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

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Pope Joan
Music by Maurice Jarre
Harkit Records HRKCD 8260 (UK)
20 Tracks 71:23 mins

Serving as somewhat of a tribute to the great French composer Maurice Jarre, who sadly died recently, comes Harkit Records' premiere release of his music for the little seen 1971 Liv Ullman starrer Pope Joan. Jarre was aware of the project, and it was hoped he would sign copies of the disc but, sadly, this wasn't to be. Initially, only 40 minutes of the score, in mono, were found, but the producer's son, Daniel Unger, did sterling work in locating the original stereo tapes, plus choral work from the Sistine Chapel Choir, resulting in this 71 minute+ plus presentation.
As for the film, it was directed by Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters, Around the World in 80 Days) and Ms Ullman enjoyed able support from the likes of Franco Nero, Maximilian Schell, Trevor Howard, Olivia De Havilland, Keir Dullea and Lesley-Anne Down. The tragic story of Pope Joan is stuff of legend and, though I have not seen the film for many a year, it sticks in the back of my mind as a well-told tale, with a fine performance from Ulllman and a devastatingly tragic ending; plus Jarre's great music, which I have long wished to be made available.
For his score to Pope Joan, Jarre incorporated medieval instruments in his orchestral lineup, as well as ethnic instruments like zither, cimbalom and bouzouki, as well as choir. The composer wrote many a strong theme in his time (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago etc.) and his score for Pope Joan features a characteristically flowing main theme, first heard over the "Main Titles." The tender innocence of "Young Joan" is introduced, initially by flute; the theme being further developed in the subsequent "Young Joan Given a Crucifix," before the music takes a dramatic turn, leading to an uplifting variation on the main theme. "Prelude to Rape" starts with more of the "Young Joan" theme, given little hint of what is to follow, until the discordant ending.
"Joan's Rape/Joan as a Nun" surprisingly starts in quite a serene manner, before developing variations on the main theme, with choir briefly adding a religious element to the orchestration, all culminating in quite an inspirational ending. The medieval source cue "Cecilia's Song" follows, then the brief "Joan and Brother Adrian" introduces a hint of romance, along with yet more of the main theme. "The Nunnery" commences quite despairingly, before developing into lovely waltz-like music and finally into yet more variations on the main theme, which rush headlong to a dramatic conclusion; the theme continuing in the increasingly dramatic "Joan's Masturbation."
A new rhythmic theme competes with the main theme in "Saxon Menace," with both again featuring on the dark dramatics of "Saxon Raid on the Nunnery," the latter lightly reflecting on the events that have gone before. "Joan as a Monk" presents a suitably liturgical take on the main theme, with a brass fanfare preceding expansive variations on the main theme in "Army Camp/Athens Monastery," the music taking on a suitably Greek feel as the track continues to a somewhat tragic conclusion. The score continues in much more inspirational vein with "Journey to Rome," even if it takes a surprising turn with the addition of guitars and drum kit late on.
"Pope Leo III" is again suitably liturgical in nature, with a Capella choir taking over towards the half-way mark. The main theme takes on a regal air at the opening of "Pope Joan," before the choir returns. After a disturbing interlude, the theme returns to see out the cue and lead us into the spiralling insanity of "Finale - Joan's Death," which concludes with a brief lament for Joans young and old, before choir leads us to a perhaps surprisingly uplifting finale which, for the last time, reprises the main theme in all its glory, even if it ends on a final tragic note.
Three bonus tracks feature at the end of the album, the original take of the "Main Title" music, which includes the rhythm group mentioned before in "Journey to Rome," who also feature in "Rock Music (Slow)" and "Rock Music (Fast)," both poppy/jazzy versions of the main theme, the latter with some pretty wild sax; all of which are catchy enough, but totally inappropriate for the film that I saw. However, they make perfect sense for the new extended version of the film that is being released, which restores previously unseen footage, in which Ms Ullmann plays the dual roles of both the title character and a modern-day woman who claims to be Joan reincarnated.
Accompanying the disc is the label's always high-quality booklet, featuring Randall D. Larson's extensive notes on the film and its score, plus "an appreciation" by album producer James Fitzpatrick and mini-bios of the principal cast, all lavishly illustrated with stills from the production, both in front and behind the camera. Order your copy of what I am sure will be a much sought-after item from, where you can first preview samples of the score.

Friday, May 29, 2009




Reunites with Director Michael Lembeck to Score Tooth Fairy


(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer GEORGE S. CLINTON is reuniting with director Michael Lembeck (Santa Clause 2 & 3) for the comical-fantasy TOOTH FAIRY, starring Dwayne Johnson, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and Ashley Judd. Clinton will record the score to TOOTH FAIRY June 2ND-5TH on the Fox Scoring Stage in Los Angeles. For his score to TOOTHE FAIRY, Clinton has created magical arrangements, full of action, emotion, fun, fantasy and a touch of fairy dust. TOOTH FAIRY will be in theatres November 13.

Later this year, Clinton will travel to New Orleans to set the tone to writer/director Mike Judge’s (Office Space/King of the Hill) comedy EXTRACT, starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and Ben Affleck. EXTRACT will be in theatres September 4. Last year, Clinton scored the comedies HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO and THE LOVE GURU. Clinton’s other credits range from such diverse films as the romantic Zalman King's RED SHOE DIARIES, the martial arts fantasy MORTAL KOMBAT, the suspenseful thriller THE ASTRONAUT’S WIFE and the sexy thriller WILD THINGS. Other projects include John Waters' A DIRTY SHAME and 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND.

Clinton's musical innovation and versatility has allowed him to create memorable scores for various genres. Clinton received an Emmy nomination for Best Original Score to HBO Films’ BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. His score varied from Americana to incorporating Native American elements. He also enlisted World-renowned Native American flutist John Two-Hawks to play on the score.

The film TOOTHE FAIRY centers on Derek Thompson (Johnson), a minor-league hockey player whose nickname is the Tooth Fairy because of his ability to knock out opposing players' teeth. When he discourages a youngster's hope, Derek is ordered to one week's hard labor as a real tooth fairy, complete with wings, magic wand and frilly tutu. Along the way, he rediscovers his forgotten dreams.

In addition to his film projects, Clinton has written several concert works, three musicals, and songs recorded by such artists as Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker, Smokey Robinson and Johnny Mathis. George S. Clinton has also been honored with BMI’s highest honor bestowed on a composer, The Richard Kirk Award for Career Achievement. He joins the company of legendary recipients which include John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Danny Elfman. George S. Clinton believes in imparting his knowledge on a new generation of filmmakers. For the last ten years, he has volunteered his time and experience to filmmakers and composers at the Sundance Institute in Park City, Utah.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Taiko Drums To Start Summer With A Bang -- SO SAY WE ALL!!!

(May 27, 2009- Burbank, CA) – Battlestar Galactica and Caprica composer Bear McCreary will have a busy summer, with the release of two soundtrack recordings and concert performances. On June 13 the music from Battlestar Galactica will kick-off the 2009 Grand Performances Series at California Plaza. Three days later, on June 16, La-La Land Records will release the soundtrack for Caprica.
Bear McCreary will again conduct the music from Battlestar Galactica for three nights at the House of Blues in San Diego from July 23-25th – during Comic Con! The concerts will celebrate the July 21 release of a special 2-CD set, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.
Battlestar Galactica began as an original SCI FI Channel mini-series in 2003. Billions of human lives were consumed by nuclear fires as the Cylons, intelligent robots created by man, rebelled against their makers. A small, rag-tag fleet of survivors escaped and fled into the outer reaches of the universe in search of the mythical, lost "13th colony" — Earth.
The SCI FI series celebrated its finale in March of 2009, having received boundless critical acclaim and awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award as well as special recognition from the United Nations. A few weeks later, the prequel Caprica, set 50 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, was released on DVD by Universal Home Entertainment. Caprica will begin airing in early 2010 on the SCI FI Channel. The series chronicles an astonishing scientific breakthrough taking shape on the planet Caprica. The rapidly evolving spheres of human and mechanical engineering have collided, along with the fates of two families. Joined by tragedy in an explosive instant of terror, two rival clans led by powerful patriarchs, Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) and Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) duel in an era of questionable ethics, corporate machinations and unbridled personal ambition as the final war for humanity looms.
On June 16, 2009 La-La Land Records will release the soundtrack for Caprica, composed by Bear McCreary, one of the top young composers working in Hollywood. His work on the television series Battlestar Galactica has been described as offering “some of the most innovative music on TV today,” by Variety, and his blog, which features in-depth inside looks at the process of scoring Battlestar Galactica, was called "one of the best blogs in the business. It's a fascinating look at the process of making music for film and television and the care he takes with aligning the score with the twists and turns of each character's plot lines," by The Hollywood Reporter.
Bear McCreary’s feature film credits include Wrong Turn 2 and the Rest Stop films. He also scores the series Eureka and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and will be scoring the upcoming SCI FI series Caprica and the Capcom video game Dark Void. McCreary was among a handful of select protégés of late film music legend Elmer Bernstein and is a classically trained composer with degrees in Composition and Recording Arts from the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music.
In 2005 La-La Land Records released the soundtrack for Battlestar Galatica: Season One, which quickly became the top selling release by the label. One year later, the second season was released and was celebrated with Bear McCreary’s first sold-out concert performance in Los Angeles. In 2008 the concerts moved to a larger venue selling out two nights at the famed Roxy on the Sunset Strip. The two-CD Season Four soundtrack will be released on July 21st. The first disc features music from seasons 4.0 and 4.5, with the music from “Daybreak”, the stunning series finale, featured on the second disc.
The Caprica original soundtrack will be available in stores or from on June 16, 2009. Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 will be available on July 21st.
The Music of Battlestar Galactica Performances:
Grand Performances 2009 Summer Series at California Plaza
June 13, 2009 at 7PM, Downtown Los Angeles
Free concert
Comic Con
The House of Blues San Diego (1055 Fifth Avenue)
July 23, 24 and 25
Ticket information visit

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


From Top Dollar PR:

Sumthing Else Music Works Announces Release of
Resident Evil 5 Original Soundtrack
Featuring Music Composed by Kota Suzuki, Hideki Okugawa, Akihiko Narita and Seiko

New York - May 26th, 2009 -Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing
relationship with Capcom®, proudly presents Resident Evil 5 Original Soundtrack
featuring the original music score from the new generation of the fear-inducing
video game series. The Resident Evil 5 Original Soundtrack 3-CD set is released
today to retail through Sumthing Else Music Works (

The physical CD is distributed by Sumthing Distribution and the digital release
is available on Sumthing Digital ( and iTunes®.

The Resident Evil® series has sold over 40 million units since the original game
was released in 1996 and has spawned a multi-million dollar trilogy of films from
Sony Pictures. Winning numerous awards and widespread positive reviews, Resident
Evil® 5 is one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed games of the year.
Game Informer honored Resident Evil 5 with "Game of the Month" status and an impressive
9.5/10 review score while PlayStation: The Official Magazine rated Resident Evil
5 with a perfect five-out-of-five score, remarking that "RE5 takes the co-op experience
to a new level and reinvigorates the survival horror genre in the process."
Lead Composer Kota Suzuki: "As the look of the game has changed from the previous
series, I spent many hours trying to figure out how to approach it with music. We
tend to relate horror with darkness, but this time the game takes place in Africa
with a blazing hot sun." I contemplated on how I could stir the player's emotion
by music embodying two opposite elements? After much trial and error, the director
came up with a key phrase 'panic horror.' And from there, I put my focus on panic-stricken
music for the players. In fact, I did often get panicky while playing this game
myself. I wonder what your experiences will be?"

Co-producer and series veterans Jun Takeuchi (Lost Planet®) and Masachika Kawata
(Resident Evil® 4 Wii Edition, Resident Evil®: Umbrella Chronicles) unleash an
unprecedented level of fear for the new generation in Resident Evil 5, the sequel
to one of the highest-rated videogames in history according to and Delivering an unbelievable level of detail, realism and control,
Resident Evil 5 brings new fans to the series across the globe. For more information
on Resident Evil 5 please visit

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video
game soundtracks, please visit and

About Capcom

Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive
entertainment for game consoles, PCs, handheld and wireless devices. Founded in
1983, the company has created hundreds of games, including best-selling franchises
Resident Evil®, Street Fighter®, Mega Man® and Devil May Cry®. Capcom maintains
operations in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Korea, with corporate
headquarters located in Osaka, Japan. More information about Capcom can be found
on the company web site,

Street Resident Evil, Capcom, Lost Planet, Mega Man and Devil May Cry are registered
trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd. in the U.S. or other countries. Street Fighter is
a registered trademark of Capcom U.S.A., Inc. All other trademarks are owned by
their respective owners.

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 retail marketing and sales through physical
and digital 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 including: Halo Wars, Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable
II, Too Human, Brothers In Arms, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo:
Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts,
Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Unreal Tournament
3 and many others.

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

All names of companies and products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their
respective owners.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Chandos Records has released a new CD featuring premiere recordings of three pieces written for the concert hall by Christopher Gunning, best known of course for his film & TV scores. Here is what he has to say about the project:-

Chris Gunning's new CD
I would like to tell you about a new CD of my music which has just been released by Chandos.

For the past few years I’ve been spending more and more time composing concert pieces. It’s not a new thing for me – when I started out all those eons ago I imagined that I would write concert music primarily, but would support myself with film and TV scores and commercials, and as an arranger in the pop music industry. In other words, I preferred to work full time as a composer rather than become a teacher, which is how most concert composers support themselves. Life seldom turns out quite the way you plan it, and in my case my work in the media took over completely for about thirty years, and the symphonies and concertos took a back seat. I’m not complaining – I’ve loved pretty well every minute of it, and wouldn’t have been happy existing in an ivory tower without the stimulus of frequent recording sessions and working with people with many other talents. But approximately ten years ago I realised that I wouldn’t ever get my concert pieces done unless I devoted real time to them, and since then have composed four symphonies (with a fifth well on the way) as well as concertos for the piano, oboe and clarinet, and a number of other pieces.

A few months ago I met up with Ralph Couzens of Chandos, and as a result my third and fourth symphonies and my Oboe Concerto have become available. I recorded all the music with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Air Lyndhurst studios, with Chris Dibble engineering, and my daughter Verity performing the concerto, which I had composed as a Christmas present for her in 2004. You can imagine how wonderful it was to have her stand in front of the RPO and play like an angel! In fact everyone involved pulled out all the stops for us, and I am so pleased with the result.

I have always been concerned about the developing rift between contemporary “classical” music and a real audience of music lovers, and I don’t believe it is always the fault of audiences that they have found so much contemporary music baffling or worse. I sense that a lot more composers are consciously reaching out to audiences now, and I hope the music I write is not unappealing. The Third Symphony is definitely quite stressful in places, perhaps not surprisingly because in 2005, when I wrote it, there were some tumultuous events in my life. Happily, by 2007 things were looking up and consequently Symphony no 4 is more optimistic in tone – even triumphant! Meanwhile the Oboe Concerto is much lighter than the symphonies, particularly in the outer movements, and it is youthful and energetic and a bit quirky – a reflection of Verity’s personality.

Early in 2010 I will be recording another CD for Chandos, this time of my film and TV scores, with the BBC Philharmonic. If you would like any further information you can visit my website, and if you would like to splash out and buy the new CD here are links to a couple of websites:

With best wishes,


For information concerning the music of Christopher Gunning please visit:

There's really very little more I need say about the disc and concert music is of course not my forte. It's a failing of mine that I am unable to stay focused when listening to lengthy pieces of music, which is why I am a screen music follower and seldom listen to concert works. But, if you like good music in all its forms, this is undoubtedly worth checking out, and further demonstrates that, despite any snobbery that remains, a good composer is a good composer, in whatever field he chooses to write. Looking forward to the film & TV disc next year though.
To confirm, the catalogue number is CHAN 10525. The disc runs for 66:53 minutes and is accompanied by a 24-page booklet, featuring the composer's notes on the three pieces, plus there are profiles of both Christopher and Verity Gunning, as well as the Royal Philharmonic, presented in three languages, with stills from the sessions.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Composer Debbie Wiseman has kindly sent me details of the forthcoming Pink Ribbon Gala Concert, to be held at London's Cadogan Hall on Sunday 8th November. The event is described as "a star-studded evening of music, poetry and song," and is in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign.
Debbie conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with special guests Maureen Lipman, Tom Conti, Elaine Paige and Nigel Havers. Simon Bates presents.
The programme includes works by Bach, Borodin, Holst, Britten and Tchaikosvsky, but before you ask yourself, so why is he publicising it here? The simple reason being, apart from it being in aid of a good cause, Debbie will feature her own music as well, from My Uncle Silas, Wilde, and Tom & Viv.
Tickets are priced at £35, £28, £20 and £10, and can be booked by phone on 020 7730 4500, or online at

From Top Dollar PR:

Sumthing Else Music Works Announces Release of
Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack
The Next Generation Soundtrack for the Premier Fighting Series composed by Hideyuki

Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing relationship with Capcom®,
proudly presents Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack featuring the original music
score from the next-generation installment of the legendary fighting series. The
Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack 2-CD set is released on May 26, 2009 to retail
through Sumthing Else Music Works (

The physical CD will be distributed by Sumthing Distribution and the digital release
will be available on Sumthing Digital ( and iTunes®.

Capcom and Hideyuki Fukasawa's Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack offers all
the pulse-pounding beats that highlight the game's dramatic fights, reflects the
Street Fighter characters' international flavor, and offers exciting new directions
for classic Street Fighter melodies. For both long-time Street Fighter fans and
newcomers, Street Fighter IV OST is an energetic, ambitious fighting game soundtrack
capturing the intense experience of the undisputed heavyweight champion of the next
generation fighting genre.

Street Fighter® IV brings the legendary fighting series back to its roots by taking
the beloved fighting moves and techniques of the original Street Fighter® II, and
infusing them with Capcom's latest advancements in next generation technology to
create a truly extraordinary experience that re-introduces the world to the time-honored
tradition of virtual martial arts. For more information visit

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video
game soundtracks, please visit and

About Capcom

Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive
entertainment for game consoles, PCs, handheld and wireless devices. Founded in
1983, the company has created hundreds of games, including best-selling franchises
Resident Evil®, Street Fighter®, Mega Man® and Devil May Cry®. Capcom maintains
operations in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Korea, with corporate
headquarters located in Osaka, Japan. More information about Capcom can be found
on the company web site,

Street Fighter is a registered trademark of Capcom U.S.A., Inc. Capcom, Resident
Evil, Mega Man and Devil May Cry are registered trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd.,
in the U.S. or other countries. All other trademarks are owned by their respective

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 retail marketing and sales through physical
and digital 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 including: Halo Wars, Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable
II, Too Human, Brothers In Arms, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo:
Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts,
Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Unreal Tournament
3 and many others.

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

All names of companies and products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their
respective owners.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CD REVIEW - $9.99

Music by Christopher Bowen
MovieScore Media MMD0004
17 Tracks 30:18 mins

Yet another new name to me, that of Christopher Bowen, is brought to my attention by MovieScore Media with the label's release of his score for Tatia Rosenthal's award-winning stop-motion animation $9.99. The film, which has already been released in France and will hit US cinemas on June 19th, focuses on several inhabitants of a Sydney apartment complex as they each search for meaning in their lives.
Bowen, who previously provided the score for the acclaimed drama Jellyfish, has provided quite a minimalist score, largely featuring piano, string quartet and electronics, which gets off to a beat-driven, purposeful start with "The Sunshine Coast." The following "A Buck's Worth" is a repeating atmospheric piece, which reminds a little of Morricone's suspenseful Italian Western cues. "The Truffle Shaves" is another minimalist track, featuring repeating piano and plucked strings. "Like Smoking Chewing Gum" is a brief, lonely piece, with the equally short "A Girl Only Prettier" bringing a lighter touch, which bleeds into "The Meaning of Life," in which the quartet becomes the dominant feature. Much of what follows consists of largely variations on the same, dominated for the most part by flowing and somewhat quirky plucked strings, and quieter moments of loneliness and despair. With the exception of the final cue, "Happiness," a weird variation on the opening theme, it's all highly effective and, if you're a fan of minimalism, or just like to hear what a composer can do with modest resources, it's worth checking out.
$9.99 is available for download only. Go to for details.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Girlfriends
Music by Dmitry Shostakovich
Naxos 8.572138
39 Tracks 72:53 mins

This disc will I am sure be highly desirable to Shostakovich followers, presenting as it does four world premiere recordings of his music for film, stage and the concert hall. The title piece, The Girlfriends, a film score from 1934, is what we are concerned with here, the other pieces being Rule, Britannia! and Salute to Spain, both for the stage, and the Symphonic Movement (1945, unfinished). The music is performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mark Fitz-Gerald, with contributions from Celia Sheen (Theremin), Kamil Barczewski (Bass) and Camerata Silesia (The Katowice City Singers' Ensemble).
The Girlfriends, a Civil War story, concerning the fate of three girls who grow up to be nurses, was directed by Lev Arnshtam, with whom Shostakovich had studied piano at Petrograd Conservatory, the pair subsequently working together as composer and sound recordist on Alone, but The Girlfriends was Arnshtam's directorial debut (they would go on to collaborate on other subsequent film projects).
The 46 minute+ score to The Girlfriends is constructed from various sources, and is actually scored for modest forces, largely featuring a string quartet, supplemented by one or two instruments, and commences with the main title music, which features the Moderato from the composer's First String Quartet, that was added when the film was restored in the 1960s, getting the score off to a very non-filmmusic-like start. "The Year 1914" continues in very much the same vein but, thankfully, trumpet and piano are also employed in the following track, even if it is desperately gloomy. The light and bouncy "The Inn of the Key to Happiness" follows and then a lively little scherzo. The first purely choral track follows, the Revolutionary song, translated as "Tormented by a Lack of Freedom. A brief fanfare for solo trumpet then gives way to the delicate innocence of "Story of Silych's Son, Ivan," followed by a different arrangement (for larger forces) of the Revolutionary song. A rousing fanfare for trumpets and church organ follows, and then a brass band performs the familiar "Internationale."
The mood changes completely to dark tragedy for "The Girls Attend to the Wounded Soldiers on the Battlefield," but only briefly, as a rousing march for military band follows. Ms Sheen then makes her contribution to the score, with the Theremin playing the "Internationale," but unfortunately it keeps wildly, and irritatingly, losing its way. More gloominess follows, with a string trio accompanying "Zoya in the Snowy Forest." However, "The Forester's Hut" offers a little hope and comfort.
A couple more brief fanfares follow, giving way to a busy little piano and trumpet-lead scherzo as "The Girls Find a Chicken." Again, changing the mood completely, two solo female voices sing a nostalgic song, translated as "Where are Those Warm Nights?"
Finally, we have a full orchestral track in the guise of the action-packed "Natasha and Zoya are Rescued," which is followed by another brief fanfare, before the orchestra plays us out with the initially sad, but eventually hopeful "Andrei's Closing Words."
For further details, visit, where you can also find information on where to buy or download the album.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Composer Steve Bramson is probably best known for his work on the long-running TV series JAG, scoring over 200 episodes in its ten-year run. He has since gone on to score episodes of NCIS, and has also provided music for such diverse projects as Young Indiana Jones, The Nine, Journeyman, and Scooby Doo on Zombie Island. He also won an Emmy for his work on Tiny Toon Adventures, having also been nominated ofr JAG.
His most recent project is for Jake Goldberger's thriller Don McKay, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, and stars Thomas Hayden Church and Elisabeth Shue. For the film, Bramson utilises live musicians and electronics and, thanks to the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, I can give you an idea of what to expect, should you choose to go see it.
The disc they kindly sent me runs a little under 38 minutes and commences on quite a low-key note with "Don Visits Sonny." In fact, a good deal of the score is restrained, cold and mysterious, with much delicate piano work; but there are some wild tribal sounds to be found in "Bee Sting," and the tense "Price Calls" builds to a powerful conclusion, before continuing quite menacingly in "Still Afoot For Sonny." The following "The Roast" also has its moments, before the final tracks return us to the restrained mode of the opening, if perhaps a little warmer at the end of "I Was Just Lonely."
Unfortunately, there is no news of a commercial release for Bramson's score.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


The Queen of Spades/On Guard for Peace
Music by Sergey Prokofiev
Chandos CHAN 10519 (UK)
15 Tracks 66:05 mins

This disc presents the premiere recording of a suite, adapted by Michael Berkeley, from the unrealised film score for The Queen of Spades, written in 1936, one of three projects Prokofiev undertook that year for Alexander Pushkin, all of which were "nipped in the bud" by Stalin.
It wasn't until 1966 that Gennady Rozhdestvensky assembled the suite Pushkiniana, from music from all three projects, which was subsequently revised by Mikhail Jurowski. However, Michael Berkeley came to the rescue of the film score when, during 2007-8 he was approached by the Royal Ballet and choreographer Kim Brandstrup to turn it into a "choreographic love triangle, loosely based on one of Dostoyevsky's drafts for his novel The Idiot." Some of the ideas presented in the piece will however be familiar, as the composer reused them in subsequent concert hall works.
The first of the five movements that make up this 32-minute piece, "Introduction and Allegro," opens quite ominously with tolling bells, but the pace quickly picks up, pausing for a lengthy, genteel, and quite lovely passage for woodwinds and strings, before rushing to its conclusion.
"Adagio" is an airy piece for woodwinds and strings, yet, at the same time, verging on the tragic.
"Scherzo" is a fairly brief, but delightful ballroom piece; and is followed by the lengthy and varied "Finale," which is boisterous at first, but becomes increasingly menacing and dramatic. The final "Epilogue" is Berkeley's arrangement of a recently-discovered undated piano piece, with no obvious connection to the film, so doesn't really belong here.
Completing the disc is On Guard for Peace, an oratorio in ten movements, with text by Samuil Marshuk.
For these performances, Neeme Jarvi conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with the Orchestra's Chorus and Junior Chorus, Irina Tchistjakova (mezzo-soprano and narrator), and Niall Doherty (boy soprano).
The accompanying multi-languaged booklet features David Nice's notes on each piece, together with profiles of the featured performers, and lyrics for the oratorio.

Friday, May 15, 2009


From Costa Communications:


“Musical Archeology” with Prehistoric Instruments of Human Bone

Season Two available on Blu-Ray disc; Season One DVD and soundtrack in Stores


(Hollywood, CA) Composer Daniel Licht draws from the ages to create music for the Showtime Original series “Dexter” by using prehistoric instruments made from human or animal bones. These are some of the earliest known musical instruments and were chosen for keeping with the series’ theme of title character Dexter Morgan, the Miami-based serial killer who works for the Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst, who dismembers his victims. The music can be heard throughout Season two and season three. Season two is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Licht is currently scoring Lifetime Television's four-hour miniseries Maneater (no relation to Cannibalism) which begins airing May 30th."Maneater" is based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's book about a thirtysomething socialite in a panic because she's still single. She sets her sights on a Hollywood producer. In real life, Grazer was married to Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of "A Beautiful Mind."

To truly add the authenticity of “Dexter,” composer Dan Licht turned to renowned musical archeologist Elisabeth Waldo. Waldo was the first to record rare pre-Colombian instruments which include bone flutes or pipes; pierced phalanges (plalangeal whistles'), bullroarers, and rasps. The new use of these timeless treasures helps Licht create a unique musical palate for “Dexter,” giving an eerie yet melodic pulse to the music.

Based on Jeff Lindsay's novels, the show tells the story of protagonist Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) and his life in forensics for the Miami Dade Police Department. Based on a code instilled in him by his foster father, Dexter hunts down people who have escaped justice and makes sure they don't get away with a crime again. The series won TV Program of the Year at AFI in 2006 and a Golden Globe nomination.

Dan Licht’s film credits include “Hellraiser Bloodline,” Stephen King’s “Thinner,” and “Permanent Midnight.” TV credits include “Jake in Progess,” and “Kitchen Confidential.” Most recently, Licht was awarded the BMI TV music award for his work on “Dexter.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Dr. Kildare
Music by Jerry Goldsmith, Harry Sukman et al
Film Score Monthly Vol. 12 No.6 (US)
Disc 1 - 30 tracks 78:38 mins Disc 2 - 16 tracks 78:44 mins
Disc 3 - 25 tracks 78:14 mins

Another one to file under "dream come true" is FSM's release of music from the granddaddy of all TV medical dramas Dr. Kildare, which debuted in September 1961, starred Richard Chamberlain as the dashing young intern, Jim Kildare, and the ever-dependable Raymond Massey as the hospital's senior physician, Leonard Gillespie. The series became so successful that it continued right through until 1966 and made Chamberlain hugely popular with ladies, young and old. Another popular feature of the show was its title theme, written by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith, the first and most commercially successful of his three iconic TV themes (the others being The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Waltons, of course), made so by Pete Rugolo and Hal Winn converting the theme into a song "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," sung by Chamberlain himself, who was keen to embark on a parallel recording career.
Goldsmith was brought on to the show by producer Norman Felton, who had worked with the composer on Studio One, and would subsequently request his services on the said The Man From U.NC.L.E., Jericho, Hawkins and the TV movie Babe. For Kildare, Goldsmith of course scored the pilot and a further four shows, before handing over the reins to Harry Sukman, who went on to score most of the shows in this and the seasons that followed. Though he did score features, notably winning an Academy Award for his adaptation of the music of Franz List in Song Without End, and receiving two further nominations for Fanny and The Singing Nun, Sukman is most remembered as a capable scorer of TV shows and movies, including The Eleventh Hour, Bonanza, The High Chaparral, Gentle Ben, and Stephen King's Salem's Lot, the latter earning him an Emmy nomination, and remaining another "Holy Grail" for screen music collectors.
Other composers, skilled in scoring for the small screen, who worked on Kildare, include Richard Markowitz (The Wild Wild West), Morton Stevens (Hawaii Five-0) and Lalo Schifrin (Mission:Impossible). The last two shows ever of Kildare, which were to serve as a pilot for a proposed spin-off, received scores by no lesser man than John Green, once head of music at M-G-M.
In addition to all these fine composers, when searching for the early Goldsmith scores, the producers of this album came across the unknown score for the earlier, unsold Kildare pilot, which was to star Joe Cronin and Lew Ayres, with music from another Hollywood musical giant, Bronislau Kaper. What's more, this music, unlike the rest of the mono recordings, could be presented in stereo, and makes up the last four tracks on this splendid 3-CD collection.
Disc one is devoted solely to the work of Jerry Goldsmith and features his music for all of his five shows, commencing of course with his theme, presented initially as "First Season End Title."
The theme, in its most straight-forward form, appears a further five times in different arrangements used in subsequent seasons, plus the Chamberlain vocal, previously mentioned on Disc Three. For those of you not familiar with it, the theme commences with a brass fanfare, which Goldsmith actually borrowed from a score written for a CBS show years earlier, but it is the perfect introduction for the splendid (and original) theme that follows.
The pilot score that follows is represented by six tracks and Goldsmith based much of it on his main theme, which appears in all manner of variations throughout, both lighter and more dramatic. As album Executive Producer, Lukas Kendall, points out, there were big problems in presenting the music for this episode, with the original master lost but, though the sound quality is not as good as for the rest of the Goldsmith scores, it is nevertheless more than acceptable and of course an essential inclusion.
The next episode, "The Lonely Ones" is again represented by six tracks, and once more he utilises his theme in the score, but also notable are his use of "electric violin (echo)" representing drug use, and also some circusy music in "The Neighbors."
"Immunity" is marginally my favourite among the Goldsmith scores, largely because of the splendid dark, and, at times, quite eerie march he composed for the echoes of the main character Wolski's wartime past, though there is also an affecting tragi-nostalgic theme.
"Shining Image" is an acclaimed episode, which won Emmy nominations for director Buzz Kulik and guest star Suzanne Pleshette, for which Goldsmith utilised a four-note flute passage to represent her fatal illness, and also composed a good deal of lovely, romantic music, as well as more dramatic fare.
Finally, for "A Million Dollar Property" Goldsmith utilises a largely jazzy approach to much of the score, including his main theme, though there is also an elegant piano and strings theme for the Anne Francis character, and yet more delightful romance.
On Disc Two, we have some cues written by Goldsmith for tracking on to later episodes, before Sukman takes over on "Hit and Run" (actually his second score for the show) and this, and subsequent episodes, are each represented by a lengthy suite. "Hit and Run" opens with a lovely, warm theme, which goes through subsequent variations throughout the score, which includes some pretty dramatic moments, before coming to a satisfying solo-violin lead conclusion.
"Johnny Temple" includes a similar approach to that Goldsmith employed for "The Lonely Ones," with some effectively off-the-wall electric violin.
"My Brother, The Doctor" has a purposely Hebraic feel to it, with some expressive violin playing; whilst there's some lovely romantic scoring, with a jazzy feel for "The Administrator."
"Oh My Daughter" opens with yet another lovely Sukman melody, but the composer also utilises Novachord to eerie effect for sequences involving hypnosis.
Next, a departure from all the Sukman work, with Richard Markowitz's music for "The Search" providing much tension and pathos.
It's back to Sukman for "The Horn of Plenty" and much sentiment in his lovely scoring, including some fine solo violin once more.
Jazz is the staple of Sukman's score for "The Soul Killer," with trumpet and melancholy sax to the fore; allied to some dramatic action writing.
"Good Luck Charm" is a return to the lovely sentimental scoring with which Sukman excels, with yet more expressive violin work; followed by another jazz-tinged score for "The Dark Side of the Mirror," though this too is largely on the sentimental side.
Sukman brings a charming Irish lilt to his score for "The Gift of the Koodjanuk," together with a touch accordion-lead Old Italy.
The final score on the disc features Sukman's Jewish-flavoured music for "What's God to Julius? which, though the source is acetate, is so moving that it just had to be included here.
Disc Three opens with the Chamberlain vocal performance of the Dr. Kildare theme, and the "Third Season End Title" treatment of same, before presenting music from Sukman's episodes "The Exploiters" and "Tyger, Tyger;" the former featuring dramatic opening passages, based on the Kildare theme, as well as utilising Bach's "Come, Sweet Death" funeral music; the latter mixing a contemporary "surfer beat," which takes on new dramatic heights in the Yvette Mimieux seizure scenes, with more conventional scoring.
Morton Stevens' scores for both "Night of the Beast" and "Maybe Love Will Save My Apartment House" are represented by two cues a piece. Both scores are very reminiscent of both the dramatic and lighter work he would go on to write for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the former incorporating a fine jazzy source cue; the latter including a breezy jazz variation on the Kildare theme, and a theme featured in the the U.N.C.L.E. big screen adaptation "The Spy With My Face."
It's briefly back to Sukman for "What's Different About Today?" for which he wrote the title song, sung in the film by Kim Darby, but sadly only featured here in instrumental form, along with some early dramatics.
For the episode "Rome Will Never Leave You," that great songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David came up with a new song for Chamberlain to sing in the episode (but again not heard here), with Morton Stevens utilising the former's melody throughout the remainder of the score, which naturally features much Italian colour.
With the fifth season changing the format from an hourly show to two half-hour episodes a week, many of these were tracked by M-G-M music chief Robert Armbruster, but 16 did receive original scoring, including the six-part story "The Bell in the Schoolhouse Tolls For Thee," for which he turned to the up-and-coming Lalo Schifrin, who provided the dramatic scoring, represented by track 17, plus some characteristically jazzy source cues.
The aforementioned final two episodes, scored by John Green, are represented by two tracks, and features a lush new string theme, presumably intended as the ongoing theme for the planned spin-off series; with the Kaper pilot score occupying the last four selections, and featuring the composer's own lush, Old Hollywood-styled main theme for the proposed show that didn't happen, and the excellent variations thereon.
Accompanying the 3 discs is the usual high-quality booklet from FSM, with Jon Burlingame's invaluable notes on the show and its music, including cue-by-cue guide, brief bios on all the composers represented, plus a piece on the soundtrack album that was planned but never materialised, and of course stills from the show.
I am quite sure this will be a must-have for all you Goldsmith fans, but I urge you to pay serious attention to the other music on offer, as there is some really fine work here, and I can particularly recommend the ever-reliable Sukman's music; the U.N.C.L.E-like Stevens cues; as well as the brief examples of the work of Johnny Green, a man who really ought to have done more dramatic scoring in his career; and of course the traditional Hollywood-styled music of Bronislau Kaper.
Go to for samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of 3,000 copies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


La Premiere Etoile
Music by Erwann Kermorvant
MovieScore Media MMD0003
18 Tracks 25:23 mins

MovieScore Media yet again brings a new name to my attention, that of French-born, Hollywood-trained composer Erwann Kermorvant, who has provided the score for the recent French comedy La Premiere Etoile, which won the Grand Prix du Jury and Prix du Public at the International Comedy Festival in l'Alpe d'Huez. The plot centres on a family ski holiday.
It's quite a brief score at just over 25 minutes, which means many of the tracks are also quite brief (under 2 minutes) - not unusual for a comedy, but they say good things come in small packages and this is certainly the case here.
The disc begins with the sprightly "Meet the Elizabeths," followed by "Ski Training," which opens quite lushly, but then becomes a bubbly, busy action cue. The somewhat sneaky antics of "2000 Euros" follow, and then a moment of delicate romance, for piano and strings, is introduced in the lovely "Juliette." Predictably, sleigh bells feature in the initially festive Mr. Christmas," but the cue turns caparesque and ends in a big crescendo. "Mama Strut" opens warmly, before becoming something of a comic promenade. Quirky, percussive, comical antics accompany "Five," with "Late" having something of a bluesy American Deep-South feel to it. The promenade from before receives further development in "Mama Takes the Lead." "The Scrabble Game" is an affectionate take-off of Michel Legrand's "The Chess Game" from The Thomas Crown Affair, and is followed by the balletic, piano-lead "Ice Skating." More humorous goings-on in "Tea Time/Lost," end in some dark, threatening suspense, before "Memories" warms things up again with a little jazz, featuring double bass. Next comes the brief "Angels Around Us," with heavenly choir, strings, and yes, those sleigh bells again. The initially delicate "The First Star" follows, before taking a sinister turn at its conclusion. "Family Diner" then adds a brief moment of warmth, before the return of the "Mama Strut" in "The Sledge;" "the opening theme returning in "The Trip" to close this delightful little score.
Go to for samples and links for this download-only album.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Music by Jerry Goldsmith & Tristram Cary
Harkit Records HRKCD 8327 (EU)
23 Tracks 45:57 mins

1968's Sebastian, starring Dirk Bogarde and Susannah York was another release in the swinging spy genre that was sweeping cinemas and TV at the time. The man assigned to score it, Jerry Goldsmith had already enjoyed big screen success in that genre with his music for Our Man Flint and its sequel In Like Flint; and for TV there was of course The Man from U.N.C.L.E., for which he provided the iconic main theme and scored first season episodes. Nobody was better suited to Sebastian then. Which, of course was disappointing then for Oxford-born Tristram Cary who, with his interest in the relatively new field of electronic music, was asked to provide the electronic music effect used for the audio code embedded in the satellite radio signal, Oxford professor and expert decoder for the British Secret Service, Sebastian (Bogarde) was on a mission to crack. In the event, Goldsmith was obviously the right choice for this mix of thrills, comedy and romance.
His score, released on a now rare LP at the time was quite brief and, for this premiere CD reissue, it is only slightly expanded to include the Anita Harris version of Goldsmith and Hal Shaper's ballad "Comes the Night" (the other version, also included, is by Jimmy A. Hassell). As a bonus however, Cary's music is included, if music is indeed what you can call it (there's really nothing musical about it, to my ear, anyway), complete with spoken introductions, further expanding the disc from 11 to 23 tracks.
The greatest element of Goldsmith's score for the film is his title theme, a tremendously "with it" and infectious piece for electric guitars, brass, xylophone, percussion and vocal group - worth the price of this CD alone. After of course opening the disc, this versatile theme receives a number of interesting variations throughout the score, being at the heart of the action in "Checkmate," romantic in "Night Scene," and given a breezy orchestral arrangement in the optimistic "First Day at Work."
Apart from this theme and variations, there are a vocal group's rendition of the poppy song "You Gotta Let Me Go;" a somewhat jazzy arrangement of a Bach fugue in "The Decoders;" and a couple of typically Goldsmithian suspense cues of the time, "Carol's Apartment" and "The Trip."
If you're a Goldsmith fan and you haven't got the original LP, or even if you have and want to update to CD, you certainly should have this release in your collection.
Accompanying the disc is the usual quality booklet from Harkit, with stills from the film, a synopsis of the plot, profiles of the principal cast, producer and director, together with Randall D. Larson's essay on the film and its music; and a further essay on Cary by Professor Charles Bodman-Rae. Strangely, however, no profile of Goldsmith, a serious oversight if ever there was one. No matter, the music's what counts and it's great that the score has finally received a well overdue re-release. Order your copy from

From Top Dollar PR:

Capcom® Partners with Sumthing Else Music Works to Release Video Game Soundtrack
Catalog in North America
Award-winning Label to Distribute Digital and Physical Soundtrack Albums including
Bionic Commando®, Resident Evil®, Dead Rising(TM), Street Fighter® and Monster Hunter

New York - May 11th, 2009 - Sumthing Else Music Works, the premier label dedicated
to licensing and distributing video game soundtracks, is delighted to announce that
it has entered into a multiple-title licensing partnership with Capcom®, a leading
worldwide developer and publisher of video games, to release the original soundtrack
albums for best-selling franchises including Bionic Commando®, Resident Evil®, Dead
Rising(TM), Street Fighter® and Monster Hunter. Under the terms of the agreement,
Sumthing Else Music Works will license Capcom's catalog for distribution on digital
and physical formats in North America. Physical CDs will be distributed by Sumthing
Distribution and digital releases will be available on Sumthing Digital and iTunes®.

"We are very excited to partner with Capcom in bringing their video game soundtracks
to the North American market," said Andy Uterano, President of Sumthing Else Music
Works. "Our mission as a label is to support and enhance the lifestyle experience
of the gamer by offering the latest and greatest soundtracks so they can enjoy and
revisit their favorite gaming moments through the music."
Building on its reputation as the industry leader for licensing and distributing
video game soundtracks, the deal with Capcom further expands Sumthing's growing
list of partnerships with the world's top video game developers and publishers
and continues its tradition as a distributor of high quality entertainment products
for the gaming consumer.

The deal announced today with Capcom includes the following titles:
Bionic Commando®

Resident Evil® 5

Street Fighter® IV

Dead Rising(TM): Chop Till You Drop

Dark Void(TM)

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite(TM)


Release dates for each album will be announced shortly.

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video
game soundtracks, please visit and

About Capcom

Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive
entertainment for game consoles, PCs, handheld and wireless devices. Founded in
1983, the company has created hundreds of games, including best-selling franchises
Resident Evil®, Street Fighter®, Mega Man® and Devil May Cry®. Capcom maintains
operations in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Korea, with corporate
headquarters located in Osaka, Japan. More information about Capcom can be found
on the company web site,

Bionic Commando, Dead Rising, Resident Evil, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Capcom,
Mega Man and Devil May Cry are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Capcom
Co., Ltd., in the U.S. or other countries. Street Fighter is a registered trademark
of Capcom U.S.A., Inc. Spyborgs and Dark Void are trademarks of Capcom Entertainment,
Inc. All other trademarks are owned by their respective owners.

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 retail marketing and sales through physical
and digital 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 including: Halo Wars, Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable
II, Too Human, Brothers In Arms, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo:
Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts,
Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Unreal Tournament
3 and many others.

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

All names of companies and products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their
respective owners.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The Escapist
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
MovieScore Media MMS-09010
20 Tracks 31:06 mins

Having previously released Benjamin Wallfisch's score for 2005's Dear Wendy, MovieScore Media now present his music for Rupert Wyatt's thriller The Escapist, which stars Brian Cox, Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes and Liam Cunningham. Wallfisch's score has been nominated for the Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score, and also received a World Soundtrack Award nomination.
The disc gets under way with the composer's beefy, rhythmic "Theme from The Escapist," which really sets a keen sense of anticipation, continuing into "Diamond." Things quiet down for "Confessional," with its delicate piano and solo soprano, courtesy of the composer and Elenor Bowers-Jolley respectively, though the main theme makes a brief appearance at the end. The nervy mover, "Underground Escape" follows, which is largely percussion-driven, courtesy of Paul Clarvis. "Viv's Lab" is another nervy, though largely more subdued affair, with Wallfisch's piano propelling it. The painfully tense "Lacey Hunted" follows, and then the main theme re-enters in "Lacey Recruited." Percussion again drives "Into the Dryer," with "Sump Chase" initially moving to an electronic rhythm, before percussion returns to drive the track to its conclusion. "The Trade" is a murky affair, and is followed by the all-too-brief, cello-lead "Elegy for Brodie," solo courtesy of Moray Welsh. Intense strings, the like normally associated with the horror genre, accompany "Tony Killed," with the suspenseful "Abandoned Station" following.
Soprano and piano return for "Frank's Vision," with "Wonderment," building with awe-filled strings. Those same strings turn "nasty" again for the following "Train," and then turn their attentions to the main theme once more in "Lacey is Free," which cue then turns almost ethereal, with subdued piano and more awe-filled string-work. The largely subdued "Escalator" ends with an uplifting string crescendo, with soprano leading on from this in "Reunion," which has a real feeling of resolution. The closing cue, "End Credits" sees a final and welcome reprise of the main theme.
Visit for more info and sound clips, and to find out how you can download the album, or purchase it on CD.

Friday, May 08, 2009


Music by Joseph LoDuca
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1090 (US)
20 Tracks 44:43 mins

The latest co-production by La-La Land Records' Michael V. Gerhard and composer Joseph LoDuca sees the pair take a trip into the recent past by releasing a limited edition recording of the latter's score for the 2005 horror Boogeyman. Now, normally I rarely watch films in this genre, but I am always interested to hear what LoDuca comes up with, since his days on Hercules, American Gothic and the like; and I must admit that I found the film quite entertaining and the score very effective, so it's nice that this music is now commercially available, though you'd best hurry along to if you want to get your hands on one of only 1500 copies pressed.
The score gets underway with the "Main Title," which has a haunted feel, with broken piano representing the fragile world of the main character, Tim, who lives in constant fear of "the Boogeyman" snatching him, as he had his father when Tim was just a child. The track continues mysteriously in "As the Crow Flies." Vocal work features quite strongly in the score, with Lucy Lawless (Xena - a link to LoDuca, who scored that show, of course) providing the haunting solos, as well as playing the young Tim's mother, and her first contribution can be heard in the mournful "Delivered," a feel that continues on guitar and piano in "Message from Mom/Room 3."
The first real in-your-face menacing music comes in the following "Room 3 (Revisited)," which builds nervously (complete with simulated heartbeat) to an eerie, threatening conclusion. Lawless returns for "House of Broken Dreams, bolstered by children's' choir, as Lawless softly sings a lullaby. After an opening rush of action, the heartbeat returns in "Staplin' Uncle Mike," giving way to more menacing action as the cue races to its dissonant climax.
"Frannie" introduces the ghostly little girl who Tim encounters on his return to the house where his father was snatched; and she is accompanied by perhaps surprisingly warm guitar and electric violin-lead music, with slightly eerie undertones. The properly eerie "Boogeymused" follows and then the score takes a somewhat rocky detour with "Cutting Through." The eeriness largely continues in "Helping Frannie - Getting Loose," though her theme is quoted early, with much less warmth, before screeching violins bring the cue to a close. The electric violin introduces a much more melancholy version of the theme in "On the Swings," before guitar and strings give it a lift.
It's menace all the way in "Losing Loves/Ready for the Man," with savage action, the return of the heartbeat, and a dissonant close. "Visit to the Shrink" reprises the mysterious mover from "As the Crow Flies." "How Do You Stop?" is the lengthiest track on the album, and initially has a tragic feel to it, but things quickly turn eerie and threatening, voices adding to the mix, along with bells and scratchy violins again. Harsh, whispering voices open the largely dissonant "The Sentinel," with a moment's respite coming in the sad piano of "Uncle Mike's Message." The truly frightening "Plasmatized" follows, then the intense "Anybody Home?" leads into the final track, "The Missing," with its screaming children, giving way to more darkness, denying the listener an optimistic note to finish on.
As always, a splendid booklet accompanies the disc, with detailed notes on both film and score by Daniel Schweiger, with contributions from director Stephen T. Kay and the composer.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Twilight Zone: The Movie
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Film Score Monthly Vol.12 No.7 (US)
26 Tracks 79:10 mins

Not that there was anything wrong with the original album, which was a fine listen in its own right, but it's great that FSM has at last released Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful score for the 1983 big screen tribute to the old Rod Serling sci-fi series, The Twilight Zone, in its complete form.
The film was made up of four episodes, directed by Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Joe Dante and George Miller, the first of which, Time Out, directed by Landis, was of course plagued by ill-fortune when its star, Vic Morrow and two child actors were tragically killed on set, which threatened to stop the film in its tracks, but eventually the decision was made to continue, though it still makes this writer uncomfortable to watch that particular segment. The second episode, Kick the Can was a delightful fantasy, directed by Spielberg, which was a kind of forerunner to his take on Peter Pan, Hook. Dante's segment, It's A Good Life, was characteristically bizarre; whilst the final tale, a remake of the original Twilight Zone episode starring a young William Shatner, was Miller's Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. This and the Kick the Can segment are the strongest segments and Goldsmith's music for both is also his best work on the film.
Jerry Goldsmith of course worked on the original Twilight Zone series, so was the perfect choice to write the score(s) for this big-screen tribute and, as I said, his music for the Kick the Can and Nightmare segments stand out in particular, though his work on Time Out is perhaps most like the majority of his work on the series, using quite small forces. However, it's his work on Nightmare that most directly reminds of his score for The Invaders episode from the series, with its truly devilish string writing. If you haven't seen the film, and are a Goldsmith fan, or just a student of fine film music, you should definitely try to see this episode, as Goldsmith's music, together with some great work by John Lithgow, make this a fabulous exercise in paranoia.
As for Kick the Can, normally Spielberg excels in his work with kids and they do feature in this segment, but he also brings the best out of his elderly cast members, with Scatman Crothers particularly appealing.
Joe Dante was the most inexperienced director on the film at that time, but Spielberg recognised his potential and this was his first collaboration with Goldsmith too, but of course the pair grew to be great friends and collaborators over a series of films spanning the years up until the composer's untimely death. It's certainly the most inventive of the scores the great composer wrote for the film, with some bizarre, slapsticky musical effects, involving cowbells, a whoopee-cushion whistle and an antique car horn featured in the "Cartoon Monster" cue.
Supplementing the complete score, presented here, are a number of bonus tracks, including the two songs written for the film and performed by Jennifer Warnes and Joseph Williams respectively, plus alternate takes and, so that the original album is not forgotten, album edits are also included. Last, but not least, Marius Constant's famous TZ theme opens the album and also features at the start of the "Overture" (actually the film's End Titles), which brings together Goldsmith's main thematic material in a great summation of the score.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, with detailed notes on the film and its music, including the always invaluable cue-by-cue guide, by Jeff Bond and Mike Matessino, a reproduction of the original album liner notes, written by Carol Serling, a note from Joe Dante, and an interesting anecdote by the score's Recording Engineer, Bruce Botnick, whose work I fondly remember having the pleasure of experiencing first-hand on another Goldsmith score of that period.
As always, you can find out more, listen to samples and purchase your copy by going to, but hurry, as the 3,000 copies pressed are sure to quickly disappear.

From Costa Communications:

A Survivor receives an honorary doctorate.

Emmy winning Survivor composer Russ Landau can add doctor to his credits. The University of Bridgeport will honor alumnus Russ Landau, Class of 1977, at its 99th Commencement on Saturday, May 9th with an honorary doctorate. Landau was an accomplished musician by the time he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in music composition and theory from U of B. He performed with Paul Winter for several years, producing 14 records for the group, including the Grammy Award-winner for Best New Age Album, "Prayer for the Wild Things." He then made the transition to TV and film composing. Landau’s obvious talent and creativity has made him one of the most successful television composers today. In addition to "Survivor," he has themed and scored many other primetime series including “Fear Factor” (1, 2, 3 and 4), “Survivor UK,” “America’s Most Talented Kid,” “Dog Eat Dog,” “The Restaurant” (1 & 2), “Average Joe,” “Three Wishes,” “The Assistant,” and more. Last fall he won an Emmy for his theme for "Pirate Master," a CBS unscripted serial. Additionally he has won over a dozen Emmy nominations and ASCAP awards. Russ Landau lives in California but spends summers in Connecticut. Landau will receive a doctorate degree in humane letters.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Great Movie Themes 2
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Carl Davis
Naxos 8.572111 (EU)
14 Tracks 68:44 mins

This month Naxos is releasing the second volume of Great Movie Themes, featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and conductor Carl Davis, who has worked with the Orchestra numerous times before and is of course a screen composer of note himself.
Not perhaps for the die-hard film music fan, as he/she will probably already have the original versions of the pieces featured here, this CD presents concerts arrangements of some very well loved film and TV themes and nevertheless makes for a pleasant listening experience, either as background music, or preferably if one closes one's eyes and imagines one is in the concert hall.
The disc commences with Danny Elfman's Batman theme and is followed by something completely different, namely, Hank Mancini's ever-popular Pink Panther theme. Turning to the small screen, we next have a suite from Lalo Schifrin's Mission:Impossible, and then it's back to the big screen for Francis Lai's beautiful Love Story. John Williams gets the lion's share of this album with his main themes from Jurassic Park up next, and later two pieces from Superman; the great march theme and the poetic love theme. Nino Rota is the next big-hitter, with music from his Romeo and Juliet score and The Godfather. Coming more up to date is Gabriel Yared's The English Patient and Klaus Badelt & co.'s Pirates of the Caribbean. The remaining selections are Stanley Myers' "Introduction and Cavatina" from The Deerhunter and Stephen Warbeck's music for Shakespeare in Love. Finally, and rightfully so, Carl Davis has one selection on the disc, his haunting theme from The French Lieutenant's Woman.
Accompanying the album are John Riley's guide to the music, plus biographies of both conductor and orchestra.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Nel Segno Di Roma/Ponzio Pilato/Il Colosso Di Roma Muzio Scevola
Music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Digitmovies CDDM125 (Italy)
33 Tracks 73:49 mins

Yet another release from Digitmovies in its series of scores for the Italian Peplum genre teams three scores by another giant of Italian film composers, Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. Presented here are first time CD releases of his music for 1959's Sign of the Gladiator (to use its English-language title), 1962's Pontius Pilate, and a suite for 1964's Hero of Rome, which represents, at just under four-and-a-half minutes, all the original music the composer wrote for that film, the remainder having been drawn from the C.A.M. library.
The lion's share of this disc (24 tracks) is devoted to the complete score of Nel Segno Di Roma, and opens with the composer's splendid fanfarish choral main theme "Il Simbolo Della Gloria," which continues instrumentally in track 2, and doubles up in its representation of the glory of Rome and as a call to arms for the gladiators. A low, almost mournful choral opens "Marco Valerio Schiavo," and the track remains subdued until its rather mystical ending. A kind of ethnic dance sets the scene for "Il Mercato di Palmira," and then comes the largely suspenseful "Incontro nel Sacro Tempio," which ends on a light, shimmering note. The first brassy action music errupts in "Incendio e Liberazione dei Prigionieri," though the cue ends on a delicate, exotic note, more of which appears in the following cue, alongside brassy fanfares and more supsenseful music, before taking a dark and tragic turn. A delicate woodwind solo leads to the romantic strings and harp of "Giulliano e Betsabea." Yet more impressive brassy fanfares feature in "Preparativi di Battaglia," with the only stereo track following, the ethnic dance music of "Banchetto e Danza a Corte," which continues into the next track.
After a dramatic opening, "Rapimento di Betsabea e Scene D'Amour" reveals the first strains of the score's love theme, which is only fully developed in the subsequent "Zenobia e Marco Valeria," and appears further in "Messagio Secreto e Incontro D'Amore." This is followed by an impressive processional in "Agguato Notturno e Esercito in Marcia," and then a mix of suspense, mysticism, tragedy, and ultimately romance, in "Liberazione di Betsabea." Three action cues follow in quick succession, starting with the lengthy "Scontro Sanguinario a Palazzo," the brassy fanfares signify "Vittoria dell'Escercito Romano." This is followed by the tragic beauty of "Disperazione di Zenobia," with yet another brassy fanfare leading us into the finale, where a last reprise of the love theme ends in a soaring choral conclusion.
Tracks 25-32 represent the only surviving music from Ponzio Pilate, commencing with the impressive worshipful choral "Osanna Pasquale," and continuing in the all-conquering Roman march "Le Legion di Pilato." Next comes Lavagnino's ethereal theme for Jesus in "Il Suo Nome e Gesu di Nazareth," followed by the brutal, tragic action of "Dopo il Massacro." The delicate, flute-lead "Idillio Pastorale" follows, and then a variation on the Jesus theme in "Il Messia." Another version of the opening choral is presented in "Osanna Pasquale (reprisa)," with the final cue of this lamentably short representation of what is obviously a very fine score indeed, being the sad solo violin and strings lament of "La Guistizia Divina."
The suite from Il Colosso di Roma" is purely an excercise in suspense, and has little to offer.
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, with Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes, and stills and artwork from the films. Check out all the Digitmovies catalogue by visiting the website at

From Top Dollar PR:

New Music Publishing Company Partners with Acclaimed Composer of "Splinter Cell"
and "ReGenesis"

License To Thrill Music LLC, an independent music publisher providing one-stop music
synchronization and licensingfor advertising, films, television, radio, movie trailers,
video games and new media, today announced a music publishing partnership with highly
acclaimed Canadian composer Michael McCann. License To Thrill Music will represent
original works by Michael McCann available for use in advertising, film, TV and other
media productions. Michael McCann's broadcast and composing resume includes some of
the biggest companies in entertainment and advertising such as Deutsch Inc., Fox, MTV,
Ogilvy & Mather, NBC, Alliance Atlantis and Ubisoft. His music credits range from
national branding spots, (BP, The Gap / Old Navy); title music for multiple television
series including ReGenesis (nominated for Best TV Theme at the Hollywood Music Awards);
film and videogame trailers (Tom Clancy's EndWar, The Law of Enclosures); full game
scores (including his award-winning music to Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Double Agent); and
original / licensed music for TV programs from VH1, LifeTime TV and Alliance Atlantis.

"License To Thrill Music is proud to partner with leading composer Michael McCann
to promote and service his latest original works for placement in multimedia," said
Valerie Vickers, A&R/Licensing Manager for License To Thrill Music. "Michael
already has many internationally renowned commercial projects to his name and his
music portfolio asserts an engaging appeal that is undeniably unique, identifiable,
and commercially compatible on a global scale."

License To Thrill Music offers a boutique roster of commercially-driven and
imaginative-thinking music and artists that enables a company, brand or medium to enhance,
inspire and transcend their messaging. The team behind License To Thrill Music has worked
on platinum selling records, films, #1 hit singles and critically acclaimed album
releases by some of the biggest names in music, spanning a period of over 25 years
in the music business with innovative artists such as Bjork, The Cure, Kraftwerk
and Happy Mondays, and a decade of interactive entertainment marketing for global
markets promoting soundtracks from the world's top video game companies including
Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. For more information please visit

Monday, May 04, 2009


Icy Killers: Secrets of Alaska's Salmon Sharks
Music by Alan Williams
Silverscreen Music SMCD 024 (US)
18 Tracks 39:28 mins

Latest release from Alan Williams' Silverscreen Music label is his score for the recent National Geographic documentary, Icy Killers, which follows the annual events in the Gulf of Alaska when thousands of salmon sharks gather to take advantage of the millions of Pacific salmon en route to their spawning grounds. Williams is of course no stranger to scoring documentaries, having written fine scores for the likes of Kilimanjaro, Amazon, Mark Twain's America, In Search of Lewis & Clark, Dead Sea Scrolls and more.
Williams begins his score in fine style with the savage, percussive title theme. "Melting Ice" is much gentler fare, at least to begin with, but the same savage percussion brings the track to a menacing close. Inspirational synths herald the arrival of "Spring," which is followed by the easy-going guitars and synths of "Journey to Prince William Sound," but even this takes a darker, percussive turn as it proceeds. A variation even breaks through the bleakness of "Icy Waters" at one point. "Orcas" is a more driven variation on the "Journey" music, and is followed by the ever increasing menace of "On the Prowl." "Warm Blooded" brings a brief uplifting synths interlude, but we are quickly brought back to earth. However, the playful piano of "Sea Otters and flowing warmth of "Harbor Seals" brighten things up again. There's a Native American feel to "Salmon," which leads us to the gently bubbling "Leaping Salmon." Things however take a much darker turn in the following "Feeding Frenzy," the longest track on the album, where Williams really lets loose in a tour de force of percussive action. The questing "Humpbacks" follows, with more percussive action featured in "Group Hunting." The plodding, grimly resolute "Winter Hunt" follows, with the sparkling "Jelly Fish" bringing another light moment to proceedings. Guitar and piano bring a feeling of hopelessness to "Only a Matter of Time," while subdued threatening percussion circles beneath. The concluding track, "Survival/Finale" initially continues this feeling of doom, but a ray of hope enters, with synths building to a satisfying guitar-lead climax.
In conclusion, another fine score from the dependable Alan Williams, particularly if you like savage, percussive action writing, which fans of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica might well appreciate. Check out this and his other available albums by visiting his website at, where you can listen to samples before buying.