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

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Office Space/Idiocracy
Music by John Frizzell/Music by Theodore Shapiro
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1134 (US)
42 Tracks 65:09 mins

The third Theodore Shapiro score I have for you is again for a comedy, but not a new film this time. Instead, La-La Land Records have released an album pairing two scores for satirical comedies, both written and directed by Mike Judge.
The Shapiro score is for 2006's Idiocracy, but the disc opens with John Frizzell's brief score (just over 20 minutes) for 1999's Office Space. With a total of 16 tracks, you can imagine that most of them are quite brief, with little room for thematic development. Track two is the longest and most enjoyable track, as it features an easy, laid-back arrangement of the standard "Beautiful Dreamer, with yodelling wordless vocalist, who returns for the Hawaiian styled "Peter Ignores Lumbergh," which is later reprised in the "End Credits." There is also a rather nice romantic theme for guitars that crops up in a couple of tracks, but unfortunately these are quite brief. At times, there's a cool vibe to the score, somewhat echoing the kind of scoring employed by the likes of Lalo Schifrin in thrillers of the early '70s; at others Frizzell plays more for laughs, with sneaky plucked strings often a feature.
Theodore Shapiro's music for Idiocracy is much different from those provided for the two new comedies I reviewed here recently. This time he follows the old Elmer Bernstein style of mostly playing against the comedy, providing a serious score for a large orchestra, initially martial-styled, with a noble theme introduced in "History of Man Part2," getting things off to a good start. There's action and tension in "Garbage Avalanche," and then the music goes off in a totally different direction, starting with the eerie "Joe Wakes Up/Joe Wanders/March 3, 2505/Future Shock," which echoes the late Jerry Goldsmith's Planet of the Apes, an approach suggested by the composer for a change, and not a result of his being asked by the powers that be to come up with similar music. Continuing in the tension, menace and action of subsequent tracks like "Joe's Arrest/Convicted," the Goldsmith trademarks are there for all to enjoy, not just from Planet of the Apes, but from his whole canon. It all makes for a fine homage to the great man.
In between, Shapiro does manage to come up with some of his own original touches, not least a gentle love theme that's heard all too briefly, and not all the exciting action material is Goldsmithian by any means, and includes a menacing theme for the villainous "Beef Supreme."
The only misfire in the score is the rock element that creeps in for a couple of tracks, but these are easily skipped. "President Joe Bauers" returns us to the opening nobility, though ending on a quiet, more homespun note.
A couple of handfuls of unused and alternate takes, most of them quite brief, close the album.
All in all, it's a very entertaining listen, especially if you're a Goldsmith fan.
The accompanying booklet is of the usual high quality from the label and features Daniel Schweiger's detailed notes on the films and their music, illustrated with colour stills from both productions.
Limited to just 1200 units, order your copy from, where you can first check out some samples if you wish.

Friday, July 30, 2010


From Costa Communications:-




(Hollywood, CA) –Film composer Alex Wurman is nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for A Miniseries, Movie, Or Special, for the HBO film biopic “Temple Grandin.” Wurman was nominated in 2008 in the same category for the HBO film, “Bernard and Doris.” According to “Temple Grandin” director Mick Jackson, “Wurman’s score for ‘Temple Grandin’ is astonishing and truly original – both cosmic and intimate, full of boundless energy, yet movingly simple. An amazing achievement. This music really finds and gives voice to the true spirit of the movie.” “The film stars Claire Danes as a young woman who persevered while struggling with autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple’s early diagnosis to her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior.

When it came to scoring "Temple Grandin," Wurman took the assignment and the challenges of Autistism very personally, "My nephew is autistic and I’ve learned alot from him and my tireless sister. This film gave me the opportunity create music that conveys the frantic, smart and passionate mindset of Temple Grandin,” said Wurman.

During his career, Wurman has shown himself to be a truly versatile composer with a broad musical palette: the eerie, spare piano melodies of “Confessions of A Dangerous Mind,” the lush 85 piece orchestral chases of “Hollywood Homicide,” avant-heartland score to the Emmy nominated HBO film “Normal,” groovy ‘70’s themes for the outrageous comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” contemporary interpretations of French impressionism for “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” and soulful melodies combined with ethereal orchestrations for “March of the Penguins,” in which the music gives voice to the characters. His signature style is defined by an emphasis on harmony, rhythm and melody, not sound design.

After studying music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Alex Wurman moved to Los Angeles to pursue film music scoring. Independent films started coming his way, and soon he was working with directors such as John August, Doug Liman and Ron Shelton. Wurman’s resume reflects the quality and diversity of his talent. Wurman’s next film, “The Switch,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, will be released nationwide on August 20. He is also scoring the 2011 feature “The Convincer.”

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Alan Wake
Music by Petri Alanko
Sumthing Else SE-2081-2 (US)
18 Tracks 73:30 mins

A new game score release from Sumthing Else is by a new name to me, Petri Alanko, who has written very varied tracks for this psychological action thriller, some studio realized, others orchestral.
The opening title track finds a solo romantic, yet somewhat lonely piano rising out of cold electronic scoring, which is followed by the opening lush strings of "A Writer's Dream," though this too descends into eerie electronics by its close. Lush strings again open "Welcome to Bright Falls," with piano and a nice woodwind solo leading us on to a quiet conclusion. The lonely piano returns for the opening of "Vacation," giving way to a mournful cello and strings.
"Cross That River" is a dark and ultimately menacing affair, racing to a percussive conclusion; with "Waking up to a Nightmare" following, again with a solo cello leading fluttering strings.
The opening fragile beauty of "The Clicker" gives way to warm strings; then, after a subdued opening, "Deerfest" develops into a nicely expressive melody.
At nearly 11 minutes, "Taken by the Night" again opens melodically, but turns increasingly threatening, with a real sense of dread; the mood continuing in "On the Run," before becoming increasingly anxious and then ending with real menace. The subsequent "Mirror Peak" develops a real sense of purpose as it propels us onwards; with the increasingly dramatic and passionate "Tom the Diver" following.
The weighty "The Night it all Began" gives way gentler fare in "Bright Falls Light & Power," with its tinkling piano and expressive strings, but the mood is soon crushed by the percussive menace of "Hunters." It's only temporary though, with piano returning expressively in "The Well-Lit Room," which is then taken up by strings.
The penultimate track, "Water Pressure" offers a final does of menace and action, before "Departure" provides a peaceful conclusion to the score, with more lovely, melodic writing for piano and strings, even if it does carry a slightly ominous ending.
With a healthy running time of more than 73 minutes, most of the tracks are of sufficent length to really get one's teeth into and there's plenty for those, like me, whe enjoy melodic screen writing. I shall be looking forward to hearing more from Petri Alanko in the future.


From CineMedia:-

CArpentier and Alfred Music Publishing announce the release of

The music of the Lord of the Rings Films

by Doug AdamS

In-Depth Journey into Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-Winning Score

(July, 28, 2010—New York, NY) Carpentier and Alfred Music Publishing are pleased to announce the release of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, a comprehensive account of Howard Shore’s score for the trilogy, by Doug Adams. The book will be available in the European Union on September 28 and in the U.S. and worldwide on October 5, 2010.

The culmination of almost a decade of writing and research, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films is an unprecedented look at Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-winning score, with extensive music examples, original manuscript scores, a rarities CD, and glimpses into the creative process from the composer, himself.

The 416-page full-color volume features a Foreword by Howard Shore, an Introduction by The Lord of the Rings screenwriter/producer Fran Walsh, original sketches by John Howe and Alan Lee, and numerous images from the films. Also included in the book, courtesy of Howe Records, is “The Lord of the Rings: The Rarities Archive” a CD presenting 21 tracks of previously unreleased music created for the films, and an audio interview with Howard Shore.

The score for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy has been hailed as some of the greatest film music ever written. Sweeping in scope, it is a musical interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth—an operatic tapestry of cultures, histories, languages, and people.

“Howard Shore’s [LOTR] music has touched millions of people the world over,” said Adams. “It’s been my great pleasure to assemble a piece that chronicles the creation of this music, and examines exactly how it tells this classic story.”

“Doug was a detective uncovering clues, tracing how one theme or character related to another,” said Shore. “He not only shows the themes and motifs for characters, cultures, objects, and their connection to Tolkien’s work, but also the ideas that were sometimes buried deep inside the writing.”

“Researching Shore’s music has been a true adventure,” described Adams. “His work is every bit as intricate and passionate as Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”

Doug Adams, a Chicago-based author and musicologist, was invited in 2001 by Howard Shore to observe and document his work on Peter Jackson’s motion picture trilogy. Adams attended recording sessions, examined the original scores, and was given complete access to the composer’s archives. As an acknowledged authority on Howard Shore’s music, Adams has become a regular fixture at concerts and events across the globe. He runs the popular blog,, which documents his work on this project and brings fans together in ongoing discussions.


September 27 Book signing and Q&A with Howard Shore and Doug Adams (Chappell of Bond Street, 152-160 Wardour St. London,UK)

September 28-29 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, concert (Royal Albert Hall, London, UK)

October 7 Book signing and Q&A with Howard Shore and Doug Adams (Barnes and Noble, 1972 Broadway, New York, NY)

October 8-9 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, concert (Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY)


Alfred Music Publishing is one of the world’s largest music publishers. Alfred is based in Los Angeles with domestic offices in Miami & New York as well as around the world including Australia, Germany, Singapore & the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


FILM MUSIC LIVE is a new channel on Justin.TV that allows viewers an opportunity to communicate LIVE with leading film composers. This week, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated composer Christopher Young will chat with fans about his scores for such films as Drag Me to Hell, Spiderman 3, Ghostrider, The Grudge, and more from his list of over 100 movie scores!

It’s free, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s the perfect opportunity for any fan to chat and ask questions of the composer responsible for creating memorable and breathtaking scores from great movies.

Log on to today, July 28 at 5:30 p.m. to see what Film Music Live is all about!

Video will also be available on YouTube within 48 hours after the live chat at

Join in if you can, but if, like me, it's past your bedtime, catch the recording - I'm sure it will be great!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Dinner For Schmucks
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Lakeshore Records
23 Tracks 43:09 mins

Released today as a digital download is Theodore Shapiro's score for the new Steve Carell comedy Dinner For Schmucks, directed by that man of many successful comedies, Jay Roach. Paul Rudd also stars as an up-and-coming executive who rises to his boss' challenge to bring the biggest buffoon he can find to the monthly "dinner for idiots." Enter Carell as an IRS employee who builds elaborate dioramas featuring stuffed mice.
Composer Shapiro denotes Carell's weird, yet lovable character with a combination of accordion, bass harmonica, ukulele, marimba, upright bass and out-of-tune upright piano. Early tracks are for the most part light and tuneful, often dance-like, with a particularly quirky main theme, that is to resurface often throughout subsequent tracks; and there's a likable little song, "Dear Laughing Doubters," performed by Sondre Lerche, who co-wrote it with the composer.
The main theme opens "Cat Burglars," before things take on a rare dramatic turn. This is followed by the scat-styled "Go Get 'Em," and then things take a decidedly darker turn with "Darla Arrives," with more to follow in the eerie "The Naughty Purse." "Penguins and Possum" has a little of light and dark, with some fast-paced action along the way, more of which is to follow in tracks like "Switched Phones;" the galloping, western-styled passage in "Brain Control;" and "Mein Finger!"
The first moment of sentiment appears in the gentle "Barry's Photos," but more is to follow in "Don't Stop Asking;" "Four Wet Feet;" "Mouse World," with it's easy, wordless vocal; "Tim Confesses" and "I Am a Goat."
The album's final cue "Tower of Dreamers" presents a very varied mix of dance music from various periods and locales; and there's even a touch of "Yankee Doodle Dandy," before a rocky interlude leads us to its charming conclusion.
Whilst a very different score from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," this is an equally enjoyable little album, again proving what a master Shapiro is at comedy.
Dinner For Schmucks hits US screens in three days time. As for the score, you can download it now, or wait for the CD release on 3rd August.

Monday, July 26, 2010



TADLOW MUSIC Presents The World Premiere Recording of the Complete Score

A Special 2CD Collector‘s Edition featuring the
finest film score from MAURICE JARRE: Composer of WITNESS, DOCTOR

2 CD Set with full Colour Booklet
Special Limited Collector’s Edition
Featuring for the First Time the Complete 77-Minute Score
Over 140 Minutes of Music
Performed by the Acclaimed and Award-Winning City of Prague
Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Nic Raine
104 Piece Orchestra includes 3 Ondes Martenots, Cithare, 2 Grand Pianos, 2 Harps,
60 Strings and 11 Percussionists
Recorded from the Original Orchestrations by Gerard Schurmann from 1962. New
Score Preparation Supervised by Leigh Phillips
Informative and Export Sleeve Notes by Frank K. DeWald
Bonus Material includes other great Maurice Jarre Film & TV Music
Recording Produced by James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music
Catalogue Number: TADLOW 012
Release Date: September 13th 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy
Music by Jacob Groth
Silva Screen Records SILCD1331
11 Tracks 41:08 mins

Danish composer Jacob Groth has been receiving much positive attention for his score to the acclaimed crime thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, one of the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. This release, out tomorrow, largely focuses on the other two films, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest, as the score for Dragon Tattoo has already been released on Milan Records.
The Silva Screen album does however contain themes heard in all three films, including the theme used in all three full-length TV versions, which opens this compilation, a flowing, mysterious, beat-driven mix of orchestra and electronics. This same mix of live and electronic elements is continued throughout the album, with most of the tracks that follow being a decent length, allowing one to really absorb what's on offer.
As one might expect from this particular genre, the scores feature much mystery and suspense, but there's often a steady forward motion to the music, and "Running Out of Time" presents some genuinely exciting action material. "Abuse" is probably the darkest, most eerie and threatening track, and the following track, "More secrets - Palmgren" builds to a menacing crescendo, before proceeding poignantly to a big, dramatic ending. There's also a sadness about the penultimate track "The Return of Salander."
The only really light moments are found in "Fire," which has an airy, Barryish feel about it, and the final track, "Another Goodbye," which has an ethereal quality to it, though even this verges on the melancholy.
In addition to the score tracks, "Would Anybody Die For Me?" features a vocal by Misen Larsen, which comes from the second film in the trilogy.
Groth has adapted his music for the concert hall, his "The Millennium Project - A Musical Journey," featuring the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, debuted in their home city on May 8th, with a further concert planned for Stockholm next month.
Go to for samples and to order your copy of the album on CD or as a digital download.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


From Costa Communications:-


The first interactive site dedicated to film music

Golden Globe nominated composer Christopher Young discusses music scores of The Priest, The Black Tulip, and Drag Me to Hell

(July 23, 2010 – Los Angeles) – Film composers are increasingly receiving the spotlight, and now fans have the opportunity to interact with them live. Film Music Live, the first interactive video site dedicated to the sounds of film, premiers with Christopher Young July 28 at 5:30-6:30 pm PST. Emmy nominated composer (Norma Jean and Marilyn, Last Flight Out) Young received both Golden Globe® and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nominations for The Shipping News. Young created memorable action scores for two Marvel movies: Spiderman 3 and Ghostrider. His chilling score for The Grudge propelled the film to a mega hit, and his score to Drag Me To Hell has made several film music site listings as Best Score for 2009. These scores are among the nearly 100 films that embody the work of this prolific composer. The video broadcast will stream on the Film Music Live channel from the website Justin.TV. Visit to watch.

Two years ago, Young received BMI’s highest honor, The Richard Kirk Career Achievement Award. In addition to his busy film-composing schedule, Young also teaches aspiring film composers at the University of Southern California (USC), wherewith he bought a house that offers free residency to young composers because he never forgot his own personal trials.

Film Music Live is a new channel on Justin.TV created to give viewers a chance to ask there favorite composers questions about their current and past work. Showcasing bi-weekly, different composers and musicians’ stream live. This live broadcast is open to the public with chats and questions of their choosing.

Users of Justin.TV can broadcast and watch live videos. Registration is free and users can produce and watch unlimitedly without fee. Live video streams and chats are open to anyone who has Internet access, and participation does not require an account.

Film Music Live is produced by Costa Communications – an award winning, full service marketing, public relations and artist management firm. Clients include Christopher Young, John Debney (The Passion of the Christ, Predators, Iron Man 2), Aaron Zigman (Sex and the City 2, Why Did I Get Married), Peter Boyer (The Dream Lives On: Tribute to the Kennedy Brothers, Ellis Island: The Dream of America), Alan Menken (Little Mermaid, Enchanted) and Craig Armstrong (Moulin Rouge).

Friday, July 23, 2010


Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Music by Theodore Shapiro
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1139 (US)
34 Tracks 44:22 mins

Theodore Shapiro has been well and truly typecast as a scorer of comedies, which is a shame, in my opinion, and I'd like to hear him score a film again like 2001's Heist, which sports one of the best contemporary thriller scores there is. Having said that, he is a master of what he does in these comedies. It's quite an art finding the right accompaniment - whether to play for laughs or play against what is on screen, as the late, great Elmer Bernstein virtually instigated in scores like Airplane! and Animal House, and it's a shame that comedy scores aren't taken more seriously by the record companies. Shapiro has suffered like others in having one cut on a soundtrack album, or a handful if really lucky, though there have been a few decent score albums in his catalogue to treasure.
Perhaps things are finally looking up though, as I have not one but three Shapiro scores to review for you, the first being for the new family comedy Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is based on Jeff Kinney's popular illustrated novel and stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron, with "Hit Girl" herself, Chloe Moretz in a supporting role.
In his note in the accompanying booklet, which also contains a note from the film's director, Thor Freudenthal, and a synopsis of the plot, Shapiro says that he wanted the score to have qualities similar to the lead character's stick figure drawings: "imperfect, childlike, playful and handmade." To aid in this, the composer utilised an out-of-tune upright piano, also substituting a small chamber orchestra for the larger forces wherever possible. A garage rock trio also features, with the drummer having been encouraged to "play less well than he was capable of playing."
The results are a mixture of infectious upbeat cues like "Late for School," where we first hear the main theme on the out-of-tune piano (we are to hear it crop up in many variations throughout the subsequent score), and the title track, with its underlying flowing organ rhythm; easy-going tracks like "Intellectual Wasteland," and of course plenty of comedy, often mixed with action writing, can be found, as in the uproarious "The Cheese Touch;" with some out-and-out menacing action in the likes of "Literally Kill You;" and bold heroics in "Into the Woods." But really the score has so much more to offer than this, it's just that the music is so varied and inventive that I would have to cover it track by track to properly describe it all and, as I unfortunately don't have the time to do that right now, I'll just conclude by saying that this is a fun listening experience and well deserving of a CD release. OK, so some of the tracks are quite brief, as is often the case with comedy, but the disc still manages to flow really well.
Go to for samples and to order your copy of this likable album.
La-La Land have also released Shapiro's score for Idiocracy, paired with John Frizzell's Office Space, and Lakeshore Records are releasing his music for the new Steve Carell comedy Dinner for Schmucks, so watch this space!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Countdown to Zero
Music by Peter Golub
Lakeshore Records
19 Tracks 52:11 mins

Receiving a limited release in US cinemas from tomorrow, Lucy Walker's documentary Countdown to Zero charts the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to its present state of global affairs. The film was an official selection at both the 2010 Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals, and features appearances from important statesmen such as President Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair.
The music was provided by Peter Golub, whose past work I am mostly unfamiliar with, but he has scored the acclaimed HBO drama The Laramie Project and the Academy Award nominated Frozen River, as well as teaming with James Newton Howard for the Denzel Washington starrer The Great Debaters.
Of his score for Countdown to Zero, Golub states: "there is a great deal of variety in the types of documentary films today that invites a wide range of musical responses. The task with Countdown to Zero was how to keep the music serious and compelling while at the same time leaving the audience with a sense of wanting to know more and follow the story. I tried to balance the frightening enormity of the issue with a desire to follow the specifics in a positive way."
Often scoring documentaries is a thankless task. The composer has to compete with almost constant narration and/or dialogue and therefore his music has little time to breathe. In addition, the music budget is often, perhaps understandably, minuscule and therefore the music has to be realised electronically, which usually results in it sounding, well, cheap. Of course there are exceptions (and I'm thinking mostly of nature documentaries) and here at least Golub was able to use a mix of largely live musicians, alongside electronic elements.
A feature of the score is its forward motion, whether it be busy, as in "Electronic Backdoor" and "Ship to the US;"or more sedate, as in "Cities;" "Splitting the Atom;" "Bomb Making;" "Until Seized;" and "Ways;" with tracks like "A Rising Moon" offering something of both. Much of this motion is achieved by utilising a variety of percussive effects, some seemingly quite quirky for such a serious subject.
As Golub's score progresses it does however take a somewhat darker turn, as in "A Q Khan;" "Algeria;" "Oleg's Story;" "Launch Time Line;" "Proliferation;" "No Such Hope;" and "Scary Proliferation;" though the music does still retain its forward motion.
The final cue, "Aftermath," ends the score with solo saxophone actually lending a feeling of hopefulness for a while, before piano brings things to a more uncertain close.
The score for Countdown to Zero, on Lakeshore Records, has been available as a digital download since Monday and will receive a CD release on the 17th of next month.


Paul Hertzog's classic Eighties score for Kickboxer back in stock

It's been almost four years since the original release of this classic Eighties album by Paul Hertzog, so we feel we are not running the risk of pissing anyone off if we release the second 500 batch of this album. It is identical to the 2006 release. Sorry, no signed copies are available for this title.

The run of this title is limited to 500 units. The CD sells for $19.95.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Available for Pre-Order Now:

PRD 034 No Retreat, No Surrender by Frank Harris

The third entry in our series of soundtracks from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, this album features Frank Harris' score that was heard in all versions around the world, except for the US edit, for which his music was inexplicably replaced by Paul Gilreath. Our CD includes no less than FOUR versions of the classic Eighties anthem "Hold On to the Vision", featuring the legendary Joe Satriani on guitar and vocals by Kevin Chalfant.
This CD features all digital remixes of the four vocal songs next to the original mixes (done by the composer himself), as well as the complete score in chronological film order. The score was recorded in mono for the film in 1986 (the producer wanted it that way), but Frank has given it a "fake" stereo sound so it sounds richer. Bullseye!
The album contains all the cues for the movie and comes with a 20-page booklet that chronicles the score's creation, as written by film music authority Brian Satterwhite.
Price $12.00

Coming Soon from Perseverance Records

PRD 032 Unforgettable by Christopher Young

Similar to the composer's seminal horror scores for �Species� and �Jennifer 8�, this album contains all new music that is different from the Intrada promo that came out in 1997, A must-have for every fan of the new Jerry Goldsmith. Limited to 1200 copies.
Price $12.00

PRD 033 The Puppet Master Soundtrack Collection by Richard Band, Jeff Walton,

John Massari and Peter Bernstein

Our biggest project so far. This box set contains all the complete original scores to the Puppet Master series of movies on 4 CDs in film order. Parts 5 and 8 had no original music. Richard Band's scores were digitally re-mastered from the composer's own 4-track tapes. The others were digital recordings. Limited to 1500 copies.
Price tba

PRD 035 Red Sonja by Ennio Morricone

Released by Varese in their first Club series years ago, this wonderful score has long been out-of-print and goes for big money (if you can find a copy). We have taken the two suites from the Varese album and sequenced the individual tracks in film order and added a bonus track for a more complete listening pleasure.
Price $12.00


From Costa Communications:-

HawthoRNe composer, The Angel, takes fans behind the scenes every week as she blogs about her music on the hit TNT drama.

Read along as she posts how she creates new music for each new story, new scene, and new characters. Her first entry illustrates the challenge of finding the perfect instrumental combinations to convey not only the emotions of a scene but the true nature of its characters.

Follow The Angel’s blog, The Music of HawthoRNe, and see for yourself how this talented female is claiming her spot in the male-dominated world of film and television composing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Malice in Wonderland
Music by Christian & Joe Henson
MovieScore Media MMS10010
23 Tracks 56:30 mins

Simon Fellows' recent modern-day take on the classic Lewis Carroll story is set in the North East of England and stars Maggie Grace as Alice, who is supported by a host of familiar British actors including Danny Dyer, Nathaniel Parker, Anthony Higgins and Paul Kaye.
The suitably offbeat music accompanying the film is provided by brothers Christian and Joe Henson, who draw on their extensive collection of unusual instruments to provide a whole mix of sounds and styles. Sadly, I haven't unfortunately the time at present to go through every track for you, but the release's publicity should give you a very good idea of what to expect: "The music that surrounds Alice is a totally unique mix of beautiful fairytale themes in waltz meter, dark and noir-ish melodies for electric guitars, cimbalom, trumpet and saxophone, infectious banjo riffs, playful Hammond organ tunes, catchy jingles, indie rock, sentimental piano music and steamy club music." As you can see, a very wide canvas of sounds and you should therefore find something you like. For myself, I favour the fairytale waltz music, even if that is perhaps the most cliched approach in the score, but some of you may prefer the quirkier fare on offer.
In addition to the instrumental selections on the album, there are two songs; the first, the amiable "Where Are You?" performed by Betty Steeles; the second, the wacky country banjo driven "Titty Song," featuring Bobby Chitlin.
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and details as to where to obtain your copy, on CD, or as a digital download.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I was reading one critic's condemnation of John Debney's taking the "music by" credit for the Predators score, his fifth collaboration with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and, it's true that there is a great deal of Alan Silvestri's work for the original Predator film on display in Debney's score. But it is true to say there is plenty of Debney as well, and the composer has made no secret of his admiration for both the original film and its score. In publicity provided by his publicists, Costa Communications, he is quoted as saying "I love Alan Silvestri's magnificent score for the first film. So, I asked myself how in the world could I write a Predator score without utilizing themes and motifs from Alan's masterwork. I decided that I would embrace the music that IS Predator and create a companion piece utilizing themes from the first score."
Now, I've yet to hear Silvestri's take on the score, but must assume he is happy with the situation, as surely he would have responded by now if that were not the case.
Disregarding the previous two films involving Predators, as they involved Aliens as well, and for which Brian Tyler wrote an excellent score, and Harald Kloser less so, this film is a return to the roots of the Predator mythos and Debney's score is therefore absolutely appropriate, and I personally applaud him for taking the approach that he has.
La-La Land Records release the score from August 10th, and I believe a copy of the CD is on its way to me, so I can give you full details as and when this is to hand. In the meantime, Costa Communications have kindly sent me an advance copy of the score, which features 24 tracks and runs for just under 70 minutes. I've had a good listen and, as I say, at times you'd think it's pure Silvestri, but Debney's style still comes through in amongst it all and, if you want to be really picky, you might also say you can hear a touch of that familiar James Horner cue from Aliens that has become so popular in film trailers. Whatever, Predator fans will not be disappointed with the results, as there's some great action writing here, utilising many of the more unusual instruments present in the original Predator score, including Tibetan long horns and plenty of jungle percussion. It's a fabulous effort and I only hope the film lives up to it.
I might also mention that Debney's score for Iron Man 2 has also finally been given a long awaited release by Sony Classical. You can still read my review of the score at The commercial release appears to have the same number of tracks as the version I reviewed, which indeed makes for a very generous release of this music.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Music by Trevor Rabin
Walt Disney Records
22 tracks 44:44 mins

Available as a digital download from tomorrow is Trevor Rabin's score for the new fantasy film from the team behind the National Treasure movies (which he of course also scored), The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which stars Nicolas Cage as a modern-day sorcerer, seeking an apprentice (Jay Baruchel) to help him defend Manhattan from the evil Alfred Molina. The film opens in the UK on August 11th.
No doubt there will be a few groans when I tell you that Rabin utilises the familiar Dukas symphonic poem, made popular by Disney in their animated masterpiece Fantasia, but the good news is, he only uses it, and then quite sparingly, in his opening title track on the album, mixed in with some very Pirates of the Caribbean-styled bombast - choir and all; though a "Fantasia Original Demo" does close the selections, offering an electronic take on the piece, which is best ignored.
Rabin continues the bombast for exciting and, at times, pretty menacing action passages throughout many of the score's subsequent tracks, sometimes eliciting a surprisingly retro, Media Ventures feel, whilst also giving a nod towards the LOTR trilogy of scores; choir continuing to supplement the orchestra, synths and guitars; adding to the power, as well as providing the necessary mystical feel to proceedings. By contrast, the opening of "Car Chase" really rocks out.
There are quieter moments, like the guitar solo that opens and closes "David Revives Balthazar," and pops up here and there in the more poignant moments of the score; as well as the romantic "Becky and Dave on Rooftop;" but these are few and far between. Whilst a touch of whimsy is never far away, as in the lighthearted antics of "Classroom" and "Walk in the Rain."
All-in-all, there's nothing very original about the score, but it is nevertheless a highly entertaining offering from Rabin, whose National Treasure: Book of Secrets is still sadly awaiting a decent soundtrack release. It would be great if an anniversary edition, pairing and expanding both NT scores could be considered down the line.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The Lightkeepers
Music by Pinar Toprak
MovieScore Media MMS10012
19 Tracks 48:08 mins

Although composer Pinar Toprak was actually born in Istanbul, after studying at the Istanbul State Conservatory, in 1997 she moved to Chicago to study piano and jazz theory, before attending the famous Berklee College of Music, receiving a Master of Music degree in composition at the age of 22.
After and maybe despite a spell at Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures, she has gone on to compose for various projects including Daniel Adams' recent drama The Lightkeepers, for which she has provided a most un-Media Ventures-like score, which is more in the grand Americana style that I so adore. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss as a grumpy old lighthouse keeper and is set on Cape Cod in 1912.
The 6-minute "Lost Love" opens the album, with flutes, piano and a country fiddle emerging from a largely strings-based melody to provide an overall sense of nostalgia, tinged with loneliness, though things do pick up briefly towards the end. "The Lightkeeper's Assistant" follows and, though predominantly quite elegant, the country fiddle re-enters at one point to give it a sense of momentum. "You Mustn't Go" offers sweetness and romance, with the fiddle in more expressive mode when it makes its appearances. There's whimsy to be found in "How to Catch a Lobster;" whilst "Daily Swim" is delicate and tentative, with the predominantly uptempo "The Lobster & The Horse," also finding time for some humour.
The score continues very much in the same vein as that which has gone before, with strings and woodwinds dominating, but with telling contributions from the fiddle and piano. Overall, it's beautifully melodic, warm and romantic, but with lively and humorous moments here and there. It's really quite delightful, and a refreshing change from much of today's overbearing Hollywood fare.
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and details as to how to obtain your copy of this lovely score on CD or as a digital download.

Friday, July 16, 2010


From Costa Communications:-




LOS ANGELES (July 15, 2010) – The sound of the summer involves the scratch of duct tape, the tinkling of medical instruments and percussion of human and animal bones. Composer Dan Licht who incorporates these sounds with traditional instrumentation for the Emmy winning Showtime series DEXTER has two score releases available this season from Milan Records. A score compilation from Seasons 2 and 3 are now accessible by iTunes and A CD release of the Season 4 score will be available August 17.

The DEXTER Facebook page recently exploded with more than 148,000 fans responding to Milan Records offer of a free download of three tracks from Seasons 2 and 3 for one week. A similar offering of the Season 4 soundtrack will be available in August at

Licht realized a dream when he incorporated into the DEXTER score pre-Columbian instruments such as a sacrificial drum, bone flutes, rasps, pierced phalanges and bullroarers. “When I lived in New York, I visited the ancient music wing of the Metropolitan Museum many times and wondered what the hell the instruments behind the glass sounded like,” said Licht. “He laughingly adds that “I should point out that the sacrificial drum did not have a human skin head as they did in Pre-Columbian times.”

Adding the sounds of duct tape and medical instruments was a natural progression for the story of a forensic expert and serial killer. DEXTER, which is now in production for the September debut of Season 5, has a reputation for unique storytelling as well as music.

The versatile Licht has scored across many genres of film but horror stories hold a soft spot for him. “I got my start doing horror/thriller genre films. I enjoy the fact that music is an essential element that contributes to the tension. I transitioned into dramatic films and then comedy, and only really have come back to thriller via Dexter.”

Dan Licht’s film credits include HELLRAISER BLOODLINE, STEPHEN KING’S THINNER and PERMANENT MIDNIGHT. TV credits include JAKE IN PROGRESS and KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. He was Emmy nominated for his Season 1 music to DEXTER.


From Cinemedia:-



2CD Set of Film Version of Batman (Danny Elfman)

2CD Set of Krull (James Horner)

Predators (John Debney)

(July 15, 2010- Los Angeles, CA) – La-La Land Records announces three special releases, available at their booth at San Diego’s Comic Con on July 21-25 (including preview night): Predators Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (John Debney), and two 2CD sets of Batman (Danny Elfman) and Krull (James Horner). All three recordings will be available via on July 27th but you can grab them here, FIRST, at THE CON! In addition, there will be special appearances and great deals on La-La Land Records soundtracks at their display, housed at the Toy Hungry booth, space #429.

BATMAN (1989): LIMITED EDITION (2-CD SET) Expanded Archival Collection

The world premiere release, as part of the La-La Land “Expanded Archival Collection,” of the EXPANDED and NEWLY REMASTERED 2 disc set of Danny Elfman’s iconic score! Disc one includes the score as heard in the film. Disc Two includes the re-mastered original 1989 album presentation PLUS never-before-released bonus tracks, including alternates and source cues. The 20 page CD booklet features exclusive, in-depth liner notes by film music writer Jeff Bond. Limited Edition of 5000 units.


Previously out-of-print, James Horner’s beloved score thunders back to life, re-mastered with bonus tracks and includes new, in-depth liner notes by Jeff Bond. Limited Edition of 3000 units.


John Debney propels you into the heart of the Predator jungle with his thrilling score to the new hit film Predators. Debney’s powerhouse music incorporates Alan Silvestri’s classic themes from the original film. The 20 page CD booklet features exclusive liner notes from John Debney, Nimrod Antal, Robert Rodriguez and film music writer Daniel Schweiger.


In addition to special announcements on upcoming releases, amazing deals on La-La Land product, and other soundtrack surprises, guest composers will be stopping by the La-La Land area to greet fans and sign CDs.

Newly Emmy Award® nominated composer Bear McCreary (Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Human Target) will kick things off from 4-5PM on Thursday. Visit the La-La Land gang at Comic-Con to find out who will be appearing to sign autographs and when.

Premiere soundtrack releases, special guests, great deals, announcements on upcoming titles… it’s all happening at the Con at La-La Land!

Follow La-La Land on Twitter for breaking news at Comic Con, including information about special composer guests and signing times: La-La Land Records will be housed at the Toy Hungry booth, #429, during Comic-Con from July 21-25 (including preview night).


For any of you that caught the FILM MUSIC LIVE broadcast from Ubeda on Wednesday, you will have heard the news straight from the horse's mouth that Christopher Lennertz's score for Cats and Dogs 2 (reviewed here yesterday) will indeed be coming out in August on Varese Sarabande.
The broadcast was recorded and featured an informal Q & A with both Lennertz and True Blood composer Nathan Barr, with special guest Randy Edelman. The guys showed great stamina, considering it was something like 4 a.m. in Spain at the time.
You can watch it at, and you'll also find a recording of the first broadcast from John Debney's studio, where he, joined by publicist and producer of the show, Ray Costa, answers questions and gives us a tour of his studio.
I'd like to give my thanks to Ray for instigating these broadcasts and also for making them accessible to those of us who are not able to catch them live.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


It's been nine years since the enjoyable CGI romp Cats and Dogs hit our screens, pitting the canine and feline characters against one another in something of a spy film spoof. As to why it's taken so long for a sequel to appear, I know not, but forthcoming is Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which is part of a double bill, along with a new Looney Tunes 3-D short, Coyote Falls.
Marmaduke composer Christopher Lennertz is scoring both and, in fact, Warner Bros. have commissioned the composer to score all three of their forthcoming 3-D Looney Tunes shorts, aiming to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of audiences.
Being owner of a cat (Loca) and Dalmation (Miles Davis), Lennertz was very familiar with the very different character traits of the two species and could therefore draw on his experiences when writing the score for Cats and Dogs 2. I'm also pleased to say that, like Michael Giacchino's score for The Incredibles, his music pays homage to the likes of John Barry, Lalo Schifrin and Henry Mancini, all of course famous for their work in the spy genre. Lennertz of course has himself worked on a couple of James Bond game scores, so he's no stranger to the genre either.
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me a CD of his score, which runs for some 31 minutes and would make for a somewhat brief, but entertaining album though sadly, to date, I only know of one track "Concerto for Claws and Orchestra" that will feature on the WaterTower Music soundtrack release, available on CD and as a digital download on July 27th.
Lennertz's music for the film is fully orchestral and standout tracks for me include "Dog HQ" which, after a big opening, grooves along nicely, complete with Bond-like brassy outbursts; the Schifrinesque intrigue of "Coit Tower;" the exciting and sometimes wonderfully groovy action of "Kitty Litter Trap;" "Ferry Fight;" "Meows;" "Assault Cats Cradle;" "Call of the Wild;" the choir-enhanced "Termination," who are first heard from in the menacing "Tank of Doom;" and "Amazing Finish;" as well as the poignant yet beautiful flute-lead "In Between Homes."
The penultimate "A New Home" provides a satisfying calm after the storm, with "New Mission" ending the score on a groovy note.
You can pretty much depend on Christopher Lennertz and if you enjoyed the score for The Incredibles, chances are you'll like this one too, as it's very much cut from the same cloth. If the film's as fun as the music, it should be worth a look.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


On 19th July, Harkit Records release Mambo In Paris. Dating from the young Lalo Schifrin's time in the city, where he studied in the '50s, having managed to survive the military regime in his native Argentina (read how close he came in his autobiography, Mission Impossible - My Life in Music - see my review at for publication details), this is a first time CD release for the album, that features the orchestra of Eddie Warner, for which Schifrin arranged and also played piano.
Of course, this is entirely film music unrelated, but if you like the Afro-Cuban styles of music (then called cha-cha-cha and mambo, now better known as salsa) and are even the tiniest bit curious to sample the early Schifrin (he has four of his own compositions on the disc), you might like to pick up a copy of this remastered album, which plays for just over an hour and is accompanied by notes in English and French by Schifrin's French biographer, Georges Michel.
Check out samples at, where you can of course also order your copy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


From Costa Communications:-




LOS ANGELES (July 13, 2010) – Film music fans unable to travel to the International Film Festival in Ubeda, Spain can chat online with several of the festival’s guest composers on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm PT on the new’s Film Music Live channel. An award-winning roster of composers is in attendance this week at one of the world’s most famous film and music festivals. Expected to appear on the live chat are Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino (UP, Star Trek), Christopher Lennertz (ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS, CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE), Patrick Doyle (HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY), Nathan Barr (TRUE BLOOD, THE DUKES OF HAZZARD). Vocalist Lisbeth Scott (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST) will also participate.

Fans can join the video chatroom and submit questions to the composers by logging on to the free website The composers will talk about their works being showcased at the festival in Ubeda as well as their bodies of work. The video chat will begin at 4:30pm PST (1:30 am Spain time) at

Film Music Live is a new channel on Justin.TV that allows viewers an opportunity to communicate live to leading film composers. Bi-weekly, FML will present composers live and anyone is welcome to join in the chat. Justin.TV was created for users to broadcast and watch live videos. The live video streams and ability to chat are open to anyone who has access to the Internet and participation does not require an account with the site.

Film Music Live is produced by Costa Communications, an award winning full service marketing, public relations and artist management firm. Clients include John Debney, John Ottman (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie), Bruno Coulais (Coraline, Winged Migration), Aaron Zigman (The Notebook, Sex and the City 2), Alan Menken (Little Mermaid, Enchanted), Craig Armstrong (Moulin Rouge), Christopher Lennertz (Cats & Dogs 2, Alvin & The Chipmunks) and Christopher Young (Grudge, Spider Man 3), Austin Wintory (Captain Abu Read), Atticus Ross (Book of Eli) and more. Other Costa Communications productions include the documentary Hometown Glory. For more information visit .


Music by Christopher Lennertz
Varese Sarabande 302 067 033 2 (US)
30 Tracks 52:10 mins

I haven't heard of the popular cartoon strip this new family comedy mix of live action and CGI is based on, but it stars the voice of Owen Wilson as Great Dane Marmaduke, with William H. Macy amongst the human cast, and a host of familiar names providing more voices of supporting CGI characters, including Kiefer Sutherland and Fergie (the singer, not the Duchess, nor the Manchester United manager!).
Providing the music for the film is one of my favourite contemporary composers, Christopher Lennertz, who has come up with another highly likable and entertaining score that pushes all the right buttons. There's homespun sentiment, often featuring acoustic guitar, in the likes of "Back Yard vs The Couch," "Barkanova," "Beach Talk," "Bosco's Right," "It's Over," and "Jealous Mazy;" and more light-hearted, often propulsive, fare, sometimes with a pop/rock sensibility, in cues like "Bathtime," "Bee," and "I Smell a Cat;" a little dark menace thrown in, as in "Bosco" and "Chupadogra;" and uplifting, feelgood moments for such as "Dogfrontation" and "Junkyard Date;" whilst tracks like "Hang 20" and "Saving Marmaduke" offer a little of everything.
Lennertz has also scored the sequel to Cats and Dogs, The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and I'll be reviewing this score for you in the very near future.

Monday, July 12, 2010


From CineMedia:-




“Largest Group of Musicians To Play On A Live-Action TV Series In Years”


(Los Angeles, CA – July 8, 2010) Composer Bear McCreary earns his first Emmy Award® nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music with Human Target. McCreary’s sweeping theme music is influenced by a more traditional approach to action/adventure scoring. Each episode of Human Target features as much as 30 minutes of music played by an average of 60 musicians, making it the “largest group of musicians to play on a live-action TV series in years” according to a recent article in Variety.

“It’s an honor to be on a shortlist with so many wonderful composers,” said McCreary. "There was some debate within the Academy earlier this year to eliminate this category, so I’m also pleased that it still exists. There are still great Main Titles being written out there, and I’m glad people think Human Target is one of them.”

McCreary learned of his nomination while in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. He will be conducting the debut of The Battlestar Galactica Symphony on July 9th as part of FIMUCITÉ 4, performed by the Battlestar Galactica Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife and the Tenerife Film Choir.

“The real thrill of scoring Human Target comes from the unprecedented creative freedom I’ve been given to create the kind of sweeping, thematic and adventurous score largely absent from both the small and large screen in recent years,” said McCreary.

"At the first production meeting we had, even before the pilot,” describes Executive Producer Jonathan Steinberg, “I said we must have an orchestra. This show is about an action hero, it's built out of the DNA of the movies I grew up on, 'Star Wars' and 'Raiders' and 'Star Trek.' Those movies don't work without that orchestra."

Their combined vision resulted in the use of one of the largest orchestras for live-action television. On average, 60 musicians are used per episode, with a whopping 94 musicians brought in to record the music for the season finale Christopher Chance.

Christopher Chance himself, series star Mark Valley stopped by the recording session for the finale. “I’m just really moved, and impressed with all of the effort that goes on here,” Valley said. “I have got to say that I really love the music for the show.” Valley even picked up a flugel horn and learned his character’s own theme.

Bear McCreary was among a handful of select protégés of late film music legend Elmer Bernstein and is a classically trained composer with degrees in Composition and Recording Arts from the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music. At the age of 24, Bear McCreary was launched into pop culture with his score to Battlestar Galactica, "the most innovative music on TV today" (Variety). declared Bear McCreary one of the Ten Best Science Fiction Composers of all time, the only composer under 50 on the list, (he is now 30), and the only one recognized for work in television.

Next up for McCreary is Step Up 3D for Touchstone Pictures, in theaters on August 6, 2010. In addition to his work for television, McCreary’s credits include SOCOM 4, Dark Void and Dark Void Zero video games, and the films Wrong Turn 2, Rest Stop and Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back.

Human Target season one was not only creatively challenging and rewarding, but a project that will forever impact the way I write music,” McCreary describes. “Like my experiences on BSG, I’ve emerged from this a better composer for having done it.”

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To watch a video of the recording session of the Human Target finale, visit