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

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Empire: Total War
Music by Richard Beddow, Richard Birdsall, Walter Mair, Simon Ravn
Sumthing Else SE-2062-2 (US)
32 Tracks 56:23 mins

This, the score for the latest instalment of the award winning Total War video game series, features music by no less than four composers, orchestrated by Nic Raine, who conducts the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. The music reflects what has to be the most ambitious game in the series, covering all the various events taking place in the 18th century, and encompassing the likes of the Industrial Revolution, the American War of Independence, the race to control Eastern trading routes, and various over worldwide conflicts of the time.
The "Empire Theme" gets the album off to a grandiose start, building from a quiet beginning to a noble conclusion. The events of the War of Independence dominate the tracks that follow and, as you can imagine, there is a good deal of exciting action music in the likes of "The First Encounter," "1775 Battle at Bunker Hill," "The Battle of Quebec" and "The War of Independence;" mixed with moments of import in such as "The Road to Independence," 1775 Bunker Hill Deployment," "The Price of Freedom," "The Death of General Braddock," "The Colonials Plan for Battle," "The Declaration," and the stirring "The American Dream."
Ethic flavouring, no doubt representing Native Americans, can be found in "The Threat of War" and "The Powhaten Attack," "Boarders Redrawn" and "Opechancanough's Revenge."
On to other matters and the tense and mysterious "Uncharted Waters" leads to more action in "The Pirates Attack."
Ethnicity of a different, Eastern flavoured, kind can be found in the following selections, with the standout tracks, for me, again being the action writing in "The Battle of Azov," "The Battle of Bakhchisaray," "The Battle of Panipat" and "Panipat - the Final Strike;" although the composers do a pretty fine job of representing the mysterious East in between.
We again take to the seas with "Sailing into the Storm," with plenty more to set the pulse racing in "The Fleet's Last Stand," culminating in the suitably triumphant "Victory;" the disc ending reflectively with the "Empire Credits."
This is another fine orchestral game score, which holds its own admirably when compared to music being written for a larger screen.
The album is available both on CD and for digital download through

News from Costa Communications:







(Los Angeles, CA) Award-winning composer CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ scores ADAM, the romantic-dramedy, directed and written by Max Mayer (BETTER LIVING). The film is a unique love story about a young man named Adam who is affected by Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. The film won the Alfred P. Sloan prize at Sundance, which is given to a feature film that focuses on science or technology as a theme. ADAM will open in select theatres on July 29. The film’s soundtrack will be released by Nettwerk Productions on July 28.

For this film, Lennertz creates a simple theme reflective of Adam’s life; as Adam’s life becomes more complex so does the music. Lennertz recorded using a band ensemble, with a Beatles influence, rather than a traditional orchestra. The ensemble consists of a guitar, upright piano, cello, bass, drums, mellotron, marimba, celeste, and a bansuri (Indian bamboo flute). A small six-piece string section is added on a few cues to enhance the romantic scenes. Lennertz uses some unusual techniques, like reversing harmonic guitar notes and lowering the pitch of the bansuri, to create some otherworldly textures (to underscore Adam’s love of astronomy). He uses affected, organic sounds, such as looped heavy breathing, scraped detuned dulcimers, bowed copper bowls, and backwards finger cymbals, to create atmospheres when Adam experiences moments of terror and panic due to his condition. Lennertz plays some guitar, all of the electronic, and odd processed instruments on the score.

Lennertz’s musical talents transcend from film to TV to videogames. His score for the CW’s SUPERNATURAL earned him an Emmy nomination, and he received the Interactive Achievement Award for his score to MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN, which he used a full orchestra to record. Additional film, TV and videogame credits include: SOUL PLANE (collaborating with RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan), Fox’s ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, TORTILLA HEAVEN (collaborating with Ozomatli), Fox’s BRIMSTONE, THE SIMPSONS GAME (nominated for Best Action Game at the 1UP Awards); and MTV’s TOUGH ENOUGH which appeared on the Billboard’s Top 100 charts for weeks. Lennertz’s powerful, full orchestral score for the Stephen Spielberg-created videogame, MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN, led him to score more MEDAL OF HONOR games as well as the popular JAMES BOND videogame. Christopher Lennertz’s upcoming projects include New Song Pictures’ HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, and Warner Bros.’ CATS AND DOGS.


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