ScreenSounds

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

Monday, March 29, 2010


CD REVIEW - QUEI DISPERATI CHE PUZZANO DI SUDORE E DI MORTE


Quei Disperati Che Puzzano di Sudore e di Morte
Music by Gianni Ferrio
Digitmovies CDDM149 (Italy)
40 Tracks 73:58 mins

Variously known in English as Los Desperados or Bullet for Sandoval, Digitmovies has given a complete score release to Gianni Ferrio's music for this 1969 western. Previously available in stereo on a very limited LP at the time of the film's release (which was reissued on CD in 2000, with a further suite in mono), here with have the film's score, taken from the original mono tracks, together with the original stereo album tracks.
The mono score tracks for the most part do not have titles, so I'll confine my list of highlights to the album tracks, all of which are titled, starting with the very classical sounding "Tema per Amore, which is developed for Spanish guitar in "Discorso D'Amore There is also a bombastic military march in "Cento Cavalleggeri;" "Festa Tragica," with its Mariachi-styled opening and dramatic conclusion, the principal theme of which is reprised in further action tracks like "Oltre il Confine;" subdued defiance in "Madre de Dios," with its understated choral by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni; the dramatic "La Vendetta di John;" a fine showdown, complete with trumpet Deguello and choir in "Tema per una Vendetta;" the lively "Tre Chitarre nell'Arena;" more Mariachi music in "Un Paese Che Non Sa;" and the concluding "Quando Tutto Finisce," with its big trumpet ending.
As with all Digitmovies' splendid releases, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, with stills and original artwork, together with introductory notes in Italian and English by Claudio Fuiano.
Order your copy of this limited edition album from www.hillsidecd.co.uk

Sunday, March 28, 2010


CD REVIEW - SEA DOGS


Sea Dogs
Music by Yury Poteyenko
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 001 (Russia)
11 Tracks 31:24 mins

Another score from Yury Poteyenko, this time for the 2000 Akella game Sea Dogs. The album features the orchestral tracks from the game, performed by the Moscow Symphonic Orchestra and the Chamber Chorus of the Moscow Conservatory. At the time, it was quite rare for such forces to be used in a game and so this is a notable score for that alone.
The album gets underway with the perhaps surprisingly quite noble "Main Theme," where choir soars after first a woodwind intro and then a passage for horn. "Storm" follows, building from a quiet start to a suitably turbulent finish. The pastoral "England Theme" has almost a medieval lilt to it. The big choral/orchestral "Battle Theme" that follows is based around the Dies Irae; with the "France Theme" following lightly after, tripping along in suitably Renaissance style. This gives way to the spirited, tambourine-propelled "Spain Theme;" the buoyant mood coming to end in the choral requiem that is the "Defeat Theme." Swirling woodwinds and harp runs perfectly capture the mysterious "Fog," with the brief "Triumph" perfectly capturing that emotion.
The penultimate track, "Sunrise," builds from a subdued, expectant opening to a shimmering stringed conclusion, leading us to "Menu Theme - The Sea," which closes the album splendidly with a development of the opening theme.
It may be quite brief, at just over half-an-hour, but this is another classy and very entertaining album from KeepMoving Records and composer Poteyenko.
For samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of 1500 units, go to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/22/.

Friday, March 26, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE SECRET OF KELLS


The Secret of Kells
Music by Bruno Coulais
tot Ou tard 8345106542
21 Tracks 52:05 mins

With all the fuss being made over Bruno Coulais' score for the Oscar-nominated animation Coraline it is perhaps easy to forget that the same composer also wrote the music for another film nominated in the same category, The Secret of Kells, which is a very different kind of animation in that it is mostly hand-drawn, and the music is also very different in that it is partly performed by Irish band Kila, whose music, whilst rooted in traditional Irish music, also displays strong global influences, making their collaboration with composer Coulais seemingly the perfect fit.
Obviously, from the outset, the score reveals its predominantly Celtic style, with its very recognisable instrumentation, a few world music influences are blended in nicely, making for an entertaining listening experience.
Really, most tracks have something to offer, and there's a fair bit of development within them. At times, the music trips along, presumably accompanying Brendan on his quest, and occasionally breaks into something of an Irish jig; at others, it has a suitably mystical quality, sometimes enhanced by choir; and still others, there is a lovely pastoral quality, with some nice fiddle and Irish whistle work. Added to all this, there's more than the odd moment of action and menace, as in "Vikings," "The Eye," and "Build up the Attack;" and choir becomes more prominent in some of the later tracks, both in full religious mode, as in "The Monks" and "Kells Destroyed;" and as part of the mix. I could have done without the synthesizers that now and again make their presence felt, but this is a minor complaint; and I loved the ethereal "Aisling's Song," with child vocalist Christen Mooney's innocent delivery.
The last score proper track, "The Book of Kells," rises quite spiritually from a downcast opening to end on a joyful note, with a jig that wouldn't be out of place in Riverdance (according to my brother who was passing by at the time!). And there's more of the same in the two Kila tracks that conclude the disc in foot-tapping fashion.
Another nice score from Bruno Coulais then; well worth seeking out, particularly if you like your music with a Celtic flavour.
My thanks to the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, for bringing this album to my attention.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


CD REVIEW - CONFESSION


Confession
Music by Ryan Shore
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1119 (US)
23 Tracks 42:28 mins

I have been mightily impressed with what I've heard of Ryan Shore up to this point, which is why I was looking forward to hearing his orchestral/choral score for Jonathan Meyers' 2005 film Confession. It's taken a while to appear on CD, but the presence of Chris Pine (Star Trek) in the cast may have had something to do with its release at this time.
Overall, the score has a solemn, religious feel, the choir often floating ethereally above the orchestra; but highlights include the opening "Philosophy,"which presents a mournful a Capella main theme for female voice, supported by male choir, which is reprised in the final track, "Sacred;" the violent "Luther Kills Bennet;" the lovely piano-lead "Choose;" the hopeful strings of "Escape;" and the breezy, Celtic-flavoured "Bicycle."
Shore's main theme is a sorrowful, piano-lead affair, first heard in "Dining Hall," and featured still further in "Bennet's Confession" and "Priest Interrogation," before being developed more fully in "Requiem," where the female voice returns to accompany the piano; and "Confession," where strings provide a final feeling of hopeful resolution.
Perhaps not as instantly likeable as some of his recent scores, Confession nevertheless has its moments and it's good to have the chance to add it to your Ryan Shore collection. It's Limited to just 1000 units, so go to www.lalalandrecords.com/Confession.html for samples and to order your copy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


CD REVIEW - FILM MUSIC 2009


Film Music 2009
Music by Various Composers
Silva Screen SILCD1308 (UK)
11 Tracks 52:46 mins

The latest re-recorded collection from Silva Screen provides a snapshot of the year in film music 2009, the third such volume from the label. Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Fitzpatrick and Nic Raine; as one would expect, the album features music from the year's blockbusters like James Horner's Oscar-nominated score for Avatar; Steve Jablonsky's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; John Ottman's Valkyrie; Alexandre Desplat's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; and Michael Giacchino's Star Trek; but there are also worthy entries like Christopher Young's Drag Me To Hell; Johan Soderqvist's Let The Right One In; James Newton Howard's Defiance; and Thomas Newman's Revolutionary Road. To top it all off, we have "Latika's Theme" from A.R. Rahman's hugely successful Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.
Perhaps not all the year's best is included here, but there's certainly something for everyone, with some great stuff on offer, all very well played by these now highly experienced interpreters of screen music. So, if you haven't already got all the original albums, and are keen to sample what's on offer, this may be a good place to start.
Go to www.silvascreenmusic.com for samples and to order your copy on CD, or as a digital download.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


CD REVIEW - BACK IN TIME


Back in Time
Music by Ivan Burlaev
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 005 (Russia)
35 Tracks 67:17 mins

Another score from Pushkin: The Last Duel composer Ivan Burlaev is for Andrei Malyukov's 2008 film Back in Time, which is a time travel adventure of sorts, though, from all accounts, much more.
After a quiet intro, the album lifts off with the high octane "Tribal Fight," a mix of ethnic and modern that gets the toes tapping for its sadly brief playing time; and a similar approach is taken in tracks like "Unsuccessful Attempt," "Behind the Destiny," and "Chase."
A weird, largely electronic and very atmospheric piece, "Dug-out" follows, and a signature motif established in this track reappears many times throughout the score. This atmospheric and mysterious music dominates the next few tracks, before things get moving again in "Welcome to the Past," where pounding percussion and voices produce a largely pretty menacing and nightmarish feel. There's more nightmarish, dissonant music to be found in "Air Strike/Tank Attack/Brave Nina," with choir providing a more unified, determined feel to the latter.
The most conventional piece thus far follows in the bold and heroic "Germans Retreat," even if it is straight out of the Zimmer school of film scoring; as is the weighty"Burial of the Fallen Soldiers" - very Gladiatorish.
"Captured Officer/Yemelyanov's Feat" is largely an electronic actioner that could easily have been written for a game score or maybe a trailer music library, but with a solemn choral requiem at its centre, that can also be heard in "Escape," with a similar approach for "Sokolov's Death" and "After Attack." The same action theme is reprised in "Last Combat," where spirited choral accompaniment takes it to the next level and, after an atonal opening, there's more of the same in "How Russians Fight," with more than a touch of the Zimmer thrown in as it reaches its conclusion.
The brief "Nostradamus" provides a lyrical little orchestral oasis, as does "Flirting; with "Love is Alive" really blossoming on strings and leading into the happy "Latina," which takes an acoustic guitar/modern beat approach to the former, before ending more traditionally. Sadly, the mood doesn't last long, as the theme receives a suitably heartbreaking treatment in the following "Sorrow." "Fatum (Fate)" is another sorrowful affair, with solo piano, before building to a fateful conclusion. This is followed by a more positive, almost spiritual, choral than previously heard, in "Overcoming," which leads into a full-blown version of the Zimmeresque/trailer music piece for "Heroic Song."
The penultimate "Saving Chukha/Way to Home" is a classy piece, with weaving cello solo gradually joined by orchestral/choral forces to provide a truly weighty feel, one that's continued into the impressive closing "Requiem."
This is really a hybrid score, a mix of electronics, sound design, orchestra, choir, ethnic - you name it, strongly influenced by the Zimmer style, game and trailer music. At times, it's challenging, at others downright inspiring. At the very least, you can say it has something for everyone.
Limited to just 500 copies, you'd best get along to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/27/ for samples and to order your copy before they're all gone.

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

International Recording Artist Zera Vaughan

Shines with Vision and Vibe on “The New Seed”

Artist Donates Song to Greenpeace

Poetic, hypnotic and transcendent: The New Seed from singer/songwriter Zera Vaughan is a rich sonic tapestry of electronic beats and transfixing melodies. Created with the noted French producer/composer Cyril Morin and featuring international musicians, the spacious sound is a sparkling showcase for Vaughan’s confiding vocals. In Hebrew, the word “zera” signifies “seed,” which inspired the title The New Seed. It is against a soundscape of harmony and hope that Zera Vaughan imagines an exquisite harvest. Vaughan received a Hollywood Music in Media Award nomination for Best New Age/Ambient Artist for “Release the Chains” from The New Seed. “Empty Spaces,” also on The New Seed, aired on the 18th Episode of the WomensRadio Music Review Podcast (available on iTunes), and Vaughan was chosen as one of WomensRadio’s Hot “Up-N-Comers of 2010.” Recently Vaughan attended the Golden Globes and garnered much attention from the media on the red carpet. The New Seed is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and for film and TV licensing.

Vaughan explains, “The New Seed expresses my concern for the environment; water and air are the most important elements in our existence. We’ve stepped away from respecting the basics in life.” Vaughan is passionate about protecting the planet. All proceeds from sales and licensing of the song “Release the Chains” on The New Seed will be donated to Greenpeace. Vaughan’s CD release concert in Hollywood was also an awareness event for Greenpeace. The CD is packaged in a biodegradable case made from recycled paper and biodegradable ink.

Born to a Tunisian mother and an English father, Vaughan, raised between two cultures, studied classical and Middle Eastern music, opera, and ballet, before she began performing American pop and jazz in clubs. Studies in music at the Paris Music Conservatory and Psychology at the Sorbonne alternated with recording sessions in France. It was on holiday in London that Zera first experienced the orchestral electronic trip hop of Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack, influences that would become, she says, “building blocks for the music that I had been hearing in my head.”

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity. Therefore Greenpeace seeks to: Protect biodiversity in all its forms; prevent pollution and abuse of the earth's ocean, land, air and fresh water; end all nuclear threats and promote peace, global disarmament and non-violence. For more information on Greenpeace please visit: www.greenpeace.org.


Monday, March 22, 2010


CD REVIEW - DA UOMO A UOMO (DEATH RIDES A HORSE)


Da Uomo a Uomo (Death Rides a Horse)
Music by Ennio Morricone
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4130
26 Tracks 74:59 mins

Just when you thought you had heard every note of music there was to hear from this classic Morricone score from the 1967 Lee Van Cleef/John Phillip Law Italian western, along comes this new release from the GDM Hillside Series, which plays for almost 75 minutes, and features four tracks never before released in any format, and a further six receiving their first CD reissue.
I am quite sure that every self-respecting Morricone fan, or fan of the genre will have at least one recording of the score in their collection, but I guess this is pretty much the definitive version. If you aren't however familiar with the score, it features a number great themes, most of which get plenty of variations on this disc; the first being the driving main theme, voiced in a variety of tempos, either by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, or in a typically beefy performance by Raoul; the second, the splendid "Guitar Nocturne," a fine prelude to a showdown; the third, the rather mournful "Monody for Guitar," which is sometimes whistled, but mostly features wordless choir, and is heard in tandem with the main theme; the fourth, "Mystic and Severe" a determined, ever-developing march; and the fifth, "Anger and Sorrow," which contains a bit of both, starting off as something of a lament, but becoming more and more animated.
The first 20 tracks, which include those previously unreleased, are given in mono, whereas the 6 reissued tracks are all in stereo, and grouped together at the end of the disc.
There's sadly no text in the accompanying booklet, just colour stills from the film, and poster artwork, but don't let that put you off. Hurry along to www.hillsidecd.co.uk and grab your copy before all 500 are gone.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

MORE BLASTS FROM THE RECENT PAST FROM SILVA SCREEN RECORDS














Following the label's recent release of Little Miss Sunshine, Silva Screen Records tomorrow release two more film scores from the recent past, Danny Elfman's typically quirky score for Tim Burton's 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard's challenging music for Christopher Nolan's reimagining of the Batman franchise in the same year's Batman Begins.
If you haven't already got both albums, here's your chance to catch up with what you missed. And, just to remind you, my review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can still be read at http://screensounds.blogspot.com/2006/01/happy-new-year-cd-review-charlie-and.html, if you need some guidance.
Both Batman Begins (SILCD 1316) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (SILCD 1317) can be ordered on CD, or digitally downloaded from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

The label has also issued a new re-recorded album of themes from the films of 2009, entitled Film Music 2009, of which more shortly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


CD REVIEW - WIND MAN


Wind Man
Music by Yury Poteyenko
KeepMoving Records
13 Tracks 27:58 mins

Another score from Yury Poteyenko, this time for Khuat Akhmetov's fantasy film Wind Man, which earned a Special Mention at the 2007 World Film Festival Montreal.
Poeteyenko's quite brief orchestral score opens sympathetically with "Appearance of Madar," a rather sad little theme, before proceeding to the main titles music, "Fall of an Angel," where slowly progressing strings are joined on occasion by airy flute, that latter, accompanied by harp, continuing into "He Reminds Me of Someone." "Madar - Harbinger of Death" uses wind effects to illicit a suitably icy feel. Following this, the flute and harp return to provide a lovely, pastoral feel for "New Friend."
Choir joins the mix for a couple of powerful cues,"Angel in Anger," and "Flight/Broken Wing." The inventive and threatening "Madar is Close"follows, giving way to the ethnic-styled opening action of "Hunting Madar, with its pounding drums driving the music on. "I Will Be Flying/Fall" features an expressive violin solo, and more wind effects at its opening. This is followed by the increasingly emotional title track, and then "Resurrection,"which progresses mournfully with choir, until strings provide an uplifting conclusion. The final, and longest, cue on the album, "Outcome" sees the composer reprise his lovely main theme to provide a glorious and satisfying conclusion.
This release is limited to 1000 units, so get along to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/25/ to hear some samples and to order your copy.

Friday, March 19, 2010


CD REVIEW - DAYS OF OUR LIVES


Days of our Lives
Music by Ken Corday and Brent Nelson
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1123 (US)
Disc 1 - 28 Tracks 53:15 mins
Disc 2 - 33 Tracks

Hard to believe that American daytime soap Days of our Lives has been running for almost half a century now, yet has never made it to UK terrestrial TV. It started out as a half-hour drama in 1965, becoming an hour long 10 year later and its popularity shows no sign of diminishing, with numerous Awards and nominations coming its way over the years.
Following on from his parents, Betty and Ted Corday, the show's Executive Producer is Ken Corday who, along with co-composer D. Brent Nelson is responsible for the music. The results can be divided into two distinct camps: melodic and largely acoustic; and dark dramatic electric guitar and synths; with all of it performed by the composers.
Both these approaches are showcased here, in this the first totally underscore album from the show (an album of music and songs from the show was apparently released in 1965, and reissued in 2005). The melodic material is grouped together on Disc 1, with a few dramatic cues thrown in; whilst the synth stuff is on Disc 2.
Firstly, I have to say that Disc 2 is perhaps purely for the fans, because it is just dire to listen to. How I even sat through it once, I don't know. Having said that, Disc 1 has much to offer, and commences with the brief "Theme from Days of our Lives," by Tommy Boyce, Charlie Albertine and Bobby Hart, complete with spoken introduction. the lovely, acoustic guitar-lead "An Everlasting Love" follows; and then the ethereal "Discovery" with its wordless vocals. Other highlights include the achingly sad "Trying to Remember;" "Veil of Sadness," which transitions from darkness to light; the warm "A Place Called Home;" the hopeful "The Promise;" the innocence of "First Kiss," and, well, "Innocence;" the sad piano of "Broken Heart;" the shimmering "John & Marlena;" the suitably fairytale-like "Theme for a Princess;" the harmonica-lead "Patch;" the romantic piano and guitar of "May I Have This Dance?;" the seductive, sax-lead "On Bended Knee;" the tender "Lay Beside Me;" the ecstatic "Colleen & Santo;" the warm, peaceful guitar of "Sunset Lullaby;" and the closing, bittersweet "For We Shall Meet Again."
I could have done without the dramatic cues spanning tracks 9-14, which really belong on Disc 2, but still there's some pleasant and quite likeable stuff to be heard here.
The accompanying 20-page booklet is a real collector's item for fans of the show, with numerous colour stills of your favourite characters, an introduction by Ric Kohlbeck, and notes from each of the composers.
Get along to www.lalalandrecords.com/DOOL.html for samples and to order your copy.

NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-

RED STEEL™ 2 FEATURES WILD WEST MEETS ASIA FUSION ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE BY TOM SALTA
Award Winning Composer Creates Gun-Slinging, Sword-Swinging Soundtrack for Ubisoft's Action Fighting Video Game on Nintendo Wii™

New York, March 17, 2010 - Renowned composer Tom Salta has written and produced an original musical score for Red Steel™ 2, Ubisoft's new first-person action title developed exclusively for the Nintendo Wii™ and designed with full Wii MotionPlus™ integration. In Red Steel 2, the player becomes a swordsman who finds himself in a remote mixed metropolis in the middle of the American desert, where Eastern and Western cultures collide. To reflect this adventurous new setting in Red Steel 2, Salta composed an action-packed 'Wild West' guitar-driven score blended with evocative Asian music influences. Developed by Ubisoft Paris, Red Steel 2 is scheduled for release on March 23rd, 2010.

"Tom Salta is an extremely versatile composer and delivers a unique and dynamic soundtrack for Red Steel 2," said Isabelle Ballet, music supervisor for Red Steel 2. "He has crafted various music styles including mixing blues guitars with traditional Asian instruments to produce an energetic, hybrid score that motivates and immerses players in the action. We can't wait to share this experience with everyone!"

For the Red Steel 2 score, Salta enlisted the virtuosic guitar performances of veteran studio musician Steve Ouimette and recorded various instrumentalists for Chinese percussion, Shakuhachi, Fue, Pipa, harmonica and violin. Salta previously scored the original Red Steel soundtrack that received numerous accolades for its vibrant musical palette, including IGN's Wii Award for Best Original Music.

Red Steel 2 is a revolution in the action-fighting genre, taking full advantage of the capabilities of the Wii MotionPlus™ accessory. Your movements are faithfully replicated on-screen, putting the emphasis on swinging, shooting and fun! With the ability of the Wii MotionPlus to sense the strength of a swing, you will literally be able to make an impact on your adversaries through power and precision. For more information on Red Steel 2, please visit www.redsteelgame.com.

About Ubisoft:
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified line-up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has teams in 28 countries and distributes games in more than 55 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. For the 2008-09 fiscal year Ubisoft generated sales of €1,058 million Euros. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.

© 2010 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Red Steel, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Wii and Wii MotionPlus are trademarks of Nintendo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


CD REVIEW - GENESIS RISING


Genesis Rising
Music by Aleksandar Randjelovic
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 009 (Russia)
11 Tracks 32:47 mins

Another new name to me features on this game score release by KeepMoving Records, that of Aleksander Randjelovic, whose debut score for the medium this is, having had a long standing desire to write music for games. Randjelovic worked on many projects for Goran Bregovic, both film and the composer's ballet Queen Margo, before becoming a composer in his own right for commercials, documentaries shorts, feature films and now games.
2007's Genesis Rising, a futuristic sci-fi game features a mix of epic symphonic-styled (though realised with synths and samples) scoring, with ethnic touches, percussion, and mixed choir; the album commencing with the propulsive "Main Menu" music, which perfectly displays this style. The following "Defiance" opens with the kind of ethnic female chant present in so many contemporary historically ancient scores, and follows up with primitive percussive rhythms, allied to choir, with the ethnic vocal returning at the close. "Premonition" is a dark and threatening affair' whilst "Love Theme" comes as a complete contrast, with a wordless female vocal leading the choir. "Inquisition" is another propulsive cue; and "Lapis" starts out similarly, before going down a more weighty path, leading into "Battle Theme," which pushes all the right buttons. The longest and possibly most interesting track on the album, "Cruciform," follows, opening with haunting sampled voices, before menacing percussion enters, and Gregorian Chant leads us on to a climax. The brief "Revelation" closes the album with a huge choral crescendo.
As regular visitors to the site will know, I am not a great lover of synths and samples, but when they are mixed with percussion and choir often good results can be achieved, and this is the case with this entertaining score; and with quite a short playing time, if anything, it leaves one eager for more.
Go to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/31/ for samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of just 500 units.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


CD REVIEW - DIO NON PAGA IL SABATO


Dio Non Paga Il Sabato
Music by Angelo F. Lavagnino
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4131
15 Tracks 37:06 mins

A few tracks from this 1967 western were previously released on a 1988 Lavagnino western scores compilation, but here the score is given a disc all to itself.
The film, known under the English title of Kill The Wicked! didn't exactly star any household names - Larry Ward & Robert Mark anyone? but maestro Lavagnino provided a capable accompaniment, commencing with the uptempo song "The Price of Gold," performed by Roberto Matano. Many of the musical elements usually associated with the genre feature in subsequent tracks, including much suspense and some welcome, but rare, galloping action. Tracks of particular note include "Tenerezza a Cavalcata," with its opening harmonica refrain, which gives way to whistler, before galloping toward a suspenseful conclusion; "Momento Romantico," with its shimmering organ solo; the hauntingly delicate romance of "Cow-Boy Innamorato;" its reprise in "Ricordo di un Amore Perduto;" and its more showdown-like incarnation in "Notturno Malinconico."
After a brief whistled reprise of the opening song, the final track "Sfida Mortale" proceeds down a rather dissonant path to its conclusion, leaving one somewhat unsatisfied.
In conclusion, not the greatest Italian Western score album by any means, with an over reliance on the more suspenseful material, but it does have its moments, and maybe the film itself just didn't allow Lavagnino much scope for creating truly memorable music.
Order your copy of this very limited edition of just 500 units from www.hillsidecd.co.uk.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


CD REVIEW - LION OF THE DESERT/THE MESSAGE


Lion of the Desert/The Message
Music by Maurice Jarre
Tadlow Music TADLOW08 (UK)
Disc 1 - 71:14 mins Disc 2 - 63:42 mins

Tadlow Music are of course known for their award-winning re-recordings of classic film scores Like Exodus, El Cid and The Guns of Navarone, but on 22nd March they release their first double album of original scores, both by Maurice Jarre who, after his huge success with Lawrence of Arabia, returned to the desert with 1976's The Message and, for the same director, Moustapha Akkad, 1981's Lion of the Desert.
Both scores have of course been available before, but here are given the deluxe treatment by Tadlow's James Fitzpatrick, as a fitting memorial to his friend. The Message, presented on Disc 2, was remastered from the original album master tapes, whilst Lion of the Desert was remixed and remastered from the original 24 track tapes, and so is complete, with alternative versions, on Disc 1; with previously unreleased source tracks included on Disc 2. As a special bonus, Disc 2, also features the world premiere recording of Jarre's concert piece Giubileo - Cantata for Orchestra and Chorus, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of Fitzpatrick.
The music for both films finds Jarre at the height of his powers, before his disappointing electronic phase. The Message does however feature the Ondes Martenot, the composer's overuse of which in scores of this time (and those by Elmer Bernstein too) used to drive me to distraction.
Both scores are full of fine thematic material, commencing with Lion of the Desert which, like The Message starred Anthony Quinn, this time as Omar Muhktar, struggling against Italian invaders in 1920s Libya, with the music performed by no less than the London Symphony Orchestra. The first track, "Omar the Teacher," opens with a fine horn solo and develops into a typically sweeping and noble desert theme in finest Jarre traditions, before closing on the horn again. This theme is reprised in more upbeat, exciting fashion in "Prelude: Libya 1929;" with the dramatic "The Execution of Hamid/I Became Old" following. There's tense and savage conflict in "Desert Ambush," with the main theme returning in "Omar Enters Camp," entering quietly, before assuming inspirational proportions. Whilst every subsequent track has something to offer, I would pick out the marching material of "March to Decimation," "I Must Go," "Graziani's Triumph," and "General Graziani," (Jarre always could write a good march theme); the mournful choral "The Concentration Camp;" the windswept piano of "The Italian Invasion;" "the plaintive "Omar's Wife;" and of course the main theme gets plenty more varied outings, as in "Reunited," "Entr'acte," "Charge - Lion of the Desert," "The Death of Omar," and the concluding "March of Freedom."
As previously mentioned, Disc 1 closes with interesting alternate versions of five of the score tracks, including the album version of "March of Freedom."
The Message, relates the story of the birth of Islam, and features Quinn as the Prophet Mohammad's warrior uncle, Hamza. Jarre's music, performed by the composer's orchestra of choice, The Royal Philharmonic, was nominated for an Academy Award, and was the result of much research into Arabic music and instrumentation. The title track starts off quietly, with the dreaded Ondes Martenot adding a mysterious, otherworldly quality, but soon develops into another rousing Jarre theme. The plaintive flute of "Hegira" follows, before developing into yet another rousing orchestral treatment. Other highlights include the drum-driven "Building the First Mosque;" the big and impressive processional "Entry to Mecca;" the weighty "The Declaration," which reprises the rousing main theme; and the beefy actioner "Fight," with its dance-like opening and close. The increasingly inspirational "The Faith of Islam" closes the 12 selections. Along the way, the Ondes Martenot continues to provide an otherworldly quality and thankfully is not too irritating on this occasion.
Giubileo was commissioned for a performance commemorating the Jubilee Celebrations of the Vatican in 2000, and is based upon themes written for Lion of the Desert, Jarre's rejected music for River Wild and Solar Crisis. The first movement, "Heri - Yesterday," is based upon "The "Concentration Camp" from Lion of the Desert. Opening powerfully it then proceeds on its mournful way. "Hodie - Today" is a pastoral piece, rooted in Americana, and sung in English by the choir. The closing "Semper - Always" finds the choir singing the word "Peace," to an inspirational theme, in no less than 33 different languages. All-in-all, this is a very impressive piece, and all the more welcome for its use of lesser known Jarre themes. Bravo, Tadlow, for letting us hear it.
The accompanying 16-page booklet features colour and black-and-white stills from both in front and behind the camera, together with notes from various sources, on the films, their music and composer. All that's missing really, is a cue-by-cue guide.
Limited to just 2000 copies, get along to www.tadlowmusic.com to listen to samples and to order your copy of this very fine release.

Monday, March 15, 2010


CD REVIEW - PUSHKIN: THE LAST DUEL


Pushkin: The Last Duel
Music by Ivan Burlaev
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 012
28 Tracks 39:45 mins

Natalya Bondarchuk's 2006 film deals with the events leading up to the fateful duel the great Russian poet Pushkin fought with Dantes, and stars Sergey Bezrukov.
The music is by a new name to me, the 33-year-old Ivan Burlaev, who comes from a famous theatrical dynasty. It's fully symphonic, played by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra of Cinematography, and starts out with "Intro," its ominous rumblings building to a dissonant crescendo; with "1837, St.-Petersburg" providing a grand feeling of expectancy, giving way to the initially tragic strings of "Mortal Wound," but a beautiful violin solo suddenly bursts forth, before the final death knell is sounded. "Last Words" is a brief, but quite lovely piece for woodwinds and strings, and is followed by the equally brief "Poet's Death," for which choir joins the orchestra to send the poet heavenwards.
Presumably, the film then goes back in time, the next cue being "Before a Duel," which counts down to a suspended string conclusion. "Recollections about Nataly" follows and expands upon the "Last Words" theme. The sunny, joyful "Necklace," reprised in "Nataly and Dantes," gives way to a tender piano and strings version of Nataly's theme in "Remembering Pushkin." The dissonant "Wicked Tongues" is followed by the surging, dramatic "Copper Rider," which ends surprisingly on a tender note for piano; the same instrument tripping sunnily into "Meeting Emperor." The passionate "Pushkin's Letter" follows, but turns to despair in "In a Study," with the score starting down a very dark path with "Unseemly Proposal,""Russian Theme," and"Challenge to a Duel." The choir (possibly sampled) returns for the fateful moment in "Duel," and continues to add subtly to the orchestra in "Wounded Pushkin."
The penultimate track," Funeral" is a surprising uplifting affair, with the "End Title" ending proceedings with a particularly passionate rendition of the main theme leading to a reprise of the "Before a Duel" music.
Many of the tracks are very brief, which doesn't make for the most satisfying listening experience but, nevertheless, it's still a nice little score, with a some very pretty themes and memorable themes.
After the 22 track Pushkin score, the disc features a further 6 tracks from the TV series The Only Love of My Soul, on which, sadly, I can find no information.
"Main Title," the longest selection of another score made up of brief tracks, opens with a beautiful orchestral/choral theme; and is then followed by "Loving Memory," which sports another strong, somehow familiar, theme. "Love Theme 1 & 2" feature another lovely theme, first on piano, then fully developed on strings. The strong melodic music continues with the rhapsodic "Happiness," and the flowing "End Titles" plays us out nicely.
It's a shame this score is so brief, but it does manage to cram a lot of very nice melodic music into its short playing time; and Burlaev does display, with both these scores, a strong gift for melody.
As always, this is a limited release of just 500, and so you need to get along to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/35/ to listen to samples and grab your copy while you can.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE FLASH


The Flash
Music by Shirley Walker
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1101 (US)
Disc 1 - 77:05 mins Disc 2 - 77:09 mins

This is one of those rare occasions when the music is such that I do not feel the need to analyse it in detail. Suffice to say that if you thought La-La Land's 2 disc Batman: The Animated Series was great (and I certainly did) then you're gonna love this one too, as it's pretty much cut from the same cloth.
In fact, the live-action series The Flash predated Batman and was very much a dress rehearsal for composer Shirley Walker in terms of the music she would go on to produce for the latter, even down to having to work with a dynamic main theme composed by Danny Elfman and, like for Batman, she would quote liberally from this, especially in the many action sequences.
Sadly, The Flash never made it to UK terrestrial TV, and I've only managed to see the pilot on an old video tape I managed to acquire (the series is not widely available on DVD in the UK). Playing the title character was John Wesley Shipp, with whom I was only familiar for his later role of the title character's father in Dawson's Creek, and other familiar faces guesting throughout the show's all too short run included Jeffery Combs, Star Wars' Mark Hamill as returning villain The Trickster, and even David Cassidy.
This splendid double-disc set features music from the Pilot, plus another six episodes, and includes various versions of Elfman's theme as well. Like the Batman scores, Walker showed great versatility in her approach to the scores, with dark intrigue and much beefy action writing throughout. There is also a little romance along the way for The Flash and scientist ally Tina (Amanda Pays); a theme for The trickster which foreshadows the kind of music she would later write to accompany The Joker; and even some big band jazz. These are but a few of the many musical highlights within the more than two-and-a-half hours of music on display here.
Accompanied by the usual colourful booklet, featuring Randall D, Larson's notes on the show and its music, together with an invaluable cue-by-cue guide, this fabulous release is limited to 3000 units, so best get along to www.lalalandrecords.com/Flash.html, where you can hear samples and order your copy of this must-have example of the much-missed Shirley Walker's work.

YET MORE NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

“SOMETHIN’S COMIN’ MY WAY” FOR THE SOUNDTRACK

FROM THE OSCAR® WINNING FILM PRECIOUS

LOS ANGELES (March 12, 2010) – Singer/songwriter Dan Manjovi’s “Somethin’s Comin’ My Way” is featured on the soundtrack and in the Oscar® winning Lionsgate film Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire now available on DVD and WS Bluray. Manjovi wrote “Somethin’s Comin’ My Way” at the request of the film’s director, Lee Daniels, whose previous films include Monster’s Ball (producer), Shadowboxer and The Woodsman.

After the director spoke Manjovi about the film and his ideas for how music would be used, Daniels’ directive to the songwriter was to “create a song of hope.”

“After reading the screenplay, I thought about how Precious Jones admires these strong iconic African-American women such as Harriet Tubman, and the first line – ‘on my mind Tina Turner’ came into my head,” explains Manjovi. “After that, I knew I had the song.”

“Somethin’s Comin’ My Way” was included in its demo form for the film’s premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. After Precious took the festival’s Grand Jury Prize and was optioned by Lionsgate with Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry as co-executive producers, “Somethin’s Comin’ My Way” was re-recorded for both the film and the soundtrack. The current version was also arranged and produced by Manjovi, and the featured vocal performance is by Grace Hightower, who is the only artist to appear on the soundtrack and in the film.

Featured alongside powerhouse artists such as Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah and Labelle, the track packs an emotional wallop in this story of triumph over adversity. The soundtrack has been released by Matriarch/Geffen Records in association with Lee Daniels Entertainment, Smokewood Entertainment, Lionsgate, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. The soundtrack is executive produced by Lee Daniels and Mary J. Blige and is currently available in stores and on iTunes. The film won two Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress. The film is now available on Lionsgate DVD and WS Bluray.

The New York native is a favorite on the New York club scene. In addition to two independent CD releases, Manjovi recently completed the romantic musical comedy I Am, I Will, I Do for which he wrote the book, music and lyrics. The video for his song, “Things’ll Get Better” was voted Video of the Year for the 2009 Voters Choice Awards on QNation FM and the song is featured on United For The Ride, Volume 1 CD.

David Byrne of The Windy City Times cheers, “Manjovi has a knack for penning pop pleasures, coming across as a hybrid of Elton John, Dave Matthews and Kenny Loggins.” Joe Siegel from Edge publications states that Manjovi’s music is “designed to soothe the spirit and make you think more closely about the world we live in. Manjovi has scored a major success on both counts.”

Manjovi’s formal education includes Music Composition at The Julliard School and Music Performance at N.Y.U.

As a musician, Dan Manjovi performs annually at New York’s Piano in the Park Concert Series in Bryant Park and at leading venues such as the Bitter End, the Canal Room and the Sidewalk Café. In 2006 his band appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival/ASCAP Music Lounge with John Mayer, Nellie McKay and Elvis Costello.


NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

COMPOSER OF TWO OF THIS YEAR’S OSCAR® NOMINATED FILMS

SCORES TWO ANITCIPATED DOCUMENTARIES –

DISNEYNATURE’S OCEANS AND FOCUS FEATURES’ BABIES


The scores of Bruno Coulais are filled with the complexity of international and inanimate sounds that bloom into characters in their own right. Whether writing for a documentary or a kid-friendly animated film, Coulais creates moods and emotions in the absence of actors. On the heels of an Academy award season that saw two of Coulais’ films nominated for Best Animated Feature (CORALINE, THE SECRET OF KELLS), the French composer wrote original scores for two of the year’s highly anticipated documentaries: OCEANS and BABIES.

In Disneynature’s OCEANS (opening Earth Day, April 22), Coulais explores the depths of the seas, its inhabitants and the dangers of the ocean. For Focus Features’ BABIES (opening May 7), he creates a delicate, light, funny and emotional score as the film simultaneously follows the life of four of the world’s newest human beings.

Coualis’ scores are innovative and idiosyncratic with their combination of orchestral pieces, toys, ethnic instruments and children’s voices. Mixing orchestra and adding contrapuntal themes tease additional meanings and emotions from a scene according to Coulais.

Coulais writes the original score and also acts as his own orchestrator. “For me it’s very important to make my own orchestrations because when I think of melody, I think of it with the instruments I’ll write with,” says Coulais. “Depending on the density of sequence, sometimes I will have just a few instruments -- strange instruments like the water phone. It’s a metallic percussion where you put water on a kind of basin with a tube and a bowl. You can play notes on it, and it’s a strange, beautiful, very deep sound.”

An ethereal tone dominates the score to Disneynature’s OCEANS. The documentary offers an unprecedented look beneath the sea, exploring the playful splendor and the harsh reality of the weird and wonderful creatures that live within.

“OCEANS is more than a film. It is a manifest for nature,” Coulais said. To capture the great depth of OCEANS Coulais tries to convey through music how wonderful the world is, but also fragile. Coulais hopes through this film, and his music, the audience will have a greater understanding of how important it is to preserve the splendor of the oceans. His score is written for a full orchestra, a kind of concerto for harp and violin with electronic sounds. His score was recorded in Paris featuring French soloists Marielle Nordmann (harp) and Laurent Korcia (violin); along with the French choir Mikrokosmos.

BABIES is a visually stunning film that simultaneously chronicles the lives of four of the world’s newest human inhabitants – in Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo, respectively. The joyful documentary follows the babies from first breath to first steps, on a journey at once universal and amazingly original.

“The music of BABIES was written for a very special orchestra that included a lot of toys, a string quintet, wind orchestra, ethnic instruments, piano and percussion,” says Coulais. “The words of the lyrics have no meaning. The vocals sound like the beginning of human language.” Although the cast of BABIES is international, “we didn’t want to adapt the music to the nationality of the babies, but to be universal.” Vocals were recorded by French artist Rosemary.

Coulais’s score to LES CHORISTES earned him an Academy Award-nomination, A BAFTA Award-nomination and won a Cesar Award. Other credits include LUCKY LUKE, VILLA AMALIA and the Academy Award-winning Winged Migration.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


CD REVIEW - AGE OF PIRATES: CARIBBEAN TALES


Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales
Music by Yury Poteyenk
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 002 (Russia)
16 Tracks 60:33 mins

Dipping into KeepMoving's back catalogue now and here's another orchestral score from Yury Poteyenko, this time for the 2005 Akella video game Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales.
"Hymn of the Corsairs" opens the disc in bold, fanfarish fashion, with choir joining along the way. The French horns, so prominent in the opening track, once more lead the way in "Caribbean Archipelago," which reprises the main theme and speaks of high adventure. And those horns and that main theme are never far away throughout, returning after "Morning Breeze" starts lightly on strings, with choir rejoining for a powerful conclusion. The first real action music arrives in "Fierce Close Fight," with choir joining in the fray. The following "Island Colony" is predominantly a much more peaceful affair, introducing a catchy little melody, but with powerful intrusions from the brass. "Approach of the Storm" is initially becalmed, but hints at what is to come and, sure enough a big brassy moment duly arrives, though quickly gives away to lurching strings that suggest sea sickness might be overtaking the crew.
The second action cue, "Mortal Combat," arrives with an opening flourish from timpani and proceeds in rhythmic fashion. "Quiet Bay" is, by contrast, a flowing and peaceful little tune for woodwinds and flutes, which is only briefly interrupted by the brass. The lovely nocturne "Moon Way" follows, opening with an expressive little flute solo; the mood being shattered by the propulsive "To Boarding!" which is given increasing power by the addition of the choir.
"Town Life" slows things down again, with another exotic little tune for woodwinds and flutes, but again with its obligatory brassy moment. This is followed by more action in "Filibuster's Revenge, which has something of the Gladiator about it. Peace is restored with "Sunrise," a gorgeous, welcoming tune, again featuring woodwinds and flutes to the fore.
The penultimate track "Hymn of the Corsairs (Storm Theme)," gradually builds to a reprise of the main theme, with suitably stormy cymbal clashes. Finally, we have the majestic "Boundless Ocean," which transforms the main theme into a kind of uplifting hymn to the sea, and is worth the price of the album alone.
A very nice score then from Poteyenko, and yet another example of the fine orchestral music that can be found in many video games these days.
For samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of just 500 units, go to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/23/.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


CD REVIEW - UN TRENO PER DURANGO


Un Treno Per Durango
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4129
24 Tracks 59:15 mins


One of three new Italian western releases from the GDM Hillside Series, this Carlo Rustichelli score for the 1968 comedy western Un Treno Per Durango was always going to have to go some to make me like it, as normally I can't abide comedy westerns or their scores.
The film hasn't come my way, but is actually regarded as one of the better comedy westerns of the time and certainly has a good cast, including Anthony Steffen and Mark Damon.
As for Rustichelli's score, the composer employed the services of I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni and Bruno Nicolai as conductor, and it's nowhere near as irritating as I feared, but in fact has plenty of good things going for it, and starts out amiably enough in "Il Bottino," before a pastiche of the William Tell Overture takes over. The main titles follow and feature a sumptuous and very infectious Mexican-flavoured theme, performed by orchestra and choir. The first example of irritating comedic music appears in the very next track, before the charming waltz-like love theme makes its first appearance, and continues under its own title "Valzer Nel West" into the next track, though subsequently transforms into a waltz variation on the main theme. I should say that both the main and love themes do crop up, in a variety of variations and moods, at fairly regular intervals throughout the score, particularly the former, but sometimes have to compete with Rustichelli's efforts at comedy, and of course the dreaded William Tell pastiche.
A surprisingly jazzy new theme is introduced in "Il Viaggio" which, whilst seemingly out of place, is nevertheless pretty catchy, and is given a raunchier version in "Sulle Tracce di Lobo." Another catchy new theme is the bouncy, bassoon-lead comedic march first introduced in "Attesa e Marcia" and continuing in variations in "Gringo e Lucas," before giving way to some galloping Mexican flavoured action music, which again continues into the next track, "Il Treno Core."
Another notable track is the easy-listening "Gringo e Helen," which features a romantic variation on the main theme, partly whistled by Alessandroni.
Of course the usual genre elements are present, some dark, suspense in the likes of "Piano Misterioso" and "Azione Drammatica;" a dramatic trumpet Deguello in "Recupero del Bottino;" and a source cue, a laid-back vocal refrain of the main theme in "Il Cantino."
The "Finale" reprises the comedy march, the jazz theme and the main theme to conclude the album in satisfying fashion.
At the end of the day, the more I listened to it, the more I warmed to this score, thanks to the number of strong themes Rustichelli employs throughout. Like the film, this is probably one of the better Italian comedy western efforts you're likely to come across.
Order your copy of this very limited release of just 500 copies from www.hillsidecd.co.uk.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE ABBEY


The Abbey
Music by Emilio De Paz
KeepMoving Records KMRCD015 (Russia)
28 Tracks 49:05 mins

Another recent release from enterprising label KeepMoving Records is the score for the murder mystery adventure game The Abbey, written by Emilio De Paz, who is actually head of Alcachofa Soft, the game's developer. But before any alarm bells go off, I have to say that this is an accomplished work, largely utilising the services of the City of Prague Philharmonic and mixed choir, though electronics are included in the mix, but are generally subtly applied.
This disc provides a generous helping of the 70-minute score, commencing with "In Memoriam," which, after a dramatic opening, settles into a memorable choral theme, with Latin lyrics, before taking flight and ending in a powerful climax. "Abbot's Theme" follows,with organ intro giving way to a sunny theme that then develops into a proud, Chronicles of Narnia-like theme, before resuming. The very noble and spiritual "God's Domicil" follows, giving way to the first hint of dark mystery in "Chapter." A jaunty, medieval-styled theme then follows in "Fire and Iron," giving way to the classical-styled strings of "Segundo's Theme," joined later by choir, as the questing cue reaches its conclusion. "Benedicte Dominus" is a lovely, sunny theme, with choir briefly adding to the orchestral mix; and the mood continues in "Healing Hands." There's more medieval dance-like music in "Umberto's Theme," with "Embracement of the Night" slowing things down and returning us to noble, spiritual territory. The brief, shimmering "Finding" follows, and then the comedic sneakiness of "Aegidius' Theme" leads to a dramatic choral for "Cadaver."
Things take a darker turn with the mysterious "Room of Wisdom" and increasingly dramatic choral "Hand of Dead." "Sneaking Suspicion" and "The Passage" offer more mystery and suspense; giving way to the religious source cue "Holy Spirit," with choir and organ solo.
"Kingdom of Dead" returns us to spiritual territory, with "Nazario of Milan" continuing in the same vein, but with an air of mystery and wonder about it. Action and drama follows in "Blaze in the Heart," and then it's briefly back to the spiritual again for the suitably moving "Requiem," before more dramatics in "The Confrontation" and "Opus Rei."
"Bruno's Theme" initially offers serene resolution, with muted organ then taking us into the "Finale," which soars heavenwards, before chiming bells transport us to a peaceful resolution.
I guess the last two tracks on the album are included as a kind of bonus, with first the foreboding choral "Satanico" and then the impressive "The Abbey Suite" rounds things off in fine style, with a great arrangement of some of the composer's best material from the score.
As I said before, this is an accomplished work and yet another example of the fine music that is being produced for video games these days; and, as always, this is a very limited edition, so you'd best get along to www.keepmovingrecords.com to check out samples and order your copy.


Monday, March 08, 2010

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO UP!


Congratulations to Michael Giacchino, whose score for Up! pretty much swept the board musically this year. His Academy Award makes it a prestigious trio, along with his Golden Globe and BAFTA.
Thoroughly deserved, and to think I first corresponded with him when he was just getting started in video game scoring, and I so admired his music for the Medal of Honor games. My, he's come a long way, but it's great that he's still willing to work in games and on TV, despite his enormous success in movies. Well done, Michael, and keep up the good work!

Sunday, March 07, 2010


CD REVIEW - CHLOE


Chloe
Music by Mychael Danna
Silva Screen Records SILCD1305
19 Tracks 44:20 mins

Atom Egoyan's latest collaboration with composer Mychael Dann, a relationship which has of course spanned many years, is for Chloe, starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and rising star Amanda Seyfried, that has been likened to Fatal Attraction, though Film 2010's Jonathan Ross apparently thought it more intelligent.
Danna's score will be released by Silva Screen on the 22nd of this month, and here's what to expect: the album starts with "In My Line of Business," featuring a theme that speaks to me of loneliness, principally voiced by electric guitar. "Chardonnay" moves along mysteriously, before taking a more contemporary turn; the main theme returning on electric guitar again at the close. "When Did We Stop?" is a bittersweet affair, initially quite morose, but blossoming passionately on strings. "I Felt Him" continues intimately, before "Shower" expands upon the "Chardonnay" music and leads to a quite passionate-stringed close. The somewhat exotic "You Just Look Like Her" offers mysterious flute against tinkling piano; with "Windsor Arms" ticking along and hinting at dangers to come. The main theme cuts through a dissonant start in "The First Time," with the increasingly dramatic "Conservatory" following. The erotic "Touch You" features flute again, along with strings, in an almost Barryish arrangement which provides for the most affecting piece thus far. "Have This" continues the mood, before an intense conclusion. "Waiting Room" flirts with the main theme, before becoming increasingly unhinged. A couple of brief, somewhat spaced-out, cues follow, leading to the threatening electronic dissonance of "Told You Not to Call." The main theme dominates both "She Was Nobody,"and the penultimate track, "This Person," with the score closing on the lengthy "Your Parent's Room," which proceeds tensely towards a shock moment, before Danna's mysterious, erotic flute theme returns, with just a brief piano reprise of the main theme to close.
This atmospheric score is cut from the same cloth as any number of psychological thrillers. It's pretty low-key for the most part and you may find your attention wandering when listening to the disc. Perhaps Danna's music serves the film well, but it sadly fails to incite any real passion or provide any inspiration as a separate listening experience.
Go to www.silvascreenmusic.com for samples and to order the album on CD or as a digital download.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

JOHN DEBNEY SCORES VALENTINE'S DAY


Released in time for that most romantic day of the year, director Garry Marshall's Valentine's Day opened to less than favourable reviews, but I'm sure will do well enough at the box office, thanks to its stellar cast that includes fan favourites like Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxx, Taylor Lautner, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, Julia & Emma Roberts, and, for the older generation, Shirley MacLaine, Kathy Bates and Marshall regular Hector Elizondo.
There is a soundtrack album but, of course, contemporary films of this kind are often peopled by songs and this is no exception, and so none of John Debney's score makes it on to the disc. This is in fact Debney's sixth collaboration with Marshall, having previously worked with him on the likes of Georgia Rule and the two Princess Diary film.
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, were kind enough to send me a promotional copy of the score, so at least I can tell you what to expect from it should you catch the movie.
Debney's main theme is a warm guitar and strings piece, with flute, piano and clarinet solos also making their mark in the romantic moments; and there's a particularly good, old-fashioned soaring string theme for "Young Love," followed contrastingly by the intimate and tender piano of "First Time."
Of course, the path to true love is never easy, and the score also has its share of pathos. All of it is handled expertly by a composer who is well acquainted with this kind of fare.
Aside from all this emotional fare, there are also plenty of propulsive, optimistic, and lightly comedic moments throughout, and Debney provides appropriate colouring, where necessary, to suit the locale and situations.
The final score cue, and title track, brings things to a suitably satisfying, lush-stringed close.
The disc ends with the song "Every Time You smiled," performed by Carina Round, on which Debney collaborated with lyricist Glen Ballard. Incredibly, even this didn't make the soundtrack album!
A very nice score indeed then, which I'm sure performs its duty perfectly in the film and deserves to be heard on CD.

YET MORE NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

AWARD-WINNING HOLLYWOOD COMPOSER DANNY PELFREY'S SCORE HONORED BY THE KNOXVILLE SYMPHONY

PELFREY’S MUSIC FROM “JOSEPH - KING OF DREAMS” FEATURED

(HOLLYWOOD, CA) Award-winning Hollywood composer and multi-instrumentalist Danny Pelfrey’s original music for the Dreamworks animated film JOSEPH – KING OF DREAMS was recently featured at Knoxville Civic Auditorium. Maestro Lucas Richman conducted the Knoxville Symphony in a performance of Pelfrey's score.

Pelfrey’s stirring score to the prequel of Dreamworks’ PRINCE OF EGYPT received critical acclaim. The soundtrack including vocals by Jodi Benson (THE LITTLE MERMAID) and Maureen McGovern topped the soundtrack charts. Pelfrey orewrote as a sympohny the live orchestral peformance, for the Knoxville concert.

Danny Pelfrey is a multi-nominated and twice Emmy winning composer for his contributions to numerous television projects including Guiding Light, Strong Medicine, That's Life, Felicity, Spin City and American Dreams. He has also contributed to several mini-series and acclaimed primetime shows including The Office, Friends, Survivor, and Melrose Place. His feature composition work as a contributing composer includes STIR OF ECHOES, ENEMY OF THE STATE and DISNEY'S THE KID. Pelfrey has also scored numerous videogames including Sword of Heroes and Star Trek. Pelfrey has also won six BMI Film & TV Music Awards. His production and arrangement of the song "Better Than I" from JOSEPH - KING OF DREAMS won best song at the Video Premiere Awards.

JOSEPH-KING OF DREAMS (based on the beloved Biblical tale) is the story of a boy that possesses the gift of interpreting dreams, who after being sold into slavery by his brothers, becomes one of Pharaoh’s highest-ranking officials. Using ancient Egyptian instruments along with a traditional orchestra to capture the film’s essence, Pelfrey takes the listener through Joseph’s journeys and emotions.

His accomplished music career has included performing as a soloist on various television shows, such as David Letterman and The Tonight Show. He also played saxaphone recently in the wedding band for Dexter. Pelfrey has recorded with many music legends including Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Carole King, David Crosby, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and James Taylor. Visit his website for more information at www.dannypelfrey.com

Regarding composing music for the 21st century, Pelfrey explains, "Film and Television are great mediums for a contemporary composer, a great place to participate. The process of composing for picture runs the gamut of human emotions; it can be terrifying, satisfying, provocative or transcendent. Composing music really is my great love."


NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

COMPOSER GEORGE S. CLINTON RETURNS HOME

FOR HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

CHATTANOOGA TO HOST PREMIERE OF EMMY-NOMINATED

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE SUITE

LOS ANGELES (March 5, 2010) – Award-winning composer and Chattanooga native George S. Clinton will conduct the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra on April 10 in a Hooray For Hollywood program featuring two of his most celebrated movie scores. The groovy “Shagadelic Suite” from the Austin Powers movies and the world-premiere of the suite from the Emmy Award-winning Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee featuring legendary flutist John Two-Hawks will be performed at the Tivoli Theatre. Special guest is his daughter Jess Clinton who rounds out the evening by performing her song “Converging Of The Senses.” Ticket prices are $19 - $79. Tickets can be purchased by phone, call 423-267-8583 and on the internet at www.chattanoogasymphony.com.

Born and raised in Chattanooga, Clinton began his musical career in Nashville while earning degrees in music and drama at Middle Tennessee State University. Today he is one of Hollywood’s go-to guys when you want innovative music for a film. His versatility across genres is displayed in films such as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and its blockbuster sequels, the Emmy-winning Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee¸and 2010’s Tooth Fairy starring Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd and Julie Andrews.

“My mother brought me to the Tivoli as a young child,” recalls Clinton. “The first orchestra I ever heard was the Chattanooga Symphony. To be back in my hometown as an adult, conducting this wonderful orchestra, performing my music- well it doesn't get much better than that.”

Performed live for the first time, the Emmy-nominated score to Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee accurately reflects the Native American culture conveyed in the film. In order to portray the forced assimilation of Native Americans during the time period, Clinton intertwined the flute performed by John Two-Hawks and the piano to thematically represent both the Native American and so-called "civilized" dispositions of main character Charles Eastman. Clinton wrote the 120-minute score within a mere four weeks. John Two-Hawks, a Lakota Indian is a Grammy Award nominated flutist, performs on the film’s score. The master flutist has performed worldwide.

After graduation George S. Clinton attended the Atlanta Pop Festival. Upon hearing Joe Cocker perform "With a Little Help from My Friends,” he was motivated to leave his native Chattanooga, bound for Los Angeles and ready to rock and roll. As a staff writer for Warner Brothers Music, Clinton’s songs were recorded by Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker and Smokey Robinson. The George Clinton Band released four major label albums.

Other noteworthy projects include Zalman King's "Red Shoe Diaries," John Waters's "A Dirty Shame"; Tim Allen's "Joe Somebody"; Kevin Costner's "3000 Miles to Graceland"; "The Astronaut's Wife", starring Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp; and the sexy thriller "Wild Things."



NEW RELEASE FROM PERSEVERANCE RECORDS


From Perseverance Records:-



The Runestone now available for ordering

After a two-year-long genesis, we are very happy to announce that David Newman's seminal score to Willard Carroll's The Runestone is now available for preorder from our Yahoo store.

The album features all the cues for the movie in chronological film order and comes with a 20-page booklet (our biggest so far) that chronicles the film and score's creation, as written by horror film authority Daniel Schweiger.

The CD was produced by the composer, the director and myself.

There are no sound samples on the Web site yet, but they will follow soon.


This title is limited to 1,200 pressings and costs $18.95. The first 50 customers will get their cover signed by David Newman. (Limit 2 autographs per order, please.)