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Friday, November 07, 2008


Discover Film Music
Author: John Riley, Music: Various Artists
Naxos 8.558210-11 (EU)
Booklet plus 2 CDs

If you are just taking your first tentative steps into the world of screen music appreciation, or if you know of someone who is, this fine package from Naxos would make a very good introduction. Consisting of a 72-page booklet and two very generous CDs of music, author John Riley provides a necessarily sketchy introduction to film music, old and new (a much, much bigger book would have been needed to cover the same ground in detail), and not just with the emphasis on Hollywood films, providing brief profiles of many of the great names in film music composition the world over, together with introductions to some of their work, mainly as a guide to the selections included on the CDs. This for course means that there are some notable absentees, but many of the landmark compositions are covered, and excerpts from them included.
It's a nice, undemanding read that can be enjoyed by all, and includes archival quotes from composers Ennio Morricone, Maurice Jaubert, George Antheil, Henry Mancini, Miklos Rozsa, William Alwyn, and Sir Arthur Bliss; concluding with the bonus feature "A Century of Film Music: A Timeline," which not only charts the notable film music events, but also historical events, and literary, art and architectural achievements.
The two CDs, both featuring more than 78 minutes of music, reveal just how many fine recordings of screen music have graced the Naxos family labels over the years; all of it re-recorded of course, and the majority of it beautifully played. Disc One mainly concentrates on Hollywood, past and present; with Disc Two focusing on British, European and Japanese film music.
Ideal as a stocking filler, this release provides hours of absorbing reading and listening and, as I said at the start of this review, serves as an excellent introduction to anyone with a blossoming interest in the art of screen music writing.

From Costa Communications:




In theaters December 5

(Hollywood, CA) – Composer Michael Wandmacher brings a new note to the battle between good and evil with his score for Punisher: War Zone, based on the Marvel comic book character. Along with Wandmacher, Academy Award nominated director Lexi Alexander (“Johnny Flynton”) and writers Nick Santora (“Prison Break,” “Law & Order”), Art Marcum (“Iron Man”) and Matt Holloway (“Iron Man”) round out the impressive team. Lionsgate Films releases Punisher: War Zone in theaters on December 5, 2008.

For Punisher: War Zone, Michael Wandmacher’s score both reflects the ominous tone of the film and skillfully brings a necessary lightness to the heavy plot. Percussion beats, reminiscent of war drums, echo throughout, as the characters struggle against each other. At other moments, Wandmacher relies on string and woodwind instruments, resulting in a melancholy sound. Although the score is mostly symphonic, Wandmacher does include some of his signature electronic sounds, all along creating seamless transitions between the varying elements.

Michael Wandmacher began his musical career as a commercial composer in Minneapolis. Since his move to Los Angeles in 1998, Wandmacher has lent his talent to a diverse range of projects, including feature films, TV series and videogames. His film credits include Never Back Down, The Killing Floor and Cry Wolf. In addition, he scored the videogames Over the Hedge and Madagascar. Wandmacher also records, produces and remixes electronic music under the name Khursor and wrote and mixed music for Kelly Clarkson for the film From Justin to Kelly. In January, his score to My Bloody Valentine 3-D hits theaters.


Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) sets his sights on overeager mob boss, Billy Russoti (Dominic West). After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the “Punisher Task Force” hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw in, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished. For more info go to


Blogger John Riley said...

Hi Jeff

Many thanks for your review of my book. You're certainly quick off the market: I just got my own copy! Anyway - glad you enjoyed it.

8:00 AM  

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