ScreenSounds

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS:-


From Costa Communications:-


COMPOSER PETER BOYER’S ORIGINAL WORK FOR THE

BOSTON POPS TO BE NARRATED BY DE NIRO, HARRIS, FREEMAN, BALDWIN AND COOPER

THE DREAM LIVES ON: A PORTRAIT OF THE KENNEDY BROTHERS

PREMIERES IN MAY

LOS ANGELES (April 29, 2010) – Renowned actors Robert De Niro, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Alec Baldwin and Chris Cooper have signed on as narrators to the Peter Boyer composed, Boston Pops Orchestra commission, The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers. This new work celebrates the legacy of Massachusetts’s native sons and the Boston Pops 125th anniversary season. Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart brought on Peter Boyer, one of the most performed American orchestral composers of his generation, to create this new work that will premiere May 18 with performances throughout the summer. The program features excerpts speeches made by John, Bobby and Ted Kennedy, a multi-media presentation and original text by Tony Award-winning lyricist Lynn Ahrens.

Robert De Niro, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman will portray John, Robert and Ted Kennedy, respectively when they join conductor Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus for the world premiere on May 18, at 8:00 pm (repeated on May 19), at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA. Emmy Award-winner Alec Baldwin tackles all three Kennedy roles at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox, MA on July 18. Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper will serve as narrator for a special performance of the new work on the Hyannis Village Green in Hyannis, MA, home to generations of Kennedys, on August 1. Additional performances this season will be held on May 20, 21 and 22, and on July 3 and 4 at the Charles River Esplanade as part of the annual Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular concert.

In addition to concert works, Boyer has scored and/or orchestrated for TV and film. “Composing The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers was similar to scoring a film in many ways,” explains Peter Boyer. “The many quotes from speeches by John, Robert and Ted Kennedy required appropriate musical support. While composing I carefully listened to archival recordings of these speeches for the inspiration to evoke a musical tone for each quote.”

Boyer is active in both the field of concert hall music and the film and television music industry where he recently orchestrated music for Michael Giacchino’s Oscar® winning score to UP. In addition to contributing orchestral arrangements to more than a dozen major feature films, Boyer has twice arranged and orchestrated music for the Academy Awards, including the 2009 telecast.

The Dream Lives On pays tribute to the call to public service, drive for social change, the legacy of optimism for America’s future, and the spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers. The title of the work was taken from the closing lines of Ted Kennedy’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention: “If we set our compass true, we will reach our destination… The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.”

“This project – a new work for the Boston Pops honoring the Kennedy brothers – has been a dream of mine for quite some time now,” said Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. “I have never performed Peter’s music, but after hearing a recording of his Ellis Island, I realized that his style of composing – its distinctly ‘American’ feel, with a buoyancy I find very inspiring – was a great choice for this Boston Pops project. Peter’s compositional style and Lynn Ahrens’s poetic way of matching words to music are the ideal collaboration for this tribute to these native sons of Massachusetts.”

“The fact that members of the Kennedy family gave their blessing to the Boston Pops for the project and the choice of composer is especially meaningful to me,” said Boyer. “I see my role in this project as endeavoring to reflect and amplify these timeless words of the Kennedys through the special power that belongs to music alone. If I can help to strengthen the connection that listeners feel to these powerful words in a directly emotional way through music, and thereby honor the Kennedys’ legacy, it will be as meaningful an outcome as I can imagine for a composer.”

Boyer’s orchestral works have received nearly 250 public performances by more than 80 orchestras. His widely acclaimed Ellis Island: The Dream of America celebrates the historic American immigrant experience. With more than 100 performances by 50 orchestras since its 2002 debut, Ellis Island is one of the most-performed large-scale American orchestral works of the last decade. It was nominated for a Grammy Award® for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 2006.

Film composers for whom he has orchestrated music include Oscar® winning Michael Giacchino (UP, STAR TREK, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, SPEED RACER), John Ottman (FANTASTIC FOUR), Graeme Revell (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS), and the late Michael Kamen (OPEN RANGE, FIRST DAUGHTER, AGAINST THE ROPES). As a television composer, Boyer’s credits include The History Channel’s ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE.

Before beginning composition, Boyer consulted dozens of books and archival recordings and visited the Kennedy gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery. The works was written with more than one performance adaptation in mind: it can be performed with four narrators, chorus, and orchestra or it can be performed with a single narrator and orchestra with an optional chorus.

Additional information about Peter Boyer can be found at www.PropulsiveMusic.com. Join the Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/y34ufec.

Tickets for the May concerts can be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org, by phone through 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200 or in person at the Symphony Hall box office.

Additional performances of The Dream Lives On will be held throughout Massachusetts this summer by the Boston Pops Orchestra. It will be featured at the annual free and open to the public Boston Pops July 3rd and 4th concerts at Boston’s Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. For the July 18th performance at Tanglewood in the Berkshires, tickets can be purchased online at www.tanglewood.org, and by phone through 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200. Tickets for the August 1st performance in Hyannis, MA at the Hyannis Village Green are available online at http://www.artsfoundation.org/products/3.

-30-

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BOSTON POPS 125TH SEASON, MAY 4 – JUNE 20

The 125th season opens on May 4 with a gala concert featuring multiple Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel and the inimitable Doc Severinsen, who holds the distinction of having performed under the batons of Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart—a perfect addition to a program honoring the artistic vision of the three most famous Boston Pops conductors (more information available at bostonpops.org). During the season the Pops will present the world premiere of a new work by composer Peter Boyer and lyricist Lynn Ahrens, The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, honoring Massachusetts native sons John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, mark the 10th anniversary of the popular radio and TV show “From the Top,” focus on esteemed artists from the fields of jazz, musical theater, and pop, including Dave Brubeck, Kelli O’Hara, and Maureen McGovern, and honor the legacies of such musical titans as Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Daniel Bernard Roumain, who in concert melds his classical music roots with his own Haitian-American cultural references and vibrant musical imagination, and Ozomatli , the multi-Grammy award-winning, genre-defying sensation, join the orchestra for programs that continue the Pops tradition of focusing on the best and brightest new talent on the musical scene today. Returning to the Pops schedule is the legendary film music series under the direction of John Williams, this year marking his 30th anniversary with the Pops, and one of the newest Pops traditions, Gospel Night with Charles Floyd. To bring the 125th season to a close in June, the Boston Pops will present one of this country’s greatest living legends—the incomparable Arlo Guthrie. Other highlights include A Boston Pops 125th documentary, entitled America’s Orchestra: Celebrating 125 years of the Boston Pops to air on PBS in the spring, and a national contest trough Twitter, Facebook, and mobile phone text messages for a family of four to win a trip to Boston’s famous Fourth-of-July celebration, details of which are available at bostonpops.org/125.




Thursday, April 29, 2010


DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - 60s TV THEMES


60s TV Themes
Music by various artists
Silva Screen SILED 4513
18 Tracks 45:22 mins

The third new compilation to be issued by Silva Screen features the City of Prague Philharmonic, The Royal Philharmonic and London Music Works performing favourite '60s TV themes, mainly from US shows, though Doctor Who, Dangerman, Please Sir!, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Magic Roundabout, Thunderbirds, and the "Yakety Sax" chase theme used in the Benny Hill Show are also included.
Other popular themes include Batman, Bewitched, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, Mission:Impossible, Star Trek, the Addams Family, Top Cat, The Jetsons, and The Flintstones.
It's a real nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up in the '60s, although many of these themes will be familiar to modern-day audiences, thanks to re-runs and DVD box sets.
The album is already on release in the UK, and goes Stateside on 4th May. Go to www.silvascreenmusic.com for samples and to download your copy.

NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-


MALMO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TO PERFORM INON ZUR'S AWARD-WINNING MUSIC FROM DRAGONAGE(TM):
ORIGINS
On May 21st, the world of Ferelden will come to life in Sweden through the Malmö
Symphony Orchestra at Joystick 3.0 Concert
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Los Angeles, CA - April 29, 2010 - Inon Zur's award-winning music for the dark fantasy
Role Playing Game Dragon Age(TM): Origins will be performed by the Malmö Symphony
Orchestra at the "Joystick 3.0" symphonic video game music concert in Sweden on
May 21st, 2010. The Joystick concert series currently holds the world record for
a game music performance with an attendance of 17,000 at the first show in 2006.
Tickets for the concert can be ordered from the Malmö Symphony Orchestra website
www.mso.se.


"We are very pleased to invite the music from Dragon Age: Originsinto our family
of game music," said Joystick concert producer Orvar Safstrom. "Inon Zur's compositions
transcend the genre, by not only enhancing the game's scenes but also by contributing
unique and powerful elements to the overall atmosphere and storyline. Our audience
is in for a real treat."


Dragon Age: Origins was recently honored with Best Original Song ("I Am The One")
and nominated for Best Original Score at The Hollywood Music In Media Awards. The
soundtrack album is available for download from popular digital music stores including
iTunes and reached #1 on Amazon UK MP3 Soundtracks Chart in December, 2009.
Developed by leading video game developer BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts
Inc., Dragon Age: Origins was named the "RPG of the Year" by Game Informer, G4,
Spike TV, AOL.com, and PC Gamer and received over 30 "Best of 2009" awards from
a wide range of respected media outlets around the world, including USAToday.com,
CNN.com, MSNBC.com, The Associated Press, GameSpot, IGN, and many more. For more
information about Dragon Age: Origins, visit www.dragonage.com.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


CD REVIEW - RETURN TO EDEN


Return to Eden
Music by Brian May
BSX Records BSXCD 8666 (US)
19 Tracks 42:58 mins

There was a time, back in the '80s, when the TV mini-series ruled, mainly in the States, where one fabulous production followed another, but Australia also had a go, and one of their most successful was the 3-part Return to Eden; so successful in fact that it spawned a weekly series.
Composer for both the original mini-series and the weekly show was the late Brian May (no, not the one from Queen). May first came to our attention with his scores for the original Mad Max movies, which of course launched Mel Gibson into the stratosphere, and went on to write serviceable scores for not only many an Australian production, but also a good many international ones too, before his untimely death in 1997 at just 63 years of age.
Varese Sarabande released an LP of his music from Return to Eden, but this 1000 unit limited edition is a welcome CD debutant, and features music from both the mini-series and subsequent weekly show.
Performed by the Melbourne Studio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the composer, it's a very listenable, if somewhat firmly rooted in the '80s, album, with a strong main theme, propulsive, yet rhapsodic, first heard in the opening "Main Titles." There's much drama to follow in "The Return to Eden" and the desperate "Fire & Fight," before the main theme returns in "Problem for Dan and Steff," though this too takes on dramatic variations as the cue intensifies. A huge horn fanfare opens "Lord of All," with dramatic rumblings from timpani and stabbing brass leading into more tense and disturbing dramatics. The main theme makes a more welcome, uptempo return in "Big Business," but this is just a brief respite before more disturbing drama in "Jill's Crack-Up," the mood continuing into "Tara's Love Theme," before rhapsodic piano and strings introduce this sunny new theme, which soars to a close.
"Harper's Mansion" opens mysteriously, with a repeating piano theme, taken up by harp, before the mood softens somewhat, though retaining a little tension until the end. "A Man Not a Boy" follows, and again displays a certain tension, which continues into "Confrontation," before timpani and brass combine to provide closing conflict. "Croc Attack" actually starts quite sunnily, before May introduces his own Jaws-like attack motif, leading to a desperate concluding struggle. The rhapsodic piano and strings return for "Steff Meets Jake," but then it's back to the suspense for "Corporate Espionage." "Greg Returns" opens sympathetically, but then builds dramatically on timpani to more intrigue, which continues in "Scheming Jilly."
"Angelo's Theme" initially appears quite righteous, but grows steadily darker as the track continues towards the penultimate cue, "Night Interludes," where the suspense builds to a big timpani-driven climax. The concluding "Closing Titles" initially continue on from its predecessor, before the main theme returns and undergoes several variations, picking up a rhythm section along the way.
Randall D. Larson's introductory notes on the film and its composer accompany the disc. Check out the samples and order your copy from www.buysoundtrax.com.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

JOHN DEBNEY

REUNITES with JON FAVREAU for the 3RD TIME

for IRON MAN 2

Opening in Theatres on Friday, May 7

Score Album Available through Sony Classical on July 6

(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer JOHN DEBNEY reunites with director Jon Favreau for third time for “Iron Man 2” (Elf, Zathura). He recently recorded the score with full orchestra at world famous Abbey Road. Debney is incorporating both classical motifs and rock sounds into his original score. The Marvel sequel starring Robert Downey, Jr. opens in theatres on Friday, May 7, 2010 (US). The score album will be available through Sony Classical on July 6. Currently Debney is creating music for the upcoming “Predators” sequel/prequel; opening in theatres on July 9. In the fall, Debney will travel to the Vatican for a performance of “The Passion Oratorio” in St. Peter’s Square.

Debney’s musical ability knows no boundaries, and his music sets the tone for films in all genres, from his Academy Award® nominated score to “The Passion of the Christ” to his work on Disney’s “Hannah Montana: The Movie;” which Debney and Glen Ballard collaborated on the song “Butterfly Fly Away” performed by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus. (Lyrics by Ballard, conducted and arranged by Debney.) . Last year he received critical acclaim for his score to the dramatic film “The Stoning of Soraya M.” Recently Daily Variety devoted an 11 page tribute to John Debney as the “Billion-Dollar Composer,” because of his tremendous box office success (films he has scored have grossed nearly four billion-dollars.)

In addition to his Oscar® nomination, last year Debney received multiple Career Achievement Awards from the Burbank International Film Festival, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and the Temecula Valley International Film Festival. Debney has received several Emmys®, a Dove® award for “The Passion of the Christ” and a CUE® award for the “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Princess Diaries.” Debney received a BAFTA® nomination for his score to the videogame “Lair” and was the youngest recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement, and has conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. Some of Debney’s film credits include “Idlewild,” a Prohibition-era musical starring the duo Outkast and featuring famed trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; the animated films “Barnyard” and “Chicken Little;” the comic-book inspired “Sin City” and the comedies “Elf” and “Liar, Liar.”


AUSTIN WINTORY SCORES A LITTLE HELP

Premiering at the Seattle International Film Festival this May-June, the latest project scored by composer Austin Wintory, whose album for Grace, I recently covered here, is indie-drama A Little Help, the directorial debut of The King of Queens creator Michael J. Weithorn.
The film is populated by classic rock songs and new numbers by Jakob Dylan, with Wintory left to fill the gaps in between. His brief was to come up with "dramatically/darkly comedic" music but, whilst electric guitar, bass and drums do feature, it isn't a rock score and instead covers a wide variety of styles. Wintory, and co-writer/performer Celeigh Chapman, also provided the song "I'm Lucky."
It is unlikely there will be a commercial release for Wintory's music, but his publicists, Costa Communications, have kindly allowed me to sample the score. The seven tracks clock in at around 12 minutes, and commence with a somewhat off-kilter waltz for "Reception," which is followed by "I'm Lucky," an understated little song, featuring Chapman and presumably Wintory on piano. By complete contrast, "Hey Douchebag!" is a quirky little, Eastern-European flavoured piece, which ends on a strange, somewhat ethereal, note. This ethereal quality is carried into "Twenty Years Too Late," with a melancholy electric guitar through line. It's back to the waltz music for "Deposition," with "Late Arrival" returning us to the ethereal, with more melancholy electric guitar playing featured. Final track, "Goodnight" sees the electric guitar in more tender mode.
Next up for Wintory is Bob Celestino's thriller Leave, and the composer is also reuniting with director Amin Matalqa for Welcome to Nowhere.

Monday, April 26, 2010


DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - THE ESSENTIAL MIKE POST TV THEME COLLECTION


The Essential Mike Post TV Theme Coolection
Music By Mike Post
Silva Screen Records SILED4519 (UK)
15 Tracks 45:31 mins

Released today in the UK and on 4th May in the US, in time for the latest cinematic re-imagining of a TV show, The A-Team, starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper etc., is this collection of TV themes by the man responsible for the classic A-Team theme which, from trailers I have seen, appears to feature in the film - and how could it not?
Of course, the theme is central to this collection, along with other well-known and award-winning efforts for Blossom; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Hardcastle and McCormick; Hill Street Blues; Hunter; L.A. Law; Law and Order; Magnum P.I.; NYPD Blue; Quantum Leap; Tales of the Gold Monkey; The Rockford Files; Top of the Hill; and Wiseguy - variously performed by The Daniel Caine Orchestra, London Music Works, Mark Ayres and The City of Prague Philharmonic.
From the many memorable themes gathered here, it's easy to see that there was a time when Mike Post, Pete Carpenter and their team of ghostwriters were responsible for providing music for most of the hit shows on American TV, and this collection makes for a great nostalgia trip for those of us that remember them, or just a collection of, admittedly dated, but catchy themes for those that don't.
Order your copy of this digital album from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


CD REVIEW - GRACE


Grace
Music by Austin Wintory
BSX Records BSXCD 8865 (US)
28 Tracks 68:46 mins

BSX Records kindly sent me a sampling of their recent releases as you may have gathered from my reviews of High Road to China and Wind/A Whale for the Killing. Also in the package was Austin Wintory's score for Grace. Now, if you've been visiting this blog long enough, you will have seen my coverage of the promotional disc the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me at the time of the film's release. In case you missed it, my coverage of the score is at http://screensounds.blogspot.com/2009/03/austin-wintory-scores-grace-i-was.html.
You will see I was less enthusiastic about the score than I was about Wintory's previous effort, Captain Abu Raed (also available on BSX Records) and, if I had to choose one, I would definitely go for that but, should you like your film music challenging, to say the least, you can order BSX's limited edition release of Grace at http://buysoundtrax.stores.yahoo.net/grorsobyauwi.html, but I would suggest you listen to the samples there first.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

COMING SOON FROM TADLOW MUSIC


Coming Soon from Tadlow Music

A Double CD featuring one of the greatest film scores from MAURICE JARRE:
Composer of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, RYAN’S DAUGHTER, A PASSAGE TO INDIA, WITNESS
- 2 CD Set with full Colour Booklet
- Limited Collectors Edition of 3000
- Remixed and remastered by from the original 24 track tapes
- Features for the first time the complete score for
MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME
including alternative versions and Bonus Tracks
Over 2 Hours of Music
Over 50 Minutes of Previously Unreleased Music
Music Performed by THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Conducted by MAURICE JARRE
Huge Orchestra of over 100 featuring 3 Ondes Martenot,
6 Pianos, 10 Percussion Players, 3 Anvils, Didgeridoo
One of the finest of all Maurice Jarre Action Film Scores
CD Re-Issue Produced by JAMES FITZPATRICK
Catalogue Number: TADLOW009
Release Date: MAY 25th 2010.

For samples and to order your copy, go to www.tadlowmusic.com.


DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF JAMES CAMERON


Music from the Films of James Cameron
Various Composers
Silva Screen SILED4516 (UK)
12 Tracks 51:38 mins

Released in time for the much-awaited DVD release of James Cameron's groundbreaking monster success Avatar comes this compilation of re-recorded themes and suites from the director's impressive oeuvre.
The selections not only cover Cameron's output as a director, but also include the likes of Jerry Goldsmith's Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (which he wrote) and Cliff Martinez's Solaris (which he produced).
James Horner's Avatar of course opens the album, with the lengthy "War;" and is followed by an instrumental of "My Heart Will Go On" and the inspirational "Take Her to Sea, Mr. Murdoch" from the same composer's Titanic. The "Main Title" and opening sequence from Brad Fiedel's score for True Lies follows; and then three tracks from the same composer's Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The "End Credits" from Alan Silvestri's The Abyss, and James Horner's "Prelude/Ripley's Rescue" from Aliens separate these selections from another Fiedel composition, the original "The Terminator; with the Rambo and Solaris tracks bringing up the rear.
This amiable overview of Cameron's career to date is available in the UK from 26th April from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

Friday, April 23, 2010


CD REVIEW - DRAGONSLAYER


Dragonslayer
Music by Alex North
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1128 (US)
25 Tracks 73:24 mins

1981's Dragonslayer is the great Alex North's last big symphonic score and as such should have a place in any self-respecting film music fan's collection. Having said that, I remember eagerly snapping up the expensive limited edition 2 LP collection from Southern Cross when it was released in 1983 and, attractive item that it was, being hugely disappointed. So much so, that I soon parted with it when the right offer came along. That was then, this is now, and in my maturity I can appreciate the score more, and welcome it back into my collection, albeit with reservations. To call the music challenging would be an understatement. Yes, stylistically it recalls the composer's great epic scores for Spartacus and Cleopatra - but without the memorable melodies.
That's not to say that the score doesn't have its moments, but they seldom last very long, like the melancholy string theme in "No Sorcerers - No Dragons;" the thrusting brass of "Ulrich's Death;" an almost drunken, comedic scherzo, first heard in "Forest Romp, and subsequently reprised a number of times;" the spiritual "Jacopus Blasted," which is based on Gregorian chant; the tender love theme for woodwinds and strings, first introduced in "Still a Virgin;" the triumphant "Resurection of Ulrich;" the awe-inspiring "Destory that Amulet!;" the Spartacus-like moments of conflict; and presiding over all, the powerful low brass of Vermithrax the dragon's theme.
The "End Titles" bring together Galen's scherzo and the love theme to end the predominantly dark score on a very light and airy note.
At the end of the day, I think it's fair to say that, whilst this is not an instantly likable score, it is undoubtedly masterfully done, and definitely rewards with repeated listening. It is one of those occasions when the music is better than the film it was written for.
The score clocks in at just under 66 minutes, with a further 7 minutes of bonus tracks, including some medieval-styled dance music, an alternate take, and the original "Main Title," deemed too light an opening to the film.
The disc is accompanied by the usual quality booklet one has come to expect from La-La Land Records, with detailed notes by Jeff Bond, including the invaluable cue-by-cue guide, and plenty of colour stills.
Given a generous limited release of 3000 units, hopefully there will be enough to go around, but you'd best get on over to www.lalalandrecords.com/Dragonslayer.html and order your copy. Oh, and if you're not familiar with the score, and I have left you with doubts, you can check out some samples before buying.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


CD REVIEW - WIND/A WHALE FOR THE KILLING


Wind/A Whale for the Killing
Music by Basil Poledouris
BSX Records BSXCD 8862 (US)
29 Tracks 76:19 mins

This recent release from BSX pairs two scores by the much missed Basil Poledouris, both of which have a nautical connection, and of course the composer had an affinity for such tales, having owned his own boat for many years.
Although Wind is first up on the album, this score has been released before and so it's the previously unreleased A Whale for the Killing that is the most desirable music on this release; besides, this is the earlier score, dating from 1981, as opposed to Wind's 1993 release. I therefore address this one first.
A Whale for the Killing is a TV movie based on Farley Mowat's book and starring Peter Strauss, Dee Wallace and Richard Widmark. The story deals with Strauss' attempts to save a stranded humpback whale from the local Newfoundland villagers who have less noble designs on the creature.
"Prologue" opens the score in slightly ominous fashion, flowing into the somewhat anguished "The Storm Clears," which again ends in ominous fashion. "Barris Way" develops a folk-like quality, with a pretty tune somewhat reminiscent of the "Search" music from Conan the Barbarian. Even more so is the joyous theme at the centre of the title track that follows.
"Meet the Whale" is a sorrowful affair; with "Whale Call," starting off low-key, but again developing a more optimistic folksy quality, with fiddle carrying a variation on the main theme.
The sympathetic, harp-driven "Whale Macabre" follows, contrasting with the grim action of "Save the Whale." This is followed by "Go to Sleep Whale," an initially gentle nocturne that again transforms into the folksy main theme.
The penultimate track, "Choices," is a brief, doom-laden affair; but "A Whale of a Tale" brings a more uplifting close with a reprise of the main theme in all its joyous glory.
Poledouris was an obvious choice to score Wind, the story of how the Americans lost and then regained the America's Cup but, although he had excelled himself in previous nautical-themed outings like The Blue Lagoon, Big Wednesday and of course A Whale for the Killing, his music for Wind was unfortunately a victim of the times. Not that it doesn't do the job; it's just that the '80s and early '90s was a time when even the very best composers were experimenting with what seem today like primitive electronic sounds, and therefore, although Poledouris did incorporate orchestral elements within his score, the music is largely carried electronically and suffers as a result. What the electronics do however bring to the score is appropriately the sound of the wind, and this effect can be heard from the start in the opening "Prologue," a tranquil piece that would have sounded great on live instruments. This tranquility is continued in "Love in the Sewers." Other tracks of this nature include "The Glider;" "Sail Locker;" "Windshadow," a brief, but lovely piece for harp and strings; "The Bike Ride;" and closing track "Irolita."
These peaceful offerings are of course contrasted by the action cues, the first of which is "The Dinghy Race," a free-flowing, optimistic piece. "Windward Work" is more successful, in that it incorporates orchestra alongside the repeating electronic figure, to provide a suitably exhilarating feel; with "Downwind" continuing in the same mode. " A grimmer, electronic affair is "Contest," whilst "To Australia" carries a bongo riff. "Dead Air" starts off tranquil, but becomes inspirational, helped no end by the composer's powerful brass writing; whilst "Winning" ends matters triumphantly.
Of course the score has its downbeat moments, like "The Break-up" and "Defeat," and these sound more dated than anything, being predominantly electronic.
In conclusion, Wind is a good score that could have been great, had it been written solely for orchestra. It's times like this I wish I could wave my magic wand and put things right.
Randall D. Larson's accompanying notes are illustrated with colour and black and white stills from the films.
You'd best hurry along to www.buysoundtrax.com if you want to grab a copy of this limited edition of just 1000 units.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


CD REVIEW - SHIVER


Shiver
Music by Fernando Velazquez
MovieScore Media MMS 10006
23 Tracks 62:51 mins

MovieScore Media dips into the recent past again to bring us Fernando Velazquez's score for the 2008 Spanish horror film Shiver (Eskalofrio). Velazquez is of course best known for his music to another Spanish horror The Orphanage.
The Shiver album kicks off with "Sunrise," which builds ominously to the kind of crescendo that brings to mind James Bernard's distinctive work for the hammer horrors. The main theme follows, a questing piece with a familiar repeating woodwind figure, though I can't quite put my finger on where I've heard it. "Welcome Home" starts quietly but develops dissonant shock moments for dissonant strings. Of course, as one would expect from the genre, there's much mystery and suspense, with plenty more powerful and dissonant shock moments in the cues that follow, but these are seldom sustained long enough to hold the interest; the best of these being "Panic" and "The Murder," timing in at just 1:18 and 0:47 respectively.
There are few melodic moments, but I would pick out "A Place Where the Sun Cannot Shine," a strings-dominated variation on the main theme; and the gentle, flute-lead opening of "Alone in the Forest;" whilst "A Friend" ends the album on a tranquil note for harp and strings.
At the end of the day, there's nothing really here that you haven't heard before in countless recent genre scores, but if you're into that kind of thing, you may well wish to add this to your collection.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/shiver.html for samples, a trailer for the film, and details of how to obtain your copy on CD or as a digital download.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

OSCAR’S BEST FOREIGN FILM - THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES -

MUSIC NOW AVAILABLE

SCORE COMPOSED BY EMILION KAUDERER AND FEDERICO JUSID

LOS ANGELES (April 20, 2010) – The evocative score to this year’s Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film, Sony Picture Classics’ The Secret In Their Eyes, is now available from Milan Records for digital download through iTunes and Amazon.com and in stores May 25th. The original theme is by Emilio Kauderer and the score is co-composed by Kauderer and Federico Jusid. The music creates a powerful combination with the visuals as it captures the tension and romance of this richly layered film. The film is currently playing major cities. The score continues to receive critical acclaim winning the Argentinean Academy Award, the Clarin Award, the Havana Film Festival Award along with CEC Award and the Goya Award nominations.

The Secret In Their Eyes is a riveting Argentine thriller spiked with witty dialogue and poignant love stories. The film interweaves the personal lives of a state prosecution investigator and a judge with a manhunt spanning 25 years. The composers wrote a variety of cues, from soft tender moments featuring piano and violin solos to tense action sequences with riveting percussion.

The Secret In Their Eyes would have been impossible without Emilio,” says director Juan Campanella. “(He) has created a melody that makes us feel tension and suspense at the same time we feel the love and nostalgia that this story requires. With this musical paradox juggling unusual elements, the music transports us to two intersecting and parallel worlds.”

Emilio Kauderer mixes elements of his South American roots with his European heritage and delivers a unique palette of up-to-date orchestral sounds. From contemporary to classical Kauderer adds passion and heart to today’s music scene. “It was a difficult, fine line between a thriller and a love story,” says Kauderer about his score. “We had to work it out so it doesn’t feel melodramatic yet we needed the intensity.”

Kauderer’s film credits include Disney’s High School Musical (Latin American versions), Heist directed by Rick Jordan, Conversations with God directed by Stephen Simon, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa directed by Emilio Estevez. His TV credits include Dead Like Me, CSI: Miami, Resurrection Blvd., and Life With Bonnie.

Emilio Kauderer was selected to compose the music for New York’s Holocaust Museum, was awarded a fellowship to the Sundance composer’s Lab and was one of the composers of the Latin Grammy Award-winning Bajofondo. The Argentinean native who now lives in Los Angeles was recently recognized by the Board of Commissioners of Los Angeles County for his contributions to Latin and film music. More information can be found at www.emiliokauderer.com.



CD REVIEW - HIGH ROAD TO CHINA


High Road to China
Music by John Barry
BSX Records BSXCS 8864 (US)
21 Tracks 66:56 mins

Having successfully conquered TV with Magnum PI, but at a cost - missing out on playing Indiana Jones, Tom Selleck finally got his big screen break with the fun adventure film 1984's High Road to China. Unfortunately, he was never to make a huge splash on big screen, but this was nevertheless an enjoyable romp.
The film's score was provided by John Barry, who could always be relied upon to provide good hummable themes and masterful scoring in his own distinctive style. This particular score is based around a typically gorgeous, soaring string theme (also played effectively by sultry sax in the "Finale"), very typical of the composer at that time; an adventurous, propulsive action theme; and another, grimmer, action theme, somewhat reminiscent of Barry's work in Game of Death. All expertly play off one another, and are varied to suit the occasion. Throughout, a thoroughly entertaining listen.
The soundtrack for High Road to China has been issued many times over the years, the most extensive being the Super Tracks release of 2000. I can't imagine that any self-respecting John Barry fan or collector of quality film scores will not have at least one of these releases, though you may not have the Super Tracks version, which wasn't that widely available. This new BSX release reprises all 20 tracks from that album and adds a 9 minute plus bonus suite at the end. The score tracks are the same as per the standard releases, but the Super Tracks version (and this one) adds 11 source tracks, two of which were composed by Barry himself: "Mohamet's Dance" and "Waziri Source," both of them spare, ethnic flute and percussion pieces.
As for the bonus suite: well, there's nothing really new here, just a chance to revisit the main highlights of Barry's score in one uninterrupted sitting. It would make a great concert piece.
Accompanying the disc are Mike Joffe's notes on the film and its composer, plenty of stills, and a note from Tom Selleck himself.
If you would like to add this, the most complete version of High Road to China yet, to your collection, you'd best hurry along to www.buysoundtrax.com, as it is limited to just 1500 units.

Monday, April 19, 2010


CD REVIEW - ERASER


Eraser
Music by Alan Silvestri
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1129 (US)
21 Tracks 77:18 mins

There was a time, not so long ago, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was less concerned with the needs of the people and more concerned with blowing them away - on the cinema screen at least. The press also liked to pit him against another big box office draw, Sylvester Stallone, whether their rivalry was real or just their invention. Composer Alan Silvestri at least decided to treat them the same. His score for Eraser, here presented by La-La Land as a much expanded limited edition release of 300 units, could almost have been lifted from Stallone's Judge Dredd a year earlier, so stylistically similar is it. OK, so we don't quite get the bombastic Judge Dredd march but Eraser's main theme comes perilously close.
Altogether there are 8 previously unreleased tracks on this album, plus 4 are expanded from the previous album release, and it even includes the unused "Main Title" track - some 34 minutes of new music.
The film concerns Arnie trying to protect Vanessa Williams' witness on the run and, as such, there is plenty of tension and action in Silvestri's score. All the tension and suspense does get a bit boring at times, so I won't go into every track in detail, but there is plenty of meaty and dramatic action writing to be found in many of the tracks, often featuring the dirge-like main theme (which also appears in more heroic mode): you just have to wade through the suspenseful stuff to get to it.
Another theme or motif that plays a big part in the score is that denoting Arnie's character, which first appears in "You've Been Erased," in the form of a wailing electric guitar; and appropriately Predator-like jungle drums are added to it in "It's a Jungle," which briefly bleeds into "You're Luggage."
There are sympathetic moments for Williams' character to be found, with her gentle theme cropping up from time to time, and combining with a surprisingly romantic variation on the main theme in "Kruger's Story," which reappears in an uplifting variation, sweetened by strings, at the conclusion of "Reunion."
The penultimate track on the album, "Van Explosion" presents a straightforward martial version of the main theme, and leads to "The Eraser," in which both the main theme and the electric guitar motif appear, the former at its most bombastic, providing a big and satisfying conclusion.
Accompanying the CD is the usual quality booklet, with stills from the film, full musician credits, and detailed notes by Daniel Schweiger, including a cue-by-cue guide. Go to www.lalalandrecords.com/Eraser.html for samples and to order your copy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


CD REVIEW - BIG CITY


Big City
Music by Erwann Kermorvant
MovieScore Media MMS-10004
19 Tracks 39:13 mins

As promised, here is my review of the other Erwann Kermorvant score resurrected by MovieScore Media as Volume 8 of their "Media Discovery Collection. 2006's Big City is an oddity - a light-hearted French western, with a young cast, but a film that provided Kermorvant with a great opportunity to follow in the traditions of many a fine composer for the genre, whilst keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek.
Working with the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Bela Drahos, Kormorvant commences with "Once Upon the Time...," which mixes familiar Hollywood westernisms, with more general John Williams-like orchestral adventure, and even a touch of jazz thrown in. "This Means War!" opens with Native American chanting, but builds to a rousing conclusion. "The Good, The Oil and the Beauty" opens with a close relative of the Silverado theme (also be heard in "Ambush/KKK"), but largely consists of romantic fare. The rousing, rhythmic action music of "The Battle" leads to something of a grim conclusion; with the largely low-key "The Plan" following, though the cue does have its dramatic moments.
Other notable tracks include the suitably over-the-top"The Drunk Waltz;" the hoe-down-like "Business as Usual;" the adventurous "The Whip," which pays tribute to John Williams' Star Wars scores; the gentle, flute-lead "Monologue;" the solemn trumpet and drums rendition of "Amazing Grace," featured in "Painful Memories;" the warm wrap-up of "Farewell;" and "Epilogue/End Credits" which, after a soft piano solo, plays us out with a medley of the composer's major thematic material from the score, principally the Silverado clone and the "Drunk Waltz."
For all its cliches, this is largely a fun, undemanding and entertaining listen, well worth seeking out.
Available only as a CD, go to www.moviescoremedia.com/bigcity.html for samples and ordering recommendations.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


CD REVIEW - DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Music by Miles Goodman
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1127 (US)
18 Tracks 39:30 mins

The late Miles Goodman was especially adept at scoring comedies, which is why I am not as familiar with his music as perhaps I should be. But, for those in the know, his score for 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1964 comedy Bedtime Story, which starred David Niven and Marlon Brando as a couple of con men on the French Riviera, is one of his finest efforts. This updating of the premise stars Steve Martin and Michael Caine, and is directed by Frank Oz. I did see the film many years ago, but can barely recall it or its score; but then few comedies make a lasting impression on me - I'm more a dramatic kind of guy!
A key feature of Goodman's score for the film is his use of jazzy Stephan Grappelli-like violin solos, courtesy of Jerry Goodman (no relation), former violinist of The Flock and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, whose delivery is so spot-on, you really would think you're listening to Grappelli. Goodman's work can be heard from the off in "Prologue/Dirty Rotten theme," which is something of a comic waltz, with also a circusy feel. The waltz theme continues into "Zurich/Ciao," where it reaches dizzying heights, before assuming comic sneakiness. The theme is subsequently heard at the heart of most tracks, either in suitably sneaky, of full-blown caperesque mode as the con artists go about their work.
There's also the "Ruprecht Tango," which should be self-explanatory; and some, by turns, tender and elegant romance in "The Bet/Dirty Rotten Rolls;" "From Here to Infirmity;" "Soap Queen;" "Janet Airport/Auf Weiderzen," the latter, as you can imagine, somewhat bittersweet; and "Coup De Grace;" as well as a big awe-filled cue "Miracle of Life," the moment enhanced by wordless choir.
Goodman also incorporates three standards from the American Songbook in his score: "Pick Yourself Up," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "We're in the Money;" all of which give Jerry Goodman the opportunity to shine in swinging big band arrangements. And there's a tinkling music box-like rendition of "La Donna E Mobile," which is eventually taken up by orchestra for its conclusion; together with a brief very '80s quote of Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky."
The "End Credits" gives the composer a final chance to reprise all his major thematic material to end proceedings on a satisfyingly uplifting note.
Whilst comedy scores are not my normal choice of listening, I have to say that I was totally won over by this delightful offering, which is well worth resurrecting, and kudos to La-La Land for doing so.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high-quality booklet, featuring stills from the film, full musician credits, and Randall D. Larson's essay on the film, its composer and score, including cue-by-cue guide. Go to www.lalalandrecords.com/DirtyRotten.html for samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of just 1200 units.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


Further to my recent review of Bruno Coulais' music for the documentary Babies comes the following from the composer's publicists, Costa Communications:-

DUE DATE FOR BRUNO COULAIS’ BABIES

SOUNDTRACK IS MAY 4

LOS ANGELES (April 16, 2010) – The trailer to Focus Features’ BABIES has become an internet sensation that the Today Show calls “three minutes of pure pleasure.” Indubitably the score by Annie award-winning composer Bruno Coulais (CORALINE, THE SECRET OF KELLS, WINGED MIGRATION) adds to the building buzz. Lakeshore Records announces that the BABIES soundtrack will be available in stores as well as iTunes and Amazon.com on May 4th. Beginning on Earth Day, April 22nd, his score to Disneynature’s OCEANS will be heard in theatres.

BABIES (opening Mother’s Day weekend) follows four of the world’s newest inhabitants from birth to first steps. Although the subjects live in different parts of the world – a small African village, a Mongolian farm, a bustling Tokyo and an environmentally conscious San Francisco the film joyfully captures the earliest stages of life that are at once unique and universal to us all.

“(Director) Thomas Balmès and I did not want to adapt the music to the nationality of the babies” said Bruno Coulais. “The music needed to show that no matter what their conditions are, wherever they live, these babies grow up happy as long as they are loved. We hoped to express that universal truth.”

Whether writing for a documentary or a kid-friendly animated film, Coulais creates moods and emotions in the absence of actors, dialogue and narrative in BABIES. Mixing orchestra and adding contrapuntal themes tease additional meanings from a scene according to Coulais.

“The music of BABIES was written for a very special orchestra,” said Coulais. “I used a lot of toys, a string quartet, a wind orchestra, ethnic instruments, piano and percussion. The words of the lyrics have no meaning. The vocals sound like the beginning of human language.”

Coulais’ musical style may vary significantly between different projects. However, there are some constant visible factors: his taste for opera and for human voice, a search for original sonority, world music and mixing different musical cultures, and a tendency to give preference to the ambience created by lighting.

Coulais’ score to CORALINE won him an Annie award. 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.


NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

Composer Austin Wintory Scores

A Little Help

Premiering at the Seattle International Film Festival

May 20 – June 16


Los Angeles, CA – Composer AUSTIN WINTORY’S latest project, the indie-drama A LITTLE HELP starring Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Chris O’Donnell, will premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival (May 20 – June 16). A LITTLE HELP is written by, and marks the directorial debut of, THE KING OF QUEENS creator Michael J. Weithorn. The film tells the story of a recently widowed, single mother who finds herself entangled in a series of lies in order to take care of herself and her 12 year old son.

The music to A LITTLE HELP is unique among other films Wintory has scored because of the particular role the music plays within the film (seamlessly filling the gaps between famous classic rock songs and new, original Jakob Dylan songs). Overall, "dramatically/darkly comedic" were the operative words for the score's direction, arrived at via close collaboration with director Michael Weithorn and producers Joe Gressis and Dena Hysell. While instruments like electric guitar, bass and drums form the core of the score, “it's not a rock score, and the cues actually run the gamut from off-kilter waltzes to purely textural electronic cues,” explains Wintory. For the end of the film, he wrote a song called "I'm Lucky" with Céleigh Chapman, who also performs.

Last year, Wintory scored Paul Solet’s psychological-thriller GRACE, which premiered at Sundance and won the Jury Prize at France’s Gerardmer Film Festival. Solet asked Wintory to come in early on this film to create music for the actors, and help set the tone for the film. He created over 20 minutes of score based on the script, never intended to be used in the film. Wintory received critical acclaim for his score to CAPTAIN ABU RAED, which won the Audience Award at Sundance. The Los Angles Times singled out his score for CAPTAIN ABU RAED as an Oscar® contender, and he was selected “Best New Film Composer” by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Wintory’s received a BAFTA nomination for his score to the video game FLOW.

Austin Wintory taught himself how to compose, orchestrate and conduct in high school, later attending NYU and USC. His first short film won a scoring competition and resulted in Wintory conducting the premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center. At USC, Wintory studied under Grammy® nominee and National Medal of the Arts winner Morten Lauridsen, and also Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spider-Man 3). During this time Wintory also began full-time scoring, writing music for over 150 student and independent shorts.

Wintory is currently completing his score for Bob Celestino's thriller LEAVE and will reunite with director Amin Matalqa for WELCOME TO NOWHERE. Wintory is also working on a new, as-yet-unannounced, PlayStation3 game.


NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-


AWARD-WINNING COMPOSERS INON ZUR
AND ROD ABERNETHY SCORE TERA(TM)
Ethereal Fantasia Musical Score for the World's First
Action Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Los Angeles, April 15th, 2010 - Award-winning composers Inon Zur (Dragon Age: Origins, Prince of Persia) and Rod Abernethy (Rise of the Kasai, The Hobbit) have composed and produced an original score for the innovative massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), TERA(TM). The atmospheric and emotionally engaging fantasy compositions written by Abernethy and Zur for TERA were recorded with the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra and feature traditional acoustic guitar, ethnic instrumentation and evocative vocal performances. Currently in development for PC by Bluehole Studio in Seoul, Korea, and published by NHN Corporation, TERA is the world's first action-MMORPG launching in Korea in Summer 2010.

"The general direction for the music for TERA was to have an original score that sounded grand and to match the large-scale in-game world, mixed with some warm sounding music," said Mr. An Yong Jin, Audio Director for TERA at Bluehole Studio.
"Inon has created world-class quality, epic orchestral music, which is his best attribute; his sweeping symphonic music is outstanding. Rod's beautiful compositions for TERA span a wide scope of musical styles. His expertly crafted blend of acoustic guitar and orchestral compositions is incredible for enhancing the musical atmosphere and their popular music appeal."


TERA is an innovative massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a richly imagined fantasy universe. TERA ushers in a ground-breaking interactive combat system that allows you to instantly respond to real-time combat conditions.
Throughout a battle, you'll move around your enemy and dodge its attacks as if you were playing an action game on your console. Furthermore, TERA raises the bar for visual beauty and varied gameplay in the MMORPG genre.
As a citizen of TERA, you'll guard and eventually transform your world in a way never before experienced in online games. Unlike faction-based games, TERA unites players everywhere against truly dangerous foes: the rampaging monsters, insidious demons, and many horrors of a world torn apart by the gods themselves. Visit the
official TERA website: www.tera-online.com.

About Bluehole Studio

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Bluehole Studio, Inc. aspires to become the preeminent global MMORPG developer through its unwavering belief in its people and its core values. Bluehole formed in 2007 with an intense focus on attracting pioneers and innovators with a shared vision to create the next flagship MMORPG for the global market. The studio's inaugural title, TERA, is scheduled to launch in Korea in 2010 and features a dynamic battle system, next-generation graphics,
and a gamer-centric community experience. For more information, visit bluehole.net/eng.

All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


CD REVIEW - ANCIENT WARS: SPARTA


Ancient Wars: Sparta
Music by Dynamedion
KeepMoving Records KMRCD 013 (Russia)
27 Tracks 66:05 mins

Founded in 2001 by composers Tilman Sillescu and Pierre Langer, Dynamedion has earned the reputation of being one of the finest providers of game music there is, winning many awards along the way and, whilst much of their music is fully orchestral, some is artificially created, using synths and samples, and some a hybrid of both, as seems to be the case with Ancient Wars: Sparta. Whatever, the presence of strong thematic material remains.
Sillescue and Langer did not provide music for this particular game, but instead other members of their stable, Markus Schmidt, Alex Pfeffer and Alexander Roder got the gig.
Having been familiar with a number of Dynamedion scores, I was keen to sample this one, even though I had exhausted my generous sampling of KeepMoving's releases. I therefore thank them for giving me this opportunity to bring you another of their fine recordings.
The album commences with the powerful, choir-enhanced "Sparta;" the theme continuing expectantly into "Onward to Rome." The first action follows in "No Surrender," with choir and percussion driving things impressively onward, and there's plenty more exciting action to come in the likes of "Sharp Scimitars," "Heart of Iron," "The Gods at War," "Fight Your Fear," and "Final Action."
The bold and impressive "Egypt Goes Forth" has a suitably ethnic feel to it, which carries forward to "Fight For Hours;" the same Egyptian theme also featuring in "The Pyramids;" whilst "Golden Sphinx" keeps the ethnic percussion going, as the track builds from a mysterious opening. There's more mysterious, eastern-flavoured music at the opening of "Arabian Horde," before things build menacingly, and the same can be said of "Come to Babylon."
The music's all-conquering in "A Time to Win," and there's more of the big and bold to be found in "Rome Revisited" and "Children of Egypt;" whilst "A Time to Lose" and "New Chains" are suitably fatalistic.
"Worldwonder" is a mix of mystery and awe, as is "Wonders of the East;" whilst the penultimate track, "Dark Action," presents a big choral conclusion to events, leading to the calm, ethnic woodwind-lead, concluding track "Peace."
Those of you liking the hybrid approach to scoring most associated with Hans Zimmer's stable should enjoy this one. It may not appeal to the purists, who like their music orchestral, but it's still a strong effort.
Limited to just 500 units, you'd best hurry along to www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/36/ if you want to grab a copy. You can of course listen to samples before you buy - just in case you're not sure.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


CD REVIEW - UN TICKET POUR L'ESPACE


Un Ticket pour L'Espace
Music by Erwann Kermorvant
MovieScore Media MMS-10004
21 Tracks 42:42 mins

For Volumes 7 & & 8 of their "Discovery Collection," MovieScore media have delved into the recent past to release a couple of scores by Erwann Kermorvant, the label having previously released his music to La Premiere Etoile. In a few days' time I'll be reviewing Volume 8, Big City, but I'll start off with Volume 7, which presents the composer's 2006 score for Eric Lartigau's sci-fi comedy Un Ticket pour L'Espace. Kermorvant utilises the services of The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and, in the grand traditions of Elmer Bernstein, plays the comedy straight, producing a score that, whilst largely maintaining its own voice, nevertheless pays tribute to the great sci-fi scores of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner et al.
A good, old-fashioned "Overture" starts off the disc in fine, adventurous style, initially recalling James Horner's early sci-fi efforts, before adopting a typical Goldsmith rhythm. The title track follows, opening ominously before adopting an urgency. A kind of Latin rhythm opens "Scolco," before the music turns romantic, the latter theme briefly continuing into "Space Center Alert" before a percussive air of expectancy sets in. "So Far, So Close/Gavotte" opens dreamily, before rushing to a crescendo and then concluding strangely as a folk dance. "Practice, Practise!" is a propulsive piece with an impressive ending; then it's back to the folksy feel in "Cider Kiss," with solos for harp and pipes leading to something of a jig to close.
"The Wrong Stuff" offers rhythmic action, leading to the fanfarish opening of "Countdown" and subsequent feeling of nobility and heroic conclusion. "First Night in Space" follows, opening mysteriously, before drawing to a somewhat menacing close. Completely at odds with what has come before is the driving techno opening of "The Code Breaker," before the track turns more mysterious, even adding an awed choir. "Space..." continues this feeling of awe, before "Charlemagne/Towel Kung Fu" returns us to action mode, complete with typically Asian percussion. "Distress Call" opens powerfully and then processes determinedly to a close, followed by "Trouble/Remember Me?" which starts suspensefully, before ending on an easy beat-driven note. We're back in action mode for the start of "Room Service," which then assumes a menacing feel. "Alien Turkey" is a mix of menacing action and suspense, leading to a mix of heroics and suspense in "Prisoner/Mouchette."
The harp solo briefly returns for the opening of "Re-Entry," before the appropriate tension sets in. The music swells triumphantly at the opening of the penultimate track, "Final Poetry," before a tinkling piano and woodwind interlude leads into a suitably satisfying conclusion. The final, and longest, track on the album, "Suite from 'A Ticket to Space,'" works like an old-fashioned end titles suite, as heard in the likes of the Star Wars films, recalling, as it does, key moments in the score.
For samples and details as to how to obtain your copy of the CD, go to www.moviescoremedia.com/tickettospace.html.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


CD REVIEW - OCEANS


Oceans
Music by Bruno Coulais
Columbia 88697642062 (France)
21 Tracks 60:56 mins

So here we have the second new documentary score from Bruno Coulais, for Disneynature's Oceans. The CD is currently available only in France, but surely it will receive a US release before long, probably around or after the film's US release date of April 22nd.
Oceans, as the title suggests, is a documentary about the sea and the creatures that live beneath the waves.
Coulais' score was recorded in Paris for full orchestra, but with the emphasis on harp and violin, courtesy of soloists Marielle Nordmann and Laurent Korcia respectively. Also featured are the French choir Mikrokosmos, and electronic sounds are also utilised.
The disc the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me is actually a little longer than the commercial release, but I'll confine myself to those tracks you can hear on the latter, starting with "La Fusee" (Rocket), a largely atmospheric piece for electronics, harp and celesta, but which blossoms at the end. "La Cavalerie des Dauphins" (Dolphin Cavalry) follows, and is a suitably, brass and strings driven, propulsive affair. "Les Temps des Decouvertes" (The Time of Discovery) opens on a weaving violin and strings figure, which intensifies, but then becalms and introduces a tranquil woodwind solo, before weaving its way to a close again. "La Danse des Dauphins" (Dancing Dolphins) is a peaceful, balletic tune; whilst "L'Eveil" (Awakening) rises from the depths to sail forth majestically on brass and strings, before violin and harp play us out peacefully. "Les Otaries" (Sea Lions) is strangely war-like, with martial percussion; whilst "Le Nouveau Monde" (The New World) touches on the awe of discovery. "Le Recif de Jour" (The Reef at Night) has a mysterious and somewhat threatening feel to it, with surprising use of jazzy double bass.
The bassoon is always good if one is seeking a light-hearted feel and makes its presence felt in the comical opening of "Danses" (Dances), which later picks up speed and becomes quite adventurous, before ending on a sneaky note. The strange percussion and electronics of "Le Recif de Jour" (The reef in Day) lead to "L'Arrivee des Araignees" (The Arrival of Spiders), an impressive drums-lead call to arms. The strings-dominated "A L'Aventure" (At Random) sees a return for the weaving violin figure; whilst "Cavalerie Sous La Mer" (Cavalry Under the Sea) is another propulsive, initially strings-driven affair, which intensifies, before ending quietly. The majestic "Le Nouvel Ocean" (The New Ocean) again features an expressive violin solo, but ends on a tranquil, piano-lead note; whilst "Jusqu' a la Source" (To the Source) is quite a violent and turbulent piece, and leads into "Les Massacres" (Massacres), which builds into something of a choral requiem, before ending in fading gull-like calls.
Another expressive violin solo opens the beautiful, yet sorrowful "Disparus" (Missing), joined by harp, orchestra and haunting electronics; with the first solo vocal offering following in the lilting "Etranges Creatures" (Strange Creatures), courtesy of the young Lancelot Perrin. "Aquarium" is probably the dullest track on the album, which unfortunately leads to the concluding "Ocean Will Be," performed by Gabriel Yacoub. I say unfortunate, because it is not on the disc that Costa Communications sent me, so I can't tell you anything about it. Instead, my disc ends with three more instrumental pieces, all of them worthy of inclusion on the commercial album.
Unlike, Babies, Coulais' score for Oceans is an impressive, full-blooded orchestral/choral work, with some powerful moments, though not without some typically surprising choices along the way.