ScreenSounds

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

CHRISTOPHE BECK

WINS HOLLYWOOD MUSIC IN MEDIA AWARD FOR BEST “ORIGINAL SCORE DOCUMENTARY”

LOS ANGELES – Award-winning composer Christophe Beck wins an HMMA for “Best Original Score: Indie/Short/Documentary” for his 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 United States, and how it has affected our children. Just announced as one of 15 contenders for “Best Documentary Feature” at next years Academy Awards, the film opened in October to major markets. The score released by Lakeshore Records is now available in stores on CD and online through Amazon.com 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," "Red," "The Hangover," the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time and recently released musical drama, “Burlesque.”

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.

The Hollywood Music in Media Awards recognizes and honors the music in visual mediums, the talented individuals responsible for creating and placing it, and the music of both mainstream and independent artists from around the globe for their compositions and recordings in all forms of media including film, TV, video games, commercial advertisements, movie trailers and music videos. The HMMA is also the first music awards event to recognize and honor excellence in music supervision. In addition, iconic individuals are presented with special awards for outstanding career achievement and longevity in entertainment.

Selections from the score can be heard at www.christophebeck.com.



WARNER CLASSICS & JAZZ RELEASE NEW ALBUM BY BRITISH VIOLINIST CHARLIE SIEM


Although not really screen music-related, you may be interested to know that British violinist Charlie Siem, who is already regarded as one of Europe's most gifted violinists, has a new album out on Warner Classics & Jazz.
The album includes works by some of the finest composers to have written for the violin, including Sarasate, Wieniawski, Kreisler and Heifetz. A performance of Franz Waxman's well-regarded Carmen Fantasie is also included. Waxman of course was one of the all-time Hollywood great film composers, but also championed the works of classical composers.
The album, just titled Charlie Siem, is already available in Europe, and receives its UK release in February 2011.

Monday, November 29, 2010




DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - THE BIRD CAN'T FLY


The Bird Can't Fly
Music by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker
Lakeshore Records
22 Tracks

On November 2nd Lakeshore Records digitally released Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker's score for Dutch novelist Threes Anna's directorial debut The Bird Can't Fly, a drama starring Barbara Hershey, which was originally released in 2007, earning The City of Utrecht Film Prize for Best Dutch Debut.
Kilian and Hepker previously collaborated on 2005's Best Foreign Film Oscar winner Tsotsi, and also Rendition and here they continue their exploration of world music sounds. CineMedia Promotions' press release describes the results better than I ever could, stating that the composers "have created a sensitive, yet powerful aural backdrop for the film; their use of flutes and distant voices, over a bed of buzzing and shifting slide guitars, lends an evocative and unsettled ambience that occasionally breaks out into bursts of hi-octane percussive muscle."
In addition to Kilian and Hepker's instrumental cues, they created a number of songs, a couple of which feature on the album, including "Mine," which is very Oliver Onions in style; and there is also a typical New Orleans-styled funeral march, featuring the voice of Inara George.

Sunday, November 28, 2010




THREE FROM LA-LA LAND RECORDS

La-La Land Records recently released these albums. Mirrors 2 is a new score, whereas both Alien Resurrection and Haunted Summer are expanded reissues. Firstly, I'll concentrate on Mirrors 2. The film is a sequel to 2008's Mirrors, which had a score by Javier Navarrete. Here, Frederik Wiedmann (The Hills Run Red, Return to House on Haunted Hill) steps in and utilises orchestra and electronics, supplemented by vocalists Kate Conklin and Katrin Wiedmann, explaining that "the vocals within the score represent the missing girl, and her calling from beyond."
After the largely propulsive "Main Title" gets the album off to a good start, there's some pretty exciting and really quite savage action to be found in the likes of "Slice," "Run!," "Keller Returns," "The Murder," "Want a Slice?," "A Corpse in the Basement," and "Broken Glass For Dinner,"
There are also plenty of mysterious and pretty dissonant passages, along the way, whilst more melodic, emotional fare can be found in "Kayla," "Alive," "Eleanor's Lament," "Max's Theme," and "Mirror Syndrome."
"Loosing Her Up" is quite an interesting track, mixing harsh dissonances with trumpet-lead jazz, and "Revenge" impresses with its sheer power.
The penultimate track, "It's Over," brings a welcome sense of relief, but this is short-lived as the closing title track propels us to an unsettling conclusion.
All-in-all, an above average genre score, with a good blend of melody with exciting action writing.
Mirrors 2 LLLCD 1151 - Total Time: 51:16 mins

1997's Alien Resurrection, the fourth film in the Alien series, saw Sigourney Weaver play a cloned human-alien hybrid (her character, Ripley of course met her demise in Alien 3). The film wasn't as weighty as 1 or 3, nor the great war film that was 2, but it was still pretty enjoyable and the actress seemed to enjoy herself. And anything with Ron Perlman in is worth watching.
With notable composers, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and Elliot Goldenthal to follow, James Frizzell faced a tough task in coming up with the music for his biggest assignment at that time. He chose to score the film's overt sensuality, whilst also taking elements of what had gone before, for instance, coming up with a mysterious main theme that very much evokes the spirit of Goldsmith's original. There's probably more thematic material than in previous films, for which the composer largely utilised orchestra, but he mixed in electronic elements for a more "alien" sound. Of course there's much suspenseful material on display, as well as a good dose of action writing, culminating in the "Finale," a fabulous chorale, featuring female choir, brass and strings.
On this expanded presentation, the complete score is presented on Disc One, concluding with four tracks on DiscTwo. Four alternate cues follow, and then the original 1997 album presentation completes the programme. The accompanying booklet features notes on the film and its music by Al Kaplan (with comments from the composer), as well as the invaluable cue-by-cue guide, all lavishly illustrated with colour stills from the film.
Alien Resurrection LLLCD 1145 - 2 Discs - Total Time:140:37 mins

I've long had a love-hate relationship with Christopher Young's score for 1988's Haunted Summer. The film, which starred Eric Stoltz, Alice Krige and Laura Dern, was a fantasy on the events that lead to Mary Shelley's creation of her classic work of fiction Frankenstein, and was an opportunity for its composer to show that he had more to offer than the horror fare he had become synonymous with. Whilst the score is predominantly electronic, Young also called upon a handful of acoustic instruments, providing the film with something of a "new age" score; at times delicate and ethereal, at others horribly atonal - and I do mean horrible - excruciatingly so at times. The 18-minute-plus "Hauntings" has to be one of the worst cues I have ever had to sit through, and I find his repetitive title motif quite irritating. But this is where the love-hate part comes in, because other cues (or parts thereof) are quite beautiful, particularly his "Menage" theme, variously heard played by violin and flute over synths.
The music Young originally composed for the film was changed considerably when Cannon executives couldn't quite understand his approach, and the original album, released by Silva Screen in 1989, gave Young the opportunity to present his music as originally intended. These tracks make up the first eleven selections on this expanded presentation, with the remaining seven featuring the score that ended up on the film, with the emphasis seemingly on Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus' song "Mon Coeuer se Recommande a Vous," performed by soprano Evalon Witt, who subs for Dern, when her character sings it on film.
Accompanying the disc is the usual informative booklet, with notes on the film and its music by Randall D. Larson, including cue-by-cue guide, all lavishly illustrated by colour stills from the film.
Haunted Summer LLLCD 1148 - Total Time: 77:06 mins

Mirrors 2 is a regular release, whereas Alien resurrection is limited to 3500 units, and Haunted Summer to 1200. You can, as always, hear samples from all three albums by going to www.lalalandrecords.com, where you can of course also purchase them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

DECEMBER ISSUE OF JOURNAL INTO MELODY


I am indebted to the Robert Farnon Society for continuing to send me a copy of their official magazine Journal Into Melody, even though I have not contributed for some time. I used to run a regular column therein but, as you know, I am having enough trouble keeping up with things here, let alone being able to contribute anywhere else.
Anyway, I just thought I'd give the latest issue a plug, for there is always something screen music-related to enjoy therein, and the current issue is no exception, as we have a piece on the latest album from film & TV composer Nigel Hess, Silent Night, with the composer at the piano, joined by the strings of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a collection of Christmas Carols; a celebration of the centenary of the birth of David Rose, who of course is especially remembered for his work on Bonanza, The Little House on the Prairie and The High Chaparral; part two of "The Great Arrangers," which features Nelson Riddle, of TV's Batman fame; the second part of a feature on "Aviation and Light Music," which mentions a good many high-flying film themes; a tribute by Laurie Johnson (The Avengers, The Professionals et al) to Jack Parnell; reports on John Wilson's splendid Rodgers and Hammerstein Prom; obituaries for Geoffrey Burgon and Mitch Miller (who of course contributed to films such as The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and The The Bridge on the River Kwai); plus short reviews of albums such as Nigel Hess' Ladies in Lavender, Ron Goodwin's That Magnificent Man and His Music Machine, The Prisoner (featuring the complete Chappell Recorded Music Library cues utilised therein), and Lalo Schifrin's Mambo in Paris( which I of course gave a mention to recently).
If you think you may be interested in joining the Society, send an e-mail to the Membership Secretary, Albert Killman, at rfs@mypostoffice.co.uk, or visit the Society's website at www.rfsoc.org.uk.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - RED HILL


Red Hill
Music by Dmitri Golovko
Milan Records
22 Tracks

Patrick Hughes became famous for his YouTube short film Signs, and here he makes his feature directorial debut with the Australian modern western Red Hill, which stars Ryan Kwanten of TV's True Blood fame.
The music for the film is provided by award-winning composer Dmitri Golovko, whose screen music could previously be heard in the TV advertising field, and for video games. He has collaborated on various projects with director Hughes (including Signs), but this too is his feature debut.
The score for Red Hill is largely an acoustic affair, written very much in the spare, modern style utilised in contemporary western fare, featuring the likes of guitars, mandolin, harmonica, percussion and piano. The opening title track carries much tension, but is followed by the pleasant, easy-going "Alice's Theme." There's a nice flow to "The Police Station," whilst "Skins Creek"and "Main Street" have more urgency to them. "The Shootout" features big and bad guitars and percussion, whilst "The Panther" is a fateful affair, and "Payback" suitably vengeful. A Spaghetti Western vibe is introduced in the likes of "Jimmy Returns," with its melancholy guitar solo and ominous rumblings, and the galloping "Shane's Theme," with its iconic trumpet solo. Everything culminates in the mournful strings of "The Finale."
In addition to Golovko's original score, there is an instrumental of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," plus numbers by Stevie Wright and Charlie Parr.
You can download the Red Hill album from the likes of iTunes and Amazon.com, but if you'd like to check it out first, visit www.milanrecords.com/releases/releases.php?release_name_=RED_HILL, where you can first listen to some samples.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


CD/DIGITAL DOWNLOAD REVIEW - WELCOME TO THE RILEYS


Welcome to the Rileys
Music by Marc Steitenfeld & Various Artists
Lakeshore Records (US)
18 Tracks

This is a film that has been attracting some attention due to the fact that Twilight Saga star Kristen Stewart plays a pole dancer, opposite Sopranos star James Gandolfini in Jake Scott's drama. Unfortunately, those of you hoping to see much more of Kristen than has gone before are going to be disappointed as I gather much of her on stage footage has been cut from the film.
As for the film's music, German-born Marc Streitenfeld has worked on Ridley Scott's last four films and now extends his alliance to the great director's son Jake.
The album leads off with 12 tracks of Streitenfeld's music, and concludes with six numbers by the likes of Kitty Daisy And Lewis, Odetta, Joe Simon, Shiny Toy Guns, The Kills, and Ying Yang Twins.
The score is quite a sparse affair, typically represented by the mandolin-lead title theme, reflecting the largely downbeat nature of the film, and features an assortment of acoustic instruments, many of which are played by the composer himself. There are few bright moments, like the propulsive "I Am Here," and A touch of jazz is injected for "Walking in New Orleans, with something of a country feel to "Alive."
The Welcome to the Rileys album is available both on CD and as a digital download.

Monday, November 22, 2010


CD REVIEW - DOCTOR WHO - SERIES 5


Doctor Who - Series 5
Music by Murray Gold
Silva Screen Records SILCD 1345
Disc 1 - 28 Tracks 67:25 mins
Disc 2 - 35 Tracks 64:49 mins

Following hard on the heels of UK No.1 Soundtrack Album Doctor Who - Series 4 - The Special comes Doctor Who - Series 5, another splendid double-disc set of music from the recent episodes, with Matt Smith debuting as the last of the Time Lords.
With the exception of The Specials, previous Doctor Who series releases have been limited to a one-disc presentation, which might make for a tighter and more consistently enjoyable listening experience, but there were always notable omissions and I'm sure, like me, you would rather have as much music as possible, and be able to pick and choose your favourites, rather than miss out on something. I therefore applaud this change in direction and hope it continues for the next eagerly anticipated series.
Disc One opens with Gold's latest take on the famous Ron Grainer Doctor Who theme, but I think this is really a bridge too far and maybe he should take a step or two back. This one is not as attractive as other versions.
There follow 10 tracks from the series opener The Eleventh Hour, including the blockbusting opening "Down to Earth;" the child-like innocence of the young Amy theme, first heard in "Little Amy;" the comic antics of "Fish Custard;" the urgency of "The Sun's Gone Wibbly;" the increasing determination of "Zero;" the new rhythmic Matt Smith-Doctor theme composed for the series, introduced in "I Am The Doctor;" and the "The Mad Man With a Box," with its strange and unattractive vocal.
Another new theme, that for the grown-up Amy, which disappointingly features a similar vocal performance to "The Mad Man With a Box," is introduced in episode 2, The Beast Below, from which we have three tracks, and from which we have some frightening choral sounds in the episode's title track, and a beautiful choral conclusion in "A Lonely Decision."
The Daleks returned in "Victory of the Daleks," and again we are afforded three tracks, with plenty of diabolical menace and of course great swashbuckling, heroic action in the memorable "Battle in the Sky," where the Spitfires take on the Dalek ship. Incidentally, for those of you, like me, who found the new Dalek designs laughable, I hear they have thankfully been ditched in favour of a return to the old design.
The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, the two-parter that saw the return of the terrifying statue-like Angels is only afforded two tracks here, but there's some powerful, propulsive stuff on display in "River's Plan," whilst "The Time of Angels" has some pretty frightening electronics added to the mix.
Vampires are of course all the rage at the moment, and even Doctor Who had its vampires of sort in The Vampires of Venice, five tracks from which are featured here. Gold does some nice Mediterranean-styled scene setting, whilst also nodding towards the Hammer-style of dramatic scoring, and includes an elegant theme for "Signora Rosanna Calvieri." There's also a percussive action cue "Cab for Amy Pond," with the title track starting off music box style, before taking on large choral proportions.
The two tracks from Amy's Choice includes "Wedded Bliss," a quirky theme with ticking clock accompaniment, and dark menace of "This is the Dream," whilst the final adventure on the disc, the two-parter The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood again features two tracks, the initially quaint, then cold and menacing "Rio de Cwmtaff" and the "The Silurians," which starts out darkly on bassoon, before Herrmann-like horns signal a furious ending.
Disc Two commences with five tracks from, for me, the best episode of the series, "Vincent and the Doctor," which sees the time-travelling duo team up with Vincent Van Gogh to combat a monster that only the painter can see. It's a sympathetic look at the great painter's troubled psyche and the music reflects this, though "Vincent" actually paints a semi-comedic picture.
Seven tracks from The Lodger follow, starting with the almost '60s-styled driving opening to "Adrift in the TARDIS." "Doctor Gastronomy" offers a largely breezy introduction to the whimsical capers of "You Must Like it Here," whilst the Doctor gets down to serious business in the propulsive "A Useful Striker" and there's more action and drama in "Kiss the Girl," with brief pauses for a heavenly choral passage and some romantic strings.
The bulk of this disc is given over to the two-part series closer The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, an entertaining, but unlikely adventure, with more plot holes than a moth-eaten jacket, in which the Doctor's enemies band together to imprison him. The 22 tracks presented take one through the whole range of emotions and include plenty of drama, as you can imagine, with menacing and heroic action, as well as some pretty awe-inspiring stuff for "The Pandorica," which is to be the Doctor's prison, and inspirational heroics in "Words Win Wars." But there is also some tender, but short-lived romance for the reunion of "Amy and Rory," some great orchestral variations on Amy's theme for "The Life and Death of Amy Pond," and touching, quiet devotion from "The Patient Centurion" along the way. "A River of Tears" presents some interesting electronic manipulation of the character's theme, which subsequently develops a feeling of genuine sadness in "The Sad Man With a Box," before the Doctor's rhythmic theme takes over. Of course, the quirkiness of Smith's Doctor is also explored here and there, with farcical moments among all the drama, before proceedings come to a happy conclusion in "The Big Day." But the story is far from over, and our intrepid trio (Rory is now firmly in tow) prepare for adventures anew, with the Doctor's theme returning in all its rhythmic glory to close "I Remember You" and continue to the conclusion of the album's final track "Onwards!"
As always, a colourful booklet, with stills from the show and Murray Gold's summation of the music presented accompanies the disc, which can be sampled at www.silvascreenmusic.com, where you can of course also order your copy. Roll on Series 6!


Saturday, November 20, 2010


DIGITAL ALBUM REVIEW - HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART.1


Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part.1
Music by Alexandre Desplat
WaterTower Music Digital Download
26 Tracks 73:58 mins

I doubt that you've been able to escape the enormous amount of hype surrounding the release of this the penultimate film in the Harry Potter series. Personally, I have never been that impressed with any of the films, though they all have their moments, and I certainly don't go out of my way to see them, but instead am perfectly content to wait for them to air on TV.
The music for the series has, unlike the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings Films, been placed in the hands of a variety of composers. Of course the great John Williams started the ball rolling, then William Ross set about adapting his themes. Patrick Doyle had a very creditable go, and then Nicholas Hooper was on board for the last two David Yates-directed episodes. Yates returns as director for this the first part of a two part adaptation of J.K. Rowley's final Potter book, but Hooper seems to have been dropped in favour of a "name" composer, Alexandre Desplat who is a hot property internationally. Fans were hoping Williams might be persuaded to close the saga, but I gather Desplat will also score next summer's concluding part.
There are various versions of Desplat's score to be found out there. Here, I am covering the WaterTower digital release, but there is also an iTunes release, which I gather has some bonus tracks, a standard CD release, and finally, there will be a special numbered limited edition collector's edition box set, featuring the soundtrack, a bonus CD with extra music, an exclusive poster, picture disc vinyl, a DVD including video interviews, the soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound, original Harry Potter film, cells, and autographed sheet music. So take your pick!
As the series has progressed so the tone has gotten increasingly darker, and this movie is hailed as the darkest yet but, though Desplat's score contains moments of threat and menace, and a few bursts of action, the overall feel is of poignancy and sadness, with some heart-warming and noble moments along the way, though there's a good questing feel to be found in the album's opening track, "Obliviate," and yet more energy in "Snape to Malfoy Manor," which moves along furiously, aided by choir. "Polyjuice Potion," harks back to the Hogwarts days, with its increasingly magical feel, with voices joining again, whilst "Sky Battle" is really the biggest action cue, "At the Burrow" offering light and shade in its aftermath.
A solo piano opens the poignant romance of "Harry and Ginny," which is followed by "The Will," which positively soars, before coming to earth and proceeding in subdued fashion into "Death Eaters," then picking up a sense of urgency. Another light interlude follows in "Dobby," before our heroes take flight again. There's a nice bouncy opening to "Ministry of Magic;" whilst "Detonators" has a surprising air of mischief about it.
The next highlight is "Fireplaces Escape," with its furious, if episodic, action. There's a sadness, yet nobility to the ending of "Ron Leaves," and a poignancy to "Godric's Hollow Graveyard" and "Hermione's Parents." Finally, "Ron's Speech" is heart-warming, and "Farewell to Dobby" emotional.
In conclusion, Desplat's music does not seem out of place in the Potter universe and serves its purpose admirably, it seems, though rarely coming close to matching the Williams (and even the Doyle) scores. "Hedwig's Theme" only makes a very brief appearance, which is probably right, as it speaks of more innocent days.
The final film in the series promises many slayings of well-loved characters, and let's hope Desplat is up to providing even more sorrowful moments than displayed even here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


AARON ZIGMAN SCORES FOR COLORED GIRLS


Composer Aaron Zigman's sixth collaboration with director Tyler Perry is on Lionsgate's For Colored Girls, which 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 stars Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington.
Along with his underscore, Zigman composed "La Donna in Viola," an aria he composed "for one of the film's most pivotal and emotionally-charged scenes." Zigman says: "The idea of the aria was to capture the essence of Ntozake Shange's poetry and incorporate it into an Italian libretto."
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me a promotional disc of Zigman's score, which plays for just over 40 minutes. His haunting "Main Title" theme features the composer on piano and expressive violin playing by no less than Joshua Bell. It's a lovely piece, tinged with sadness, but with a bridge that holds the promise of happier things. The mood is continued into "Double Poem," where flute alternates with Zigman's piano. The troubled "It Makes Sense" and "Alice in Hospital" follow, and then comes the aria, with vocals by Karen Slack, Andrea Jones-Sojola and chorus. The aria's main theme is then taken up by smoky, trumpet-lead jazz combo in "Lady in Purple." We return to more downbeat territory with "Kelly's Pyramid" and the dramatic "Babies."
The main theme makes a welcome return for "Frank Frank," with the smoky trumpet alternating with more conventional woodwind solos. The trumpet is retained for the downbeat "NYLA Alley," but there's hope to be found later in "I Ask Myself" and "I Found Joy."
The penultimate track, "Yasmin's Poem" is a delicate affair, and is followed by the "End Title," for which Zigman's piano and Bell's violin return, before a sunny orchestral finish.
Zigman's score is a fine effort and is very deserving of a commercial recording, but at least the aria is featured on the soundtrack album, released by Atlantic Records, along with vocal performances from the likes of Estelle, Gladys Knight, Macy Gray, Nina Simone and Leona Lewis. Let's just hope that a score release is forthcoming from some enterprising label. This is certainly a score that deserves to be heard.
Incidentally, you can watch a video interview with the composer, in which he talks about his music for For Colored Girls, at www.movieweb.com/movie/for-colored-girls/aaron-zigman-interview.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


CD REVIEW - 100 GREATEST MUSICALS


100 Greatest Musicals
Various Composers/Lyricists
Performed by Stars of the London Stage,
The Royal Philharmonic & The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestras
Silva Screen Records SILCD 1328
6-CD Box Set

With publicity for this release describing this release as "tracing through the history of stage and song from the influential 1927 musical hit Show Boat to 2010's highly anticipated release from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Love Never Dies," one would expect it is devoted to musical shows, originating on the stage, but this is not the case, as a good number of film musicals are also included, which begs the question are these really the 100 greatest musicals. Whilst there is no doubt that many of them deserve to be included, I am sure you will find many a film musical, which you, at least, may consider your favourite, missed out. I certainly did, and consequently some of my favourite songs from musicals are not found here. And indeed you may find some of yours absent, but don't forget that many a fine song has come from a mediocre musical, so this may well account for their absence. In the end, it's all a matter of personal taste of course and what we have here is indeed a very fine and generous collection of great numbers from many of the top musicals down the years, presented over 6 discs, with Disc 1 covering the period 1927-1948, and featuring the likes of Show Boat, The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma!, Carousel and Annie Get Your Gun. Disc 2 covers 1949-1957 and features shows like South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Paint Your Wagon, The King and I, Singin' in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, My Fair Lady, High Society and West Side Story; whilst Disc 3 concentrates on 1959-1967, and features the likes of Gigi, The Sound of Music, Camelot, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, Mary Poppins, Man of La Mancha and Cabaret. The period 1967-1979 is explored on Disc 4, with such as Hair, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, A Little Night Music, A Chorus Line, Chicago and Annie covered; whilst Disc 5 spans 1979-1986 and features the likes of Evita, Sweeney Todd, Fame!, Les Miserables, Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, Starlight Express and Phantom of the Opera. Disc 6 brings us right up to date with such as Chess, Aspects of Love, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, Hairspray, High School Musical and even Glee, with a couple of selections from the aforementioned new Webber musical Love Never Dies to round things off (even if these don't really belong on this collection, as it is new and therefore its success has yet to be determined).
I have to say though I am pleased with the performances, both by the vocalists and orchestras, and generally approve of many of the numbers selected, there are a good many songs from the featured shows that deserve inclusion, but are absent. Of course, we may be talking 8 discs or more in order to include them, but still it has to be said.
What definitely emerges is that, with the exception of a very few, it is hard to see songs (more sophisticated though many may be) from the modern era achieving the kind of timeless popularity of those written many years ago, their expertly crafted simplicity of lyric and memorable melodies being much easier for the masses to latch on to and hold in their hearts and minds.
As a footnote, you may be interested to know that to celebrate this release, Silva Screen, with its partners Pure Solo and The Stage ran a competition to discover the next musical star, with James Loynes the winner, whose winning audition song "All I Ask Of You," from The Phantom of the Opera, is featured on Disc 5.
A great Christmas gift, order your copy from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-


BAFTA AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER JASON GRAVES SCORES PSYCHODRAMATIC ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR
DEAD SPACE 2
Thematic Horror Video Game Soundtrack Evokes Intense
Personal Drama of Isaac Clarke's Dark and Emotional Journey
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Los Angeles, CA - November 17, 2010 - Classically trained BAFTA-winning composer
Jason Graves returns to create a psychodramatic orchestral score for Dead Space
2, the highly anticipated next installment in the blockbuster action horror videogame
franchise. Reflecting hero Isaac Clarke's dementia and nightmarish personal journey,
Graves' original music score for Dead Space 2 features the intricately woven thematic
movement "Lacrimosa," a concerto for string quartet that runs throughout the game.
The game's intense and varied soundtrack also immerses players in this thrilling
action horror experience with haunting Unitology choral compositions, visceral
action music and spine-tingling string arrangements performed by A-List musicians
at Skywalker Sound.

"The score really runs the gamut as you play through the game. There are much bigger
and scarier pieces along with quieter, more personal moments to counterbalance them.
I wrote for string quartet to portray Isaac's vulnerable side. It's quite the
emotional arc, but of course still done in a very 'Dead Space' way."
- Jason Graves, Composer

Jason Graves previously composed the innovative, unique soundtrack for the original
Dead Space, which has been called "the scariest game ever made." Jason's groundbreaking
score was hailed by critics as a "truly original soundtrack" and "the best score
of the year." It was recognized with a myriad of worldwide nominations and won
two BAFTA awards - one for Original Score and one for Use of Audio. For the latter,
the Academy stated, "It's the music soundtrack that boasts horror and tension."

"It has been a real pleasure working with Jason on Dead Space 2. The range of his
composition is impressive, and his attention to detail never fails to amaze me.
His creativity, energy, and unique vision for the music has been key to establishing
the atmosphere of Dead Space 2."
- Andrew Boyd, Audio Director

More information on the composer can be found at www.jasongraves.com.

For more information on Dead Space 2, visit the official website at www.deadspacegame.com.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


CD/DIGITAL DOWNLOAD REVIEW - HUMAN TARGET - SEASON 1


Human Target - Season 1
Music by Bear McCreary
WaterTower Music download or
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1150 (US)
Disc 1 - 21 Tracks 78:16 mins
Disc 2 - 22 Tracks 79:23 mins
Disc 3 - 20 Tracks 47:11 mins

There are plenty of soundtrack albums released on both CD and as a digital download these days, but I can't recall two different sources making available an album before, like Bear McCreary's music for the first season of tongue-in-cheek adventure-thriller TV show Human Target. First up were WaterTower Music with their digital release, which basically presents the main material from the album, discs 1 & 2. La-La Land Records' limited edition /3-CD release presents the same material, but with the addition of a third disc, featuring "Bonus tracks," which include more cues from the 12-episode series, as well as an alternate version of the show's prominent "Main Title" theme, and demos and sketches, including an abandoned concept for the theme, which go together to provide a fascinating look into the composer's creative process. Publicity also states that the disc includes a conversation between McCreary and Executive Producer/Writer Jonathan E. Steinberg, but I have been unable to access this.
For those of you not familiar with the show, it follow the adventures of the enigmatic Christopher Chance (played by the charismatic Mark Valley), who each episode hires himself out to protect some innocent target. The show is very fast-paced, with plenty of action, as one would expect, and not a little sly humour. At times, it reminded me of the popular '60s show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Coming off the back of successful and very different scores for the Battlestar Galactica and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles shows, McCreary and Steinberg sought a symphonic approach to the show, and the composer benefited from the "unprecedented creative freedom" he was given, with each show featuring as much as 30 minutes of orchestral music played by as many as 60 musicians (94 on the season finale). In these days of largely synthetic scoring for TV, this was quite unheard of, and presented the composer with a punishing schedule, but he delivered in spades. Unfortunately, its like may not ever be heard again, because Bear recently revealed that he is no longer on board for Season 2, which starts this week, and I fear it will be back to synth land for the music.
So, make the most of what you have here, which is simply a delight - especially if you enjoy exciting symphonic action scoring, of which there is a huge amount to be found here. But, for those of you who worship the composer's scores for Battlestar Galactica, have no fear - there are still ethnic solos to be found where appropriate (the show's scenarios offer a variety fo exotic locations), and the action is often driven by Battlestar's trademark Taiko drums. This is not to say that there aren't quieter moments to be heard, particularly where a little romance is injected into proceedings. Throughout, McCreary integrates his Emmy-nominated main theme, a simple, straightforward and versatile composition that will soon lodge in your memory. It will be interesting to see how the new composer(s) utilise it, assuming the new creative team have the rights.
Going back to the album presentation, I suppose the only criticisms that can be levelled against it are firstly, that the music is not presented in episode order and secondly, that La-La Land's otherwise excellent booklet, with notes by the composer and Steinberg, as well as a little tribute from Valley, is for once missing the cue-by-cue guide that we are used to from the label. Otherwise, I have no hesitation in recommending this outstanding music to you but, if you still need convincing, head over to the www.lalalandrecords.com/HumanTarget.html to hear samples and ultimately order your copy; or if you prefer to download the album, visit www.watertowermusic.com.


NEWS FROM ALEPH RECORDS


From Aleph Records:-

ALEPH RECORDS IS PROUD TO CONGRATULATE LALO SCHIFRIN ON RECENT ACCOLADES IN JAZZ AND CLASSICAL WORLD

Schifrin Earns Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition

And Earns Lifetime Achievement Award From Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Aleph Records proudly congratulates the legendary Lalo Schifrin on his Latin Grammy Award® win on November 11th for Pampas, written expressly for the Broad Stage concert and recorded by Antonio Lysy for his release Antonio Lysy at The Broad: Music from Argentina. In addition, Schifrin will receive the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award from The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on November 16, 2010.

Pampas, earned Lalo his fifth Grammy in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. The recording evokes the magic and majesty of the Argentine plains. Maestro Schifrin describes, “It’s a very moving piece reflecting desolation and the infinite horizons of The Pampas, which is from my home country”.

The win for Schifrin’s current works comes on the heels of the announcement that he will receive the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. The award recognizes the contributions Schifrin has made to jazz throughout his six-decade career.

“I feel very fortunate,” said Schifrin, “that even when I’m still writing and active they still consider a lifetime achievement award. I suppose it’s because of the sum of all of the things I’ve done so far.”

Composer Lalo Schifrin is a true Renaissance man. As a pianist, composer and conductor, he is equally at home conducting a symphony orchestra, performing at an international jazz festival, scoring a film or television show.

Schifrin has written over 100 film and television scores including Mission Impossible, Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, The Cincinnati Kid, Amityville Horror, four of the Dirty Harry films, and more recently Abominable and the Rush Hour trilogy. Lalo Schifrin has now won five Grammys® (twenty-two nominations), one Cable ACE Award, and six Academy Award® nominations. His longtime involvement in both the jazz and symphonic worlds came together in 1993 as pianist and conductor for his on-going series of “Jazz Meets the Symphony” recordings. The seventh “Jazz Meets the Symphony” recording is planned for release in February 2011.

Monday, November 15, 2010


CD REVIEW - FABLE III


Fable III
Music by Russell Shaw
Sumthing Else SE-2091-2 (US)
24 Tracks 72:29 mins

Russell Shaw returns with his music for the latest in the Fable video game series, Fable III, the soundtrack album for which has been released on CD and as a digital download by Sumthing Else Music.
Shaw's music is performed by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Allan Wilson, together with a 40-piece choir and solo vocalisations by Tanja Tzarovska. The score is as rich and varied as we have come to expect from the Fable franchise, with the opening title theme embodying that, going from dark to light and then mysterious over its just under 3-minute running time.
Standout tracks, for me, include the percussive, syncopated action of "Fight or Flight;" the expressive violin solo of "Dwellers Camp;" the tranquility of "Sanctuary;" the airy and charming "Brightwall;" the exotic travel music for "The Desert;" "Kalin's Theme," with its mysterious vocals, courtesy of Ms Tzarovska; the brief, LOTR-like choral of "Coronation;" the doom-laden "Execution;" and the heart-breaking pairing of "Death of Walter" and "Farewell Walter."
Not being a gamer, I am not familiar with the game play, but thought there might be some action moments to perk things up a bit, but these are sadly very thin on the ground. However, if you like orchestral/choral fantasy scoring, I am sure you'll find moments to enjoy on this lengthy album.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-


SUMTHING ELSE MUSIC WORKS ANNOUNCES
RELEASE OF SPEED RACER THE SOUNDTRACK
Remastered Collection Features the Speed Racer Original TV Theme Music Composed
by Nobuyoshi Koshibe and Peter Fernandez
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New York - November 12th, 2010 - Sumthing Else Music Works, through its licensing
relationship with Speed Racer Enterprises, proudly presents Speed Racer: The SoundTRACK
featuring remastered music from the 1960's animated television series including
the Classic Speed Racer Original TV Theme. The theme and music for the show were
composed by Nobuyoshi Koshibe in Japan with English lyrics written by Peter Fernandez
for US audiences. The album also features new tracks from contemporary independent
music artists such as Lillix, Derek McKeith, Back Pocket Memory, Daybreak Ends,
Melodramus among others. Speed Racer: The SoundTRACK will be released on November
26th, 2010 to retail outlets through Sumthing Else Music Works www.sumthing.com,
and for digital download at www.sumthingdigital.com, Amazon MP3, iTunes® and other
digital music sites.

"This is a project that has been on our minds for a long time and we're very fortunate
that Sumthing Else Music Works allowed the album to be exactly how we envisioned
it," said Michael Cisneros at Speed Racer Enterprises. "We're very fortunate to
have such talented artists on the record and we're more than happy to give them
some well-deserved exposure. The driving beats of this soundtrack are meant to
be played very loud in your car and driven fast to... after all, it is Speed Racer."
"'Speed Racer' is based on a Japanese Manga Comic Strip entitled 'Mach Go Go Go'
and soon after made into an anime cartoon. In 1967 the show was brought to the
United States and became one of the most popular characters in American Television
History. Featuring Speed and his high-tech driving machine, The Mach 5, Speed Racer
combines racing with intrigue as he takes on the most treacherous of adversaries
with the aid of his family and the mysterious Racer X.
Now, over 40 years later, Speed Racer is fully encompassed as a pop culture icon
and more popular than ever."

Track listing:
1. Speed Racer Theme
2. Black & Grey (Melodramus)
3. Race Against The Mammoth Car
4. Can't Get Enough (Derek McKeith)
5. Round The Track (Billy's Vacation)
6. Respiration is a Daunting Task (Back Pocket Memory)
7. The Most Dangerous Race
8. Nowhere To Run (Lillix)
9. The Challenge Of The Masked Racer
10. Vehicular Promicide (Daybreak Ends)
11. The Great Plan
12. Speed Racer Wannabe (Dino-Mike)
13. Asphalt Jungle (Ledhead)
14. Speed Racer Reanimated (Ear Kandy Music)

For more information on Speed Racer, visit www.speedracer.com.

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video
game soundtracks, please visit www.sumthing.com and www.sumthingdigital.com.

NEWS FROM ALL SCORE MEDIA


From All Score Media:-



On November 27, 2010 martial arts legend Bruce Lee would celebrate his 70th birthday.
In compliment to this extraordinary filmstar Allscore in cooperation with Chris' Soundtrackcorner releases the soundtrack to "The Big Boss" for the first time on CD.
The Big Boss (aka The Fists of Fury) was the film which started Bruce Lee’s international career.
The composer of this groovy soundtrack is Maestro Peter Thomas.

Here you can find all information, one-sheet, cover art and soundsamples:

http://www.allscore.de/sites/ASM_034.htm

German release date: November 26, 2010.
First copies available November 16, 2010.

On December 1, 2010 this great German composer, Peter Thomas, celebrates his 85th birthday.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE FILM & TV MUSIC OF CHRISTOPHER GUNNING


The Film & TV Music of Christopher Gunning
BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba
Chandos Movies CHAN 10625 (UK)
12 Tracks 75:50 mins

The latest release from Chandos Movies pays tribute to British film & TV composer Christopher Gunning, who has composed for both large and screen productions over his long career, but is probably best known for the many splendid scores written for television. So many, in fact, that this collection barely scratches the surface. In his guide to the pieces presented, found in the accompanying 36-page booklet (with notes in English, German & French), the composer admits that "selecting scores for this CD was far from easy," but having the services of the BBC Philharmonic, "suggested some of my bigger scores, and I also wanted to employ some of the brilliant soloists I have worked with over the years," namely soprano Nicole Tibbels, guitarist Craig Ogden and saxophonist Martin Robertson.
For the opening track, "Poirot Variants" (which of course features Robertson), Gunning has woven together a piece based around his quirky theme for the television adventures of the Belgian detective.
Next up comes "La Mome Piaf" taken from material for the 2007 cinematic feature, known here mostly as La Vie En Rose, based on the life of the great French singer Edith Piaf. The heart of the piece is an expansive waltz, featuring wordless vocalisation by Ms Tibbels.
1991's Under Suspicion opens darkly and quite disturbingly, with some furious action writing leading to a big crescendo, before Gunning introduces his passionate love theme.
1996's futuristic Cold Lazarus was the last work by the great television dramatist Dennis Potter. Both the production and its music enjoyed great acclaim at the time and here the composer provides a ten-minute summary of his material for the piece, including his impressive main theme, some exciting action music, and a picture of tranquility for Potter's beloved Forest of Dean.
The popular TV series Rosemary and Thyme, with its sleuthing gardeners Felicty Kendal and Pam Ferris, received a charming main theme, based around the folk tune of the same name, played by Ogden.
Emilia Fox's first role of any impact was for the 1997 television adaptation of Rebecca, for which Gunning provided suitably dark and dramatic music, though the main theme, featuring solo cello is by turns quite lovely and deeply passionate.
The 2003 adaptation of Pollyanna was really asking to be scored by the composer, who has a daughter by the same name. For the production, Gunning came up with a suitably light and melodic accompaniment, including a lovely main theme.
For the 1997 film Firelight, Gunning capably supported the repressed emotions on display, with yet more strong melodic material, with solo violin to the fore, culminating in a passionate love theme.
1989's score for the film When the Whales Came is a thing of great beauty, inspired by the composer's own witnessing of the tragic beaching of some thirty sperm whales, whilst on vacation in the Canary Islands. Gunning's music incorporates slowed-down whale sounds and is at its most haunting when his main theme is voiced by wordless soprano.
The composer returns to the world of Poirot for tracks 10 and 11, which feature music from the episodes The Hollow and Five Little Pigs. Firstly, we have the questing main theme for the former, then a mysterious violin-lead theme for the latter.
This splendid collection concludes with 2004's Lighthouse Hill and its initially largely subdued love theme, with which Gunning strove to "create feelings of romance the stillness," of course succeeding admirably.
If, like me, you enjoy strong melodic screen music, this is an album you should seek out for your collection. Splendidly performed, as always, by Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic, the album is a pure delight and leaves one begging for more.
Chandos releases can now be purchased from the label's website at www.chandos.net.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


CD REVIEW - NINJA


Ninja
Music by Stephen Edwards
MovieScore Media MMS10019
19 Tracks 50:29 mins

Stephen Edwards has scored many an action picture in his career and his latest effort is for Isaac Florentine's martial arts adventure Ninja. His score mixes Japanese and Western elements, utilising standard orchestra, as well as wailing electric guitars and rhythm section, with ethnic instruments such as shakuhachis and taikos.
The album opens boldly with the noble and heroic "Main Title" theme, which then appears in a sad and subdued arrangement in the following "Fight Ejection," and goes on to appear in snatches throughout the score, most notably in the elegiac ""Namiko's Waltz," before returning in its full glory in the "End Credits."
Of course there's a deal of action-packed writing to be found throughout tracks like "Sensei Killed," "Police Station Melee," "Whoopass Latte," and "Casey the Ninja," as well as some tension and menace, but there are also plenty of quiter, more introspective, and sentimental moments like "History Lesson," "Painful Past," "Mother Theme," and "Casey's Solemn Duty."
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/ninja.html for samples, a trailer for the film, and of course full details of how to obtain your copy of the album on CD or as a digital download.

NEWS FROM SILVA SCREEN RECORDS


From Silva Screen Records:-



PEARL & DEAN PRESENTS THE NATION'S FAVOURITE MOVIE THEMES

Pearl and Dean survey reveals Top 100 favourite film tunes as voted by
the British public

CD: SILCD1344

REL. DATE: 22nd November 2010

Reflecting a broad taste in film music, The Pearl & Dean survey of the
nation's top 100 movie theme tunes has resulted in the top spot being
secured by Ravel's Bolero as featured in the movie 10. The survey took
place from July to 12th September, 2010 and music was made available for
selection and voting from over 1,000 films from the 1930s to the present
day.

The survey covered a wide age group with the younger generation
influencing John Murphy's 28 Days Later at No.5 and Tyler Bates' 300 at
No. 11 spot, and the older generation insuring that classic themes, Max
Steiner's Gone With The Wind (#83), A Summer Place (#40) and Kenneth
Alford's The Bridge On The River Kwai, (#85), appear in the top 100.

Some unusual choices involved John Addison's A Bridge Too Far at No. 6
and Dimitri Tiomkin's 55 Days at Peking at No.27.

Also featured are the expected "pick of the nation" themes such as 633
Squadron by Ron Goodwin in second position, the Richard Strauss's Also
Sprach Zaratustra from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in third
position, John Williams' Star Wars: A New Hope at number 8 and Vangelis'
Chariots of Fire in 10th place. Surprisingly, The James Bond Theme came
in at No. 39.

The result of the Pearl & Dean survey will appear on a 6 CD set released
by Silva Screen Records and will be available exclusively through Amazon
from November the 22nd. The collection opens with Asteroid, Pearl &
Dean's legendary 20" signature tune. This distinctive staccato theme was
written by Pete Moore and was originally produced as a mono track.
Following developments in audio technology, Asteroid was given a full
stereo treatment in the early 1990's with two out of three original male
singers appearing on the new recording.

CD1 2010 - 1997 Position In Vote

1. Asteroid - The Pearl & Dean Theme (Pete Moore)

2. Alice In Wonderland (Danny Elfman) # 79

3. Avatar (James Horner) # 82

4. Star Trek (Michael Giacchino) # 96

5. 300 (Tyler Bates) # 11

6. War Of The Worlds (John Williams) # 50

7. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Klaus Badelt)
# 64

8. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Howard Shore) # 97

9. 28 Days Later (John Murphy) # 5

10. Bend It Like Beckham (Puccini) # 41

11. Amelie (Yann Tiersen) # 34

12. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (John Williams) # 55

13. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Howard Shore) #
86

14. Gladiator (Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard) # 24

15. American Beauty (Thomas Newman) # 22

16. Armageddon (Trevor Rabin) # 65

17. Saving Private Ryan (John Williams) # 84

18. Titanic (James Horner) # 33



CD2 1997 - 1985

1. Austin Powers (Soul Bossa Nova) (Quincy Jones) # 42

2. Braveheart (James Horner) # 99

3. Pulp Fiction (Nick Roubanis arr Dick Dale) # 37

4. Jurassic Park (John Williams) # 28

5. Schindler's List (John Williams) # 47

6. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis) # 9

7. A Few Good Men (Marc Shaiman) # 93

8. The Last of the Mohicans (Trevor Jones) # 100

9. Ghost (Alex North) # 18

10. Edward Scissorhands (Danny Elfman) # 60

11. Dances With Wolves (John Barry) # 62

12. Batman (Danny Elfman) # 45

13. Beetlejuice (Danny Elfman) # 68

14. Platoon - Adagio For Strings (Samuel Barber) # 57

15. Top Gun (Harold Faltermeyer) # 44

16. Aliens (James Horner) # 98

17. Back To The Future (Alan Silvestri) # 4



CD3 1985 - 1978

1. A Room With A View (Puccini) # 51

2. A View To A Kill (John Barry) # 23

3. Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.) # 15

4. Beverly Hills Cop (Harold Faltermeyer) # 17

5. A Nightmare On Elm Street (Charles Bernstein) # 67

6. The Terminator (Brad Fiedel) # 92

7. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Ryuichi Sakamoto) # 70

8. E.T. The ExtraTerrestrial (John Williams) # 59

9. Rocky III (Sullivan / Peterik) # 61

10. Blade Runner (Vangelis) # 72

11. Chariots of Fire (Vangelis) # 10

12. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (John Williams) # 13

13. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (John Williams) # 35

14. 10 - Ravel's Bolero (Maurice Ravel) # 1

15. Apocalypse Now (Richard Wagner) # 12

16. 1941 (John Williams) # 25

17. Alien (Jerry Goldsmith) # 80



CD4 1978 - 1971

1. Superman (John Williams) # 14

2. The Deer Hunter (Stanley Myers) # 71

3. Halloween (John Carpenter) # 73

4. A Bridge Too Far (John Addison) # 6

5. Star Wars: A New Hope (John Williams) # 8

6. The Spy Who Loved Me (Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager) # 89

7. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (John Williams) # 94

8. A Star Is Born (Paul Williams, Barbra Streisand) # 21

9. Rocky (Bill Conti) # 95

10. Jaws (John Williams) # 20

11. Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney ) # 49

12. The Exorcist - Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield) # 78

13. Deliverance (Eric Weissberg, Steve Mandel) # 53

14. The Godfather (Nino Rota) # 74

15. A Clockwork Orange (Beethoven arr. Carlos) # 16

16. Shaft (Isaac Hayes) # 58



CD5 1971 - 1964

1. Diamonds Are Forever (John Barry, Don Black) # 77

2. M.A.S.H. (Johnny Mandel) # 54

3. Love Story (Francis Lai) # 69

4. Battle Of Britain (Ron Goodwin) # 43

5. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) # 48

6. Midnight Cowboy (John Barry) # 90

7. The Italian Job (Quincy Jones, Don Black) # 91

8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Richard Strauss) # 3

9. Where Eagles Dare (Ron Goodwin) # 81

10. You Only Live Twice (John Barry, Leslie Bricusse) # 30

11. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Ennio Morricone) # 32

12. Alfie (Burt Bacharach) # 38

13. Born Free (John Barry, Don Black) # 46

14. A Man And A Woman (Un Homme et Une Femme) (Francis Lai) # 75

15. Doctor Zhivago (Maurice Jarre) # 36

16. 633 Squadron (Ron Goodwin) # 2

17. A Fistful of Dollars (Ennio Morricone) # 7



CD6 1964 - 1939

1. Zorba The Greek (Mikis Theodorakis) # 31

2. Goldfinger (John Barry) # 63

3. A Shot In The Dark (Henry Mancini) # 76

4. Zulu (John Barry) # 88

5. 55 Days At Peking (Dimitri Tiomkin) # 27

6. The Great Escape (Elmer Bernstein) # 29

7. The Pink Panther (Henry Mancini) # 87

8. Dr. No - The James Bond Theme (Monty Norman) # 39

9. Lawrence Of Arabia (Maurice Jarre) # 56

10. Breakfast At Tiffany's (Henry Mancini) # 19

11. The Magnificent Seven (Elmer Bernstein) # 52

12. A Summer Place (Max Steiner) # 40

13. The Bridge On The River Kwai (Kenneth Alford) # 85

14. The Dam Busters (Eric Coates) # 26

15. Casablanca (Herman Hupfeld) # 66

16. Gone With The Wind (Max Steiner) # 83



NEWS FROM PERSEVERANCE RECORDS

From Perseverance Records:-


Richard Band, Jeff Walton, John Massari & Peter Bernstein's
Puppet Master - The Soundtrack Collection Box
Available for Pre-Order Now at a Special Price




Perseverance Records PRD 033
$39.95 (OFFER GOOD UNTIL NOV 27, 2010)
Limited to 2000 copies.
Will ship the second week of December 2010.


This is the ultimate in Puppet Master music! This 5-disc deluxe box set features the complete scores in chronological order. All original scores from Parts 1-4, 6, 7, 9 & 10 are represented here in digitally re-mastered form. (Parts 5 & 8 had no original scores but were tracked with music from other Puppet Master/ Full Moon features.)


In the case of the first four films, we have gone back to the composer's original 1/2" 4-track analog tapes and digitally transferred them to hard disk. The scores from the other movies were all digital recordings, so we could use those files as they were sent to us by the composers.


The box comes with a 28-page booklet that features in-depth notes about the music for the ten films, as well as interviews with all four composers.


This offer is only good until November 27, 2010. After that, the box will sell for its regular price of $44.95.

To order and to hear sound samples, click here:
http://store.fortytwotradingco.com/soundtracks.html


CD One
PUPPETMASTER
Composed by Richard Band
CD Two
PUPPET MASTER II
Composed by Richard Band


CD Three
PUPPET MASTER III: Toulon?s Revenge
Composed by Richard Band
PUPPET MASTER 4
Composed by Richard Band


CD Four
Curse of the PUPPET MASTER
Composed by Jeff Walton
RETRO PUPPET MASTER
Composed by John Massari


CD Five
PUPPET MASTER vs Demonic Toys
Composed by Peter Bernstein
PUPPET MASTER: Axis of Evil
Composed by Richard Band
____________________________________________________________________________________________


Coming Soon
Coming in January 2011:
Unforgettable by Christopher Young

It is a newly sequenced mix created by the composer, and differs considerably from the 1996 promotional recording he put together at the time of the film?s release. To create a more cohesive and progressive listening experience, several of the tracks presented separately on the promo album have been combined while nearly 20 minutes of previously unreleased music have been added, including two solo piano pieces intended as source music but not used in the film (?Riddle Fiddle? and ?Riddle Fiddle Faddle? ? the latter incorporates the film?s main theme into its melody). The result is surely a score worth remembering.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The Film Music of Jim Manzie, Vol.1 Back in Stock

We recently found another small box of this album and are selling those CDs now at the original sale price. This album was issued as a promotional CD for the composer, and only 250 copies were pressed. 30 of which are now available in our Yahoo store. The majority went to the composer and film makers.
The album gives a broad cross selection of the composer's varied work in films. The colorful booklet with tons of artwork features in-depth notes by film music journalist Randall Larson, as well as notes by the directors of the films. The ultimate promo!
Vol.2 is still available in limited quantities, as well.







Tuesday, November 09, 2010



TWO MORE FROM LAKESHORE RECORDS

Took me longer than I thought, but here I am with two more releases from Lakeshore Records. First up is Hans Zimmer and Lorne Bale's enjoyable score for the latest Dreamworks animation Megamind, which was released to U.S. Theatres on 5th November. Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) is described as "the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known ... and the least successful." Constantly thwarted by super-hero Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt), when he finally defeats him a new villain arrives and Megamind might just have to turn hero to save the day.
Zimmer has been collaborating a lot with Balfe lately and the two of them have certainly come up with a winner here, with catchy melodies a plenty right from the outset, sometimes surprisingly light, at others more heroic or villainous, with some appropriately propulsive action scoring in the likes of "Crab Nuggets," "Black Mamba"and "Game Over;" romance ("Roxanne"); and even a little pathos in "Mel-On-Cholly" and "Rejection in the Rain." Overall, a thoroughly entertaining listen, particularly, for those of you who, like me, enjoy melodic writing.
In addition to the score, the Megamind album also features numbers by George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Minnie Riperton, and no less than Elvis Presley.
The Megamind soundtrack is available both on CD and as a digital download.
Lakeshore have also released John Powell's score for the political thriller Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, which sees the composer re-team with director Doug Liman, with whom he has previously worked on the likes of The Bourne Identity and Jumper. This score is a very different animal. Mixing live musicians and electronics, Powell comes up with some undeniably catchy grooves in the likes of "The White House," "Joe's Report," and "Smaky," as well as a few rhythmic action moments along the way, with a streak of ethnicity throughout. There's something of a love theme in "Uncomfortable Love," but it's not pretty, with its twangy electric guitar lead, and ends in more rhythmic action in any case. The most "in your face" music to be found is in the percussive "Ready to Fight" and "Testify," both of which blend together to bring the album to a powerful conclusion.
The film was released in U.S. Theatres on 5th November, and the Fair Game soundtrack album is now available in stores, or as a digital download.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


Sorry I've been out of action again, but work intervened. Hope to get back to the reviewing this weekend. In the meantime, here's some news from Costa Communications:-

ALAN MENKEN’S NEW HAIR-RAISING MUSIC TO “TANGLED”

AVAILABLE ON CD NOVEMBER 16

MENKEN AWARDED STAR ON HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME NOVEMBER 10

Composer Alan Menken, winner of eight Academy Awards – more than any living person, will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 10 prior to his new film “Tangled” opening in theatres this Thanksgiving. Menken has created many of the 20th and 21st century’s most memorable film and theatrical music including “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” His score and original songs for Walt Disney Pictures’ 50th animated feature can be heard on the soundtrack to be released on November 16 and in the film opening November 24.

Menken will be in attendance and honored at an open to the public, star-studded ceremonial unveiling of his star next week in front of Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, site of the premieres of many of his films. The ceremony will be held at 11:30 AM at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA.

“I wanted folk rock on this,” explains Menken about the score. “I thought about Rapunzel’s long hair and the freedom she wanted. Immediately I thought about Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning” and all that folk music that I love. Cat Stevens and that energy.”

Mandy Moore (“A Walk To Remember”) voices Rapunzel, a feisty teen with 70 feet of magical hair who is joined by Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as Flynn Rider and Tony winner Donny Murphy (“The King and I”) as Mother Gothel on the playful soundtrack. The first song written for the film was the “Healing Incantation” sung by Mandy Moore which runs throughout the movie.

“Mandy brings that wonderful quality that’s totally compatible with Rapunzel. This voice that’s light, airy, and yearning. She’s adorable, and Rapunzel is adorable.” Moore and Levi perform a duet on “I See The Light,” a sweeping, romantic ballad to make hearts swoon.

A musical theatre type song was created for Mother Gothel, performed by Donna Murphy. “I’ve known Donna for a long time; in fact she was one of our Audreys in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ way back Donna brought that kind of exciting drama to the song.”

Menken has won four Oscars® for Best Score (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas”) and four Oscars for best song (“Under the Sea,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World” and “Colors of the Wind”). In addition, he has been nominated 18 times, including Best Song nominations for “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space,” “Kiss the Girl,” “Belle,” “Be Our Guest,” “Friend Like Me,” “Go the Distance,” “Happy Working Song,” “So Close” and “That’s How You Know,” plus a Best Score nomination for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He has won ten Grammy Awards® (including Song of the Year for “A Whole New World”), seven Golden Globes®, London’s Evening Standard Award, the Olivier Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Other notable achievements include Billboard’s number one single (“A Whole New World”) and number one album (“Pocahontas”), an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from New York University and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Earlier this fall the musical stage adaptation of the Steve Martin film “Leap of Faith” with original music by Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater had its world-premiere. Alan Menken’s upcoming projects include the April 2011 Broadway opening of the musical “Sister Act” and the development of a stage musical version of the films “Newsies” with writer Harvey Fierstein and lyricist Jack Feldman as well as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Aladdin.”


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

ALEX WURMAN SCORES TEMPLE GRANDIN AND THE SWITCH


Composer Alex Wurman's publicists, Costa Communications, have kindly forwarded me promotional CDs of his scores for the HBO film Temple Grandin, which of course recently won seven Emmy Awards, including one for Wurman's music; and the big screen comedy The Switch.
Of course the scores and subject material couldn't be more different, with Temple Grandin being the true story of a remarkable woman, who struggled against autism to emerge as a person with a pretty unique understanding of animal behaviour. The film is directed by Mick Jackson and stars Claire Danes, both of them winning Emmys for their contributions.
Of his score, Wurman says: "my nephew is autistic and I've learned a lot from him and my tireless sister. The film gave me the opportunity to create music that conveys the frantic, smart and passionate mindset of Temple Grandin."
The Temple Grandin promo only contains some 18 minutes of music, which I imagine is just a sampling of the score, although it is not unknown for brief scores to win awards.
The "Opening Titles" is a propulsive affair, whilst "Chestnut's Dead," after an appropriately downbeat opening, actually takes flight. The propulsive, optimistic nature of the music continues throughout subsequent tracks, with strings very much to the fore. Even "Slaughterhouse Procession" has a lightness to it. Overall, I suppose the music reminds somewhat of Philip Glass in its minimalist nature, save for the final track on the disc "Ladder into the Future," which has a rural Southern feel, courtesy of slide guitar.
The Switch couldn't be more different than Temple Grandin. Starring Jennifer Aniston as a 40-year-old single woman who uses a turkey baster to become pregnant, not knowing that an accident leads to her best friend, played by Jason Bateman, replacing her preferred sperm sample with his own.
As for Wurman's orchestral score, well maybe that's not quite so different, at least not on the evidence of the opening track, which continues in minimalistic vein. A floaty, sentimental piece follows, but quickly transforms into comic sneakiness. There is a touch of minimalism to be found in subsequent tracks, but mostly what follows over the 37-minute running time is light and melodic, with a good dose of sentiment, but also some comedic moments.
As is often the case with comedy scores, many of the cues are quite brief, hence the 31 on this disc but, all-in-all, a very pleasant listening experience, which really deserves to be released commercially.
Temple Grandin is available on DVD in the States, but The Switch has yet to be released to the home market.

NEWS FROM PROMETHEUS/TADLOW


From Prometheus Records and Tadlow Music:-

ONE OF THE FILM MUSIC EVENTS OF THE YEAR

PROMETHEUS RECORDS and TADLOW MUSIC
Present The World Premiere Recording
of the Complete Score to

CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Composed by BASIL POLEDOURIS

A Special 2CD Edition featuring
the finest film score from BASIL POLEDOURIS

Composer of ROBOCOP | THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER | RED DAWN |
BIG WEDNESDAY | FAREWELL TO THE KING |
STARSHIP TROOPERS And FREE WILLY

Recording Produced for Prometheus Records by James Fitzpatrick

“A masterful translation of a film score into a symphonic piece,
this recording combines the best of new recording technology
with the lushness of the full orchestra and choir
our father always wanted.” Zoe and Alexis Poledouris

Catalogue Number: XPCD 169
Release Date: NOVEMBER 2nd, 2010

2 CD Set WITH 24-PAGE FULL COLOUR BOOKLET
Featuring for the First Time the COMPLETE
100-Minute Film Score
The Original Greig McRitchie Orchestrations
Over 2 Hours of Music
Includes Previously Unreleased Music
Newly Recorded in Stunning and Dynamic Digital Sound
Performed by the Acclaimed and Award-Winning 96-piece
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and 100-voice
CPPO Chorus Conducted by Nic Raine
Bonus Material including alternate cues and music from
CONAN THE DESTROYER
Informative and Expert Sleeve Notes by Frank K DeWald
Booklet introduction by Zoe and Alexis Poledouris