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Monday, November 03, 2008


Pride and Glory
Music by Mark Isham
Varese Sarabande VSD-6931 (EU)
16 Tracks 53:00 mins

This new bent cop thriller, starring Colin Farrell and Edward Norton, has just been released in UK cinemas after apparently sitting on a shelf for two years.
The score is by Mark Isham, no stranger to this kind of gritty stuff, and is a mix of orchestra, electronics and percussion, with much tension, dark threat and suspense from the off, though "Burning Car" does have an air of tragedy about its weighty conclusion. The following "Hospital" has an ethereal quality to it, but soon gives away to the menace of "Escape." A refreshing touch of romance is brought to proceedings by "Fran and Bobby," with its acoustic guitar lead; and "Family" continues warmly, with Celtic-flavoured strings. Acoustic guitar returns again for the suitably poignant "Funeral," before things turn dark again in "Santiago" and the tense "Execution," after its pacy opening.
Tragedy follows in "Abby" and "Suicide;" with more dark doings to be found in "Protest" and "Jimmy Rats," with its doom-laden conclusion leading into a poignant variation on the love theme in "Confession." "Fran" builds ominously to a percussive close, with an even more tense build leading to full-on, pulse-pounding action in "Riot." The lengthy closing track "El Train/Waterline" opens powerfully, but some emotional, almost spiritual, string writing takes over, giving way to flowing acoustic guitar and a feeling of redemption, which develops into a poetic rap voiced by Kerry Walsh.
You might expect Isham's music for this film to be comparable to some of his previous works in the genre, which I have often found functional, but hard to listen to on disc; but you'd be wrong. There's really quite a lot of melody and emotion amongst the harsher music on display and, the more I listened to it, the more I warmed to it.

The Battle of the Somme by Laura Rossi on Virtuosa Records

Laura Rossi's new score to the famous 1916 film The Battle of the Somme is released on November 3rd 2008. The music is performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Nic Raine. The CD booklet includes extracts from Rossi's great uncle's diaries.

The release of the soundtrack to The Battle of the Somme coincides with the Imperial War Museum's DVD release of the digitally restored film on November 3rd, 2008. The re-mastered film was screened for the 90th anniversary of the battle to a full house at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the premiere of her orchestral score, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and received a 5 star review in The Times (Click here to read the review)

When embarking on her research on the film and the battle, in preparation for the composition, she discovered her great uncle, Fred Ainge, (whom she knew, he survived the war) was a stretcher-bearer attached to the 29th Division on July 1st 1916. This unit appears in the film and her aunt even thinks she can identify Fred. In preparation for composing the new score she visited the Somme Battlefields, using Fred's diaries to locate the areas in which he served.

Laura is kindly sending me a copy of her CD, so watch out for my review soon. In the meantime, for more information about Laura's music and The Battle of the Somme project please visit her website at


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