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

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Medal of Honor (2010)
Music by Ramin Djawadi
EA Games
20 Tracks 60:20 mins

The latest in the series of Medal of Honor videogames leaves the theatre of World War II behind and brings us up to date with its Afghanistan setting, and focuses on the Tier 1 Operator, described as "an elite warrior and relatively unknown instrument of the US Military that operates under the National Command Authority, taking on missions no one else can handle.
Obviously, a whole new style of music was required for the game and Iron Man and Clash of the Titans composer Ramin Djawadi got the gig. His music mixes ethnic stylings with more western sounds in the modern electronic-percussive vein. There are suitably propulsive episodes, mysterious middle-eastern atmospheres, as well as more reflective and moving passages, topped off with the composer's noble, yet fateful main theme. For a full review of the score, I suggest you visit Whilst you're there, you may also want to check out an audio interview with the composer.
Personally, I prefer the previous, more traditionally orchestral Medal of Honor scores, particularly those of Michael Giacchino, but Djawadi's score has its moments, and if you are into the more modern approach to scoring, and like ethnic colouring, this may well be the very thing for you.
The Medal of Honor soundtrack is available as a digital download only from the likes of


Doctor Who - Series 4: The Specials
Music by Murray Gold
Silva Screen Records SILCD1340
Disc 1 - 21 Tracks 52:12 mins
Disc 2 - 26 Tracks 64:19 mins

The final Doctor Who series to feature David Tennant as the last Time Lord was something of a disappointment. Instead of a proper series, we were treated to just three adventures (the last split into two, airing on Christmas and New Year's Days), none of which were particularly inspiring. In fact, the last one was almost irritating, its long, drawn-out ending coming close to that of the final Lord of the Rings film. He was only regenerating, guys, like he's done many times before - not dying as such! Personally, I never really liked Tennant's Doctor and he had become almost unbearable as his episodes (and specials) progressed, so I was glad to see the back of him. Young Matt Smith has replaced him, and I'm finding him more tolerable - just - must be my advancing years!
Murray Gold has written the music for the character ever since he was resurrected and has produced some memorable stuff, with the able assistance of Ben Foster and the musicians of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, here supplemented by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. This splendid double-disc set presents their efforts for the specials, the first disc featuring music from The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead, with Disc 2 featuring the scores from the two-parter The End of Time. As always, there is great variety in the music, with high adventure and exciting action moments, stunningly beautiful interludes, and not a little comedy, with also reprises of some favourite themes from past series. And of course there's a good dose of pathos to the scenes that lead to and see Tennant's Doctor take his leave. It's all great stuff, as anyone familiar with the soundtracks of previous Doctor Who series (all on Silva Screen, of course) will appreciate, and I just wish I had time to go into detail here; but I'm still playing catch-up and therefore will have to do the next best thing by pointing you in the direction of some more detailed reviews of the collection at and
The collection comes complete with the usual splendidly illustrated accompanying booklet, featuring the composer's introductory notes and cue-by-cue guide to the music presented.
Go to, where you can sample the tracks before purchasing your copy on CD or as a digital download.
Incidentally, the label has announced the release of yet another double-disc presentation of Doctor Who music, this time from Matt Smith's adventures in Series 5. The album will be released on November 8th and I hope by then to be able to bring you a more detailed review of this music.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Dexter - Season 4
Music by Daniel Licht & Various Artists
Milan Records M2-36494 (US)
27 Tracks 77:59 mins

Season 4 of Dexter saw him playing cat-and-mouse with the excellent John Lithgow's serial killer; the series culminating in the shocking demise of a leading cast member.
As for the music, as always there was a good selection of source music, mainly of the Cuban influenced variety, perfectly illustrating the Miami locations, alongside Daniel Licht's original score, as always a model of subtlety, utilising familiar motifs laid down in previous seasons, as well as creating new material, often achieved inventively, utilising instruments from all over the world, such as gamelon, duduk, dejmbe and toy piano, often obtained by the composer from trawling eBay no less, He even found instruments made from human bones, the use of which seems very fitting due to the nature of the show.
This lengthy album features a generous 17 tracks of Licht's music, the remaining 10 featuring a sampling of the source music, with perhaps the more familiar numbers being Frankie Avalon's "Venus" and Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon;" all topped off with Rolfe Kent's "Main Title Theme," though it's mostly Licht's own Dexter theme that accompanies him through the show.
The accompanying booklet features full song and music credits, and a note from the composer, illustrated with colour portraits of some of the characters.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Dunston Checks In
Music by Miles Goodman
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1147 (US)
13 Tracks 57:00 mins

La-La Land Records continue their tribute to the late Miles Goodman with their release of his score for 1996 family comedy Dunston Checks In. Goodman's tragically short career in film scoring saw him perhaps somewhat typecast in the comedy genre, which is why I am not all that familiar with his work, as comedy is not really my bag, but I welcome the chance to discover his music. I enjoyed the label's previous release of his score to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Dunston provides plenty of entertainment too, and is bursting with thematic material, which you know by now I like.
The film concerns an orangutan who happens to be a jewel thief - certainly an unusual premise, and the exotic creature, though not scored with geographically correct sounds, receives sparkling accompaniment of a South American-styled nature, filled with samba and tango rhythms - all highly entertaining. And, needless to say, the comical antics that ensue are expertly caught by the composer as well. What I like too about this album is that it only has 13 tracks, but runs for nearly an hour, giving the music plenty of opportunity for development within each cue. Often comedy scores consist of quite brief offerings, which promise but fail to deliver away from the action up there on the screen.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, with detailed notes and the invaluable cue-by-cue guide, courtesy of Daniel Schweiger, lavishly illustrated with full colour stills from the film. You can hear samples of the score on the label's website and, as the album is limited to just 1200 units, you'd best hurry along to if you want a copy.


From CineMedia Promotions:-

WaterTower Music Announces November 16 Release Date for the Soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Limited Edition Soundtrack Collector’s Set Also Unveiled

BURBANK, Calif.--(October 27, 2010)--WaterTower Music is excited to announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the latest installment of the Harry Potter film franchise. The album will be available everywhere Tuesday, November 16. Featuring 26 compositions by Golden Globe winner and Oscar- and Grammy Award-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat, the soundtrack provides the listener with over 70 minutes of new music from the film. All fans who purchase the CD will also receive a free download of the entire soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound Audio

“It’s an extraordinary story of extraordinary people, which allows me to play with a world of extraordinary sounds.”

Additionally, a special limited collector’s edition of the soundtrack will be made available. Each numbered collector’s set features the full soundtrack, a bonus CD with extra music, an exclusive poster, picture disc vinyl, a DVD including video interviews and the soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound Audio, original Harry Potter film cells, autographed sheet music, and a numbered certificate of authenticity. This special set will be made available at retail stores in time for Christmas and is available by pre-order now at online retail. More details are available at

Desplat composed the captivating score, which was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at the famed Abbey Road Studios. “I’m thrilled to be involved with the magical world of Harry Potter,” declared the composer. “It’s an extraordinary story of extraordinary people, which allows me to play with a world of extraordinary sounds.”

Alexandre Desplat is a three-time Academy Award® nominee for his scores for Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Queen. He also won a Golden Globe Award for The Painted Veil. His additional work includes the scores to Twilight Saga: New Moon, Julie & Julia, Syriana and Birth.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, which opens nationwide on Friday, November 19, begins the seventh and final adventure in the Harry Potter film series, the much-anticipated motion picture event to be told in two full-length parts. Part 2 opens nationwide on July 15, 2011.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films Production, a David Yates Film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The film is directed by David Yates, and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and J.K. Rowling. Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the book by Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise the roles of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Still playing catch-up and here are three recent releases from MovieScore Media. Firstly, we have The Legend of Silkboy by another new name to me, British Columbian resident Alain Maynard, composer in residence of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. His best known film score is Echoes of an Epic, for which he was Leo nominated, and his concert piece "A Garden of Music" has received worldwide acclaim.
The Legend of Silkboy is an animated Jackie Chan production for which Maynard has come up with a delightful, theme-filled, and adventurous score, with a few comic touches. I encountered a few problems getting hold of this release and when I finally did it was unfortunately too late to do it full justice. However, for more detailed coverage, you'll find reviews at and
Next up is Bill Brown' score for something of an unusual project. The soundtrack for Dark Prophecy is "from the motion picture elements (cyber-bridges) of the unique online multimedia experience which is an interactive extension of 'Level 26' book series by CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker," and is the follow-up to best-selling novel Dark Origins. I hope all that means more to you than I. Brown's score features both live and electronic elements and features plenty of dark suspenseful material, as well as exciting action moments, topped off by the lovely, strings-and-piano "Henry's Theme." There's another slightly more detailed review of the score to be found at
Finally, the score that impressed me most on first listening was that written by 32-year-old Portuguese composer Nuno Malo for the psychological drama Julgamento, and I'm pleased to say that the label plan to release more of his work in the future. For Julgamento, Malo utilises traditional orchestra, augmented by the likes of the Ukrainian Bandura and bowed Dulcimer.
There's plenty of fine melodic material on display, as well as some exciting action writing. For another view on the score, go to
For further details of these releases and their composers, samples, trailers for the films the scores accompany, and of course ordering details, go to

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


From Top Dollar PR:-

Original Soundtrack to be released November 16 on iTunes

Los Angeles, CA - October 27, 2010 - BAFTA award-winning composer Jesper Kyd has
composed an original music soundtrack for Ubisoft®'s Assassin's Creed Brotherhood,
the next iteration of the critically acclaimed, multi-million selling video game
franchise. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is inspired by historical events during
the occupation of Rome by The Borgias in 1503. Kyd's new music score for Brotherhood
draws influence and authentic instrumentation from this Renaissance period, immersing
players in Ezio's adventures to liberate Rome from a corrupt and tyrant regime.
The Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Original Soundtrack will be available for digital
download from iTunes on November 16, 2010, to coincide with the North American release
of the game on Microsoft Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the Sony
PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system.

"Researching the history of the Borgia Family it became clear early on that Assassin's
Creed Brotherhood would require a very dark score in order to match the Borgias'
aspirations to become the rulers of Italy. The music reflects the compelling story
of Ezio as a Master Assassin going up against the Borgias," said Kyd.

Kyd's globally acclaimed score for Assassin's Creed® 2 continues to receive top
honors for Best Original Music including the Gold Spirit Awards, Hollywood Music
In Media Awards, GameSpot Readers' Choice, GameSpy Editors' Choice, Game Audio
Network Guild Awards as well as recognition from the British Academy of Film and
Television Arts, Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, International Film Music
Critics Association, Golden Joystick Awards and Spike TV VGAs.

In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood the critically acclaimed single player experience
of Assassin's Creed is back and better than ever as Ezio returns in an enduring
struggle against the powerful Templar Order. Now a legendary Master Assassin, he
must journey to Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart
of the enemy. Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only
strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood that will rally
to his side. Only by working together can the Assassins defeat their mortal enemies.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is also the first time the franchise has featured a
multiplayer gameplay experience, which has already received numerous industry awards.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is a worldwide production effort led by the Ubisoft
Montreal development studio in collaboration with Ubisoft studios in Singapore,
Bucharest, Québec City and Annecy. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood will ship on November
16, 2010 for the Microsoft Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the
Sony PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. For more information about Assassin's
Creed Brotherhood,please visit


Ci Risiamo, Vero Provvidenza?
Music by Ennio Morricone & Bruno Nicolai
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4136
15 Tracks 40:44 mins

You probably know now by now that I am a big fan of the Italian Western genre and its music. I am not however a fan of the more comedic entries. In fact, I would go so far as to say that those I have had the misfortune to sit through must number among the worst films ever made. I haven't seen Ci Risiamo, Vero Provvidenza? but, judging by the artwork and stills accompanying this limited release of just 750 copies, with its Chaplinesque hero, played by Tomas Milian, I am quite sure I would hate it.
The music however is courtesy of the great Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai and as such is worth checking out. Some of it has been made available on recordings before, but the majority of the music presented here was prepared for an unreleased promotional RCA LP.
The main theme is an easy-going, jaunty little melody, enhanced by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni's voicings of "Provvidenza," featured in both the opening ancd closing tracks, and also as an instrumental scherzo in track 7, and as a harpsichord solo on track 13.
The secondary theme is a charming love theme, "Bocca a Bocca," for airy flute, harpsichord and strings that features three times on the album.
Other tracks include a fiddle-lead hoe-down; an infectious vocal number, voiced in Italian by the film's star, again supported by I Cantori Moderni; a fast-flowing piano theme, straight out of the Chaplin era; something of a Native American dance, complete with guttural vocalisations; a semi-comedic military march; a Russian-styled performance dance number, with expressive violin lead; an Oriental styled theme; and a French Can-Can. All-in-all, an infectious and fun little listen.
I don't know how many copies of the album are left but, if you want one, you'd best hurry along to, who of course specialise in Italian soundtrack music, which brings me to three other Italian Western scores for films of a more serious nature that are available there, which I'll briefly mention, should you wish to check them out also.
Firstly, we have the Beat Record Company release of Vasco Vassil Kojucharov's music for the films Dio Perdoni La Mia Pistola and Anche Per Django Le Caroone Hanno Un Prezzo (Beat CDCR 109). The first 14 tracks are given over to the former score and include a pretty decent main theme, performed as the song "A Man Called Texas," unfortunately with uncredited English vocal; as an atmospheric harmonica solo, courtesy of Franco De Gemini; as an acoustic guitar solo; a dramatic showdown; and as a couple of fully orchestrated instrumentals.
There's a good helping of dramatic scoring along the way, as well as a brief comedic moment in track 6 (the tracks are all untitled as such).
The remaining 9 (again untitled) tracks are from Anche Per Django and largely features another fine main theme, only presented as a variety of instrumentals, from more straight-ahead to laid-back styles, including the standard showdown and galloping versions. It's all enjoyable stuff.
The CD is enhanced and, if you pop it into your PC, you should be able to access and interview with the composer (in Italian of course, but with English subtitles provided). There is also a very nice foldout included with the disc, featuring notes on the film and its music, both in Italian and English, illustrated with full colour artwork and stills from the films.
Next up is the GDM Music release of Enrico Ciacci and Marcello Marrocchi's score for 1967's Vendo Cara La Pelle. The first 19 tracks make up the body of the score, with a further five bonus tracks, featuring stereo mixes and alternates. I've never come across the duo's names before, let alone their music, but the score features another strong and versatile main theme, introduced in the opening track as a galloping, electric guitar-lead instrumental, but also featured as an easy-going flute theme, in one track introduced by tinkling music box, and there are also church organ/trumpet duets, with English and Italian vocal versions provided by Nico e I Gabbiani. A pretty love theme, voiced by a variety of instruments, features as the secondary motif, and of course, there's also a good helping of dramatic scoring along the way. A very welcome release of an above average genre score.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, featuring stills and poster artwork,with brief introductory notes (unfortunately in Italian only).
Finally, we have the great Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's score for the 1964 Guy Madison starrer Sfida A Rio Bravo. There are 23 unnamed cues, with a couple of bonus tracks of stereo mixes, presumably for a single release at the time. The versatile main theme is familiar from past collections and is most often presented as a bold, sturdy piece, sometimes with whistler and harmonica, but features in various forms throughout the score, including a romanticised version, and is always welcome. Again, there are plenty of dramatic moments, and some tuneful source music, featuring solo guitar and honky-tonk piano, along the way. Another fine example of the genre.
Again, there are plenty of full colour stills and artwork in the accompanying booklet, with the introduction unfortunately still only in Italian.
Don't forget, is the place for all your Italian soundtrack requirements. Tell Lionel I sent you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Well, here I am with my first catch-up attempt, and I'll begin with three recent releases from Lakeshore Records, starting with the digital download only release of Christopher Gordon's score for Bruce Bereford's Mao's Last Dancer, which is based on the autobiography of ballet dancer Li Cunxin, who went from a life of poverty to one of great acclaim as a world-class performer.
I briefly mentioned Christopher Gordon's acclaimed score for the film when reviewing his music for Daybreakers and, like buses, it seems you wait an age and then two come along at once, as was the case with these two fine scores. If only we heard more of this talented composer.
Of his score for Mao's Last Dancer, Gordon says: "There can be few movies that require such a broad array of musical ideas. From the simple exercises for piano to the complex pseudo-jazz of "Free Dance;" from the delicate "Pas de Deux" to the martial bombast of "Madame's Model Ballet;" from the joyous "Becoming a Dancer" to the sorrow of "Dance of Longing;" from the dramatic underscore of "The Consulate" to the chaste emotion of"Brush Dance," and from the Chinese folk-sounds of "Village Life" to the Hollywood orchestral epic of "Finale."
The score is simply gorgeous, but don't take my word for it, check out reviews at and
I should say that Gordon's music accounts for 18 of the 23 tracks on the album, with the remainder given over to ballet pieces by the likes of Tchaikovsky and Mozart.

Next up we have Philip Sheppards's music for The Tillman Story, a documentary dealing with the life and death of Pat Tillman, who, in 2002, gave up his glittering life as a pro-footballer to join the military, and whose subsequent tragic demise was exploited by the government for propaganda purposes.
Sheppard first came to my attention with his music for 2007's In the Shadow of the Moon and, whilst writing scores for the odd fictional tale, is mostly known for his work in the field of documentary. Dedicating the album to Pat's mother, Mary "Dannie" Tillman, Sheppard says: "I didn't want to apply a heroic sheen to the seductive images of sport and war, as this would only be adding to the myths that this film so eloquently deconstructs." He continues: "In writing documentary music I believe it is the composer's job to lead the viewer to a place where they can think, but not to tell them what to feel, so in a sense the music has to act as a clean slate. This is essential in a story where the original facts of the matter have been distorted an re-imagined in the first place."
Comprising no less than 32 tracks, Sheppard's score is somewhat fragmented, which is not unusual for a documentary of this nature, but many cues are of a decent length, and there is the odd lengthy offering along the way, like the tense "Into the Valley." Largely utilising strings, with telling solos by the likes of cello, violin, piano and trumpet, the music is very much emotion-filled, mixing the suitably solemn and tragic, with moments of warmth and nostalgia, and the odd upbeat moment, like the paranoid "Suspicion," with its insistent plucked stringed opening, an element that features further in subsequent tracks; the airy "Flight;" the rhythmic exotica of "The Afghan;" and the flowing string quartet of "The Hearing." Electronics are used sparingly, often when an element of threat is required. The standout, for me, are the strident brass and strings of the "Jessica Lynch Waltz."
Already available as a digital download, The Tillman Story soundtrack is released in U.S. stores today.

The final release here from Lakeshore is Mark Kilian's score for Legacy, which focuses on a decorated anti-terrorist black-ops soldier as he reflects on a botched mission in Eastern Europe.
Kilian describes his music as: "an exciting blend of retro flavoured orchestral writing, reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann's work with Alfred Hitchcock, and a modern electronica sensibility applied to the writing and manipulation of acoustic and electronic instruments and percussion." He continues: "to give the sense of psychological breakdown and the loss of reality, the music never lets the audience settle into a comfortable thematic development pattern, but rather keeps the 'nail on the chalkboard' idea throughout, where many sounds are not quite right."
There's actually very little of the Herrmann style on display here, with the more modern sensibilities very much to the fore. Standout tracks, for me, include the menacing percussion and brass of "Dead End;" the brief, but haunting "Valentina;" the exotic and somewhat unhinged "Dancing with the Enemy;" the pounding "Descent;" and the fragile, out-of-tune piano of "Scars," which is reprised in the closing "Goodbye Again."
Mark Kilian's score for Legacy is available now as a digital download only.
My thanks to Beth Krakower of CineMedia Promotions, without whose press releases I would have been hard pressed to put together this piece.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Well, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel and I hope to have some reviews for you this week. Unfortunately however, I am now quite behind with these and will not be able to review everything in such detail as I normally would. The main thing though, it seems to me, is to let you know what is out there and provide as much guidance as time and resources allow. You can therefore expect things to be a little different but, at least for the time being, this is unavoidable. The alternative was to cease operations altogether and, though I have previously considered this on more than one occasion, whilst the record labels, publicists and composers continue to send things my way, I'll do my best to cover everything in some form or another.
In the meantime, you will recall I recently reviewed Christophe Beck's score for Waiting For Superman, released by Lakeshore Records (see, well, now I have received a press release from the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, which I thought you might like to read:-



LOS ANGELES (October 25, 2010) – Award-winning composer Christophe Beck creates a moody and introspective score to the critically-acclaimed Paramount Vantage documentary “Waiting For Superman.” Directed by Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”), the documentary is a deeply personal exploration of the current state of public education in the U.S. and how it is affecting our children. The film opened earlier this month in major markets and continues to open throughout North America in the next few weeks. The score – released by Lakeshore Records – is now available in stores on CD and online through and iTunes.

“One of the great things about working on a documentary is that you're dealing with real people in real situations,” says Beck. “The music's function isn't to merely push the action along, or to manufacture some kind of feeling that for one reason or another wasn't captured on film – it's to support real, authentic, genuine characters and emotions.”

The film uses playful animations to help convey some fairly disturbing facts when it comes to our failing education system. “I found I could complement that by using some whimsical instrumentation such as pizzicato strings, bouncy percussion and a slightly-too-optimistic feeling,” explains Beck. This helps liven up the presentation of otherwise fairly dry facts and statistics. Then, of course there's the human side too. We wanted to underscore the kids' stories of struggle, hope, disappointment, and for a lucky few, celebration. We used simple, intimate instrumentation – often a plaintive single guitar or piano to help tell these kids' stories.”

In 2000, the cheerleading comedy "Bring It On" launched Beck's prolific film scoring career. His credits include "Under the Tuscan Sun," "Saved," "We Are Marshall," "Year of the Dog," "What Happens in Vegas," and "The Hangover," the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time.

Beck’s road to film scoring was circuitous. The Montreal native started piano lessons at five and by eleven he was writing music for his first-ever band. During high school he studied flute, saxophone, trombone & drums, and performed in rock bands. While studying music at Yale, Beck had an epiphany: “I discovered my talent for composing was far greater than my talent for performing.” He wrote two musicals with his brother Jason (a.k.a. Chilly Gonzales, the Berlin-based hip-hop recording artist), as well as an opera based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Upon graduation from Yale in 1992, he moved to Los Angeles to attend USC's prestigious film scoring program, where he studied with notable composers Jerry Goldsmith and Christopher Young. Beck was immediately attracted to the creative challenges unique to the marriage of music and picture. A personal recommendation from the legendary Buddy Baker, head of the USC Music Department, led to his first assignment for a TV series called "White Fang.” Soon thereafter, he was asked to score a new TV series, “Buffy,” based on the movie “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” for which he received the Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition.

Currently playing in theatres across the nation, “Waiting for Superman” continues to roll out in new markets this season. Selections from the score can be heard at


Thursday, October 21, 2010


Still no reviews for you, I am afraid. I think I'd best give up making promises. I just hadn't realised how much other work had piled up whilst I was engaged outside. I'm catching up as fast as I can though, and I think that's all I'd better say for now. But, at least here's some news from Top Dollar PR:-

One-of-a-kind Music and Gaming Event Celebrates Acclaimed
Composer James Hannigan; Live Concert Performances by
The Pinewood Singers and Soprano Tamara Zivadinovic

LONDON, England, October 21st, 2010 - British Academy award-winner James Hannigan,
renowned for his original music scores featured in video game franchises such as
Command and Conquer, Evil Genius, Harry Potter, Republic, The Lord of the Rings,
Freelancer as well as contributing to the BBC sci-fi drama television series Primeval,
will take part in an evening retrospective of his music for video games during GameCity
2010, the UK's leading independent video game festival held in Nottingham from 26th-30th
October. Presented as both a concert and discussion, this one-of-a-kind music and
gaming event takes place on Thursday October 28th, 7.30pm at the 14th Century St.
Mary's Church in Nottingham. Tickets can still be purchased at

The concert will feature a selection of James Hannigan's compositions performed
by The Pinewood Singers and conducted by Allan Wilson (Sleepy Hollow, Fable), including
the world premiere of Hannigan's new theme for EA's Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows: Part One video game, an exclusive arrangement of the Evil Genius theme
for guitar, music from Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Command and Conquer 4:
Tiberian Twilight and The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest from Warner Bros.
Interactive Entertainment.

Soprano Tamara Zivadinovic, the singer of "Soviet March 2" as featured in Red Alert
3 Uprising, will also be attending the event and performing her unique and powerful
interpretation of the popular Command & Conquer anthem "Soviet March" for the first
time in public.

In between the concert performances, there will be a conversation with composer
James Hannigan on the subject of writing music for video games, looking at the creative
process from composition through to recording themes like Hannigan's "Soviet March"
and "Yuriko's Theme" from the Command & Conquer series - complete with unique live
demonstrations of his interactive music at work.

The concert set-list includes:

"Soviet March" - Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (EA)
"Evil Genius Theme" - Evil Genius (Rebellion)
"The Prophet's Ascension" - Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (EA)
"Main Theme" - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One (EA)
"Rivendell" - The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest (WBIE)
"Welcome to Hogwarts" - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (EA)
"Yuriko's Theme" - Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (EA)

For more information on James Hannigan and the latest updates please visit:
The James Hannigan concert is one part of GameCity 2010, the annual festival that
explores and celebrates videogames culture. For full details of the festival line-up,
The names of products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Monday, October 18, 2010


It's taking a little longer than I first expected, but I'm at least in the planning stages for some kind of order to my forthcoming reviews - just need the time to listen to the CDs! In the meantime, here's some news
from Costa Communications:-



Award-winning composer Aaron Zigman scores “For Colored Girls.” The film marks Zigman’s sixth collaboration with director Tyler Perry.

The highly anticipated Lionsgate film is based on Ntozake Shange’s Tony and Obie award-winning choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.” and The story has become a right of passage reading for many young women Now, thirty six years later, Tyler Perry adapts this landmark work for the big screen, integrating the vivid language of Shange’s poems into a contemporary narrative that explores what it means to be a woman of color - and a woman of any color - in this world.

The classically-trained Zigman’s sweeping original score is complemented with an evocative aria he composed, “La Donna in Viola,” for one of the film’s most pivotal and emotionally-charged scenes. The music is performed by a full orchestra and features solo performances by violin virtuoso Joshua Bell with Aaron Zigman on piano. “The idea of the aria was to capture the essence of Ntozake Shange’s poetry and incorporate it into an Italian libretto,” explains Zigman. The aria pays homage to Puccini and Verdi while incorporating Aaron Zigman’s unique voice.

The film weaves together the stories of nine women as they move into and out of one another’s existences; some are well known to each other, others are as yet strangers. Crises, heartbreaks and crimes will ultimately bring these nine women fully into the same orbit where they will find commonality, understanding and truth. The all-star cast includes Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington

Aaron Zigman’s experience in the arenas of classical, big band, urban, and pop make him one of the most formidable composers working today. His pop music accomplishments include arranging and producing artists from Sting and Dionne Warwick to Jennifer Holliday and Christina Aguilera. His love of orchestral music would eventually lead him to the film scoring. His foray into film composing occurred when film director Nick Cassavetes went to hear Zigman’s classical 35 minute symphonic tone poem “Rabin,” performed by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. This lead to Zigman scoring the Cassavetes films “John Q” and “The Notebook” and his film career flourished. By 2007 he scored an unprecedented nine films in one year and the Hollywood Reporter crowned him “the busiest and most sought-after composer in the industry.” The prolific composer’s film scoring credits include: “The Ugly Truth,” “Bridge To Taribithia,” “Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “Take The Lead,” “Alpha Dog,” “Why Did I Get Married,” Zigman’s. Aaron Zigman work has been recognized with nominations and awards from Emmy, BMI, Hollywood Music in Media, among others.

Earlier this year Zigman’s instrumental piece “Steve’s Song” from the film “The Last Song” starring Miley Cyrus debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hans Zimmer's
Rain Man
Available for Pre-Order Now

Perseverance Records PRD 037
$19.95 MSRP
Will ship the first week of November 2010.
Limited to 2000 copies.

World premiere release of Hans Zimmer's complete Academy Award-winning score to Barry Levinson's seminal film. This album features the full score in its entirety with two bonus tracks. A landmark score that set the tone for years to come. It comes with a 16-page booklet with lots of artwork from the movie and an interesting essay by Randall Larson that gives insight into the film's long and arduous way from script to screen.

01 - Drive From the Country 1:23
02 - Empty House 0:44
03 - Charlie's Memories 0:36
04 - Drive To the Bank And Wallbrook 1:23
05 - Leaving Wallbrook 1:40
06 - Traffic Accident and Aftermath 3:57
07 - Train Crossing 0:18
08 - Walk Don't Run 1:27
09 - Farmhouse 0:47
10 - Putting Ray To Bed 2:00
11 - On The Road 1:22
12 - Las Vegas 6:51
13 - Piano Source Music 1:04
14 - Smoke Alarm 1:23
15 - Pancakes 1:07
16 - My Main Man 1:33
17 - Train Station Goodbye 1:52
18 - End Credits 3:12
19 - On The Road (Wild Panpipes) 1:16
20 - Las Vegas (Wild Vocals & Percussion) 1:11

Ennio Morricone's
Red Sonja
Available for Pre-Order Now

Perseverance Records PRD 035
$19.95 MSRP
Will ship the third week of November 2010.
Limited to 2000 copies.

With the Varese CD long out of print, the release of this album fills a gap in many a listener's Morricone collection. The music is sequenced in chronological film order so that it makes sense, and not in an arranged "suite" as it was on previous albums. The cue "Entering the Castle" can be heard here for the first time on an official album. A great score by the Maestro that has been long sought after. It comes with a 16-page booklet with liner notes by film music expert Gergely Hubai that analyze the music on a track-by-track basis and tell about the impact of the score on the genre in particular.

1 Prologue 1:24
2 Main Title 2:22
3 The Talisman 3:15
4 Temple Raid 1:39
5 Touch It 1:03
6 Sonja And The Sword Master 1:49
7 Vanna's Death 2:00
8 The Gate Of Brytag 1:47
9 Sonja Vs. Brytag 1:14
10 Fighting The Soldiers 3:36
11 The Chamber Of Lights 2:02
12 Sorcery 0:46
13 Sonja Teaches Tam 1:33
14 Treasure In The Cavern 2:07
15 Kalidor and Sonja 1:43
16 A Fair Fight 1:50
17 Entering The Castle 2:12
18 Sonja Defeats The Queen 1:36
19 End Credits 3:42

Coming Soon
Unforgettable by Christopher Young
Puppet Master: The Soundtrack Collection Box by Richard Band, Jeff Walton, John Massari & Peter Bernstein
Death Warrant by Gary Chang

Perseverance Records

Friday, October 15, 2010


From Top Dollar PR:-

CD Features Ten Original Tracks Spanning Multiple Rock Genres;

DVD Features Behind-The-Scenes Recording Of Album and Technical How-To-Play Video


New York - October 12th, 2010 - Steve Ouimette, critically acclaimed guitarist and
composer, today announced he will release his debut solo album "EPIC" with Sumthing
Else Music Works, the award-winning industry leader for licensing and distributing
video game soundtracks. Best known for his covers for the highly successful Guitar
Hero® series as well as the memorable guitar performances on hi-octane original
video game scores such as Red Steel(TM)2, "EPIC" showcases Steve's diverse repertoire
and is laden with extraordinary musicianship, performed across a wide range of styles
that marry cinematic elements with over-the-top guitars. "EPIC" will be released
as a CD/DVD on October 26th, 2010 to retail outlets through Sumthing Else Music
Works, and will also be available for digital download on Sumthing Digital, Amazon MP3 and iTunes®.

"Sumthing's philosophy for artist-driven music coupled with their commitment and
track record in the video game world made them the ideal partner for releasing
my debut solo album," said Steve Ouimette. "The label has been incredibly supportive
of my music and in helping to bring this album to life. I hope gamers and guitar
music fans everywhere will enjoy these original tracks as much as I had composing,
playing and recording them."

Sumthing Else Music Works is the world's leading music label for gamers dedicated
to releasing the latest and greatest soundtracks from gaming's biggest franchises
including Halo®, God of War®, Fable®, Gears of War®,Hitman(TM), Mass Effect(TM),
Resident Evil®, Street Fighter®, Uncharted as well as exciting new properties such
as Alan Wake(TM), Borderlands(TM), Darksiders(TM) and InFamous. Sumthing's release
of the Halo® 2 Original Soundtrack Volume One is the best-selling original video
game soundtrack to date. Sumthing has boosted its commitment to enhancing gamers'
overall experience by acquiring many new titles to complement its current catalog
of releases and is now recognized as the leader in this newly emerging music genre.
Andy Uterano, President of Sumthing Else Music Works, commented, "Sumthing is a
creative outlet and distributor for various independent artists and numerous innovative
music projects. We're always interested in championing unique music talent and we're
excited to be releasing Steve's debut solo album to his fans throughout the gaming
community and beyond."

A lifelong guitarist, composer and recording studio veteran, Steve Ouimette's passion
for guitars, and the recording studio lifestyle took him on an experiential musical
journey; from graduating with a B.A. in composition to owning various recording
studios and a career in the video game space. Ouimette's expertise and love of playing
music along with his experience in the video games industry led him to form his
own music production company in 2005 and subsequently a long-standing association
with the world-renowned Guitar Hero franchise. Steve Ouimette's inspiration for
"EPIC" combines his guitar prowess and eclectic musical influences with the rich
heritage of classic and modern rock music genres.
"EPIC" Track Listing

"Speaking In Tongues"
"El Toro"
"Lou's Revenge"
"I Saw God"
"Fear And Reverence"
"This Is Scorpion Gulch"
"The Divining Witch"
"Mr. Bones"
"Neverending Fog"
"A Dark Reversal"
Bonus Tracks (from Guitar Hero®)
"The Devil Went Down To Georgia"
"We Three Kings"
"Dueling Banjos"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
Produced and engineered by Steve Ouimette, he also performs guitars as well as bass,
keys and programming, with Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, John Fogerty,
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana) on drums. The bonus track covers are made available with
the kind permission of Activision Publishing, Inc. The recording diaries and instructional
videos featured on the DVD are also written, created and produced by Steve Ouimette.

For more information on Steve Ouimette visit:

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

Join Sumthing Else Music Works online:

Monday, October 11, 2010


Still very much up to my eyes in work at the moment, but hope to have turned the corner by the weekend and be back in normal reviewing mode by the start of the week. In the meantime, here's some news.

From Top Dollar PR:-

Blockbuster Action-Adventure Role-Playing Video Game Features
Original Music Score Composed by BAFTA Nominee Russell Shaw

New York - October 11th, 2010 - Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc proudly presents
the Fable III Original Soundtrack featuring the original music score from the latest
installment to the action-packed and critically acclaimed role-playing video game
franchise for Xbox 360. Fable III Original Soundtrack will be released on October
26th, 2010 to retail outlets through Sumthing Else Music Works,
and for digital download at, Amazon MP3, iTunes® and
other digital music sites.

Fable III Original Soundtrack features the rich and musically diverse music score
composed by BAFTA nominated series composer Russell Shaw. The Fable III score was
recorded with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and 40-piece choir at the Slovak
Radio Concert Hall in Bratislava and features solo vocal performances by international
singing star Tanja Tzarovska. The soundtrack was mixed at Pinewood Film Studios,UK.

"From fairy tale to drama, action and adventure to horror, the lush, varied orchestrations
combine to keep the magic of the Fable musical tradition alive," says Russell Shaw,
Head of Music and Composer at Lionhead Studios. "Drawing on music styles from around
the world, the Fable III soundtrack enhances the richness and diversity fans have
come to expect from the Fable universe."

Fable III is the latest installment to the action-packed and critically acclaimed
Xbox 360 exclusive franchise that has sold more than six million copies. In Fable
III, you will be called upon to rally and fight alongside your people, ascend to
the seat of power and experience the true meaning of love and loss while defending
your throne. In your quest to seize power and defend your kingdom, the choices you
make will change the world around you for the greater good or your own personal
gain. Who will you become? A rebel without a cause, the tyrant you rebelled against,
or the greatest ruler to ever live?

Fable III launches in North America on 26th October and in the UK on 29th October,
2010. For more information, visit

For additional details, visit Lionhead at

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

Friday, October 08, 2010


You'll have to excuse me if reviews are a little thin on the ground at the moment, only I currently have a pretty heavy workload and am just not getting time to listen to all the goodies I've got lined up for you. I'll do the best that I can to keep up, but cannot make any promises. Just know that I have things like Halo Reach, Dexter Season 4, Medal of Honor (2010), Doctor Who: The Specials, the acclaimed Mao's Last Dancer, a couple of Alex Wurman scores (one of them an Emmy winner), and a bunch of Italian Western scores for you. In the meantime, here's some news:-

From Costa Communications:-



LOS ANGELES (October 7, 2010) – This fall the music of Bruno Coulais will be heard around the world. His Oscar-worthy score to Disneynature’s hit documentary OCEANS can be heard when the Blu-Ray and DVD are released in the U.S. on October 19. The 10th Edition of the World Soundtrack Awards at the Ghent Film Festival in Belgium will feature a suite of his scores live in concert at the awards presentation on October 23.

Coulais is one of the world’s most imaginative composers as demonstrated in CORALINE (Annie Award winner), LES CHORISTES (César winner, Oscar and BAFTA nominated), and the César winning MICROCOSMOS and HIMALAYA. Although not singled out for recognition in 2010, two films that he scored were Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature, CORALINE and THE SECRET OF KELLS.

His relationship with Belgium’s Ghent International Film Festival dates back to 1996 when he won the Georges Delerue Prize for his work on MICROCOSMOS. Again in 1999, the festival honored him Audience Award and a Special Mention in 1999 for HIMALAYA. In 2001, the festival’s World Soundtrack Academy began the World Soundtrack Awards to honor the best in film music. Coulais will be in attendance at the awards where a suite of his music will be performed live by the Brussels Philharmonic – the Orchestra of Flanders, conducted by Dirk Brossé.

Released earlier this year, OCEANS is the 7th largest grossing documentary. USA Today said “Bruno Coulais' musical score provides an evocative counterpoint to the often dazzling photography. A scene featuring diving sea birds and whales moving in concert with the rhythm of the waves is stunning.” While the Associated Press called the score “sweeping.” Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud take viewers on a breathtaking and unprecedented high-definition journey to discover nature’s mysteries, showcasing creatures captured on film for the first time and state-of-the-art imagery of the colorful symphony that lives under the sea.

“OCEANS is more than a film. It is a manifest for nature,” Coulais said. His score – which is available through iTunes – is written for a full orchestra, a kind of concerto for harp and violin with electronic sounds. His score was recorded in Paris featuring French soloists Marielle Nordmann (harp) and Laurent Korcia (violin); along with the French choir Mikrokosmos. Coulais’s unquestionable contributions to the environment earned him recognition from Vice-President

Al Gore’s Climate Project Foundation and Spain’s Tenerife International Film Music Festival (FIMUCITÉ) when they presented him with the Fimucité Green Award in June 2010.

In 2010 Bruno Coulais scored another hit documentary that is now on DVD. Focus Features’ BABIES has become the 17th highest grossing documentary.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Music by John Scott
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1144 (US)
17 Tracks 38:30 mins

One of the label's briefer recordings, but a very welcome one nevertheless, is John Scott's score for Hugh Hudson's 1984 representation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic character Tarzan. Scott is well respected by the soundtrack collecting community, but somewhat underrated by the industry. His score for Charlton Heston's Antony & Cleopatra is among the greatest film scores ever written, and he has composed many a fine theme in his time, including the heroic Final Countdown, as well as its gorgeous love theme, and the great, sax-lead Shoot to Kill theme. He is also known of course for his work on many a Jacques Cousteau documentary, but it's fair to say that he has never really made the A-list, which is sad, as he has as much talent (and more) than many who have.
Sadly, all too few of his scores have been released commercially but, to his many admirers' delight, he has over the years released much of his work on his own JOS label.
Greystoke did receive a commercial release, on LP, but this is the premiere commercial CD release of the score. Sadly, an expanded treatment proved impossible, though, in addition to the original 15 album cues, La-La Land have managed to extract the Overture and End Credits from the original magnetic track, so that there is at least some new material, albeit totalling less than five minutes of music.
At the heart of the score is yet another memorable Scott theme, which is heard for the first time as the opening track, "The Family." The theme is brassy, noble and expansive, yet also warm and lush when strings take the fore. An innocent variation on the theme is to be found in "Child of the Apes;" a further variation in the suitably hallucinatory "D'Arnot's Vision;" with its final appearance being reserved for the closing "Return to the Jungle."
For "Greystoke," Scott adapted Elgar's First Symphony to provide an appropriate sense of nobility for scenes in which Tarzan tries to integrate into his grandfather's polite English society, but the music most represents the grandfather himself, a warm, winning performance by Sir Ralph Richardson, who sadly died just after filming was completed. Further music from Elgar's "Chanson De Matin" accompanies "Gardens of Greystoke." Continuing in the classical idiom, Scott composed a traditional polka sound for "(The Dancing Lesson) Sontag Polka."
The more dramatic cues include "Catastrophe;" "Pygmy Attack; "Tarzan, Lord of the Apes;" "Tarzan Leaves the Jungle;" "Edge of the World;" "Half of Me is Wild;" and ""Dance of Death;" the latter ending sympathetically as Tarzan's adoptive father, the ape Silverbeard, dies in his arms. Throughout, Scott pulls out some pretty menacing and cacophonous sounds to accompany the appropriate action, whilst drama of the more emotional kind to be found in "The Weight of Greystoke."
One can tell the difference in sound quality between the bonus tracks and the album programme, but they are perfectly acceptable and, in any case, provide a welcome opportunity to hear Scott's magnificent main theme a couple more times again.
Accompanying the CD is the usual colourful booklet, with Jeff Bond's notes on the film and its score, as well as the invaluable cue-by-cue guide, all illustrated with stills from the production.
Among the things Bond mentions are the filming locations, but here's where I can add to his knowledge, as he fails to mention that a sizeable sequence was shot on the Hall Barn Estate in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. I was a clerk in the Estate Office at the time, and well remember all our staff were asked to play beaters for scenes where Greystoke, still very much a fish out of water, participated in a pheasant shoot, with the King of England one of the guns. My boss, the Lord of the Manor, The Baron Burnham also got to play a gun, and it was great fun seeing everyone kitted out in period costume. Unfortunately, there were problems with the length of the finished film, resulting in the entire sequence being cut. However, on a personal note, though I have never met the composer, the location manager on the picture did kindly obtain his autograph for me.
Limited to just 3000 units, get along to to order your copy and, if you're not familiar with the score, you'' find some samples there to guide you.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


From Costa Communications:-



Gamers can sample new game for free through October 7th

Soundtrack available now – Videogame available October 12th

Largest pre-order in Medal of Honor franchise history

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – October 4, 2010 – Ramin Djawadi is already receiving critical acclaim for his just released score to the newest Medal of Honor™. The game will be available in eight days, but now through October 7, Gamers can hear Djawadi’s score as they play the game for free. PC gamers worldwide can sample two diverse maps and two action-packed multiplayer modes in the PC Multiplayer Open Beta. Go to Djawadi is best known for his film and TV scores including Iron Man, "Prison Break" and Clash of the Titans. His videogame score matches the intense soldier’s story and Tier 1 experience told throughout Medal of Honor, which takes place in the current war in Afghanistan. Medal of Honor score album is now available on iTunes; Game available October 12th.

"The new version of a landmark game always requires a next-level soundtrack," said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Marketing. "But this 'reinvention' of Medal of Honor demanded a composer who could create an epic score that brings the game into a whole new era. The intuition and skill that makes Ramin Djawadi one of Hollywood's top young talents in film scoring is exemplified in MoH. This is an incredibly intense score, and we're tremendously proud to have him in the EA family."

For the first time in its 11-year history, Medal of Honor leaves the World War II theatre and enters the modern day setting of war-torn Afghanistan told through the lens of a small band of fictional characters. Medal of Honor introduces players to the Tier 1 Operator, an elite warrior and relatively unknown instrument of the U.S. Military that operates under the National Command Authority, taking on missions no one else can handle. Composer Ramin Djawadi explains "The fact that it is modern day with various locations asked for a completely different approach both stylistically and thematically. The score is very wide spread from emotional orchestral to edgy modern action. Western and ethnic instruments are used to represent the different cultures."

Djawadi composed over 100 minutes of music which needed to play perfectly with the actions that constantly change throughout the game including an abrupt ending. "Designing a score that defines both the scalpel-like quiet professionals that are the Tier 1 Operators and the bold execution of the sledge hammer big military, has been truly unlike any project I’ve had the opportunity to work on," said Djawadi. "Between the fast paced action and the precise battle sequences, players will be kept on the edge of their seats the entire game."

Medal of Honor launches on October 12, 2010 in North America and October 15 in Europe for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. Follow the game on twitter at: or become a fan on Facebook at

Sunday, October 03, 2010


The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films
Written by Doug Adams
Carpentier and Alfred Music Publishing
416 Pages + bonus CD

At times I despaired this book would ever be published but, having delved into its pages, it is more than evident as to why it took almost ten years to write, for author Doug Adams, who had, even before this book was put together, written many guides and conducted numerous interviews for recordings and publications concerning the LOTR music, has obviously spent countless hours going through the films, identifying all the many themes and motifs and discovering where they appear and how they develop through the course of the trilogy.
With a Foreword by the composer himself, Howard Shore, who also contributes throughout, an Introduction by LOTR screenwriter/producer Fran Walsh, all illustrated with countless original sketches by John Howe and Alan Lee, as well as numerous colour stills from the films, this impressive tome is basically split into three sections, the first being an exploration of the many themes Shore wrote for the films, illustrated with musical examples that, with my lack of musical training go somewhat over my head, though it's nevertheless fascinating to discover how themes I didn't really notice until later in the story often had their roots in the very beginnings of the trilogy. To illustrate just how many there are, this section takes no less than 123 pages.
There is a kind of diary of episodes from the many recording sessions that took place in London, Watford (north of London) and Wellington, New Zealand, which includes insights from those involved, including musicians who played on the scores, which is a rarity.
However, the bulk of the book (some 225 pages) takes the reader on a complete musical tour of the trilogy, the author detailing both the plots and the music that accompanies each scene, so that even if the exploration of the themes in the first section did, like me, go somewhat over your head; if you are as familiar with the films as I guess you are, should you have waited as patiently as I have for this book, you will certainly recognise the themes and their development in the context of the plot. Of course, in an ideal world, should you have the time to pour over the book with the films playing alongside you'll get the maximum benefit but, I recognise only too well that this might not be possible - certainly not in one sitting, anyway. All-in-all, this is the perfect guide to Shore's musical masterpiece.
But before concluding, I should firstly bring to your attention the appendices, which provide mini biographies for the many vocal and instrumental performers featured in the scores, a description of the principal instruments, many of them of course unusual, and which characters and/or scenarios they illustrate; and finally, I should mention the bonus CD that comes with the book, that can be found inside the back cover, and which features all new material,consisting of everything from alternate takes, to pieces originally written for scenes that were subsequently changed, to early demos of themes that will become familiar to us when fully fleshed out. There's plenty to enjoy over the 23 tracks of this 79-minute disc, with many of my favourite themes cropping up in one form or another; and the final two tracks feature a brief conversation between author and composer.
Already widely available in the European Union, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films will be released in the U.S. and worldwide from October 5th.
I am unfortunately too late to point you in the direction of events that have taken place in the U.K., including a signing and Q&A, and the Return of the King concert at the Royal Albert Hall but, if you reside in the U.S., there's a signing and Q&A with Shore and Adams at Barnes and Noble in New York on October 7th and The Two Towers concert at Radio City Music Hall, in the same city on October 8th-9th.
My thanks to the publishers and to publicist Beth Krakower of CineMedia Promotions for the opportunity of reviewing this groundbreaking publication.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Johnny Oro (Ringo and His Golden Pistol)
Music by Carlo Savina
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4135
21 Tracks 50:23 mins

Many moons ago I caught a rare TV airing of this 1966 Sergio Corbucci western under its alternate title of Ringo and His Golden Pistol and remember enjoying both the film and its music, so I was delighted when this premiere recording of Carlo Savina's score came along in the latest batch of releases in the GDM Hillside Series.
The opening title song is sung in Italian by the dependable I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni and is a lusty affair, with whistle courtesy of Alessandroni himself of course. Alessandroni continues his work into track two (there are not track titles as such), a brooding affair, which transforms into a dramatic deguello; and track 3 opens the same before a plaintive harmonica refrain takes over, only to be cut short by harsh guitars, which continue into track 4 in somewhat doom-laden fashion, but with spirited trumpet-lead interludes. The harmonica refrain returns for the brief track, but is quickly cut short, only for electric guitar to take up the melody.
Track 6 is your usual barroom piano track that features in countless genre entries and, similarly, we have a Flamenco guitar piece following in track 7, but this is cut short in favour of a whistled variation on the title song, which is taken up by trumpet and flows spiritedly to a dramatic conclusion. Track 8 is a largely tense affair, but with a couple of welcome interruptions by Alessandroni.
The brooding melody from track two returns in more positive fashion, played by electric guitar at the start of track 9 and then suddenly steps up a gear to gallop onward in splendid fashion before slowing down again, heralding a complete change of mood to one of tension and threat. Things immediately lighten again though with track 10 presenting a fine galloping Alessandroni-lead variation on the title song.
Track 11 sees the deguello return to provide a dramatic opening and close to the cue, with the following tack being a somewhat muted affair; the tense track 13 following that.
Track 14 offers another splendid variation on the title song, featuring first Alessandroni, then trumpet, but unfortunately this doesn't last long before the harsh electric guitars break it up, before accompanying trumpet in a great closing version of the deguello. The following track is largely a menacing affair, the menace continuing into track 16.
Track 17 features yet another fine instrumental take on the title song (this time minus the whistle) and ends with the deguello, with the following track another tense, suspenseful affair; the mood continuing into track 19, but quickly dispersing to reveal another fairly brief variation on the title theme.
Track 20 features the English language version of the title song, but it actually sounds a little chaotic and, in this case, I think I prefer the opening Italian version, even if I didn't know what they were singing about. In case you think you could do better, a bonus backing track concludes the album, ideal if you fancy a spot of karaoke.
The accompanying booklet features plenty of original full colour poster artwork and stills from the film.
It's great to finally have this fine score available, and you'd best get along to pretty fast if you want a copy of this very limited edition release of just 500 units.