – Historically Westerns have produced some of the most memorable movie music in cinema history. Composer Jeff Beal brings his unique talents to the Western genre when APPALOOSA, released through New Line, opens in theaters September 19th, soundtrack available on Lakeshore Records September 30th. In addition to Beal’s score, the film features the song, “You'll Never Leave My Heart” sung by the film’s director and co-star Ed Harris; music by Beal and lyrics by Harris. In describing writing music with Harris, Beal explains, “its fun to hear this voice come out of him in character. He's a natural! We tried to make it feel like a classic cowboy song from the 50's.” Beal first worked with Ed Harris on Harris’ film directorial debut, Pollock

Jeff Beal is a three-time Emmy Award® winner: main title of Monk; original dramatic score on TNT’s telefilm Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King; and this week for The Company. He is also an eight-time Emmy-nominee, including three for HBO’s Rome and Carnivale.

Jeff Beal traverses writing for both TV and film. He composed the score for the upcoming film Salomaybe?, directed by Al Pacino. His other film composing credits include the documentary The Pixar Story, Ping Pong Playa, Spirit of the Marathon, and The Passion of Ayn Rand. Steven Schneider (regular contributor to the NY Times) wrote of "...the richness of Beal's musical thinking - the ways in which he conceives of his solos as fully-developed mini compositions, while his compositions often capture the liveliness and unpredictability of the best improvisation."

Oscar® nominee Viggo Mortensen, four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris, Academy Award® winner Renée Zellweger, and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons star in the Western APPALOOSA, adapted from the Robert B. Parker novel.

Set in 1882 in the Old West territory of New Mexico, APPALOOSA revolves around city marshal Virgil Cole (Harris) and his deputy and partner Everett Hitch (Mortensen), who have made their reputation as peacekeepers in the lawless towns springing up in the untamed land. In the small mining community of Appaloosa, a ruthless, powerful rancher named Randall Bragg (Irons) has allowed his band of outlaws to run roughshod over the town. After the cold-blooded murder of Appaloosa’s city marshal, Cole and Hitch are hired to bring the murderer to justice. While establishing new authority with equal parts grits and guns, Cole and Hitch meet provocative newcomer Allison French (Zellweger), whose unconventional ways threaten to undermine their progress and to destroy the two lawmen’s decade-old partnership.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


September Dawn
Music by William Ross
BSX Records BSXCD 8830 (US)
16 Tracks 45:11 mins

Christopher Cain's 2006 western September Dawn is described in the CD's liner notes as "a Romeo and Juliet relationship story, set against the background of the controversial real-life massacre of 120 men, women and children traveling through Utah in the nineteenth century." The film's cast includes Jon Voight, Terence Stamp, Lolita Davidovich and Dean Cain.
William Ross provided the music for the film, the album commencing mournfully with the "Main Title" and Steve Erdody's expressive cello solo. The mood is soon broken though, with the orchestra flowing eagerly to a close. The sunny, flute and violin-lead "Jacob's Scrutiny" follows. Then, after a sad piano refrain, a warm, romantic mood is established in "Jonathan and the Horse." Cello returns for the troubled "Jacob's Flashback" and "A Bad Bargain," where Bruce Dukov's violin joins in for something of a duet. Dean Parks' guitar leads the way in the tender "Exchanging Tokens." "Meeting of the Saints" has a suitably reverent feel, with cello again leading the way, before passionate strings join in to close. More romance follows with the sweet strings and guitar of "Love At First Sight." The mood changes again, with violin and cello leading the orchestra in the sad "Crazed Micah." followed by the desolate "Confrontation." The sad-happy progression continues with more warm romance in "Emily and Jonathan." "Death March" leads into a haunting female vocal refrain, leading on to the moving, cello-lead "Elegy," with again Windy Wagner lending her haunting vocals to the mix. The sorrowful mood continues with more passionate string writing for "The Meadow," and with solo cello introducing "Emily's Death," joined by the composer's own delicate piano playing, giving way to orchestra and then ending on a more uplifting note on solo violin. "Epilogue" ends the album with a brief reprise of the opening cello intro.
A beautiful score then, made all the more so by Ross' use of the noted soloists, and is highly recommended to those of you who are fond of emotional, melodic music.
This BSX Records release is limited to 1000 copies, so you'd best hurry and order your copy, as there may be but a few left. Go to

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Music by Mark Kilian
Varese Sarabande 302 066 921 2 (US)
25 Tracks 56:04 mins

South African-born Mark Kilian (in collaboration with Paul Hepker) made quite an impression with his score for Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, and went on to score 2007's Rendition. Going solo, he then scored Before the Rains and the award-winning documentary Without the King. His latest effort is for the international thriller Traitor, starring Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. His music for the film is a mix of the ethnic stylings one has come to expect from the composer, featuring the likes of percussion, Oud and Ney; and a more conventional Hollywood sound, with orchestra, with electronics also playing a major part.
The album gets off to a good start with the percussive mover "Entering The Country." The forward motion is continued in "Thirty Years Later;" followed by the drifting "Traitor Theme" itself, featuring electric violin and strings; whilst "Bombers On Board" is filled with nervous anticipation. More nervous tension, with occasional bursts of action, can be found in "On The Bus;" "Walk to Carter;" "Jailbreak;" "Embassy Bombing;" "Emailing Clayton;" "the Bourne-like mover "Double Raid;" "I'm on a Meet;" "Chasing Horn;" and "Bomber Montage."
Emotion is provided by the likes of the mournful "Young Recruit" and yearning strings of "Omar and Horn Say Goodbye." A brief wordless vocal from Marissa S Enhus introduces the somewhat ironic "The End."
Filling out the programme are a couple of original source tracks, co-composed and performed by Kilian and Marcel Adjibi.
Mark Kilian has provided an interesting hybrid score for this thriller, which could well make him considerable inroads into the Hollywood filmmaking community, if indeed that is the path this versatile musician and composer seeks to follow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Music by Christophe Beck
Rounder Records 11661-9078-2PA (US)
29 Tracks 57:56 mins

Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a hugely popular series, making household names of its stars and running for five seasons. Unfortunately I was one of those that just didn't get it. No matter how I tried to like it, I just couldn't grow attached, and eventually just gave up trying.
Regular composer for the show was Christophe Beck, who graduated to films, largely of the comedic variety, which is a pity, as he is capable of much more, as evidenced by the music on display in this compilation of cues spanning the 2nd to 5th seasons of the show. So-called "promotional" albums of his music have long been out there and, in the absence of a commerical release (until now, that is), more power to you if you have found them. However, there's nothing like having a proper commerical release, which we thankfully have now; although I can't tell you how it's packaged, as I am working from an advance copy of the album. But I should hope there are liner notes to guide you as to which episode each track is taken from.
Of course, as is customary for most TV shows in recent years, the music is largely realised by means of synths and samples, and many of the selections play for under two minutes. Apparently, according to Randall Larson's column for Buysoundtrax (always required reading), more than half the selections come from the show's fourth season, though all together the selections chosen cover "many of the most significant musical moments of the show."
The disc gets underway with dramatic action in "Massacre," and there are similar moments to be found on the disc, like "Faith's End;" "The Princess Screams; and "Losing Battle; but really the album largely neglects this side of Beck's scoring, which is a great pity. Instead, there are many quieter, emotional moments, like the poignant "Remembering Jenny;" "Moment of Happiness," with its lonely Duduk-like solo; "Loneliness of Six," featuring guitar; "Tai Chi;" the magical "Magic Snow Music;" "Slayer's Elegy," with its wordless female vocal; the solo cello of "One Last Moment;" "From The Grave," with its delicate harp and piano; the piano and strings of "Spellbound;" "Body Paint," and "Sacrifice," with their poignant piano solos.
Some quirkiness can be found in the demonic fiddling of "Twice The Fool;" "Sugar High;
whilst supernatural power, menace and creepiness are provided by the likes of "Drink Me;" "Haunted;" "Demon Got Your Tongue;" "Fyarl in the Morning;" "Spaghetti;" "Xander's Nightmare;" "The Tower;" and "Apcalypse."
It's a pity the producers couldn't have found room for more of Beck's action scoring, leaving the emphasis on emotion; which may well please fans of the show for reminding them of the moments that really made the biggest impact.


BSX Records have announced their latest releases: Christopher Young's music from the 2004 HBO drama Something The Lord Made; and Morton Stevens' score for the 1978 action thriller One Man Jury. Both releases are limited to 1000 units, so hurry and order from

Friday, September 12, 2008


Music by Ben Foster and Murray Gold
Silva Screen SILCD1267 (UK)
32 Tracks 78:15 mins

Fans of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood finally get their wish with this fine release of highlights from Ben Foster and Murray Gold's scores for both the first and second series, available from 22nd September.
Of course, Silva Screen have already released two great albums of music from Doctor Who, where Gold composed and Foster orchestrated and conducted. For Torchwood, Foster was given joint composing duties and came up with a score with a slightly more contemporary edge, mixing electronics with orchestra, but just as enjoyable.
This generous disc gets under way with some weird electronics in "Everything Changes," before mournful orchestra takes over. This is followed by the energetic "The Chase," which includes a variant of the series' main theme, as it races to its ever exciting close. "Ghosts" features suitably eerie strings, a mood that continues in "Sleepers, Awake!," which ends with percussive manace. The bittersweet "Toshiko & Tommy," for the doomed romance between the Torchwood brains and a soldier out of time, follows. "Into The Hub" is largely and suitably awe-filled, with almost a fairytale quality. More action follows in the determined "The Mission."
Annalise Whittlesea provides a haunting vocal for the fabulous "Gray's Theme," which is followed by another fine melody for "Jack's Love Theme," featuring piano and strings. "Another Day, Another Death" is of a more contemporary nature, trudging resignedly along its way. More contemporary sounds follow in the pruposeful mover "Look Right Then Leave." Orchestral wonder, with some gorgeous string playing, accompanies "Welcome To Planet Earth;" whilst "The Plot" is much darker, moving along quite grimly, before opening out into more exciting action.
"Out of Time" is an almost rhapsodic love theme for piano and strings, with "The Death of Dr Owen Harper" suitably tragic. We're back to more eerie music at the start of "King of the Weevils," before the cue errupts into percussive action, turning more electronic and attmospheric as it continues. "Owen Fights Death" is another memorable, contemporary sounding action cue, whilst "The Woman on the roof" is delicate and sad.
The theme first heard in action guise in "Owen Fights Death" is given a nice piano and guitars-lead pop rendition in "Owen's Theme," becoming ever more powerful as it continues. This is followed by "Pearl & the Ghostmaker," with its carnival-like echoes. "Flat Holm Island" is an emotional piece for strings, featuring expressive cello solos; the mood continuing in "A Boy Called Jonah," with a darker interlude along the way. "Toshiko Sato - Betrayal & Redemption" offers a sad refrain for bassoon, interrupted by a full-blown action interlude.
The somewhat unlikely, but real, pairing of "Gwen & Rhys" is given a tender love theme; followed by the fateful "Jack Joins Torchwood," which leads into "Captain Jack's Theme," basically the aforementioned action variant on the Torchwood theme. "I Believe in Him" is almost religious in feel, with "Memories of Gray" continuing the mood somewhat, with a reprise of "Gray's Theme." The emotion keeps right on going in the heartbreaking "Goodbyes" and "Death of Toshiko," where we say our goodbyes to two much-loved characters; with "The End is Where We Start From Here" finding Jack and his remaining colleagues picking up the pieces and resolving to go on with their vitally important work. An extended versionof the high octane "Torchwood Theme" brings the album to a satisfying close.
Accompanying the disc is an eight-page booklet, featuring portraits of the cast, music credits, and a note on the music from Torchwood Executive Producer Julie Gardner.
The music for both Doctor Who and Torchwood is among the best contemporary TV scoring anywhere on the planet, and can be appreciated even if you are not as yet a convert to the shows. I am certainly very grateful to Silva Screen for this release and, along with the Doctor Who albums, cannot recommend it highly enough. Order your copy from

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Swing Vote
Music by John Debney
Costa Communications Promo
29 Tracks 53:02 mins

Unfortuntely, having searched in vain, there doesn't appear to be a commercial release of John Debney's score for the new Joshua Michael Stern directed comedy Swing Vote, which stars Kevin Coster as "an apathetic, lovable loser, who becomes the deciding vote for the presidential election."
Costa Communications did however kindly send me a promotional disc, so I can at least let you know what to expect from the score, should you choose to go see the film.
Debney's "Main Titles," are in the tried and trusted Americana style, with piano leading into sunny string playing, giving way to solo cello, the latter being something of a feature in the score. Quite a few of the subsequent tracks are quite brief, as often is the case in comedy films. In fact there are only a couple of cues over 3 minutes and one at just over 4.
Guitars and fiddle give the score a down-home feel, but there are more full-blown orchestral moments, like the eager "Going Live, "All Across The Country," "Ride Home With Molly," "The Strategy of Winning,"and the martial-styled "The Debate Begins;" whereas the toe-tapping"The Count Continues" and "You're Richard Petty" are more rhythm section driven and country rock flavoured cues.
The noble "I Do This For You" and "This Is America" slow the tempo down considerably, as does the cello-lead Americana of "He Didn't Vote!" and the subdued clarinet and emotional strings of "Real Issues, Real People;" whilst a note of sentiment is injected in the likes of "Molly's My Daughter" and the sunny and optimistic "Learning Montage."
Straight comedy moments come with drunken waltz of "A Little Too Drunk," featuring cello and accordion, and the slide guitars of "Bud Sees Reporters." After another quirky opening, "Bud's First Interview" picks up the tempo, before a subdued ending, and more quirky fiddle playing accompanies "Party For Bud," and the roguish "Illegal Alien Commercial," with its slight Mexican feel.
The 4-minute penultimate track "Bud's Speech" features much nobility, with soaring strings and brass to close the score in fine style, with the final track providing an "Alternate Ending," which is no less inspirational, but with a gentle piano solo to close.
It really would be a pity if some enterprising label weren't to release this score but, if you reside in the States, for the moment at least, if you want to hear it, you'll have to visit your local cinema. No news of a UK release for the film as yet, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The Duchess
Music by Rachel Portman
Lakeshore Records LKS 34039 (US)
18 Tracks 42:08 mins

Turn on your TV at the moment and you can't seem to get away from all the hype surrounding the release of Keira Knightley's new film The Duchess, which tells the story of the Duchess of Devonshire, a direct ancestor of Princess Diana, whose life had many parallels. Miss Knightley is receiving many plaudits for her performance, as is co-star Ralph Fiennes, and the film is by all accounts beautifully shot and costumed.
Providing the score is Rachel Portman, following on from her delightful music for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Her music is very different for The Duchess, though of course retaining her familiar style. The soundtrack album will be available via iTunes and in stores from September 16th.
The album commences buoyantly with the classically-styled title track, featuring expressive violin solo, before taking a somewhat tragic turn in "Mistake Of Your Life," with its expressive string playing. "I Think Of You All The Time," is largely quite understated and somewhat dark. The sprightly "No Mood For Conversation" follows, leading into the passionate "Gee and Grey Make Love." The main theme returns in the joyful "Gee and Grey Together In Bath," though the lonely piano of "Awakening" is in stark contrast, followed by the dark desperation of "Rape." Solo violin and then passionate strings emerge from despair as "Bess' Sons" develops, but the tragic feel continues in "Gee Give Up Baby," with yet more passionate string writing. The jaunty "Six Years Later" provides some light relief, with its waltz-like opening and variations on the main theme. More tragedy ensues in "Never See Your Children Again," and continues with the subdued piano of "Grey Comes Back." Expressive solo violin returns for "Gee Is Taken To The Country," with the album concluding in an upbeat rendition of the main theme over the "End Titles."
Two source pieces by Beethoven and Hayden round out the album's playing time.
Perhaps not as instantly likeable as her score for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The Duchess is a more serious, passionate work, which rewards with repeated listening.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Mark Adler, Emmy Award winner for his score for HBO's The Rat Pack, has composed the score for Randall Miller's new film Bottle Shock, which tells the story of the early days of California wine making, and numbers among its cast the likes of Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman. Adler previously worked with the director of Nobel Son and Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, for which he contributed a charming score.
The score of Bottle Shock features a select band of musicians, including Sid Page on violin, Larry London on clarinet, Peter Maunu on guitars, and the composer himself on a number of instruments, as well as providing vocals.
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me a promotional CD which, though brief at under 16 minutes, provides a good flavour of the score. The film's "Main Title" is somewhat tentative, but also quite catchy when the principal theme is allowed to flow. "L'Academie du Vin" is an elegant, waltz-like piece, but also a little whimsical. Electric organ and guitars provide a warm feel to "Bent Axle.," continued and expanded romantically for piano and violins in "Sam and Gustavo," though the track takes a more purposeful turn on guitar. "Spurrier Arrives" is a light and bouncy mover, featuring accordion. "The Wine Turns Back!" opens expectantly, with expressive violin, but becomes ever more purposeful and picks up the main theme along the way. "Sam Kisses Bo" flows nicely with guitar and choir, with this all too brief selection concluding with a strong variation on the opening theme in "Bo Represents Napa."
To conclude, Bottle Shock is a pleasant little score, proving what we really knew all along (and that is all too often forgotten these days) that you don't have to have a symphony orchestra to write a good, serviceable film score.
Unfortunately, as I write, I have no knowledge as to the actual amount of score in the film and as to whether there will be a commercial release of Adler's music.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Music by Kevin Kiner
Sony Classical 88697-35616-2 (US)
32 Tracks 67:37 mins

For a good while now we've been hearing that George Lucas would be bringin us yet more Star Wars, in the form of an animated TV series. Well, as a prelude to the series, which is due to debut in the States this Autumn, comes a feature-length introduction, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a computer generated adventure, which has the look of a video game, and which reviews generally say is aimed at the audience and especially the very young. All the familiar characters from the three prequel films return in animated form, though not many of the original actors are involved in voicing the characters.
Although the score quotes John Williams' original Star Wars themes and motifs, the great man didn't compose it, but instead Kevin Kiner got the job. A man more used to lower music budgets, having worked largely in TV and on smaller films, here he found himself conducting the 90-piece City of Prague Orchestra, which do a creditable job.
Though, in addition to the themes, familiar Williams flourishes enhance the score, Kiner has composed largely his own original music, which includes a number of ethnic-styled scene-setting cues, as well as injections of the same in some of the dramatic scoring, written at Lucas' suggestion, featuring sounds more readily associated with Asia, The Middle East and South America,along of course with plenty of exciting and adventurous action scoring.
The album does not get off to the greatest start, sounding as if the recordist just missed the opening downbeat and fans of the classic SW film may not like the fact that it is delivered in a slightly different tempo, accompanied by furious drumming. The theme dissolves into some big and relentless scoring and is followed by a grand and familiar march for "Admiral Yularen."
I have to say that, though you might be disappointed that Williams did not compose the score, there is still plenty to enjoy in this score and, for the most part, it does have a creditably authentic sound to it, with some particularly enjoyable action cues, like "Battle of Christophsis," with its relentless, Egyptian-styled orchestral/choral march, which is to crop up in subsequent tracks. "Landing on Teth" boasts a bold and heroic opening; with more heroics following in "Destroying the Shield," with the latter having a bombastic theme of its own. More excitement can be found in tracks like "Jedi Don't Run!," "Ziro Surrounded," "Scaling the Cliff," and "Rough Landing."
However, the rock guitars that accompany "Obi-Wan To The Rescue," and also feature in "Battle of Teth" and "Courtyard Fight" are a definite mis-step, which will have fans shaking their heads. Think Iron Man and you'll have an idea what to expect.
Mystic voices accompany "The Jedi Council," with "General Loathsom Defeated" offering some passionate string writing, suggestive in part of the Force Theme, which does eventually appear in full at the end of "Fight to the End."
In the traditions of Williams' "Cantina Band," Kiner has also composed brief source cues for "Jabba's Chamber Dance," "Ziro's Nightclub Band" and "Seedy City Swing."
Kiner's new arrangement of the SW theme returns in fuller form over the "End Credits."
Although some of the cues are quite brief, the tracks flow almost seemlessly at times, making for a satisfying listening experience, with just the ethnic scene-setting and source cues disturbing the flow somewhat.
The disc insert features plenty of colour stills from the film, music credits, and unfolds into a poster for your wall, if you are so inclined.
I believe Kiner will be composer for the series as well, though I should imagine will have smaller resources to work with, but it will be interesting to hear the result. In the meantime, if you fancy a largely full-blooded orchestral/choral score, this should adequately fit the bill.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


In Too Deep Revisited
Music by Christopher Young
Promotional Release
8 Tracks 35:59 mins

It's not often a composer gets to revisit a score and put out a CD that is more representative of how he would have wished the original CD release to have been, but Christopher Young does so with this promotional release of his music for the 1999 Omar Epps crime thriller In Too Deep.
The score was, as the composer reveals in his booklet notes, "the first time I had relied heavily on synth drones with slowmoving chords and minimal melody on top." He did however collaborate with Dave Hollister and Frank Fitzpatrick on the song "Give Me a Reason," performed by the former, but this was only included on the song CD. For the score CD, not only was Young not allowed to include the song, but also any reference to it in the score. Here then, not only is the song reunited with the score, but also its references, are restored, making quite a different listening experience from the original Varese Sarabande release.
"Give Me A Reason," as I said, opens and closes the album, and it's a fine song, with a soulful vocal by Hollister. The bluesy, jazzy feel continues throughout subsequent tracks, with much expressive use of Sal Marquez's trumpet, Chuck Manning's sax, and piano, given rhythmic and percussive support, with emotive string synths. "Give Me A Reason" is reprised a couple more times, concluding the disc with the song CD version.
All the tracks are lengthy, hence only eight of them, which gives room for plenty of development in the music.
You can order your copy of this interesting project from

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Music by Tuomas Kantelinen
Varese Sarabande VSD 6902 (EU)
36 Tracks 56:19 mins

This latest adaptation of the life of the infamous Genghis Khan came and went from cinemas before the CD was finally released. I don't know what the delay was, but at least the CD is here now and features music by Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen, a name that might not be all that familiar outside his native film industry, where he won Jussi awards for his music in both 1997 and 1999. This film certainly promises to be a big break for him and he has taken the opportunity with both hands, composing an epic accompaniment that certainly sounds authentic, with its use of throat singing and ethnic instruments and vocals, alongside more conventional orchestral fare. Sometimes the sounds he and his ethnic vocalists and instrumentalists produce may threaten to alienate western audiences but, amongst the many atmospheric tracks, there are moments to enjoy, like the lush conventional "Love Theme" and the weighty "Destiny Themes," with its dramatic violin solo. The battle tracks can be quite wild, but they're exciting and dramatic nonetheless, as are those with a more conventional orchestral feel.
Allied to Kantalinen's efforts are a number of tracks by Mongolian folk band Altan Urag, which are largely of the ethnic variety, and often more source-like, as one would obviously expect, but they provide an even more authentic sound, and largely compliment the Fin's efforts. A couple of pop/rock bonus tracks by the band conclude the disc, and these are preceeded by the one glaring false step in the score, that being the "End Credits," which also develops a pop/rock feel, totally at odds with what has gone before. Some dialogue excerpts also intrude upon the programme here and there, but aren't too bothersome.
This is certainly an interesting and unusual score, which you may find quite challenging at times but, like the film, is to be recommended.



For more detailed information, click on this URL:

JOEHARNELL.COM presents THE BIONIC WOMAN Episodic Collection Vol. 2

(Sept 5th, 2008, Los Angeles, CA)

JOEHARNELL.COM presents THE BIONIC WOMAN: THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT PART 2, featuring music composed and conducted by Joe Harnell for the 1970’s cult television show, THE BIONIC WOMAN, created and developed by Kenneth Johnson (THE BIONIC MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, V) and starring Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks, Ford Rainey, Martha Scott and Jennifer Darling, along with special guest stars Sandy Duncan, Stefanie Powers, Ted Cassidy and John Saxon.

THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT Parts 1 and 2 are a sequel to a specially-aired episode from the second season of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. Part 1 of THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT began as the 4th season premiere to THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and concluded with Part 2 as the 2nd season premiere of THE BIONIC WOMAN. Picking up on story elements from that second season episode of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, a rogue splinter group of alien explorers, led by the evil Nedlick, here played by veteran actor John Saxon, have taken control of Sasquatch, played by Ted Cassidy of THE ADDAMS FAMILY fame and are forcing Sasquatch to steal elements necessary to construct a force field around their base camp in Mexico, in order to make it impregnable and allow the aliens to continue in their efforts to steal more of the Earth’s riches and resources for their own benefit. By the end of the first part of THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT, Steve Austin is near death, after being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. His only hope is to be treated in time with the aliens’ wonder drug, Neotraxin. Jaime Sommers is the only person who can save him and stop the alien rebels from taking over the world. In the second part of THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT, Jaime allows herself to be captured by Sasquatch to gain entry to the aliens’ complex and then escapes to confront Nedlick and his gang of rogue aliens. But their complex, hastily constructed over a volcanic vent, is causing a build-up of pressure that will soon cause a volcanic eruption that will lower the entire floor of the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately, it is Sasquatch who must risk his own life to prevent the volcano from erupting.

THE BIONIC WOMAN: THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT PART 2 continues Joe Harnell's successful creative collaboration with Writer/Director/Producer Kenneth Johnson, a relationship that includes fondly remembered television projects such as THE INCREDIBLE HULK, HOT PURSUIT, CLIFFHANGERS, V: The Original Mini-Series and ALIEN NATION. Moving to California in the early 1970's, Harnell emerged as a celebrated composer of film and television music. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award on three occasions for Best Dramatic Score. During his career, Harnell composed over 400 hours of original music for motion pictures and television. His scores for THE BIONIC WOMAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK heavily influenced the scoring of all Universal television programs in the late 1970’s. His scores used a traditional orchestral approach (influenced by his Jazz roots) using a 32 piece orchestra. He frequently conducted scores from the piano during recording sessions and he performed all the piano and keyboard solos in all of his scores.

THE BIONIC WOMAN: THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT PART 2 is an exclusive release, professionally mastered, factory manufactured and limited to 1500 units.

BIONIC WOMAN, THE: Episodic Collection Vol. 2
is available for pre-order at and starts shipping on Sept 15, 2008.

Other recent titles released available from WWW. JOEHARNELL.COM include:

[b] THE BIONIC WOMAN Episodic Collection Vol. 1-Music by Joe Harnell[/b]

[b] THE INCREDIBLE HULK-Music From The Television Pilot Movies[/b]

From Perseverance Records

Huge eBay auction of rare, signed, and budget CDs

We are moving and therefore sorting out my big soundtrack collection. We are also sponsoring a family in Vietnam, so we are putting dozens and dozens of rare CDs on eBay. All proceeds of these auctions will go to said family.

There are tons of rare CDs: a signed Kickboxer, a numbered Ladyhawke, Miklos Rozsa's Jungle Book without narration (Film Music Society), a numbered Lethal Weapon, all three Amazing Stories volumes, John Williams Monsignor, Bloodsport signed by Paul Hertzog as well as Stan Bush, the never released Star Trek: Starfleet Academy by Ron Jones, Alan Derian's promo to Star Trek: New Voyages: World Enough and Time, Andrew Lockington's uber-promo of Journey to the Center of the Earth, Basil Poledouris' last score, a signed Leatherface, one of the last few remaining The Abominable Dr. Phibes CDs by Basil Kirchin, and many, many more.

There are also dozens of blow-out CDs that are priced for a quick sell, starting at $2.99. Ideal for getting to know a composer or just filling that hole in your collection.

The auction started on Thursday, September 4th, and will continue for two weeks with several new uploads every day. Remember, you are supporting a worthy cause.

To take a look at the items for sale, click here:


Donald Rubinstein's seminal score to George A. Romero's Knightriders available for pre-order!

Perseverance Records PRD 028

Knightriders around the world rejoice! The first and ONLY legitimate release of this classic score will be available on September 11, 2008. It is available from our Yahoo store for pre-order now, and as a special bonus, the first 100 orders get the CD signed by composer Donald Rubinstein. (Limit 2 per customer.) This CD contains the score plus the beautiful song "I'd Rather Be a Wanderer" sung by the composer himself during the final scene in the graveyard. This release was produced by Donald Rubinstein and myself and features a 16 page booklet with notes by Donald, star Ed Harris and director Romero. A labor of love that will surely please many.

To pre-order this CD, go here:

Limited Edition of 500 of Elia Cmiral score

Journey to the End of the Night
Perseverance Records PRD 030

Based on the huge success of a our previous limited composers series, we are happy to present Elia Cmiral's score to "Journey to the End of the Night", starring Brendan Fraser, Scott Glenn and Mos Def, in a very limited edition of 500 copies. There will be no repressing; once these 500 are gone, they are gone. The score is very different, and more melodic, than his music to "The Deaths of Ian Stone" (PRD 026). The Main Title sounds like a Howard Shore piece from "The Lord of the Rings". The first 30 orders will get their CD signed by Elia.?(Limit 2 per customer.)

This title will be available on 9/28/2008.?To pre-order this CD, go here:

Price cuts on many titles in our Yahoo Store

Due to our impending move, we have reduced the price on many CDs to $8.95. But beware, these can only last so long. Once they are gone, and you didn't get your copy, you missed out!

Check our store for available titles.

To order our CDs, go here:

For the eBay auction, go here:

Robin Esterhammer
Perseverance Records

Friday, September 05, 2008


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
Music by Rachel Portman
Varese Sarabande VSD 6918 (EU)
10 Tracks 27:52 mins

This sequel to the original Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants chick flick, which was scored by Cliff Eidelman, reunites the original cast, but this time features music by Rachel Portman.
I don't know the reasons for the change in composer, as Eidelman certainly did a creditable job but, whatever, you can be sure you're in safe hands with Rachel. However, I should imagine the film is infested with songs, as this score CD is very brief, not even topping half an hour.
The opening track,"Sisterhood," after a tentative start, develops into the usual sunny, flowing, and positive kind of orchestral track which is the composer's trademark, and which is to dominate much of the score. The music reflects the nature of these films, a mix of romance, adventure and comedy; and "Carmen and Ian Rehearse" initially reflects the latter, though a brief variation of the opening theme interrupts the comic capers. The theme then appears in a laid back variation for guitar in "Welcome Home." "Bridget" is reflective at first, before ending on another winning version of the main theme. "The Letters" opens quite delicately on harp, before the main theme again takes over, receiving something of a sad variation this time, voiced by cello. "Lena" skips along at the start, before turning more reflective, and then ultimately romantic, with flute and guitar dueting on a pretty love theme, which of course gives way to the main theme, for piano and orchestra, to conclude. A low-key variation on the theme opens "Tibby," suggesting some sadness, particularly when flute and then cello take over, although piano and strings suggest light at the end of the tunnel, with a return to the main theme.
A kind of medieval flavoured guitar solo opens "Carmen," giving way to the main theme in all its glory, before taking a comedic turn, with Portman's favoured clarinet and marimbas featured, ending quite tenderly with a flute-lead variation on the main theme. "Well Worn Pair of Pants" concludes the score in upbeat fashion, with the main theme set free to soar to a warm and satisfying close.
In conclusion, Rachel Portman has written another delightful score for this film, which should please her many fans out there.

Two News Items From Costa Communications:



(Hollywood, CA) German-born film composer Marc Streitenfeld reunites with director Ridley Scott to score Scott’s newest film, “Body of Lies.” This is Streitenfeld’s third score in a row and eighth consecutive music collaboration with Scott. Warner Bros. gripping and powerful film, “Body of Lies” will hit theaters on October 10, 2008.

Streitenfeld traveled to Morocco to collaborate with Scott for this intense and sophisticated film, which required a score to support its strong and urbane style. Streitenfeld used a 90-piece orchestra as well as woods and choir to create this edgy but also moving score. Recording all the elements separately allowed Streitenfeld to have more command over the final sound mix.

“Body of Lies” is a film adaptation of the 2007 novel by American writer and journalist David Ignatius. The film was shot in the United States and Morocco, North Africa and is about a CIA operative (Leonardo DiCaprio) that is sent to Jordan to track a high-ranking terrorist. The spy is aided by the head of Jordan's covert operations (Russell Crowe) in an uneasy alliance that leads to a cultural and moral clash between the men.

Born in Munich, Germany, Streitenfeld relocated to Los Angeles at the age of 19, first working briefly as a musical assistant for composer Hans Zimmer, then independently as a music editor and supervisor on several blockbusters. Streitenfeld was nominated for a Golden Reel Award for his work on Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” and was nominated for a BAFTA award for “American Gangster.” Streitenfeld also composed for “A Good Year” by Scott’s request and has had a long relationship with the award-winning filmmaker. “I’ve done quite a few films with him now and every experience has been really good,” Streitenfeld said. Prior to his work as a composer, Streitenfeld had collaborated with Scott as music editor, music supervisor and technical score advisor on several projects, including “Matchstick Men,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Gladiator.”



SCORES “One Week”

"One Week" Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8th

Newest Project "City of Ember" In Theatres October 10th

(Hollywood, CA) Canadian born composer Andrew Lockington’s score for the indie film “One Week,” directed by Michael McGowan and starring Joshua Jackson, will be heard at the movie’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, September 8 at 9:30 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. “One Week” is part of The Gala Presentations at the Festival, which is a high-profile showcase of Canadian and international films with a major impact. Lockington’s recent score to Walden Media’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” solidified him scoring their next film “City of Ember.” (opens October 10).

“One Week” is about a young man (Joshua Jackson) who is confronted with his mortality, and takes a road trip on a vintage motorcycle. “One Week” asks the question, “What would you do if you had one week to live?” Lockington took a minimalist approach to scoring “One Week” using a small unusual ensemble of instruments. He wanted the score to preserve all the little human elements of the musicians, including the breaths, the finger noises etc. The result is a score that has a very strong soulful element, almost feeling the presence of the musicians who performed it. The score is written for piano, backwards piano, acoustic guitar, female voice, Uilliann pipes and a complex bed of manipulated acoustic instruments.

Lockington is a protégé of award-winning composer Mychael Danna (Little Miss Sunshine). Lockington’s credits include the “Skinwalkers,” “Saint Ralph,” “Touch of Pink,” and the scores for the HBO features “Xchange” and “Stranger Inside.”

Thursday, September 04, 2008


It's good to be back! Thanks to regular visitors to the site for their patience in this difficult time. Unfortunately my PC became infected by nasty bugs, which is why I have been offline for over a week. It has now come back from being thoroughly cleansed and, hopefully, I'm off and rolling again. So, here we go with my first new review in a while:-

Masters of the Universe
Music by Bill Conti
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1071 (US)
Disc 1 - 19 Tracks 59:10 mins Disc 2 - 16 Tracks 60:15 mins

Back in the '80s Cannon Films were quite a big noise on the movie making scene, starting off with low-budget fare and then expanding into pretty big budget movies, one of which was 1987's Masters of the Universe, a live-action version, starring Dolph Lundgren as the heroic He-Man, and Frank Langella as the menacing Skeletor; of the popular cartoon series, which sprung from a line of action figures made by Mattel in 1981.
At the time, composer Bill Conti was pretty much at the height of his powers, having scored hits like the Rocky and Karate Kid films, the epic miniseries North and South, the Bond film For Your Eyes Only and of course his Oscar-winning The Right Stuff.
For Masters of the Universe, a score of epic proportions was required, something along the lines of Star Wars meets Superman, and that's just what Conti delivered; a highly entertaining orchestral score, perhaps not entirely performed to Hollywood standards (by various European ensembles, most notably the Graunke Orchestra of Munich), but this only adds to its charm. An LP was issued originally, with an expanded version later. This new limited release of 3000 units presents the complete score, plus the original album programme.
Conti's music is for the film is of the old leitmotific school, with a whole variety of themes for the film's different characters that interplay throughout the score, commencing with the brassy, heroic main theme. Exciting action abounds, as well as plenty of dark menace, the latter with a touch of "Mars" from the Planets here and there (a staple in genre films at that time), and dominated by a villainous march for Skeletor. There are quieter moments too, with sentiment in cues like "The Cemetery;" a gorgeous love theme for Julie (Courteney Cox); and just a hint of comedy here and there. The "End Credits" suite brings together many of the main themes and motifs from the score to provide a most satisfying end to proceedings.
If you love the score as much as I do, you won't want to be without this definitive version of it. If you're new to it, and love big symphonic scores, you won't be disappointed.
The accompanying booklet , as well as featuring numerous colour stills from the film, features extensive notes by Randall D. Larson, which include comments from Conti. Order your copy from

From Costa Communications:


Terence Blanchard


Film premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, September 7th

Blanchard performing at an outdoor concert at the festival on Monday, September 8th

(Hollywood, CA) World-renowned film composer and trumpet player Terence Blanchard reunites with director Spike Lee to score Miracle at St. Anna. The film debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival Sunday, September 7th at 9:00pm in the Visa Screening Room. Miracle at St.Anna marks Blanchard's twelfth collaboration with Lee. Miracle at St. Anna is part of the Special Presentations at the festival. Blanchard's original epic score features over 140 minutes of music and was recorded at Sony Studios in Los Angeles with a 98-piece orchestra, including members of Terence Blanchard’s band. In addition to the film debut, Blanchard will perform an outdoor jazz concert sponsored by the festival on Monday, September 8th. Miracle at St. Anna is presented by Touchstone Pictures in association with On My Own and RAI Cinema.

Miracle at St. Anna is based on James McBride’s critically-acclaimed, NY Times bestseller and World War II novel. With a cast that includes Michael Ealy, John Turturro, John Leguizamo, and Walton Scoggins, Miracle at St. Anna depicts the lives of four African-American soldiers fighting in World War II (1944). The film follows the 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division trapped behind enemy lines and separated from their unit in a small Italian village. What happens within the confines of the town, and the incredible passion with which these soldiers live out their daily lives is nothing less than physically and emotionally extraordinary.

Says Blanchard of Miracle, “I’m inspired by the story itself. Growing up in New Orleans, I remember the Buffalo Soldiers marching in parades and never realized the significant role they played in fighting for our freedom. It’s an honor to be a part of a project that helps to relive and tell a small segment of what those soldiers dealt with in our history.”

Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard's impressive collaborative films include Mo Better Blues, Malcolm X and Inside Man, along with HBO’s critically lauded Emmy-winning series, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts. Blanchard’s 2008 Grammy Award-winning CD A Tale Of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina), draws from music he wrote for the series and includes new music written by his band members, making it a beautifully haunting and impassioned song-cycle about Hurricane Katrina and the ravages incurred upon the city of New Orleans.

Blanchard has had a prolific year. In addition to touring worldwide and scoring films, Blanchard played a pivotal role in moving The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz from Los Angeles to New Orleans, a move that as Artistic Director he feels will benefit the city of New Orleans and expose students to the ever-present rich diversity of music.

Terence Blanchard was born in New Orleans and began playing piano at the age of five. In elementary school, he added the trumpet and was coached by his opera-singing father. In high school, Blanchard came under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson. After graduation, attended Rutger’s University on a music scholarship where one of his professors was so impressed by his talent that he brokered him a touring gig with Lionel Hampton’s band.

In '83, Wynton Marsalis recommended Blanchard to replace him in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Part of the Blakey legend was his ability to foster performances and individual personalities from the young, malleable talents he brought into his fold. Blakey utilized and nurtured the improvisation and compositional ideas of his band members to solidify his own unique artistic vision. The legacy of the working band as a jazz workshop is at the essence of jazz, and Blanchard remains one of the few on the scene today who fully embraces that dynamic.

Terence Blanchard's additional film credits include Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me, Barbershop, Dark Blue and Oprah Winfrey’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008




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From Costa Communications:-


Traitor marks the first production of Overture Films and opens August 27th

Soundtrack available on Varese Sarabande on August 26th

(Los Angeles, CA) Mark Kilian scores “Traitor” for writer/director Jeffrey Nachmanoff (screenwriter of The Day After Tomorrow). The film co-stars Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Crash) and Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential). “Traitor” is a taut international thriller set against a jigsaw puzzle of covert counter-espionage operations. Kilian wrote an exotic and riveting score for the film which will be released on Varese Saraband August 26th; film opens August 27th.

Mark Kilian has traversed the globe in efforts to record the perfect scores. He gained notoriety for the score he co-composed with Paul Hepker for the Oscar Winning Foreign Film, “Tsotsi.” Kilian and Hepker returned to their African roots to record the music and returned to work with director Gavin Hood last year for New Line’s “Rendition,” which they recorded in Morocco and South Africa. Last year Kilian independently scored “Before the Rains” which he traveled to India to research and record the music. He also wrote the music for Michael Skolnik’s award-winning documentary “Without the King” which was recorded in South Africa.

The South African native began piano and guitar studies at an early age. He continued his studies at the University of Natal in Durban under Professor Darius Brubeck [son of legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck]. During the early ‘90s, Kilian spearheaded the popular Durban band Shades, which was one of the foremost club jazz bands to break the color barrier in South Africa. He went on to perform with artists like Shirley Bassey, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Airto Moreira and the Brubeck brothers. He toured the US and Europe and recorded two albums with Darius Brubeck as Gathering Forces and the NU Jazz Connection. After earning a Bachelor of Music, he moved to the U.S. for the film scoring program at the University of Southern California. Kilian was then recruited by instructor and legendary film composer Christopher Young (Spider-Man 3) as an electronic score producer and composer's assistant for Species, Copycat, Virtuosity and Hard Rain.

In 1997, Kilian scored his first film, Lovergirl starring Sandra Bernhard. Since then he has written music for many features including King Solomon's Mines, Icon, Blind Horizon, Skulls 3, The Animatrix and Raise Your Voice. His TV credits include ABC's Daybreak and Jake in Progress, Kitchen Confidential (Fox), FX: The Series (Rysher) and Boarding House: The Northshore (WB). He has also provided music for the video games The Matrix: Path of Neo and Full Spectrum Warrior. Mark has worked as orchestrator, arranger and conductor for Paul Oakenfold, Rob D and Juno Reactor on the Matrix: Reloaded film.

As a songwriter and musician, Kilian recently wrote and recorded strings for the new Glenn Hughes album Music for the Divine, produced by Chad Smith. He just released his first solo album under the name The Gravy Street entitled Daisy Confused.

Mark Kilian's deep understanding and appreciation of world music, jazz, electronica and modern classical music has formed a musical style which has been described as rhythmically sophisticated, evocative and driving, while retaining a raw emotional simplicity that draws on the creative use of everyday sound.