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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Dr. Who & The Daleks/Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Music by Malcolm Lockyer/ Music by Bill McGuffie
37 Tracks 75:23 mins

I was still a young boy in primary school when the BBC's Doctor Who captured the imagination of the nation, and particularly the Time Lord's chief adversary, Terry Nation's robotic (though actually peopled by shapeless aliens) Daleks. It's all too common these days for a sci-fi/fantasy production to have plenty of merchandise available for kids and older fans to buy, but Dalekmania was an early example of this. I, myself, had plastic Daleks off varying sizes, from little ones that were propelled by a metal ball in their base, to large ones with plastic wheels, and even battery-operated ones with flashing lights. Their popularity was such that two feature films were made; firstly, Dr. Who & The Daleks in 1965 which, for me, remains the better of the two, set on the Daleks' home planet of Skaro, and boasting imaginative and futuristic set designs (a long way from the sticky tape and cardboard sets of the TV show). One thing however didn't sit well for me (or for many other fans) was the changing of the Doctor's character from that of an almost invincible Time Lord to that of a doddery human grandfather (with granddaughter in tow), though of course Peter Cushing did his best to fulfill his employers' vision of the role. Cushing was retained for the following year's sequel, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., which saw the time-travelling would-be-conquerors enslaving the world of the future (like the Doctor, they could turn up anywhere or any when, even appearing on a galleon at sea in one story, I seem to remember). Whilst the initial premise was shocking, the film unfortunately suffered (rather like the series, particularly in later years) from too much quarry-based action.
But what of the music for the films, presented here for the first time? Well, whereas the TV show was scored experimentally with electronics, a symphonic approach was decided upon for the big screen, composed of course in the pop-influenced style of the time. Malcolm Lockyer, a gifted amateur musician, who originally trained as an architect, but went on to work for the BBC, after service in the RAF, was chosen to score Dr. Who & The Daleks and his score, rescued from the vaults of Lumiere at Pinewood Studios, and which here features music not used in the final film, commences with a brassy fanfare before going into the somewhat jazzy electric guitar and drumkit driven main theme (a kind of Tardis Named Desire, if you will), a softer orchestral version of which follows. The whimsical "The Petrified Jungle" gives way to the first hint of drama in "The Petrified Creature and the City," the latter receiving its own brief fanfare. Romantic strings pervade "Four Return to Tardis," but only very briefly before being swamped by more dramatics. "The Medicine Box and the Climb to the City" mainly consists of string variations on the main theme and Lockyer's secondary theme, which is yet to be fully developed, and of which more later. "City Corridors" is suitably sneaky and suspenseful, giving way to more dramatics for "Captured by the Daleks," where the trudging secondary theme, mentioned before, is again heard, receiving an ominous march-like treatment in "Susan Leaves the City." "The Jungle at Night" is suitably suspenseful and threatening, with "Susan Returns to the City" and "Escape from the Cell" again featuring variations on the secondary theme; the latter also presenting a touch of the romantic theme, before being swept away by action and then march-like variations on the secondary theme, continuing into "The Trap," where it is overtaken by swirling strings at the end.
Both "The Swamp" and "The Mountain" again feature the secondary theme, which receives its boldest treatment thus far in the latter, before ending in the drama of "The Cave." The tense "The Jump" follows, leading us into the dramatic finale, encompassing "The Thals Approach the City," "The Countdown" and "The Countdown Stops," all of which have their share of action, based largely on the secondary theme. After a big dramatic ending, a strings-lead variation on the main theme brings the score to a close.
At the end of the day, it's not the misjudged main theme, but the secondary theme, which could easily have graced any number of Italian Peplum movies, that is the single most memorable element of the score.
The films' co-producer Milton Subotsky didn't care for Lockyer's score for the first film, so instead turned to pianist and composer Bill McGuffie for Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. His score opens with a jazzy arrangement of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor for "Smash and Grab." Unfortunately the original music tracks to the film have been lost, so what we have here is a mix of music and sound effects, which are of course intrusive, but bearable (at least there's no dialogue). McGuffie's "Opening Titles" are again jazzy, but much more uptempo and adventurous than Lockyer's theme. "Daleks and Robomen" introduces a diabolical march, which alternates with jazzy action music, and actually becomes quite slapsticky later on in the track. "The Mine Workings and the Cottage" starts suspensefully, but ends poignantly. "Smash and Grab (Reprise) further develops the Bach piece, before the pacy main theme returns to close the score.
Of the two scores, I prefer Lockyer's effort, which sits more comfortably with the film than McGuffie's (at times) overly jazzy sounds which seem a bit out of place in the futuristic Daleks Invasion, though his villainous march, when played straight, is as effective as that featured in the first film.
It should be noted that in addition to Lockyer's and McGuffie's music for the films, Barry Gray (of Thunderbirds fame) also contributed electronic effects, some of which can be heard separately and within the selections from Daleks' Invasion Earth, and also on three bonus tracks at the end of the album. But, just prior to the bonus tracks, we have the singles the composers released at the time: "The Eccentric Dr. Who," "Daleks and Thals" and "Fugue For Thought," presented of course in suitably pop-styled arrangements.
I'm really pleased Silva Screen have managed to resurrect this music and, along with their Gerry Anderson Productions releases, I can give them all a spin, close my eyes and drift back to more innocent times.
Accompanying the disc is a very attractive and informative booklet, filled with colour stills from the films and collectible artwork from adverts etc. of the time; together with notes by Marcus Hearn and album producer Mark Ayres, and composer biographies by David Ades.
Released on 5th October, go to to preview the tracks, download them or order the CD.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher and other short film scores
Music by Ryan Shore
MovieScore Media MMS09018
43 Tracks 65:16 mins

Ryan Shore, nephew of Howard, and a fine composer in his own right, is a regular on the MovieScore Media label, this latest collection of music from the numerous short film he has scored being their sixth collaboration.
Headlining the disc is Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher, a 2004 animated short, based on the comic book American hero, and done in the style of the old '40s serials. There are 7 tracks from the orchestral score, commencing with "News on the March" which, moves along somewhat ominously at first, but takes on more heroic strains as it proceeds. "Bosom of Terror!" is an adventurous action piece. Hands up those of you who can recognise which fragment of a Bond film track the opening of "An Amazon City" strongly reminds of! This is followed by the buoyant choral of "Eval Schnitzler," and then a brief fanfare introduces the episodic conflict of "The Wrench." The tense "Will They, Won't They?" leads into the title track, which concludes the score in fine, almost Western hoe-down fashion.
The second score on the disc is for 2002's Shadowplay, a part claymation/ part animation based on the events of Hiroshima in 1945. The 9 tracks presented here have suitably Oriental shadings, though the title track also features a somewhat jazzy clarinet solo, in addition to sorrowful cello. "Playing Soldier" is a delicate, innocent little Oriental-styled theme; whilst "Alone" is appropriately sorrowful, with expressive flute playing. "Family" is another sad flute-lead piece, the mood continuing in the desolate "Aftermath," where cello returns to take the lead. The brief "Akio's Realization" sees the airy flute return, which continues into "Leaving Home." "Rescuing the Baby" finds both the cello and flute figures combine, with the most gorgeous piece on the album, "A New Home," ending the score in more optimistic fashion.
A Letter from the Western Front dates from 1999 and this time is concerned with World War I. Shore's 7 offerings are again orchestral, commencing with the brief scene-setting title track. "June 9th, 1918" is a nice, pastoral piece of Americana, though it ends on an ominous note. The dark clouds continue to gather in "Wake Up, America," leading into the tense "Preparations." "The Confrontation" builds dramatically to a desperate conclusion, followed by the uplifting strings of "Silence;" the pastoral theme returning for the "End Titles."
The following year's Cadaverous revolves around a necrophiliac medical student, and the 6 tracks presented here commence with the title track, which capably reflects the dark humour of the film; the music continuing on its sneaky, tongue-in-cheek path through subsequent tracks, largely featuring tinkling piano and vaguely Herrmannesque strings
There follows a series of 4 cues presented under the banner of "Music from Various Short Films," commencing with the Japanese-styled "Inherent Darkness and Enlightenment," a rather mournful piece for traditional instrumentation. The snappy and very catchy, but sadly all too brief "Scout's Honor" follows, and then the charming "Little Mary; the selections concluding with the feel-good 'Twas the Night," which is suitably festive and of course features sleigh bells.
Three tracks from the 2003 comedy Prom Night follow and they are all composed in familiar contemporary comedy style.
The final score in this collection presents 6 tracks from another animated short Articles of War, which is one of the composer's most recent efforts, and which is again fully orchestral, having been performed by the Skywalker Symphony. The film deals with events in 1944 this time and focuses on a young American pilot. Shore's 6 cues commence with the lush strings of the title track, followed by the initially airy and energetic "First Solo Flight," the cue taking on a more reverent and ultimately tragic nature as it continues. "October 17th, 1944" is a full-blown action cue. An emotional development of the opening theme accompanies "Dear Dad," with "Dakota Zephyr" featuring a martial drum solo intro to more action scoring, with Williamsesque horns.
The final cue, "The Truth," with its solo trumpet intro and elegiac strings leading to a calm pianistic ending.
This is a really fine collection of film music, which really shows that there is plenty of fine orchestral music to be found even in short animations, and which serves as a splendid showcase for Ryan Shore's work.
Get along to and check out the samples on offer. Ordering details for the CD or download, if you prefer, can also be found there, and you can even check out a trailer for Articles of War though, sadly, it's tracked with Bear McCreary's Battlestar music.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


From Top Dollar PR:

EA's Epic RPG Fantasy Score to Debut at 'A Night in Fantasia' Concert

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA - September 24, 2009 - Leading video game developer BioWare(TM),a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS), announced today that award-winning composer Inon Zur has composed the original score for Dragon Age(TM): Origins. Zur has been lauded for the emotional musical compositions he crafted for some ofthe most critically acclaimed video games including Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, Crysis, Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia. The dramatic score for Dragon Age:Origins will be performed live at A Night in Fantasia 2009 on September 26 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Australia.

The 'Night in Fantasia 2009' concert will feature the Eminence Symphony Orchestra,a mind-blowing choir, special guest performers and a score of popular tracks from video games including Dragon Age: Origins. Vocalist Aubrey Ashburn, singer and co-writer of the Dragon Age: Origins Elvish ballad "I Am the One," will be performing selections from the game soundtrack by Inon Zur.With a powerful original score recorded by the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra, Inon Zur's dramatic soundtrack to Dragon Age: Origins is the perfect complement to the game's epic, cinematic qualities, full of soaring melodies and lush, emotional
orchestrations. The official soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins will be available to purchase and download online from popular music sites when the game ships on November 3, 2009, while selected tracks from the soundtrack will be included in the Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition.

The soundtrack is a collaboration between composer Inon Zur, vocalist Aubrey Ashburn and BioWare Audio Director Simon Pressey. The creative team will be presenting their work during a panel at the Hollywood Music in Media Interactive Conference November 20-22, 2009, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

"From the moment you hear the Dragon Age: Origins theme to the lilting ballad, I Am The One, at the end of the game, Inon's score is hand in glove with the Dragon Age: Origins dark fantasy," said Simon Pressey, Audio Director for Dragon Age: Origins."The Dragon Age: Origins score has an originality and passion to it that illuminates the story. I am continuously awestruck with Inon's ability to tap into the essence of a project. How he gets so much feeling into a melody is simply stunning."

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy alllife, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. To restore peace, players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind.

Dragon Age: Origins will be released on November 3rd in North America and November 6th in Europe on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. The PlayStation®3 version will follow later in November. Dragon Age: Origins is rated M by the ESRB.

From Buysoundtrax:
BUYSOUNDTRAX Records presents TWILIGHT: Interpretations For Piano And Violin, based on music composed by Carter Burwell for the 2008 film version of the first book in Stephanie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance series, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson.
TWILIGHT: Interpretations For Piano And Violin is a brand new work for Piano and Violin, structured in eight movements, covering the important thematic material composed for the film. This new recording has been produced and arranged by Dan Redfeld and features Elizabeth Hedman on Violin and Redfeld on Piano, with the approval of the composer himself.
TWILIGHT: Interpretations For Piano And Violin is presented as a digital EP and is currently available in MP3 format from at the address below.
And it's also avaiable through ITUNES as well:

TWILIGHT: Interpretations For Piano And Violin will also be available soon from other outlets such as emusic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos
Music by The Cinematic Orchestra
Walt Disney Records 266 5692 (EU)
12 Tracks

There was a time when Walt Disney made seemingly countless real-life adventure films, introducing young audiences to the wonders of nature, whilst offering a compelling narrative to draw them in. Now, a new arm, Disneynature has been formed, which seeks to revive this tradition, it's first offering being The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, set around Lake Natron in northern Tanzania, which focuses on a the trials and tribulations of a flamingo hatchling. The film opens in the UK this Friday, exclusive to London's Empire Leicester Square, but from 29th September it will show nationally at 62 Cineworld digital sites, and from 9th October will go on general release.
The somewhat minimalist music for the film has been provided by The Cinematic Orchestral, an ensemble of musicians lead by Jason Swincoe who, along with Phil France, wrote the music that they and their fellow artists (with assistance from the London Metropolitan Orchestra) perform.
The music for the "Opening Titles" gives a wonderful feeling of flight and is quite gorgeous. This is followed by "Arrival of the Birds," which is suitably expectant to begin with, before opening out into another take on the main theme, before dying away again. "The Dance" opens on castanets, which, along with a battery of percussion, lead us through this catchy number. Things quiet down with the initially delicate "Soda," before strings enter warmly. "Hatching" continues the warmth, subdued at first, but increasingly triumphant. The deep sax tones of the rhythmic "Marabou" bring a slightly unsettling tone to proceedings, but things lighten and briefly take flight again with "Exodus," though a cold feeling soon settles over the track and this alternates with more soaring triumph for the rest of the running time.
"Transformation" is filled with piano-lead wonder and reaches quite glorious heights. A brief moment of disquiet follows in the tense "Hyena," which ends quite savagely; but the serene "Life of the Bird" provides calm after the storm. "First Light" builds from a subdued opening into glistening acoustic guitars-lead morning glory, ending serenely again on strings; the album closing with a fine vocal of "Crimson Skies" by Lou Rhodes.
This really is a lovely album and I can well imagine it providing a wonderful accompaniment to the film. I'm so lucky to have had both this and Viva Pinata come my way these past few days.
Accompanying the CD (with its shocking pink label) is a striking 12-page booklet with colour stills from the film, full music credits, and a note from the film's co-director Leander Ward. The album is available on disc or to download from all good music outlets, and is highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Informant!
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Silva Screen SILCD1298
14 Tracks 36:24 mins

No, you're not dreaming, after an absence of more than a decade, Marvin Hamlisch returns to the film scoring stage with his retro-styled music for Steven Soderbergh's new comedy thriller The Informant!, based on the book by Kurt Eichenwald and starring an almost unrecognisable Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, the highest ranked corporate whistleblower in US legal history.
Hamlisch was a great favourite of mine in the '70s, when the film music bug first bit me. I think I first heard his music on the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and, although many were quick to condemn his work on that movie, it still remains my favourite non-John Barry Bond score up until David Arnold came on board. And I just loved the song, "Nobody Does It Better," one of many classics he wrote at the time, including "Through the Eyes of Love," "The Last Time I Felt Like This," and who could forget "The Way We Were." Hamlisch made frequent TV appearances at the time and I loved to see how he could make a song out of virtually anything the audience threw at him. But he also wrote damn fine film music as well, including his scores for "The Swimmer" and "Sophie's Choice." So, this is a very welcome return, as far as I'm concerned.
For Soderbergh's film, Hamlisch not only provided the score, but also collaborated with the great lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman on the song "Trust Me," which features as the penultimate track on the album and is also given an instrumental treatment earlier on and a piano solo to finish.
The album gets underway however with the title track, which is a mix of light and dark, ominous rumblings giving way to an attractive, expressive piano-lead theme, with a hint of loneliness about it. The breezy toe-tapper "Meet Mark" follows; the pace changing to jazzy '60s-styled spy music for "Car Meeting." "The Raid" is an easy-going, quirky little number; the mood continuing in the loungy "Multi-Tasking," complete with Hammond organ, though the spy music returns to finish the track. By complete contrast, we have a country fiddle-lead hoedown in "Polygraph."
"Boxes" reprises the main theme at its loneliest, before the spy music returns to open "After Car," the mood however is not sustained as the breezy "Meet Mark" theme returns, embellished by whistler.
Next up is the aforementioned instrumental of "Trust Me," initially featuring solo piano, presumably played by the composer himself, but is then given a smoky jazz treatment.
"Sellout" sees the spy theme return, initially in a Latin-styled arrangement, but then given its dramatic head. "Triplets" again features the main theme, this time more optimistically, and is followed by jazzy action in "Golf." Steve Tyrell then sings "Trust Me," which proves to be another fine entry in the Hamlisch/Bergmans catalogues, a swinging jazz number of the old school; this highly entertaining album concluding with the solo piano treatment of the song.
Released on CD and for download by Silva Screen Records in the UK on 26th October, go to!.aspx for more details and to secure your copy. And please, Marvin, don't leave it so long next time!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Viva Pinata
Music by Grant Kirkhope
Sumthing Else SE-2058-2 (US)
25 Tracks 59:55 mins

Try to overlook the infantile cover artwork of this CD, which I confess made me expect the worse from Grant Kirkhope's score, and you'll discover that this is actually quite a wonderful score, conducted and orchestrated by Nic Raine, and performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
It's my first experience of Kirkhope's music, though he has previously scored games like Donkey Kong 64, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. But what of the game? Well, apparently its very interactive with players creating and managing a colourful environment, populated and visited by over 60 species of pinata. Now, somebody must have been on quite a high to come up that scenario!
As for the music, a brief, magical opening "Island Welcome" leads into "Oven-Fresh Day," a charming, optimistic melody and then bassoon gives a somewhat comical quality to the equally optimistic "All in a Day's Work." "Tranquil Hours" features a dreamy soundscape of piano and strings. "Frosty Morning" is introduced by flute and plucked strings, before being borne along on woodwinds and brass. The lovely melodies then just keep on coming, filled with delightfully expressive solos, for flute and woodwinds especially, and gorgeous string embellishments, beautifully played by the Prague Orchestra.
To sum it all up, a really enchanting and relaxing listening experience, filled to the brim with melody - a rare treat these days.
For ordering details go to, or download from

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Life in One Day
Music by Johan Hoogewijs
MovieScore Media MMD0007
28 Tracks 64:51 mins

Available for digital download only comes this score from another new name to me, Flemish composer Johan Hoogewijs, for the new Dutch fantasy film, based on A.F. Th. van der Heijden's novel Life in One Day.
Scored for orchestra and electronics, the album gets under way with the ethereal "Benny's Birth," which is followed by the celebratory "Sunrise," with its warm, cello-lead opening, and electric guitars-driven melody. The influence of Thomas Newman can be found in the propulsive "Benny at School, which gives way to the much darker "Heaven and Hell," with its electronic rumblings and mournful strings. The electric guitars return for "Flight," which soars suitably on strings. The tender romance of "Meet Gini" opens gently on keyboards, before being taken up by piano and orchestra; the romantic mood continuing in "B & G Dancing," where piano and cello take the lead. "Beach" features tender solo piano, which continues into "First Love," where cello and string orchestra offer counterpoint. A brief, flowing piano solo features in "Acceptance," which is followed by "Meet Scant," with its disturbing, dissonant opening. Wordless female voice offers a passionate requiem in "Murder," which leads to more electronic dissonance in "Execution" and subsequent mournful strings of "Benny in the New World." Strings continue more optimistically in "At the Museum."
Piano returns for "Benny's Search for Gini," joined once more by cello and strings. Meanwhile, "Gini Meets Vincent" is another ethereal affair; with female voice returning briefly for "Bridge."
It's back to the dissonance for "Scant in the New World," though a flowing melody for female voice and guitar soon takes over. "Rosalie's Flair is another nicely flowing track for piano and strings, and is followed by the ethereal "Meditation." "Boyspictures" is a warm keyboard melody, with solo piano returning for "Shower" and continuing tentatively into "Gini with Man in Car," where strings join to add to the feeling of loss. The piano then takes on a menacing tone for "Buttefly," joined by electric guitars. Initially, tentative and low-key, "Ballroom" then takes a surprisingly jazzy turn.
The penultimate cue, "The Fight" starts with spare solo piano, before strings take over to take the cue to quite a spiritual conclusion, leading to "Finally Meet Again," where female voice returns to introduce an initially ethereal, then more emotional and uplifting conclusion to the score.
It's an interesting and largely melodic introduction to the music of Johan Hoogewijs, and I shall certainly be hoping to hear more from the composer in the future.
Go to for more information, samples and for ordering details.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


From Top Dollar PR:-

Sumthing Else Music Works Announces Release of the
Halo 3: ODST Original Soundtrack
2-CD Set Features Epic Music Score by Award-winning Composers Martin O'Donnell and
Michael Salvatori


New York - September 14th, 2009 - Sumthing Else Music Works, through its licensing
relationship with Microsoft Game Studios, proudly presents Halo® 3: ODST Original
Soundtrack featuring the original musical score from the highly anticipated video
game Halo 3: ODST composed by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori. The 2-disc
set will be released on September 22nd to retail outlets through Sumthing Else
Music Works, and will be available for digital download on Sumthing Digital and iTunes®.

Developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by acclaimed developer Bungie, Halo 3: ODST is
a new game in the Halo saga that lets players experience events leading up to the
epic story told in Halo 3 through the eyes of an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper),
as they search for clues leading to the whereabouts of their scattered squad and
the motivations behind the Covenant's invasion of New Mombasa. The release adds
a new dimension to an all-encompassing universe that gamers around the world have
known and loved for close to eight years.

"I'm happy to be able to share all new compositions and recordings created for Halo
3: ODST," said composer Martin O'Donnell. "The music reflects the new mood, new
heroes, and new story of the game. I worked with the Northwest Sinfonia for the
orchestral recordings and also added some nice alto sax solos and some new guitar
solos. The piano sneaks back in again a few times too, but I can't seem to help

The Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that have grown
into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original Halo: Combat
Evolved for Xbox in 2001, the rich fiction of the franchise has since inspired
a series of blockbuster Xbox and Xbox 360 video games, New York Times best-selling
novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more. Published by Microsoft Game
Studios, the Halo franchise of games is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and
entertainment system and the games are optimized for the Xbox LIVE online entertainment
network. To date, more than 27 million copies of Halo games have been sold worldwide,
driving more than 2 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox LIVE.
In February 2009, the Halo franchise expanded into the real-time strategy genre
with "Halo Wars," which went on to become the best selling RTS game on any current
generation console.

For more information on Halo 3: ODST, please visit

For more information on Bungie Studios please visit

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

Monday, September 14, 2009


Composer of the Austin Powers and Mortal Kombat scores George S. Clinton's latest assignment is for writer/director Mike Judge's comedy Extract, which stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and Ben Affleck. The plot concerns a flower-extract plant owner with a heap of personal and professional problems.
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me a promotional disc of his music for the film, which is written for a small ensemble including guitar, mandolin, cello, pedal steel and percussion, supplemented by a chamber size string orchestra and, to add to the quirkiness, the sounds of people playing actual extract bottles. Highlights include an interesting theme for plucked strings and mandolin representing Bateman's character on the move, introduced in "Joel Rushes Home," and further propulsive, yet quirky music for "Brian Tells Joel About G.M." "Sweatpants" is largely laid-back and loungy, with "Castration" introducing something of a warped fairground waltz. Appropriately spaced-out sounds accompany "Horse Tranquilizer," and "Brad's Theme" introduces something of a sneaky, tango-like melody. "Parole Meeting" features a Southern-styled guitar solo, whilst "Getting Stoned" offers a taste of the mysterious East, complete with cliched Sitar; the longest cue, "Apartment Stoned," expanding on this. "Joel Realizes Cindy's a Crook" presents a slow variation on Joel's theme; and a poignant piano solo accompanies "Suzy Breaks It Off With Brad," and the curiously titled "Johnny Horse Cock;" whilst "The Breakup" offers something of a halting comic promenade, an alternative take on which features sad solo cello. By complete contrast, "The Breakup Part 2" is a jaunty country-styled instrumental, featuring pedal steel and guitars, and there's more country to be found in "Not Selling." A purposeful march emerges from "Nathan Dies Part 2," with "Pizza Sticks" offering a breezy, whistled melody.
As is often the case with comedy scores, many of the cues are very brief (hence 43 of them on the37-minute disc), which makes for a fragmented listening experience away from the film and the unlikelihood of an album release, so you'll probably have to go see the film to experience the score which, after all, is as it should be. It's already playing in select theatres in the States, but there's no news of a UK release date as yet.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Zatoichi: The Best Cuts: 1967-1973
Music by Shigeru Ikeno, Akira Ifukube, Isao Tomita
and Kunihiko Murai
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1102 (US)
31 Tracks 47:08 mins

I love the fact that you never know what you're going to get next from this label. The musical territory covered seems to know no bounds, witness this new release of music from the Japanese chambara (sword fight) film series.
Zatoichi, a blind masseur and master swordsman, first came to the screen in 1962 and his adventures continued through 25 films up until 1973, with a television series also running from 1972-79, all the time starring Shintaro Katsu. Unfortunately, Katsu died of cancer in 1997, but Takeshi Kitano brought out a further adventure, naturally starring himself, in 2003, which even included an all dancing, all singing finale! Happily, all the films and two volumes of the TV series can be viewed on DVD.
Although Daiei originated the series, Toho took over and this collection concentrates on seven of their releases between 1967 and 1973, commencing with 1967's Zatoichi the Outlaw, which was scored by Sei Ikeno. The four rather brief featured tracks commence with the somewhat weighty and ominous "Main Title," followed by an a Capella vocal of the "Farming Song" by the cast of villagers. "Asagorou" presents the menacing motif for the villain of the piece, and "Theme Song" features a lament sung by Katsu himself.
Next up is the first of two scores written by the more famous Akira Ifukube, who scored the original Daiei releases. 1970's Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo sees the great Toshiro Mifune reprising his role as that other great swordsman, here represented by just one track, "Daiei Mark/Main Title," which, after a desolate, windswept opening, presents a brief voice over by Katsu before the music proceeds in almost funereal mode.
This is followed by a generous nine tracks from Isao Tomita's score for 1970's Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival, and includes the ethnic-styled, low-key march "Title Back;" the ominous, organ-lead "The Dark Shogun;"the action cue "Great Sword Battle on the Oil Ship," with its somewhat jazz-pop-driven sound, a sound that continues into "Zatoichi Falls Into a Trap," which is followed by the menacing "Zatoichi and the Dark Shogun." "Conclusion - Ichi and the Nameless Ronin" offers poignant reflection, before "Ichi and Okiyo" lightens the mood, with a big and bold "Ending" concluding the score.
The same composer's score for the following year's Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman receives seven tracks and, after the opening "Dainichi Mark"signature logo, progresses with an almost spaghetti western feel to the "Main Title," with its dramatic trumpet and electric guitar. "The Tragic Chinaman/Genocide" offers tension and menacing action, with "The Invincible Chinese Sword" continuing in action mode. "Ichi and Okiyo" offers a moment of respite (and no, it's not a repeat of the same titled track from the previous score), before the action continues in "Wong Gong and Kakuze." The concluding "Break! Chinese Sword/Ending" reprises the title music in fine style.
Just the "Main Theme," a very '70s styled, laid-back piece, with a distinct Italian influence, brought to a sudden halt by jarring effects, and composed by Kunihiko Murai, is included from his score for 1972's Zatoichi at Large, with his "Ending," another Italian-styled piece, also featuring from the same year's Zatoichi in Desperation
Ifukube made a triumphant return for the final Zatoichi film of the '70s, 1973's Zatoichi's Conspiracy, and eight tracks from his typically more traditional Japanese-styled score are featured here, commencing with the poignant "Zatoichi Takes Edo Highway," and continuing with a slow march-like theme for the "Main Title.""Ichi and Omiyo - Encounter" and "Ichi and Omiyo - Farewell" feature variations on a touching theme, with piano, violins, flutes and koto prominent, Of course Ifukube's monster scores are famous for their requiems, and he duly provides a brief one here in "The Wounded People/Shinbei's Conspiracy." "Zatoichi - Victimization in Kasama" is a tense, ominous affair, continuing into "Shinbei's Final Moment;" the "Ending" offering a more sunny outlook before concluding in subdued triumph.
Accompanying the collection is the usual high quality booklet one has come to expect from the label, which features Randall D. Larson's excellent notes on the films and their music, illustrated with colour stills. Order your copy of this limited edition of just 1500 units from, where you can first listen to samples if you so wish.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Some of you have asked me over the years when and where you might be able to watch and listen to Wrong Hollywood Number, the "big" short film I scored several years ago, with the wonderful performance by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, the recording by Mike Ross-Trevor, and the scoring mix by the legendary Dennis S. Sands.

The director, JoséAntonio W. Danner, always wanted this project to only be seen in movie theaters. After all, it was shot in 35mm and has a splendid 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix. However, he finally decided to put this online so it can reach a wider audience. So, here are the links:



The soundtrack is available on iTunes:

Thanks for watching and listening!

Kind Regards,


Friday, September 11, 2009


Unbenanntes Dokument

Allscore - in cooperation with Soundtrack Corner - proudly presents a world premiere:

Two sex education-movie soundtracks by Peter Thomas ("Space Patrol", "Jerry Cotton"):

"The Perfect Marriage" and "Every Night of the Week" (CD ASM 029)

One discovered only now, 40 years after its recording, the other one previously released only in part on one of the rarest soundtrack LPs ever.

German release date: October 16, 2009


Nov. 2009: LES QUITRICHE - Sibérie (4 track-7" ASM 030)
(full length album in spring 2010

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Apologies for the lack of reviews again this week, illness again, I'm afraid, but I'm having tests at the minute, so hope things can be sorted out without too much pain and difficulty! Anyway, here goes with the latest offering from Chandos Movies:-

The Film Music of Mischa Spoliansky
Chandos Movies CHAN 10543
23 Tracks 73:03 mins

The latest in the excellent Chandos Movies series concentrates on the film work of Russian-born composer Mischa Spoliansky, who came to England in 1933 after his expulsion from Germany where he had been working in the theatre for Max Reinhardt. The years before and after the war saw him work in a variety of British films, some of which enjoyed international acclaim, and this collection features selections from eight very diverse productions, performed, as usual, by the BBC Concert Orchestra, under the baton of Rumon Gamba.
The disc commences with a suite of four tracks from 1959's North West Frontier, an India-set adventure, directed by Lee J. Thompson and starring Kenneth More and Lauren Bacall. The "Main Titles" is a big, brassy affair, and is followed by the exciting "Attack on the Train," with its tribal rhythms battling with more traditionally western elements, the latter proudly emerging on top. A complete change of pace is "Scott and Mrs Wyatt," a charming, violin-lead theme; the suite concluding with an heroic rendering of the familiar "Eton Boating Song."
Next up we have three songs, co-written with Arthur Wimperis, from 1935's Sanders of the River, with Mark Coles subbing for Paul Robeson; followed by a three-track suite from the 1936 comic-fantasy The Man Who Could Work Miracles, which opens quite whimsically with "The Miracles," the mood continuing into "Scherzo," with Ileana Ruhemann featuring on flute. The suite concludes with the bombastic "Grand Palace March," though even this has its whimsical moments, before concluding in fine style.
At the time of scoring 1946's Wanted for Murder, the practise of taking film themes and making them into concert pieces was quite popular (the Warsaw Concerto, Cornish Rhapsody etc.), and "Voice in the Night" was duly added to the catalogue, a pretty dramatic piece, with a quieter middle section, reflecting the film's dark subject matter, here played by Roderick Elms and the Orchestra.
1935's fantasy The Ghost Goes West, starring Robert Donat, is a fondly remembered film and here we have a four-track suite, commencing with the "Prelude," a suitably Scottish flavoured piece. "Ghost's Walk" follows, treading its way mysteriously and giving way to the "Love Theme" which, after an expressive violin solo, develops quite nicely. "Chase and Finale" concludes the suite, opening lightly with a mini-scherzo, before coming to a somewhat solemn conclusion.
Another piece for piano and orchestra follows, "Dedication" from 1948's Gainsborough-styled Idol of Paris and, unlike "Voice in the Night," this is a much more romantic and likeable effort.
Paul Robeson once more featured in the 1937 version of King Solomon's Mines and here again Mark Coles features on three of the songs, co-written this time with Eric Maschwitz, which are accompanied by the opening titles, a somewhat jazzy piece, which has a Gershwin feel to it, sounding more suited to the urban jungle than darkest Africa; the largely mysterious "The Desert," and the "Finale," which reprises the jazzy opening theme.
Spoliansky also composed his share of scores for straight-ahead comedies, including Norman Wisdom's debut film Trouble in Store. Here his lively and slapsticky "Galop" features, taken from the 1950 film The Happiest Days of our Lives, a kind of prequel to the riotous St Trinian's films, starring Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell.
The collection concludes with the composer's "Toccatina" (for solo organ) from Otto Preminger's 1957 adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, here featuring John Wright on the Harrison organ of Cheltenham College chapel. My one criticism is the placement of this piece, which makes for a somewhat solemn and spare ending to the collection.
Accompanying the disc is the usual quality booklet from Chandos, including arranger Philip Lane's notes on the composer and the works featured, in three languages, together with profiles of the conductor.
You can now purchase or download Chandos releases directly from the label's website at

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


From Perseverance Records:

J. Peter Robinson's Believers Score Out

Limited to 1,000 Units

Perseverance Records PRD 031


Our latest release contains the (almost) complete score to this very

scary John Schlesinger film, starring Martin Sheen and Helen Shaver.

This CD release adds ca 35 minutes of music to the Varese LP and is

sequenced in film order with correct track titles. Peter was never

really happy with the LP, as there were people in the credits that he

had never met, let alone who worked on the LP with him. This time, he

was fully involved in the process all the way to the end. Our

collaboration was a very happy one.

To order, go to

Craig Safan's Fade to Black Promo CD Available Now

Limited to 500 Units

Promo CD Produced by Craig Safan in Collaboration with Perseverance




I had approached Craig Safan to see if he was interested in producing

on an album of his fantastic music to 1981's Fade to Black, and he was

all for it. He was present at and involved in all aspects of the

production of the CD. We are selling the remainder of the CDs that

didn't go to him to recoup production costs, as he didn't have to pay

for his batch. He is very happy with the outcome. So am I.

To order, go to

More Price Cuts on Selected Albums, Which Will Soon Be Out of Stock

In order to make room for new titles we have priced more albums at

discount prices. Also, many titles are running out and will soon be out

of stock. There won't be a re-pressing, so get yours while they are

still available!

To check for availability, go to

Monday, September 07, 2009


Two new releases from Hillside CD Productions:-

Order from

Friday, September 04, 2009


Music by Ernest Gold & others
Tadlow Music TADLOW007 (UK)
Disc 1 - 19 Tracks 61:44 mins
Disc 2 - 20 Tracks 70:46 mins

I trust many of you will have invested in Tadlow Music's splendid recording of Miklos Rozsa's El Cid. Now, the same label has treated us to a complete recording of Ernest Gold's score for 1960's Exodus. Otto Preminger's sprawling film about the events leading to the founding of Israel stars Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, and is one of few films that is possibly best remembered for its theme music, a brilliant composition by the Vienna-born Gold, which has enjoyed great popularity over the years.
I have long been disappointed by the original soundtrack recording of the score, not only for its poor sound, but also for its content, and so was delighted to hear of this project. The result is a much more satisfying presentation, even including music not used in the film, reconstructed from the composer's original sketches and by ear by the label's talented team of orchestrators, and faithfully played by the City of Prague Philharmonic, under the baton of Nic Raine.
Although, in his research for the project, album producer James Fitzpatrick discovered that Gold had extensively researched the music and instruments of the region, the composer was obviously discouraged from taking this approach and the resulting score, though with a recognisable middle-eastern lilt at times, is largely composed for traditional orchestra, with a few exceptions. And originally envisaged as a single disc release, on completing the recording sessions, Fitzpatrick found that he had some 90 minutes of music. Therefore, whereas some labels might just spread the music over two CDs, showing that he is also a film music fan with a fan's sensibilities, Fitzpatrick scheduled a couple more sessions to record selections from a number of films linked to the founding of Israel, as well as a couple more tracks from Gold's scores for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Ship of Fools.
Disc One is totally devoted to Exodus and opens with Gold's famous theme in the "Prelude," though the inclusion of a piece not used in the film, where the composer's martial theme is briefly introduced, is somewhat jarring. "Summer in Cyprus" opens exotically, but soon becomes more downbeat, representing the oppression of the Jews. An exciting burst of action introduces "The Escape," which ends quietly, before lush strings introduce "The General." The martial theme from the "Prelude" returns for "Ari" and the track, not used in the film, also includes the main theme and that for the Jews, introduced in "Summer in Cyprus," here initially played very passionately. The Cyprus theme returns for "On the Beach," but the sunny feel is lost to a sorrowful variation on the Jewish theme. A new folk-like tune for solo accordion is introduced in "The Tent(Karen)," which gives way to brisk martial music for "Lorries/The Convoy." The determined "The Star of David" introduces a triumphant variant of the folk song "Hativkah," which of course was later to become the Israeli national anthem. Things turn appropriately downbeat for "Odenheim's Death," including a sensitive flute variation on the main theme; the track ending with an orchestral playing of Karen's theme.
"Approaching Haifa/The Oath" opens quietly expectant, with variations on the Jewish and martial themes, but a spirited burst of the main theme burst forth, before the track again ends quietly. A source cue for violin and piano follows in "Kitty," then it's back to the score proper with "Arkiva's Hideout" and a new, busy woodwind theme, which gives way to a dissonant motive, very reminiscent to one heard in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky score, ending with a brief quote of the main theme. "Love is Where You Find It" introduces the love theme, though it remains somewhat tentative here, giving way to first exuberant, then passionate, variations on the main theme, which is then taken up by solo oboe and merged with the love theme. "Yad El/He is Dead" features some charming scoring, with variations on the main theme, including a folk-styled version for treble recorder.
It's a pity the next cue was unused in the film, as Gold composed another charming piece, again merging the main and love themes for "Goodbye," the big conclusion of which gives way to a strident variation on "Hativkah" for the "Intermission Music." "Karen's Father (In Jerusalem)" features a number of themes in its foreboding opening, but Kitty's theme emerges delicately for string sextet, only to turn dark at its conclusion.
Some welcome action returns to open "Akiva's Arrest," though the track is tense for a large part, and the Nevsky-like motive also makes an appearance. "Execution Chamber/Don't Let My Brother Die" follows, opening darkly as one might expect, before developing into something of a lament. Treble recorder, imitating the the call of a muezzin, backed by bursts of bongos, tambourines and orchestra accompany "Acre Prison;" a brief burst of urgency following on in "The Chess Game." The concluding cue on Disc One, "D-Day/The Bombs" is a lengthy affair, building to an action-packed ending, encompassing several themes and motives along the way.
Before turning to Disc Two, I should say that you can access two videos from the recording sessions if you pop Disc One into your PC.
The Exodus score concludes on Disc Two, with six more cues, commencing with "The Arsenal," which mixes variations on the main theme with largely martial material. The largely tense "The Operation" follows, the love theme releasing the tension at its conclusion. But more tension follows in "Children on the Hill," leading to "Dawn/Finale - The Fight for Peace," which winds up the score with largely low-key variations of the main, martial and Kitty themes, turning quite tragic before the main theme returns in all its glory. The "Exit Music" presents a somber, yet ultimately triumphant arrangement of "Hatikvah."
Though not featured in the film, and without the composer's consent, popular singer Pat Boone gave his main theme lyrics, making a huge hit of it as "This Land is Mine," here presented in a choral arrangement by Adam Saunders, faithful to Gold's original orchestration. It's a very impressive and welcome inclusion.
The two previously mentioned Gold selections follow and after that there is Sol Kaplan's "Main Title Music" from 1966's Judith, which is cast in much the same mold as Gold's Exodus theme; a suite of five themes from Jerry Goldsmith's great score for the 1973 miniseries QBVII, including the, by turns, exciting and charming "Main Title" music, and the powerful and moving "Kaddish for the Six Million;" the principal themes from John Williams' Schindler's List, featuring Lucie Svehlova on violin; and a couple of pieces from Elmer Bernstein's score for 1966's Cast a Giant Shadow, the weighty and somewhat ominous, but eventually more triumphant "Prelude" and much lighter, dance-like treatment of the main theme in "Land of Hope."
The album concludes with Gold's concert hall presentation of his theme from Exodus, turned into a "Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, which I have to say is not much to my liking. Rather, I prefer the "Concert Overture," specially created by James Fitzpatrick, that follows.
Accompanying all this fine music is the usual quality booklet, which features Gold's ex-wife, Marni Nixon's (the singing voice of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady) reminiscences of the original recording sessions; a remembrance of the composer by Kathleen Mayne (known for her association with Monstrous Movie Music); plus a track-by-track guide by Frank K. DeWald, and album producer James Fitzpatrick's notes on the project.
Another fabulous release from Tadlow, which is surely a must for your collection. Order your copy of this limited edition release by going to, where you can also listen to samples and get instructions on how to access the aforementioned session videos.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


The Time Traveler's Wife
Music by Mychael Danna
DECCA 2716582 (EU)
23 Tracks 55:14 mins

Mychael Danna used to be one of the more experimental composers around, often utilising a whole range of ethnic instruments, sometimes in situations and projects you would not expect to find them. More often than not recently, however, he has produced pretty conventional fare, as is the case with his music for The Time Traveler's Wife, the new romantic fantasy based on Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 novel of the same name (with a nod towards the short-lived TV show Journeyman, which I am enjoying currently on Sky 3). The film is directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Eric Bana as a man who is subject to episodes of involuntary time travel, and the relationship with the woman (Rachel McAdams) he meets as a little girl on one of this trips and eventually marries.
Back to the CD, and for the most part Danna's score is light and romantic, as one would expect, even buoyant at times, often with piano, flute, woodwind and string solos; though there is a more melancholy side to the music as well, reflecting the difficulties Bana's time travel inevitably have on his family life.
Electronics join in for the more fantastical moments in the film, sometimes providing an ethereal quality to the score, at others used quite disturbingly; and there's somewhat unconventional percussion utilised in tracks like "Testing;" but these moments are rare.
All in all then, it's a pretty likeable effort, which makes for pleasant and undemanding listen on disc, and I am quite sure perfectly serves the film's mix of fantasy and romance.
The CD also features a couple of vocals, Joy Division's "Love Will Tear us Apart," and the infinitely more listenable "Broken" by Lifehouse.