ScreenSounds

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009


CD REVIEW - HEROES


Heroes
Music by Lisa Coleman & Wendy Melvoin
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1091 (US)
10 Tracks 54:49 mins

As another season of Heroes comes to a close in the States (there's a few episodes to go here yet), and after having some cuts on a song-dominated "original soundtrack," the show's composer's finally get a proper showcase for their work.
For those of you who are fans of the show, I am probably preaching to the converted here, and for those of you who are not, you probably won't read this review anyway, but the fact is that Lisa & Wendy's music is about as far removed from any other "superhero music" you are likely to hear. Their virtual wall-to-wall scoring of each episode adds another somewhat quirky dimension to proceedings, with an underlying "pulse," which strangely works, though doesn't result in memorable tunes you can hum throughout your daily grind. Instead, they have come up with musical signatures for characters and scenarios that are instantly recognisable, my favourite of which is probably the "ticking"music that always accompanies the journeys through space and time of Hiro and Ando.
With this style of scoring, it's pretty well impossible to come up with a conventional score album for the show, so instead what we have here are ten tracks which group together the signature themes and variations for each character so, after the familiar strange tones of "Heroes Title," we are treated to lengthy tracks for "Peter," "Claire," "Hiro," "HRG," "Mohinder," "Sylar," and "Jessica/Niki/Gina" (Ali Larter, lucky girl, got to play three characters!).
The final two tracks on the album firstly feature the lengthy final showdown at "Kirby Plaza" of season one, which brought all the main characters so memorably together for the first time; and fans favourite, the mystical "Fire and Regeneration."
Just a mention regarding the realisation of the music, which of course is largely studio-produced by the composers, but credit must go to Indian vocalist Shenkar for his mystical offerings (see "Fire and Regeneration"), as well as Jane Kuramato for Koto and Shoji Kameda for Taiko Drums and Voice, both on "Hiro."
The accompanying booklet is even that bit "different," not carrying pictures of the cast on the front, but multiple Lisa and Wendys in typical Heroes pose and setting. Instead, you'll find pictures of the cast inside, as well a guide to the music of Heroes by the show's Executive Producer and Director, Allan Arkush, and a brief note from the composers.
For further details, samples and to order your copy of the album, go to www.lalalandrecords.com/Heroes.html.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


CD REVIEW - LA PIU ALLEGRA STORIA DEL DECAMERONE


La Piu Allegra Storia Del Decamerone
Music by Daniele Patucchi
Digotmovies CDDM131 (Italy)
23 Tracks 73:54 mins

This 1971 historical soft core romp goes by many titles. I personally have a Dutch video in my collection by the name of "The Lustful Barbarian." The film is easily forgettable, save for the presence of a young Sybil Danning in the cast (and naked at that!). Ms Danning was of course to go on to cult status, due largely to her appearance as the Valkyrie in sci-fi romp Battle Beyond the Stars, a role that left sci-fi geeks weak at the knees (I know from personal experience, as I have a friend who used to totally lose control just at the sound of her name!), and lead her to other Hollywood roles for a brief time.
The music for the film, by Daniele Patucchi, has largely been unavailable up to now, with just two tracks (both included at the end of this disc) previously available in mono on C.A.M. library albums. Here, Digitmovies, presents the unreleased score in stereo sound, taken from the original master tapes, kept safely in C.A.M.'s archives all these years.
The album commences with the delicate, gentle main theme, for flute accompanied by guitar. The composer's romantic "Theme for Sybil" next makes its first appearance, courtesy of unaccompanied harp. This is followed by the expectant rumblings of "Piani Bellici," and then the Sybil theme returns in a fuller arrangement, before giving way to a new, flowing theme (for the hero Siegfried) with a pop beat, which seems somewhat at odds with the period action on screen, but is very catchy all the same. This theme receives an ominous variation in the following "Aria di Guerra," and a very tense one in "Duello Nella Neve."
The love theme returns in track 6, with wordless vocal by the great Edda Dell'Orso, who also features in full sensual mode for two of the three variations on the pop theme that follow; the third featuring electric guitar improvs. By complete contrast, "Danza Orientale," is an almost hypnotic and somewhat trippy dance track, which is reprised A pleasant, flute-lead version of the love theme follows. Edda returns in wildly sensuous mode for "Orgia al Castello," which gives way to "Shake a Corte," which opens with a kind of waltz-like variation on the pop theme, before going off on an even more trippy variation of the "Danza Orientale" theme. Another laid-back Edda-featured version of the love theme follows, and then a subdued variation on the pop theme. A much longer, driven version of the "Orgia al Castello" music follows; and, similarly, the love theme is then given its longest version. Solo organ in vaguely religious style opens "Dopo L'Orgia," before Edda enters, wordlessly intoning the love theme, which continues into the subsequent track, where solo harpsichord takes up the theme, gradually being joined by other instruments for another nice take on the music. After a quiet start, the pop theme, complete with Edda's vocal plays out the finale.
The two previously available tracks (here in stereo though) are versions of the "Danza Orientale" and the love theme.
To conclude, despite its pop leanings, which may seem out of place in a medieval period-set romp, this is undeniably largely a tuneful and very pleasant disc, which is, as always, accompanied by a colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, as well as Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes. Go to www.digitmovies.com.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


CD REVIEW - TALES OF THE RIVERBANK


Tales of the Riverbank
Music by Mark Thomas
MovieScore Media MMS-09008
35 Tracks 58:30 mins

When I was a boy, BBC TV was responsible for a seemingly endless stream of fine children's shows, one of which was Tales of the Riverbank, which utilised real animals, often driving model cars, boats and planes in the adventures of Hammy Hamster, Roderick Rat and GP the Guinea pig. You'd never get away with it these days, but those were innocent times, before the rule of political correctness. Last year an animated version was made, featuring the voices of the likes of Stephen Fry, Ardal O'Hanlan, Jim Broadbent and Steve Coogan, though what has happened to the film I do not know, as it didn't seem to make UK cinemas and I believe has yet to even receive a domestic DVD release.
The music for the film was provided by Mark Thomas, a man who you can always depend on to come up with the goods. Why he is not working in Hollywood is beyond me, as he is as good a composer (or better) than many who regular find work there. His score for Tales of the Riverbank is largely orchestral, played by the City of Prague Philharmonic, with vocal contributions from Rosanna.
The album commences with the pastoral "Main Title Theme," which is followed by a suitably soaring "Flying Theme," and in turn by the brief, but adventurous "Hammy Appears." The score takes a momentary darker turn with the menacing action of "Falcon Attack," though the cue ends on a light note. A comedic woodwind promenade accompanies "Fellow Rodent Adventurers," then its a return to the pastoral in the gorgeous "River in Splendour."
"In Search of a Boat" features a series of catchy and quite funky grooves, complete with kazoos and whistlers; then its more menace again with "Tunnel of Terror." More of the comic promenade follows in "Ingenious Guinea Pig," and another quirky groove then features in "Saga of the Floating Umbrella," becoming more adventurous as the cue continues, and leading into the exciting, almost Bond-like action of "Crash Landing Heroes."
The score continues very much in the same vein, a mix of, thrills, spills and heroics, that could easily have come out of a big-budget actioner, or war film; and of course comedy, with some catchy little tunes and grooves cropping up here and there. Many of the tracks are quite brief, but the score has a nice flow to it, and is consistently entertaining. Stylistically it is quite varied; conventionally orchestral, but with a pop beat here and there, and even a little jazz in the likes of "One of Those Etceteras"and "Up Up and Away;"but throughout melody is key, which is a rarity these days and is therefore to be treasured. Certainly one of the most enjoyable scores I've heard in recent months.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/riverbank.html for samples and to download this excellent album, or you can pick up a CD copy from the likes of Screen Archives or Intrada.

Monday, April 27, 2009


CD REVIEW - URSUS NELLA TERRA DI FUOCO


Ursus nella Terra di Fuoco
Music by Carlo Savina
Digitmovies CDDM129 (Italy)
33 Tracks 60:28 mins

Previously only released as 10 tracks in a collection of music from the Ursus film series, Digitmovies has uncovered the complete stereo masters of the original recording sessions of this score by Carlo Savina, plus a further eight "lost" tracks (with the help of Stefan Schlegel) for the third in the series of Ursus films starring Ed Fury. Known by the English language title of "Ursus in the Land of Fire," the 1963 film was directed by Giorgio Simonelli.
Carlo Savina's score, like the film's star, is suitably muscular and gets away to a dark, menacing start in the opening track (there are no track titles), with barbaric horns and wild percussion. More dramatic and powerful writing can be heard in track 2, though a soaring, passionate string theme emerges at its climax, and continues in track 3, which turns somewhat mystical with expressive harp runs. A tragic feel opens track 4, then a subdued, devilish woodwind solo leads to a powerful climax. More tragedy and drama in track 5 leads to something of an exotic, low-key dance variation on the woodwind motif. It's action all the way in track 7, but track 8 is of a totally different nature, an eerie Theremin or similar bringing a threatening, supernatural quality to the score, often carried on in later tracks by sustained Hammond organ chords and that woodwind motif again.
These opening tracks pretty much introduce all the main thematic elements of the score, save for those of a romantic nature, commencing with strummed solo harp in track 12, the instrument turning more expressive as it leads into a somewhat bittersweet string melody in track 24.
After much drama, an heroic brass fanfare sounds in track 31, with French horns introducing a powerful climactic track 32, before expressive strings, interrupted by one last burst of muscular dramatics, lead us through an impressive finale.
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, with stills and artwork from the film, plus Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes. Go to www.digitmovies.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


CD REVIEW - WUTHERING HEIGHTS


Wuthering Heights
Music by Michel Legrand
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1087 (US)
17 Tracks 46:46 mins

Long before Alexandre Desplat, there were other Frenchmen conquering Hollywood; two at least, Maurice Jarre and Michel Legrand were very successful during the '60s and '70s especially. In 1970, Legrand was at the height of his powers, having written scores for the likes of The Thomas Crown Affair and Ice Station Zebra, so quality music was assured for American International's adaptation of Emily Bronte's classic tragi-romance Wuthering Heights. An unusual choice for the studio, who are mostly remembered for their low-budget exploitation fare, but I actually find their version of the story superior, made so by some excellent photography, a fine British cast, including a young Timothy (James Bond) Dalton and Ian (The Saint) Ogilvy, and of course the music of Michel Legrand; at the heart of which is his haunting (if you pardon the pun - the lovers finally reunite in death, if you didn't know) love theme, given lyrics by the great Marilyn and Alan Bergman, and performed on the soundtrack by the Mike Curb Congregation, "I Was Born in Love With You."
I have long treasured the rare American international LP and am delighted now that La-La Land, albeit in a very limited edition of 1200 units, has finally brought this great score to CD, and what's more there is a previously unreleased track to make the disc even more tasty.
The album gets underway with Legrand's instrumental version of the love theme, which features a delicate flute playing the melody, alternating with sweeping and dramatic strings and French horn. "Yorkshire Moors" initially speaks of the playfulness and innocence of childhood, before the love theme enters somewhat dirge-like to close. "Le Grand Holiday" alternates between light and gay and somber tones, before ending on a gloomy note. A tremendously furious scherzo features in "Castle Grounds," followed by the unhinged, waltz-like music that denotes the cruel "Hindley," which alternates with more dark tones and tragi-variations on the love theme, before briefly giving way to religious organ music. A scherzo of a much lighter, excitable nature features in "The Grange;" which is followed by the hugely dramatic "Rendezvous on the Moors."
The love theme returns in delightful, if somewhat poignant, variations as "Cathy's Theme," continuing in romantic vein for the previously unreleased track titled simply "Wuthering Heights." "Mystical Moors" is something of a mixed bag, being made up of short moments in the score, but is largely dramatic. "Reprise for Heathcliff" begins with the most passionate take on the love theme thus far, complete with rapturous strings and piano, underscoring Heathcliff's last moments with the dying Cathy, leading to a poignant climax. Fabulous stuff! The theme continues mournfully in "Cathy's Ghost, to be followed by the brooding "Wuthering Heights Dirge." "Isabella," the dramatic set-piece where Cathy's ghost returns to torment Heathcliff, features the love theme, suitably dramatic surges and frantic scherzos as he follows her across the moors to his own end, as delineated by the sudden climax to the cue. The love theme starts "Mourning for Cathy" in suitably otherworldly fashion, as she comes to Heathcliff at the moment of his death, but turns lighter to signify a return to the happy days of their childhood together. A peaceful version of the love theme plays over the final score track "Heathcliff and Cathy," giving way to the final vocal version of the theme.
Accompanying the disc is an excellent booklet, featuring stills from the film, plus Randall D. Larson's comprehensive notes on the film and its score, including a cue-by-cue guide, which is vital, as you will probably notice that the original LP track titles, reused here, make no sense. Hurry along to www.lalalandrecords.com to secure your copy of this fine score.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


CD REVIEW - LA SVERGOGNATA/SUGGESTIONATA


La Svergognata/Suggestionata
Music by Berto Pisano/Music by Carlo Savina
Digitmovies CDDM124 (Italy)
20 Tracks 53:45 mins

This pairing of two scores from '70s Italian films largely of an erotic nature features firstly, Berto Pisano's lounge-style score for the 1974 Giuliano Biagetti film La Svergognata, which starred, among others, Barbara Bouchet, and secondly, Carlo Savina's music for the 1978 Alfredo Rizzo film Suggestionata. The former was previously only available as a rare RCA promotional album, whilst the latter makes its debut here, again courtesy of RCA.
Pisano's score features the wonderful voice of Edda Dell'Orso, and it is she who opens the score in a flowing arrangement of the main theme in "Orchestra for Edda." The subsequent "Piano Dreams" features a very different arrangement of the theme, played by bluesy solo piano (another more carefree take on the piece is featured later). Other versions include a slower take on the opening arrangement, prominently featuring Edda again, the second, "Sound for a Child, "more instrumentally dominated. "Voice in the Night" features a more sensual performance by Edda," who doubles with bass flute for the second version and closing track of the score.
The other featured theme is "Free Hammond," heard initially as an easy-going, bass flute and Hammond organ-lead number, but then again later in a livelier, more jazzy version.
It's all very pleasant and relaxing.
Savina's score features a smooth, romantic main theme, with wordless vocal by an unidentified young female, and some very lush string work. The theme, like Pisano's score, dominates, with laid-back poppy arrangements for electric piano and strings largely making up the tracks that follow, though the theme takes on a darker, suspenseful and threatening feel in three of them, and track 19 (there are no track titles) is downright menacing. But, don't fret, the main theme returns, complete with female vocal, to close the score on a satisfactory note.
Quite a different score from that which opens the disc then, still with a lovely melody at its heart, but with a good share of drama too.
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, with stills and artwork from the films, plus introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano and Pierluigi Valentini. Go to www.digitmovies.com.

Friday, April 24, 2009


CD REVIEW - THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT


The Last House on the left
Music by John Murphy
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1092 (US)
18 Tracks 46:42 mins

Liverpool born composer John Murphy got his start in modest budgeted, but very successful British films of the '90s, such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch and has, since his move to the States, worked steadily films produced on both sides of the pond, including 28 Days and Weeks Later, Miami Vice and Sunshine. His latest offering is for Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham's remake of The Last House on the Left.
Murphy utilises both orchestra and electronics in his score, the former often underlining the more poignant moments, as in "After the Rape" and ""Dead in the Water;" the latter positively menacing, either solo, or combining with the orchestra, in the likes of "In the Woods," "Are you Ready to be a Man?" "Saving Mari," the unbearably tense "Going to the Guest House" and "Looking for Krug."
Rare moments of light, such as the sunny "The House" receive nice string-based scoring, though the subsequent "The Boathouse," while continuing in that vein, goes on to develop a harder edge, which continues in the base-driven "Getting Stoned," and re-emerges in the final showdown "John v Krug."
The penultimate track on the album, "The End," finds a return to Murphy's poignant, piano-lead music, though a sustained unease closes the cue; with the final track being a more threatening alternate version of the originally flowing "Opening Titles."
The accompanying booklet features plenty of colour stills from the film, a brief synopsis, and notes from the composer, director and producer Craven.
Order the album from www.lalalandrecords.com/LastHouse.html, where you can first preview tracks, and if you're quick enough, you may be lucky enough to secure an autographed copy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

AWARD WINNING FILM COMPOSERS FEATURED ON

FILM MUSIC PANEL AT NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL

SATURDAY APRIL 25

FROM HAIRSPRAY TO PASSION OF THE CHRIST REPRESENTED

Leading Hollywood composers will participate in the festival's Film Composers Panel, presented Saturday, April 25 at 9:00am (ending at 11:00am), at Fashion Island, Edwards Island 7 Theaters (999 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach CA 92660). Participating on the panel will be Marc Shaiman, John Debney, Shawn Clement and Austin Wintory; moderated by Daily Varity’s Steve Chagollan.

A Tony Award winner for Hairspray, Shaiman also penned songs for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and the upcoming Catch Me If You Can. Shaiman earned Academy Award nominations for the scores to South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Patch Adams, The First Wives Club, The American President and Sleepless in Seattle. His extensive career also includes collaborations with Bette Midler, Patti LuPone, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Billy Crystal, Harry Connick, Jr. and Peter Allen

Academy Award nominated composer John Debney will be joining Shaiman on the panel. In addition to his Academy Award nominated score to The Passion of the Christ, Debney has received several Emmy awards, a Dove award for The Passion of the Christ, a CUE award for the score to the videogame Lair and several gold and platinum selling albums, including The Passion of the Christ and The Princess Diaries. Debney was the youngest recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement, and has conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. Last year, Debney set the tone to the dramatic film The Stoning of Soraya M. (adapted from the New York Times best seller), which received critical acclaim at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and will be released to select theatres June 26.

Award-winning film composer Shawn Clement will also be speaking on the panel. Clement is currently scoring the Large Format, 3-D, computer-generated animated film Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey, which takes viewers on an atomic solar safari through the universe. Clement credits include Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu; his dramatic musical style is evident in such shows as World’s Wildest Police Videos, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. A multifaceted composer whose creative accomplishments have earned him many ASCAP Film & TV Music Award, Clement’s additional credits include Last Chance. Queer Eye and video game titles including Open Season, The Sims 2 and Batman: Vengeance. Clement just completed recording his original score for Quantum Quest at Skywalker Sound earlier this month.

Also on the panel is film composer Austin Wintory whose latest project Knuckle Draggers is featured at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Wintory also worked on the psychological thriller Grace, which is currently on the festival circuit after winning the Jury Prize at France’s prestigious Gerardmer International Fantasy Film Festival in early February. Wintory was at Sundance for the premiere of Grace; his film last year, Captain Abu Raed, won the Audience Award at Sundance and received critical acclaim for the score. At 26 years old, Wintory has been BAFTA nominated and last year was presented with an award for “Best New Film Composer.”


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


CD REVIEW - ANNIBALE


Annibale
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Digitmovies CDDM123 (Italy)
36 Tracks 73:20 mins

It has been some months since I had the pleasure of reviewing a Digitmovies release, and I was sorry to hear of the problems they have had in getting product to their reviewers, problems that I hope are now firmly behind them. I may never know what other gems I may have missed on reviewing for you, but at least I now have a half a dozen titles to bring to your attention, and I thought a good place to start was with this 1959 score by one of Italy's most renowned film composers Carlo Rustichelli.
I first must say however that the overall sound quality of this release is not up to the label's usual standards, simply because the original masters have long since disappeared and the only tapes available have deteriorated considerably over time. It is however a score well worth preserving, in any form, and it's great to finally have the music available for this Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia film, with Victor Mature in the title role of the legendary Carthagian general, famous for leading his conquering army, elephants and all over the Alps. Interestingly, the film also features early appearances by a pair of actors who were to become a popular teaming in much later films, known then by the names of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer.
Rustichelli's score has no track titles, so I will guide you only by their number on the disc, which commences with the stirring main title march, which is taken at a sprightly tempo. This theme is to appear in variations throughout the subsequent score; including a slow, trudging version in track 2; and a sturdy, triumphant variation for male choir in track 4; receiving also an impressive and boisterous variant, including brassy fanfare and drums, in track 11, which is further developed in track 14. Another, all-conquering march is introduced in track 22, representing the opposing Roman forces. The score also features a good deal of dramatic, brassy and exciting action writing, as one would expect, and a little suspense here and there; but in between there are quieter and even pastoral moments, some on the subdued, melancholy side, but many featuring a very nice love theme for Hannibal and Sylvia, often voiced by either strings or alto sax, which makes its first appearance in track 6.
The finale opens with a brief, subdued quote of the love theme, before the march enters, again initially subdued, but building to its full glory.
Following the main programme, four very interesting unused alternate tracks close the disc, including an almost Elmer Bernsteinish, western-styled variation on the main theme, complete with typical Hollywood Indian drums; a light and comedic variation on the same theme, with a thinly disguised "The Girl I Left Behind Me" at its opening; a pacy exotic dance variation on the love theme; and a suite of battle music.
As always, the disc is accompanied by a colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, principal cast and credits, and Claudio Fuiano & Stefan Schlegel's introductory notes.
Go to www.digitmovies.com for details of all this enterprising label's releases.

NEWS FROM CHANDOS



In May, Chandos Records releases the premiere recording of two symphonies by Christopher Gunning


Christopher Gunning (b. 1944)

Symphonies Nos 3 and 4; Oboe Concerto

Verity Gunning (oboe)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Gunning

CHAN 10525


Christopher Gunning is best known for his film and television work, for which he has won four BAFTA awards (for La Vie en rose, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Middlemarch, and Porterhouse Blue) and three Ivor Novello awards (for Rebecca, Under Suspicion, and Firelight).

Born in 1944 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gunning attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where his tutors included Edmund Rubbra, Richard Rodney Bennett, Brian Trowell, and James Gibb. His compositions for the concert hall include four symphonies and a number of concertos.

Gunning spent his early professional years working in the field of pop music (with artists such as The Hollies, Colin Blunstone, Shirley Bassey, Tommy Steele, and Cilla Black) and jazz (working on albums with Mel Tormé and Phil Woods, among others), and also composed the music for more than 100 TV commercials, including famous Martini and Black Magic ads – icons of the 70s and 80s.

Gunning was also a director of PRS for fourteen years and a fearless campaigner for composers’ rights.

What makes Christopher Gunning different from other composers who have worked in various popular and commercial fields of music is that he also devotes himself wholly to composing large-scale works for the concert hall, in a style that nods towards contemporary influences while trying to communicate directly with listeners.

On this disc Gunning conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the premiere recording of Symphonies Nos 3 and 4, coupling them with the Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra. Symphony No. 3 was composed in the aftermath of turbulent personal experiences during the year 2005. An expression of the anxiety that arose from those experiences, the work traces an at times chaotic musical landscape that is also colourfully inspired by the Welsh countryside to which Gunning escaped.

While Symphony No. 3 is predominantly unsettled, if hopeful, in Symphony No. 4 the composer’s view of the world has shifted. Here the listener is treated to a sense of triumph over adversity, the work taking on a more direct and tonal expression.

Gunning composed the Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra as a Christmas present for his daughter Verity, an oboist, who here performs the solo part. While the outer movements have a bright and youthful character, Middle Eastern influences are evident in the central movement which was composed on the day, in November 2004, on which the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died; it reflects the composer’s general sense of sorrow for the region.

This disc offers definitive performances, bearing the composer’s imprimatur, and is the first in a projected series devoted to music by Christopher Gunning.

More on Christopher Gunning at
www.orchard-music.co.uk




Tuesday, April 21, 2009


CD REVIEW - THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND


The Possibility of an Island
Music by Mathis B. Nitschke
MovieScore Media MMS09007
16 Tracks 40:45 mins

Yet another new name to me, Mathis B. Nitschke, gets a release on MovieScore Media, with his score for last year's The Possibility of an Island, which was directed by Michel Houllebecq from his own novel. Apparently the composer has written predominantly stage and concert works up to this point, which is probably why his name has thus far gone under my radar.
The score is performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic and Choir, with featured soloists Klaus-Peter Werani (viola), Julia Scholzel (piano), who also co-composed the track "The Prophet's Piano," and Irmgard Gorzawski (harp); the album getting under way with the "Beginning Titles," with viola leading the orchestra in a somewhat melancholy tune that speaks of loneliness. By complete contrast, "Fanfare" is a big and bold piece for brass and drums. This is followed by "The Last Phase," which starts quietly and builds Nyman-like to a big conclusion. "Animator Leaves" sees the viola return to lead a rather bleak sound scape. "Tango" again provides contrast, starting quietly, though the viola again features as the music becomes more forceful, before fading away again. Again, the instrument features, this time unaccompanied in another bleak track "In the Desert." The longest track so far follows, "Daniel23 Leaves," and follows a similar pattern as some of the preceding tracks, starting out quietly, before building quite weightily to its impressive choir-accompanied conclusion. The viola again returns in "Reincarnation," soaring above a subdued orchestra.
The aforementioned "The Prophet's Piano" sees Ms Scholzel's instrument almost improvise its way through some weird percussion. This is followed by "La Source," which was composed by Alphons Hasselmans, and features bubbling harp. Leaving these two tracks behind, which are somewhat at odds with what has gone before, we are back with the score proper and the brief, subdued "Marie23 on Lanzarote." This is followed by the almost tragic "Rolling Titles," with viola again leading the orchestra into the "Finale," which builds dramatically to another impressive choral crescendo, before fading away to nothingness.
Two forgettable vocal tracks follow, the second a dance track, with composer Nitschke providing the lyrics and vocal; with the final track, the offbeat carnival-styled "Cakace Waltz." All best ignored if one is to savour Nitschke's quite brief, but interesting score.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/possibility.html for more details, samples, and to purchase and download, or you can probably still track down a copy of the CD from your usual soundtrack outlet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

JOHN DEBNEY SCORES HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE


You may have recently read my review of the commercial soundtrack album to the big screen spin-off of the TV phenomenon Hannah Montana. Unfortunately none of the film's score was included on that album, but the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, have kindly sent me a promotional disc, so I can tell you all about it.
What little score there is in the TV show is provided by Kenneth Burgomaster, but the powers-that-be behind the movie decided to place the project in the capable hands of the much-in-demand John Debney, who of course has written many a score for the light comedy genre, and is also no stranger to musicals (well, this film has plenty of songs in it, even if its not a musical as such), having worked on Idlewild with the duo Outkast. For Hannah Montana: The Movie, in which Miley/Hannah's father takes her back to her Nashville roots, Debney provided suitably rural-yet-contemporary-styled scoring, a little over 30 minutes of it, threading songs and score skillfully together, and as also responsible for the orchestral arrangement of "Butterfly Fly Away, co-written with Glen Ballard by another renowned film composer, Alan Silvestri, and performed by both Miley and her father Billy Ray.
Of course, the resulting score is, as is often the case in films of this nature, largely made up of quite brief cues, many of them running under a minute or two, some comedic, but there's some catchy, thriller-styled music early on in "PCH Chase" and "Pier Chase;" and countrified pieces such as "Hello N.Y." and the quirky "Live Alligator" get the toes tapping. Of course, there is sentiment to be found along the way, and "Side of the Highway" is a particularly warm cue, mixing country instruments with orchestra quite nicely. Equally nice, and written along the same lines, is "Ride with Travis;" and romantic and emotional cues like "Swing Doors Breakup," "No Place for a Relationship," "My Mother's Necklace" and "I Can't Do This" are handled sensitively.
"Hannah Arrives" mixes her trademark rocking style with country quite effectively, as does, to a lesser extent, "Ride to Dinner"
All-in all then a very nice score, which I imagine is unlikely to receive a commercial release of its own and it's therefore a pity that at least a couple of moments couldn't have made it onto the Disney album.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


CD REVIEW - ALEXANDRA + NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


Alexandra
Music by Andrey Sigle
MovieScore Media MMS-09009
10 Tracks 46:14 mins

It's always nice to be able to sample the work of a new composing name to me, and here we have Russian composer Andrey Sigle's score for Alexandra, a film nominated for the 2007 Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film festival, which deals with an elderly woman's visit to her grandson at his army camp inside Chechnya. The film has just been released on DVD in the U.S.
Sigle's score is performed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre and opens with "Parting," a lush, expressive symphonic piece full of yearning and sadness. A good deal of the score has a very classical feel to it, very much in the traditions of the great Russian film music composers of the past, Shostakovich and Prokofiev; and "Road" is similarly rich and expressive, with telling brass and woodwind solos. A different side to the score however is audible in "In the Tent," a folksy and quite lovely accordion-lead piece, with a winding flute duet at its centre. The lovely "Meeting" sees a return to full orchestra, with its tender string writing and expressive parts for flutes and woodwinds. A winding woodwind figure flows through "Motion," as the cue wends its way toward its somewhat wary conclusion. The theme from "In the Tent" receives a welcome reprise for full orchestra in "Mood." The longest track on the album follows, "Walk," which is a bittersweet affair, at times quite lovely and delicate, at others distinctly melancholy, with an almost heartbreaking violin solo. "Dust of Roads" is similar in style to "Motion," though more developed, with variations on themes that have gone before.
The penultimate track, "Lyrical Guitar" again reprises the "In the tent" theme, and its tentative nature suggests that this may be an on-screen performance. The final track is entitled "Monologue" and is something of a wasted track for those of us who do not speak Russian for, as the title would suggest, it features dialogue and music from the film.
This is a lovely score, which I would highly recommend in particular to lovers of both melodic classical music and symphonic film music of the golden days. I hope to hear more of this composer's work in the future. Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/alexandra.html for more info, samples and to download your copy.

From Costa Communications:-

“UNSUNG GUITAR HERO”

COMPOSER, SONG-WRITER, SINGER & MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST

ROBERT ANTHONY NAVARRO

contributes his original music to Fast & Furious

Collaborates on top videogames and writes songs with Hal David!

Los Angeles, CA – Film & videogame composer Robert Anthony Navarro is not so quietly creating a name for himself as a new voice in both film and videogames. In an era where games and films were beginning to get dominated by orchestral scores, Navarro is embracing his rock roots and bringing his original rock compositions to the worlds of both film and videogames; blending with the classical as well as standing alone. His original guitar-infused music can be heard in the number one action film, Fast and Furious. He has collaborated his original rock compositions to complement orchestral scores in the videogames: Naruto: The Broken Bond & Rise Of A Ninja, Driver 76’, Surf’s Up, and American Chopper: Full Throttle. As a songwriter, Robert Anthony Navarro recently collaborated on pop songs with legendary Academy Award winning lyricist Hal David (88 years old); the tracks, originally licensed for commercial use are now publicly available on iTunes and amazon.com.

Robert Anthony Navarro was born in New York. The son of a Latin entertainer and a Playboy Bunny, and the God Son of Latin percussion legend Tito Puente. His eclectic musical influence is the reason that his original compositions span rock and pop to heavy metal. Navarro studied guitar with various teachers including Kirk Hellie (guitarist for Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols), Bruce Bouillet of Racer-X, to classical guitar with Ron Borczon and Eric Jones. Eventually Navarro attended Cal State Northridge (CSUN) for Music Theory. His studies also included Rock at Musicians Institute to classical studies at Pierce and Occidental College. Balancing a full schedule of classes and private instruction, Navarro began teaching guitar, and eventually took over the students of his former instructor Kirk Hellie. Simultaneously, he played bass and fronted for the OXY Jazz band which evolved into the Pop/Punk/Alternative group known as Trip. Trip released their highly acclaimed CD ‘Naked’ and toured nationally.

In 2001, Robert accepted the position of Music Director for Associated Production Music (APM Music) - a production music library co-owned by EMI and UMG. Eventually Navarro began singing on various CD projects, as well as producing, recording and composing CDs of his own including a co-production with film composer Jeff Rona, various projects with Jeffrey Cain and Leslie Van Trease of Remy Zero, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton of Queensrÿche. He was named executive producer of the APM Custom Music division. Working directly with A-list clients, Navarro and his team’s credits include ESPN’s Monday Night Football Theme (2007) and The Kansas City Royals Theme. To date, Robert has produced 16 library CDs and over 1500 individual tracks for APM related productions. Navarro left APM in 2007 to pursue composing, songwriting and producing.

Robert lives and works in Los Angeles, California, where he splits his time between music supervision, composition for film, TV and video games, producing artists, and reinventing himself


Friday, April 17, 2009


CD REVIEW - SHIFTY


Shifty
Music by Molly Nyman & Harry Escott
Silva Screen Records SILCD1286
14 Tracks

Due for U.K. cinema release on the 24th of this month, Eran Creevy's semi-autobiographical film Shifty follows a reunion of two teenage friends, one with a responsible life, the other a drug dealer.
The score is provided by the composing team of Molly Nyman(daughter of Michael) and Harry Escott, who first began working together in 2001, and have since gone on to score features such as Hard Candy and A Mighty Heart, Road to Guantanamo and Ghosts; as well as having worked in TV on the likes of New Europe and Monarchy. Withe the film not as yet released, the score has already been nominated at the British Independent Film Awards in the Best Technical Achievement category.
The album opens with the title theme, which moves along dreamily, with piano, guitar and wordless voices (presumably those of the composers). Piano again features prominently throughout the score and features again in the slightly tense "Busting My Ghaand," and also the brief "Charming Glen." The pacy "Why Am I Running?" follows, and then the lengthiest cue on the album, the rap number "CataclysMic." Moving on quickly, for I see no musical value in rap, "Swings" is something of a light and pleasant, waltz-like cue, and is followed by the plodding "Blare's House," and the oppressive pulse of "Tough Call." "Good Boy" repeats the tense string-work of "Busting My Ghaad;" the tension continuing in "Look at You." The spacey intensity of "Night Watch" brings things to a head, with a sense of relief following in the flowing "Leave it all Behind." The disc concludes with "Play the Tape," which most displays Nyman's father's influence on her work, although there are touches here and there throughout the score.
The album is available on CD or to download from www.silvascreen.com.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



CD REVIEW - 4 DOLLARI DI VENDETTA


4 Dollari di Vendetta
Music by Benedetto Ghiglia
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4126
27 Tracks 56:42 mins

The third recent Italian Western score release in the GDM Hillside Series features Benedetto Ghiglia's music for 1966's 4 Dollari di Vendetta (Four Dollars for Vengeance), much of which is another premiere recording, save for tracks 1 & 2, which were originally released on a C.A.M. single.
The album opens with the aforementioned tracks, firstly the marching song "Let Him Go," initially whistled, then performed by the Choir 4 + 4 di Nora Orlandi, with a lyric by Ghiglia and M. Russo; and secondly with the catchy Mexican-styled "Fuorilegge," an action piece, with a dance-like quality. "Let Him Go" is then reprised in a different arrangement, which includes trumpet, as is "Fuorilegge" in a a slower, more spare variation, complete with high-spirited Mexican voices at one point. Both these themes are to crop up in numerous arrangements throughout the subsequent score, only broken up by the occasional new piece, like the dramatic trumpet-lead "Deguello per una Vendetta, heard in short and longer arrangements; the familiar-sounding "Valzer Grazioso," which I'd swear I've heard in another score somewhere; the charming music box-like "Valzer dei Ricordi," which later receives a sombre organ treatment, and a lighter version for flute; the light-hearted tune "Buffo Saloon," which again has a familiar ring to it; and of course the obligatory saloon piano track (Buffo Saloon also receives the saloon piano treatment later on, incidentally).
If you don't mind your scores on the repetitive side, you'll enjoy this one, which is a tuneful traditional Italian Western offering.
Accompanying the disc is the usual colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, the original C.A.M. single cover art, and principal cast and credits. Again, there are only 500 copies going, so hurry along to www.hillsidecd.co.uk if you want one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


CD REVIEW - STAND BY FOR ACTION! THE MUSIC OF BARRY GRAY


Stand By For Action! The Music of Barry Gray
Silva Screen Records SILCD1279 (UK)
40 Tracks 79:04 mins

Due for release on 4th May is a splendid compilation of music by Barry Gray for all the wonderful Gerry Anderson puppet and live action shows produced during the 1960s and early 1970s. Although splendid though it may be, I do have my reservations about it in that it's been a while since the label released full albums of music from Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 and I was rather hoping they would go on to similarly release the music for other shows, particularly my favourite, Stingray. I just hope that this release does not mark an end to these wonderful Barry Gray albums.
But to the album at hand, which features themes and suites from 10 of the Anderson/Gray collaborations, some of which has been previously released on the aforementioned discs, but there's plenty of unreleased material as well. There are a couple of tracks from their very first collaboration on Four Feather Falls; three tracks from Supercar; four from Fireball XL5, including the memorable "I Wish I Was a Spaceman; five from Stingray, including "Aqua Marina;" four from Thunderbirds; six from Captain Scarlet; five from Joe 90; two from The Secret Service; five from UFO; and four from Year 1 of Space: 1999. All the principal themes are here and it all makes for the perfect nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up with these shows.
The album is accompanied by a memorabilia-filled booklet, which also has a track-by-track guide to the music by Barry Gray archivist Ralph Titterton.
Head on over to www.silvascreenmusic.com where you can find more info, preview tracks and pre-order your copy, or you can download individual tracks if you prefer.

Monday, April 13, 2009


CD REVIEW - I QUATTRO PISTOLERI DI SANTA TRINITA'


I Quattro Pistoleri di Santa Trinita'
Music by Roberto Pregadio
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4125
20 Tracks 42:18 mins

Another new western release in the Hillside Series is the full stereo recording of Roberto Pregadio's score for this western with the English title of Four Pistols for Trinity, a 1971 addition to the Trinity series, directed by Giorgio Cristallini, and starring Peter Lee Lawrence and Evelyn Stewart.
Pregadio has written some fine conventional western scores, but this is very different, taking a very jazzy approach, immediately evident in the opening title track, which moves busily along on jazz trumpet, with syncopated drum accompaniment. The theme is reprised in track 8. That same jazzy trumpet features prominently in tense, suspenseful tracks like "Attesa Jazz," "Quattro Pistole" and "Mistero;" as well as the bluesy "Cowboy Swing" and "Pistolero Nei Guai."
The fine but melancholy love song "Julie" is introduced briefly in track 3 on the disc, performed by the deep, distinctive voice of Peter Boom, and is given a full treatment in the concluding track, as well as performed in straightforward instrumental fashion in "Nella Prateria," "Ricordi," "Verso La Frontiera," and in subdued and somewhat dramatic fashion in "Crepuscolo al Canyon."
There's also another melancholy song of lost love in the score, "It Was a Joke," by uncredited female vocalist.
"Notturno" features more melancholia, in the form of a soft guitar solo, accompanied by organ, which features in full religious mode in "In Chiesa" and in romantic mode in "Tema D'Amore."
The surprisingly breezy "Allegra Marcetta" bears a certain resemblance to "The Girl I Left behind Me."
The penultimate track, "Momento Drammatico," is where the score comes to a head in a fusion of jazz and more traditional action scoring.
In conclusion, this score is something of a mixed bag. There are things that come from the more traditional side of Italian Western scoring, but the jazzy approach is very much at odds with the genre. So, I have to recommend it with reservations.
The CD is accompanied by the usual colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, together with principal cast and credits details. Limited to just 500 copies, get along now to www.hillsidecd.co.uk if you want a copy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


CD REVIEW - THE LIBRARIAN: CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE


The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice
Music by Joseph LoDuca
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1084 (US)
27 Tracks 56:48 mins

After a little uncertainty, La-L Land Records has released the score for the third in the series of Librarian adventures, Curse of the Judas Chalice, having of course released the scores for the the others in the series, along with other works by Joseph LoDuca, maintaining one of several special relationships they have with composers.
I haven't had the opportunity of seeing any of the Librarian TV movies yet but, by all accounts, they are entertaining affairs, along the lines of the Indiana Jones adventures. Indeed, the main theme is compared by director Jonathan Frakes, in the colourful accompanying booklet, to John Williams' classic theme for Indy. I wouldn't go so far as that, but it's catchy enough in its own way. In fact LoDuca's music for all three films is entertaining enough, it's just that we're talking TV budgets here and although an orchestra was used, sampled voices and electronics are also in the mix, and we're not talking the Hans Zimmer kind of electronics. No, we're back to my pet hate of over intrusive electronics, substituting for brass especially, but if you don't mind that sort of thing, and you're a fan of the series, you'll probably enjoy what's on offer here. It's certainly a varied box of delights with, as detailed by the composer in his booklet notes, "a Romanian Dracul theme, a James Bond parody, a swashbuckling fight scene, not to mention healthy dose of comedy and suspense." There's also a song, voiced by Stana Katie, performed in a New Orleans jazz club setting, but also cropping up a couple more times in the score, which was written by the composer, and also serves as the film's love theme; as well as some good old-fashioned New Orleans jazz, funkiness in "Simone to the Rescue," some French accordion, a touch of zydeco, and a couple of brief male vocals on "Just Can't Help It" and "Comin' Home."
The aforementioned booklet, as well as notes from the composer, with special emphasis on the background to the aforementioned song; also features brief notes by producer Dean Devlin, and director Frakes; and as this release is limited to just 1500 units, I would suggest you get along to www.lalalandrecords.com and order your copy now.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


CD REVIEW - IL FIGLIO DI DJANGO + NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


Il Figlio Di Django
Music by Piero Umiliani
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4124
22 Tracks 47:20 mins

Perhaps the pick of three new Italian Western releases in the fabulous Hillside Series is Piero Umiliani's score for 1967's Il Figlio Di Django (Return of Django), which was directed by Osvaldo Civirani and stars Gabriele Tinti and Guy Madison.
This music was a pleasant surprise to me, for somehow I had not been expecting such a conventional Italian Western score from the composer, but it is in fact written largely in classic genre style.
The disc gets underway with the pacy, drumkit driven title theme, which is OK, but nothing to write home about. However, this is followed by the typically trumpet-lead "Triste Deguello, which only falters for a short harpsichord middle section. "La Sfida" gets off to a galloping start, before some fairly dark and suspenseful doings on take over. A bouncy instrumental of what is to become the song "They Called Him Django" follows in "Verso La Citta" and this light mood continues at the opening of "Libero e Selvaggio," though soon loses its way, only to pick up again and canter to its conclusion. The aforementioned song receives its vocal performance from one J. Balfour in the following track, and joins the catalogue of genre songs that are almost so bad that they are good. No, seriously, I love it, just like the rest of them. Just turn your brain off and enjoy!
After this tuneful interlude comes the brief, dramatic "Tracy Il Pistolero," and then the bouncy instrumental version of the song returns in "Nella Valle." The obligatory source tracks, "Saloon" and "Piano Saloon" bookend the all too brief, but fabulous "Cavalcata" with its busy Al Hirt-like trumpet (think Green Hornet). The melancholy nostalgia, again featuring solo trumpet, of "In Memoria Di Django" comes as a complete change of pace, and is followed by the shady doings of "Missione Segreta," which continue into "Falsa Tranquilita," before the melancholy theme returns again in a version for solo trumpet, only to give way to suspenseful material at its close.
"Attesa e Azione" opens with suspenseful instrumental variations on the song, which become increasingly bolder as the cue continues on electric guitar, which leads us into the galloping "Un Eroe Nel Canyon," with brass playing the song's melody as counterpoint. The nostalgic theme returns on harmonica in the brief "Nostalgia Del Padre," which is followed by another splendid, slightly more laid-back version of "Cavalcata," featuring dueling trumpets.
The score proper, all of it by the way previously unreleased, concludes with a meaty instrumental version of the song, the previously released album version of which, again featuring J. Balfour, concludes the disc as a bonus track.
The accompanying booklet is the usual colourful affair, with stills and artwork from the film, together with cast and crew credits.
If you want a copy, you'd best hurry along to www.hillsidecd.co.uk, as just 500 have been pressed.


From Costa Communications:-

AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER STEVEN BRAMSON

SCORES DON MCKAY

FILM PREMIERES AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL FRIDAY APRIL 24

(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer STEVEN BRAMSON scores the indie-thriller DON MCKAY, directed by Jake Goldberger. The film stars Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue. Bramson created a diverse score that sets the musical tone of the suspenseful love story. The score ranges from restrained, featuring a blend of acoustic and synthetic instruments often used in unconventional ways that highlight the mystery, to pulsating which accentuate the surprises that unfold. DON MCKAY premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival Friday, April 24 at 6:00pm at the BMCC Tribeca PACC. Other screenings: April 26 at 12:30pm at the AMC Village VII 3 and April 29 at 10:00pm at the AMC Village VII 2. DON MCKAY is the story of a high school janitor who leaves his hometown after a tragedy and returns 25 years later to rekindle a romance with his old flame, who is dying of cancer. This homecoming brings the janitor, Don McKay (Thomas Haden Church) more than he bargains.

Steve Bramson’s scoring accomplishments encompass orchestral and electronic work for film, television, concert as well as amusement rides. He scored weekly with a live orchestra over 200 episodes for the dramatic series JAG which ran for ten seasons. That relationship led to episodes of NCIS. Other projects include the critically acclaimed series YOUNG INDIANA JONES, THE NINE and JOURNEYMAN. He is well-versed outside of the realm of drama which is evident by his scores to the animated children’s film SCOOBY DOO ON ZOMBIE ISLAND and Disney’s TIGER CRUISE. Bramson’s diverse credits include, IN ENEMY HANDS and the musical SHIMMY. His classical training led to a commission by legendary trumpeter Jon Lewis to write a trumpet concerto for orchestra. Bramson also created the music for the ride Space Mountain at EuroDisney in Paris which he recorded with a 55-piece orchestra.

Steve Bramson accomplishments have been recognized with an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Music Direction and Composition” for TINY TOON ADVENTURES, two Emmy nominations for his work on JAG and multiple ASCAP awards


Wednesday, April 08, 2009


CD REVIEW - OUTLANDER


Outlander
Music by Geoff Zanelli
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1088 (US)
15 Tracks 64:34 mins

Having previously released Geoff Zanelli's music for the live-action version of Hitman, it looks as if La-La Land Records has developed yet another special relationship with a composer with the release of his latest score for the imaginative Outlander, which sees an alien crash-landing in the time of the vikings and unwittingly loosing a dragon-like creature on the local population.
For the film Zanelli has created a big orchestral score, performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, enhanced by electronics, including vocal samples, to give that characteristic, what used to be Media Ventures, sound, which of course Zanelli was involved with.
The album gets underway with the huge, fateful sound of "Setting the Trap," with featured vocalist Jennifer Jardine first adding her haunting sound to the opening of the subsequent "Gunnar's Raid," before pounding percussion heralds the powerful action writing that follows, with choir and electric guitars joining the mix. Ms Jardine's voice features again strongly in the suitably tragic "The Moorwen Genocide" that follows, with more powerful action writing featuring again in "Tell Me About Your Dragon, embellished by some eerie, unsettling moments.
Ms Jardine briefly returns for the initially saddish, then increasingly heroic "Gods Be With You," before the track takes on a brutally relentless feel, turning eerie and threatening before ending powerfully. There is a somewhat otherworldly feel to "Crash Landing," with Ms Jardine again adding her ethereal vocals, continuing into "Kainan's Capture," before ending sturdily. The following "Interrogating Kainan" is largely, as one would expect, a tense affair, but is followed by the largely peaceful, ethnic-styled strains of "Herot Town - 709 AD," although the track ends on a determined note. There's a heroic nobility to "Now You Look Like a Viking," which is followed by the initially threatening "It Was a Bear," complete with a similar twisted brass sound to that which Jerry Goldsmith employed in The Edge, the cue ending in a brief burst of action. "That Was Not a Bear" continues in the same vein as the previous track, with more tense and threatening music giving way to pounding action writing.
"Into the Morwen Lair" opens suspensefully, as one might expect, but turns increasingly eerie and barbaric as it heads to its conclusion, leading to a lengthy showdown in "Killing the Beast," that is as poignant as it is heroic, as the Morwen are a dying breed back on their home planet.
The final track on the album ends proceedings in style with "Kainan Becomes King."
Accompanying this limited edition of just 1500 units is a colourful booklet, featuring stills from the film, a brief synopsis, musical credits, which also acknowledge a new name to me, that of Bobby Tahouri, who apparently composed "additional music" for the film; together with notes from both the composer and the director of the film. Order your copy from www.lalalandrecords.com, where you can first preview some of the music if you wish.

Monday, April 06, 2009

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS

Sorry I haven't been able to review anything these past few days. Work and other projects have had to take precedence. Hopefully, a review should appear probably Wednesday, so please check back. In the meantime, here's some news:-

From Costa Communications:-

AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER JOHN DEBNEY

SCORES HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE

IN THEATRES APRIL 10 – SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE MARCH 24

(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer JOHN DEBNEY scores Disney’s HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, directed by Peter Chelsom. The family comedy stars Miley Cyrus, alongside her dad Billy Ray Cyrus. Debney created a new love theme for the film and integrated the score with Miley’s songs to create a unified sound throughout the film. He wove the song tracks and score to play simultaneously, creating a seamless marriage between the two. Debney’s approach to the score is rural and contemporary. Debney wrote the orchestral arrangement to “Butterfly Fly Away,” performed by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, written by the Grammy-winning songwriting team of Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri. Last month at the Burbank International Film Festival, Debney was honored with an an Achievement in Music Award, and a medley of his scores was performed at the closing night award ceremony. Other winners at the festival included Patricia Neal with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Fred Willard with an Achievement in Film Award. HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE will be in theatres April 10; the soundtrack will be released on March 24.

Recently Debney completed the score to another family, fun-filled film, HOTEL FOR DOGS. Last year, Debney set the tone to the dramatic film THE STONING OF SORAYA M. (adapted from the New York Times best seller), which received critical acclaim at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Currently Debney is scoring the latest Eddie Murphy comedy, A THOUSAND WORDS. His other credits include THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, for which he received an Oscar nomination; IDLEWILD, a Prohibition-era musical starring the duo Outkast and featuring famed trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; the animated films BARNYARD and CHICKEN LITTLE; the comic-book inspired SIN CITY, and the comedies ELF and LIAR, LIAR.

Debney’s ability to deliver the perfect score in a wide variety of films has made him one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood, leading him to work with several directors multiple times. For Garry Marshall, Debney scored the black comedy, GEORGIA RULE, PRINCESS DIARIES 1 & 2, and RAISING HELEN; for Tom Shadyac, he scored BRUCE ALMIGHTY and EVAN ALMIGHTY.

In addition to an Academy Award nomination, John Debney has received several Emmy awards, a Dove award for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, a CUE award for the score to the videogame LAIR and several gold and platinum selling albums, including THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Debney was the youngest recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement, and has conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

In HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, Hannah Montana's popularity begins to take over her life. Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus), at the urging of her father (Billy Ray Cyrus), takes a trip to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee to get perspective on what matters the most in life.


Friday, April 03, 2009

NEWS FROM CINEMEDIA


HEROES ORIGINAL SCORE ALBUM TO BE RELEASED BY LA-LA LAND RECORDS ON APRIL 7
Original Score Album From NBC's Hit Series "Heroes" Features Original Music From Show Composers Wendy & Lisa
(April 2, 2009- Burbank, CA) – First they saved the cheerleader and saved the world. Now the Heroes have another assignment – this time on CD. La-La Land Records will release the original score album on April 7, 2009 via their website www.lalalandrecords.com and in stores April 21. Wendy and Lisa (Soul Food, Crossing Jordan) composed the original score. La-La Land Records is releasing the "Heroes" score album through a license agreement with NBC Universal Television, DVD, Music and Consumer Products Group.

In 2006, audiences were intrigued by six words … “save the cheerleader, save the world.” The first season of Heroes featured ordinary people with extraordinary powers. The cop who can hear your thoughts, the flying nurse, the drug addict who could see the future, and the Japanese man appropriately named Hiro who could bend time and space were amongst those whose mission became saving the cheerleader. Each character is drawn into the ‘Company’s’ conspiracy to control these super-powered people .
The “Heroes” original score album features ten powerful tracks, including the “Heroes” title and the memorable “Fire & Regeneration” theme. Each of the additional tracks is built around one of the heroes, and carries the instrumentals and rhythms that are particular to that character – such as the heroic, strong cello sounds for “Peter Petrelli” (Milo Ventimiglia) and the dreamy instrumentals of the fire and regeneration cue for “Claire Bennet” (Hayden Panettiere).
The last two tracks on the album, “Kirby Plaza” and “Fire & Regeneration,” are sure to evoke familiar scenes for the listener. “Kirby Plaza” is the final, fiery conclusion to Season I, when “Peter Petrelli” (Milo Ventimiglia) explodes over New York City. “Fire and Regeneration” is the recurring theme for “Claire Bennet” (Hayden Penettiere) and according to Wendy and Lisa, is “…hands down the very favorite among fans.” They consider it to be “the sound of Heroes – the cue that gave us the direction for the series.” The entire track listing is below.
Childhood friends Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman each grew up in musical families. Lisa joined Prince’s touring band in 1980. She recommended Wendy when another player left the group in 1983. Prince agreed and they began working on Purple Rain. The film and album were both smash hits and Prince’s touring band was renamed The Revolution. Wendy and Lisa worked with Prince on the follow-up albums Parade and Under the Cherry Moon. In 1986 The Revolution was dissolved.
Wendy and Lisa released their first self-titled album in 1987, and have continued to record as a duo. In the mid-90s they began working on several film projects, and have regularly contributed scores to numerous television series including Crossing Jordan, Bionic Woman, and Heroes. Wendy and Lisa earned the prestigious ASCAP award for Composer’s of the Year for their work on Dangerous Minds, the theme to HBO’s Carnivale, Crossing Jordan and Heroes.
“Sometimes it feels more like being in a band together than your typical composer/producer relationship,” describes Executive Producer/Director Allan Arkush. “Every episode is done from scratch. Every cue meticulously crafted and composed to compliment each scene and story arc. During spotting sessions, Lisa writes many, many notes and impressions in little notebooks that she fills with her own very personal reactions to the episodes.”
He continues, “Wendy, when she’s not talking back to the screen, gives opinions, lots of them, and often asks that a scene be run again but without the temp music. She wants to see the work without any music telling her what to feel. We need their honest reaction to each episode. That reaction is translated into the music that is such an important part of the Heroes experience for you people watching at home.”
Heroes airs Monday nights on NBC. The original score album will be available exclusively from www.lalalandrecords.com on April 7th and available both digitally and in stores on April 21, 2009.
Track Listing
1. Heroes Title*
2. Peter*
3. Claire
4. Hiro
5. HRG*
6. Mohinder
7. Sylar*
8. Jessica/Niki/Gina
9. Kirby Plaza*
10. Fire and Regeneration*
* features the voice of Shenkar
About Heroes
From creator/writer Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan") the epic drama chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. On February 2, "Heroes" continued its third season with a brand-new volume -- "Fugitives." In the latest installment, the Heroes are the targets of a government conspiracy to capture those with abilities, led by one of their own.
"Heroes," the worldwide, multi-platform success now in its’ third season is currently licensed to more than 200 territories. The show has received numerous accolades, including the 2009 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy show and a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series. Among its honors in past seasons, "Heroes" has received a People's Choice Award, an AFI Award, a Multicultural Prism Award, a TV Land Future Classic Award, the Television Critics Association Awards' Outstanding Program of the Year, the International Prize at the BAFTA Television Awards, and Choice TV Show Action Adventure at the Teen Choice Awards. Winning its time period in season averages among men 18-34 and men 18-49, "Heroes" is also the second highest time-shifted program on all of the major networks, and this helps attract nearly 3 million additional viewers each week. The franchise represents NBC Universal International Home Video's biggest-selling television franchise, ranks among the top two series in full episode streams on NBC.com, stands among the Top 10 best-selling titles on iTunes and is a top-selling franchise across other digital platforms, including Xbox, Zune and Amazon. “Heroes” is produced by Universal Media Studios in association with Tailwind Productions.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


CD REVIEW - RED RIDING


Red Riding
Music by Adrian Johnston, Dickon Hinchliffe & Barrington Pheloung
Silva Screen Records SILCD1285 (UK)
33 Tracks 74:17 mins

Channel 4's prestigious series of three films, based on David Peace's crime thrillers, set in Yorkshire in the '70s & '80s, screened recently, and featured a distinguished cast including Sean Bean, Paddy Considine and David Morrissey. The three films, entitled simply1974, 1980 and 1983, each featured a different composer, two of which are somewhat veterans of British TV and film, Adrian Jonston and Barrington Pheloung; the other, a new name to me, Dickon Hinchliffe.
I personally didn't watch these films, having long ago tired of the constant diet of crime, both domestically made and imported, that overpopulates UK terrestrial television. Mind you, had I known beforehand of the composing talent employed for the series, I might well have watched 1974 at least, as Adrian's music is always worth a listen. That episode accounts for the first 12 tracks on this generous compilation of music from the scores, and opens with the initially flowing guitar theme of "Eddie," which turns more reflective as it proceeds. Guitar features strongly in the score and provides both propulsion and poignancy. On "Paula" it is joined by cello to make, along with the closing "Never Come Back," where they also combine, the most likeable and moving tracks in the score; whilst violin adds poignancy to "Sunshine Down South." Along the way, there are eerie and dramatic moments, as in "Devil's Ditch," "Swan," "Shangrila" and "The Karachi Club;" whilst more purposeful fare features in "Microfiche" and "Redmoor."
I know absolutely nothing about Dickon Hinchliffe, save for him being founder member of The Tindersticks, whoever they may be, but he is composer of the score for 1980, accounted for by tracks 13 to 25 on the disc. The score certainly gets off to a dramatic start with the surging strings and almost military percussion of "The Ripper." As with Johnston's score, guitar features strongly, propelling events in the likes of "Your Answer" and "Ripper in the Belly;" with cello also returning for the likes of "The Moors;" and more eeriness and drama along the way, like the intense organ sounds of "To Fitzwilliam" and "The Karachi Club Shooting." It is overall very much akin to Johnston's approach, but with piano adding to the timbre of the score, achieving prominence in the poignant "The Ridings" and "The Confession," with its high strings accompaniment. Hinchliffe provides an almost music box waltz-like accompaniment for "Christmas;" and "Five Men, Five Guns" reaches a strings-dominated emotional climax, which is quite effective," a feeling reprised in the closing "Peace at Last."
The final film, 1983, features music by Australian Barrington Pheloung, a veteran of British crime drama, notably Morse. His eight tracks close the disc and the somewhat tragic "Jobson's Theme" gets the score off to a dramatic start. A large string section dominates his score, with "Finding Hazel" the first to feature some intense string playing, initially uplifting, but ultimately tragic, I fear, and somewhat reminiscent of Michael Nyman. "Missing" is quieter fare, though strings still dominate, alongside poignant harp playing, and continue in "Love Theme," but not as one would expect, but again rather tragically. The remaining tracks are pretty much all in the same vein, though "Lost Children" again features poignant harp and also woodwinds. The closing track is a welcome alternate version of "Finding Hazel."
This is quality television scoring by two masters of their art and one very promising newcomer. Well worth your time and money, you can order your copy from www.silverscreenmusic.com.