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

Friday, December 31, 2010


The Bounty
Music by Vangelis
Arranged, Produced and Performed by Dominik Hauser
BSX Records BSXCD 8881 (US)
20 Tracks 68:03 mins

It's New Year's Eve and I'm bound and determined not to end the year on a sour note, so I'll temper my comments on this new release from BSX Records. Actually, what's to criticise really about the actual release? Vangelis' score for Roger Donaldson's 1984 version of The Bounty is one that many have wanted to hear on CD for a long time now, and so what if it is not an original recording? To the best of my knowledge, it's a pretty faithful recreation by Dominik Hauser, who has produced a number of re-recordings of themes for the label in recent times. Of course, I'm no expert on the score because, as with practically all of Vangelis' cinematic output, I have heard it once on film and once only. And I will not watch this or any of the period films he has scored again until they are appropriately re-scored. Granted, Vangelis is a talented melodist, as can be evidenced by this album, but electronic music does not and never will belong in a period film. Here, aside from some nice melodies, the remainder of his music comes across as B-movie sci-fi meets John Carpenter.
But that's enough. Be positive, I tell myself, and so, yes, the album is nicely produced, with an accompanying 12-page booklet, sadly lacking in stills and artwork from the film, but with informative notes by Randall D. Larson and profiles of Hauser, vocalist Katie Campbell, who performs the traditional shanty "She Moved Through the The Fair;" and violinist Elizabeth Hedman, who features on another traditional tune "Drowsy Maggie." There is also the additional attraction of suites and themes from three other Vangelis-scored movies, Bitter Moon, Francesco and La Peste - all again reveal the composer's gift for melody; the album concluding with the single edit of the "End Credits" from The Bounty.
Limited to just 2000 units, you'd best hurry along to and grab your copy. If you're not a Vangelis fan and need some convincing, you'll maybe want to check out the samples there first.
It only remains for me to wish you all a very happy New Year, one in which you continue to find plenty of good screen music, old and new to enjoy.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Music by Andrew Hewitt
MovieScore Media MMS 10026
17 Tracks 31:17 mins

Yet another new name to me is British composer Andrew Hewitt, who has written the music for the recent thriller Cuckoo. Described as "essentially a musical study of inner claustrophobia," the score is written largely for strings and is basically an exercise in how many different ways one can present the "cuckoo" motif. Of course, there is a little more to it than that, with much suspenseful and mysterious writing, occasionally giving way to more uptempo passages. It's all very Herrmannesque, being especially reminiscent of his work for the Hitchcock classic Psycho, but I am afraid, for me, the whole "cuckoo" thing quickly grew very tiresome, and I was pleased the album has such a brief playing time.
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and ordering suggestions for both CD and digital download versions of the album.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The King's Speech
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Decca Records 476 4198 (EU)
14 Tracks 45:17 mins

French composer Alexandre Desplat seems to have become the composer of choice when it comes to scoring films dealing with the British throne, what with The Queen and now The King's Speech, a movie that is already receiving much attention even in advance of its release on 7th January, thanks of course to its Golden Globe nominations, as well as its triumph at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, The People's Choice Award, Hamptons International Film Award and a Hollywood Award. The film stars Colin Firth as King George VI, who of course suffered a terrible stammer, and Geoffrey Rush as the speech therapist who helped him overcome it.
Desplat's score was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios, utilising the very microphones through which the King used to give his speeches, bearing the royal coat of arms and insignia. Director of Engineering Peter Cobbin said of the use of these: "It was one thing for us to enjoy the visual presence of these rare microphones, but then quite another to hear the sonic tone and unique quality which wrapped and enveloped the score inside Abbey Road's Studio One."
For those of you who may be Strictly Come Dancing fans, you may be interested to know that piano is featured prominently in Desplat's score and the solos were performed by no less than Dave Arch, a name you will be familiar with for his excellent musical direction of the show.
The album opens with the restrained warmth of "Lionel and Bertie," tinkling piano joining strings to take it to its conclusion. The main theme follows in the title track, a flowing, happy and lightly purposeful piano-lead piece, which gives way to a much more uncertain, one could even say stammering conclusion. "My Kingdom, My Rules" follows, beginning uncertainly but then taking flight on piano. "The King is Dead" is suitably tragic, whilst "Memories of Childhood" is again an unhappy affair, full of self-doubt and uncertainty.
"King George VI" is no more confident to start with, but duty calls and the music assumes a certain nobility, for a time at least. The main theme, in its best and most complete incarnation, makes a welcome return in "The Royal Household," before more uncertainty in "Queen Elizabeth," despite some moments of warmth and sympathy. "Fear and Suspicion" follows and expands up on a John Barryish feel introduced at the conclusion of the previous track, with the main theme struggling to be heard and then eventually breaking free.
The penultimate track of Desplat's music, "The Rehearsal," builds expectantly to a quite joyous conclusion, but has to give way to darker matters and "The Threat of War," which closes the score in nervous anticipation of what is to come.
Another admirable effort from Desplat, who has overcome something of a gimmicky start to his international career to become a mature and dependable presence on whatever production comes his way.
In addition to Desplat's music, the album concludes with two pieces by Beethoven and one by Mozart, used to accompany especially dramatic moments in the film.
The soundtrack to The King's Speech will be released in the UK on 3rd January.

Monday, December 27, 2010


The Pagan Queen
Music by Benedikt Brydern
ConSordino Music
18 Tracks 63:07 mins

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, so here I am again with the first of my final reviews of 2010, this a digital album from a new name to me, Benedikt Brydern, to whom I am thankful for this opportunity of acquainting myself with his music for last year's historical drama The Pagan Queen from director Constantin Werner. The film is based on the legend of Libuse, the 8th century Czech tribal queen, who envisioned the city of Prague and founded the first Czech dynasty with Premysl, the Ploughman.
Appropriately, the score was recorded in Prague with an 80-piece orchestra and incorporates quotes from Dvorak's Romance in F minor. It has since gone on to win a Silver Unicorn Best Soundtrack Award at the 10th Estepona Fantasy& Horror Film Festival in Spain.
The album opens with a sense of foreboding but the "Main Title" eventually blossoms romantically on strings, presumably the first quote of Dvorak (I am not familiar with his work), before ending pretty much as it began. "Libussa" follows, opening nervously, before attaining some nobility and then blossoming romantically again, a mood that continues into "Moonlight Love," which surges with great passion before melting away. "Autumn Prophecy" follows somewhat suspensefully before lightening and moving nicely to its conclusion. There's both drama and passion to be found in "Eternal Love," whilst "The King's Funeral" is suitably mournful to start, before ascending to more dramatic heights.
"Assault/A New Queen" presents the most exciting action music of the score, before reaching a triumphant, proud conclusion. More action of a darker nature follows in "The Betrayal" and then "Dark Passion" opens very darkly before reaching a passionate crescendo and then ending with something of a feeling of desperation. "Winter" is initially appropriately bleak, but ends in more surging passion, and, I suspect, yet another quote of Dvorak. By contrast, "Heavy Heart" is pretty dark and conspiratorial, with a big dramatic ending, whilst the initially anguished "Separation," eventually lightens, but only briefly, before an overwhelming and then almost tragic conclusion. "Kazi" follows, opening quite mystically and proceeding suspensefully. "Love and Sacrifice" is as passionate and dramatic as the title might suggest, with "Mythical Treasures" offering more mysticism.
The story starts to build to its conclusion with "Off to War" striding purposefully towards "Last Battle," which surprisingly is for the most part devoid of action, with only a short burst before a noble resolution. "Final Destiny" concludes the album with more Dvorak and then a big horns-lead finale.
The Pagan Queen soundtrack is available to purchase as a digital download from the likes of and, and for information on the composer go to

Sunday, December 26, 2010


For the latest Italian soundtrack releases, get along to

Friday, December 24, 2010


From Costa Communications:-

Alexandre Desplat's publicists, Costa Communications, have sent me the following, which serves as a taster for my review of the soundtrack album - coming soon!

When I saw the first cut of the King’s Speech, I was struck by Tom Hooper’s incredible talent and his gift for using the best cinematic language for the storyline. The way he places the actors in the frame, Bertie on the edge, as if he were on the edge of reality, his use of “wide” and “fish-eye” lenses showing Bertie as a distorted man, the production design as well as a prodigious and very well-directed cast make his film a pure cinematic delight.

Now this was quite a challenge for me.

How would I be able to find a way through the film and enhance it?

A film in which a man is struggling to express himself in words, to show his emotions and relate his difficult childhood….a man who cannot speak. A man with long, very silent, moments.

I suggested to Tom that the music should mirror the fact that, when Bertie tries to speak he is “stuck”.

A theme based upon on one, repeated, single note; on and in a rhythm i.e., a pattern of a funeral march. It is a melody which tries desperately to evolve, to find a way out, like a bird with broken wings trying to fly. It is the theme we hear as Bertie tries futilely to deliver his speech at Wembley Stadium, when he shares his pain with his wife, and when he tries to delve into his sad memories during therapy.

But the score could not just be introspective.

The opening title shows a light, bittersweet, Mozart-esque mood; and, there again, it is a theme that struggles to find its own completion.

As the menace of war is surrounding the protagonists, the music gets more solemn and dark.

The moment of joy will only appear in the score when Bertie and Lionel finally reach a rapport during the rehearsal scene at Westminster Abbey.

To convey the sense of restrained emotion and to capture the sound of the period, we found in the archives of EMI, the very microphones which belonged to and were used exclusively by George V, George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary.

And we used them at Abbey Road Studios to record the orchestra. A very moving experience thinking that the very microphone in which King George VI delivered his speeches was right there in front of the podium from which I was conducting. It was also a very touching moment for the English musicians, as well, who were sending the sounds of their instruments through these very special microphones.


After composing the music for over 50 European films and being nominated for two Cesar Awards, Alexandre Desplat, burst onto the Hollywood scene in 2003 with his evocative score to THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING (starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth), which earned him nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA and European Film Awards.His reputation was solidified by his critically acclaimed score to Jonathan Glazer's film BIRTH (starring Nicole Kidman) and Stephen Gaghan's film SYRIANA (Produced by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon), which earned him yet another Golden Globe nomination. THE QUEEN (directed by Stephen Frears and starring Helen Mirren) garnered him his first Academy Award nomination. In the same year he was also won a Golden Globe Award for his score to THE PAINTED VEIL (starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts). In 2007, he wrote the music for The GOLDEN COMPASS (directed by Chris Weitz and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig), which is the first movie based upon the beloved trilogy, HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman and LUST, CAUTION (for Academy Award winning director Ang Lee). In 2008, Alexandre composed the score tor David Fincher's THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), which earned him his second Academy Award Nomination and his fourth Golden Globe nomination. In the following year, he composed the music for Nora Ephron's JULIE & JULIA (starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams), CHERI (directed by Stephen Frears), COCO BEFORE CHANEL(starring Audrey Tautou), THE PROPHET (directed by Jacques Audiard), which was the Official French Selection for the Oscar category of Best Picture in a Foreign Language, TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON (directed by Chris Weitz), and THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (directed by Wes Anderson), which brought Alexandre his third Academy Award nomination. Recently released was Roman Polanski's contemporary film noir motion picture THE GHOST WRITER (starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan). In 2010, Alexandre was selected as one of the nine luminaries to serve as a juror for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.Upcoming movies include THE TREE OF LIFE (directed by Terence Malick, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn), THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP (directed by Richard Loncraine), TAMARA DREWE (directed by Stephen Frears) and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (PART 1) (directed by David Yates).

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Music by Xavier Capellas
MovieScore Media MMS10025
26 Tracks 53:11 mins

MovieScore Media bring another new name to my attention with their release of Spanish composer Xavier Capellas' epic orchestral/choral score for the Napoleonic war film Bruc. In addition to standard orchestra and choir, Capellas also calls upon ethnic instruments, like duduk and bouzouki, as well as ethereal vocals credited simply to Beth.
The album opens with the suitably downbeat "A Defeated Empire," the mood continuing into "Secret Memories," with its duduk solo. Beth's vocals first make the scene with the powerful drums-lead "Echo," which marches determinedly onward. "Building a Dream" is in complete contrast to that which has gone before, presenting the main theme in an almost ethereal arrangement for harp, duduk and violin.
After this quiet interlude, it's back to more grim matters with the suspenseful "Enter the Dark," but "Hostage" follows in surprisingly hopeful vein. A somewhat religious-styled a Capella choral opens "On Your Knees," with orchestra eventually joining to take the track to another hopeful conclusion. Percussive conflict ensues in "I Want His Head," leading to more action in "Fear vs Love," which ends rather coldly. Bouzouki and violin offer a sad refrain in "Will I See You Again."
The dramatic "Hidden Shot" ends somewhat sadly, and there's tension a plenty in "The Trap," whilst "Bruce's Destiny" is a light, barely audible piece until strings join the solo harp at the end.
"Where Is He?" is another increasingly tense affair, a mood continued in "Black Soul," but brought to an end by the fateful "Birth of a Legend," with ethnic drumming, brass and female voice giving it a feeling of importance. The sad piano-lead "Killing a Friend" follows, and then the expectant "Bruc Raises" culminates in the warmth of "Twin Souls" and increasing hopefulness of "Back to Life," which continues into "The Big Lie," which is completely at odds with what has gone before, as the opening piano theme suddenly picks up a modern pop beat. It's all very jarring and inappropriate and spoils the moment.
The album closes with Beth singing both Spanish and Catalan versions (the latter only available on the download version) of the title ballad, which thankfully returns us to the more appropriate sound of the remainder of the soundtrack.
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film and ordering suggestions for your CD or digital download purchase.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Le Pistole Non Discutono
Music by Ennio Morricone
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4138
17 Tracks 41:41 mins

Once upon a time Ennio Morricone would not sanction releases of his early scores, but thankfully he seems more open to this these days, as is evidenced by the increasing numbers of releases of these important entries in his filmography. That's not to say that there hasn't previously been music from this 1964 western to be found. Around half a dozen tracks have been released over the years, and very welcome these were too, but at last we now have a 17 track presentation of the score of this little seen Italian oater, starring Rod Cameron.
For those not familiar with the maestro's themes for this film, let's just say that there are indications of what was to follow in his great western scores for Sergio Leone and others, the first of which, A Fistful of Dollars was composed in the same year.
The standout from the soundtrack is the song "Lonesome Billy, a long-time favourite of mine, dramatically performed by Peter Tevis. The song opens the 14 mono score tracks, and is reprised as one of three stereo bonus tracks at the end of the disc. The second strong offering is the galloping title track, first heard in track 2, but heard in differing arrangements in tracks 8, 11, and 14. Of course it also features again in the bonus tracks.
Another recurring track is "Gli Indiani," a striking piece of fight music, heard in tracks 3, 9, and in more tense and suspenseful mode in track 12. Again, we are given a stereo reprise in the bonus tracks.
The remainder of the score features source-like guitar solos, one with female vocal; another fight track, similar to "Gli Indiani," though not as powerful; and the jaunty "La Ragazza e Lo Sceriffo."
It's a fine score in its own right and has begged to be heard in full for a long time, so bravo GDM Hillside for finally getting it out there.
Accompanying the CD is a colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, but sadly not text.
You can order your copy of this limited edition of just 750 units from, but you'd better hurry as I wouldn't expect them to be around for long.


From Silva Screen Records:-

"Silva Screen is proud to announce the February release of the soundtrack to Doctor Who - A Christmas Carol, this year's Doctor Who Christmas Day Special.

The Soundtrack features classical music superstar Katherine Jenkins. Katherine is both part of the cast and singer on 'Abigail's Song'.

The music is composed by Doctor Who composer of choice Murray Gold and performed by the excellent BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Crouch End Festival Chorus.

The album will be released both physically (SILCD1360) and digitally (SILED1360).

The TV episode will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 6pm and will feature Matt Smith as The Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. They will be joined by Michael Gambon as Kazran Sardick and Katherine Jenkins as Abigail.

Short Synopsis:
Amy and Rory are trapped on a crashing space liner, and the only way The Doctor can rescue them is to save the soul of a lonely old miser , in a festive edition of the time-travelling adventure, written by Steven Moffat. But is Kazran Sardick, the richest man in Sardicktown, beyond redemption? And what is lurking in the fogs of Christmas Eve?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Music by Nuno Malo
MovieScore Media MMS 10024
23 Tracks 47:54 mins

MovieScore media promised more releases from Portuguese composer Nuno Malo, after releasing his score for Julgamento, and the first of these has not been long in coming; and if you were impressed by the first score, I am sure you'll be similarly happy with this one, written for "a dramatic portrayal of one of Portugal's most famous musical personalities - Fado legend Amalia Rodriguez," as it features lots of fine melodic writing, especially for strings and guitar.
The opening score track, "Lament: Fado Dos Meus Erros (orchestra version)," is lovely, yet at the same time quite heartbreaking, and leads into the spiritual "Opening: Close to Death," where the soaring strings are joined by heavenly choir.
Happier, more innocent times, are recalled in the waltz-like "Bola De Berlin (Young Amalia)," whilst the tender "Amalia and Santo" hints at Amalia's first tentative romantic steps towards romance. By complete contrast is "Nightmare," with the heavenly choir taking on a darker hew.
"Amalia At Her Parents' Home" is a nice, but subdued guitar piece, whilst guitar also features, along with whistler, in the brief but catchy "Cesar's Theme."
"The Death of Aninha" is suitably mournful, and "The Cliff" passionate, whilst "Amalia Tenders to the Poor" offers more tender guitar work. This is followed by "Making Love/The Beating/The Collapse" which, as you can imagine, goes through a range of emotions, with "Trashed Poem" suitably devastated, a mood continued in "The Girl From Israel."
The main theme gets a tender Spanish guitar treatment, that is all too brief, in "Amalia Remembered," with piano taking it up in the following "Goodbyes." Things take a much sunnier turn for "Amalia: The Ending," with strings reprising the waltz theme from "Young Amalia," before the score closes on a reprise of the "Lament" theme, featuring Tina Guo on cello.
After Julgamento, I was looking forward to hearing what more the composer had to offer, and I have certainly not been disappointed with this follow-up release. More of the same to follow, I hope.
Incidentally, in addition to Malo's score, the CD release also features two songs from Amalia herself.
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and ordering suggestions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The Next Three Days
Music by Danny Elfman
Silva Screen SILCD 1352
25 Tracks 71:32 mins

On 24th January, Silva Screen records release Danny Elfman's score for the Paul Haggis thriller The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe.
It's hard to believe that a big name composer like Elfman is still subject to the "curse of the temp track" but, from listening to his score, it seems pretty obvious that the film was temped with Alexandre Desplat's music for the likes of Birth and, more especially, Syriana. I say this because some of the tracks have the same annoying rhythmic pulse that, for me, all but completely ruined Desplat's scores for those films. Leaving these tracks aside (because I just can't bear to listen to them), we are left with a largely piano-based score, with some quite poignant and emotional writing in the likes of "Prologue;" "What She's Lost; the cello-lad "Same Old Trick;" "All is Lost;" "That's OK;" "Touch;" "Reunion;" "The Truth," which picks up a pop beat and wordless female vocal somewhere along the way; and the closing "The Aftermath;" whilst tracks like "A Way In;" "Pittsburgh is Tough;" "Don Quixote;" the lengthy "Breakout;" and "They're Off" offer more propulsive, dramatic fare.
Things take a brief middle-eastern turn in "The Evidence," complete with wailing ethnic vocals, but otherwise it is grounded in the more conventional western sound.
This lengthy album closes with a couple of numbers by Moby, if you're into that sort of thing.
Go to for samples and to pre-order the album on CD or as a digital download.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Happy Now
Music by Dario Marianelli
MovieScore Media MMS 10023
17 Tracks 38:51 mins

As part of the label's "Discovery Collection," MovieScore Media has ventured into the past to resurrect a score by Atonement Oscar winner Dario Marianelli for a little-known British comedy, Happy Now, which was released some six years before his triumph.
The score for Happy Now was performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra and this premiere recording, though fairly brief at under 39 minutes, features an interesting mix of styles , from quirky cues like the opening "The Strange Land,'" "Execution," "The Scream," "It's a Camaleon's Life," and "Photos;" to more conventional fare, such as the melancholy "Locked Away;" the somewhat Herrmannesque "Near Miss," "Derangement," "The Rock," and "Can't Be her...;" to the elegant "Hommage to David Rose; and the pseudo-spaghetti western sounds of "Bonanzaland;" whilst both "On the Chase" and "Glen Loses It" combine the quirky elements with the Herrmannesque, and Who's the Bullet For" the quirky with the spaghetti; the penultimate track "Wild West Wales" offering a little of everything.
All concludes with the closing title track which, after a slice of the "all's well that ends well," plays us out with a reprise of the main theme, introduced at the opening of the album.
Go to for samples, and suggestions as to how you can obtain the album on CD, or as a digital download.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Music by Alan Menken
Walt Disney Records
20 Tracks 55:39 mins

Latest Disney CG animation is Tangled, their musical take on the Rapunzel fairy tale, with Mandy Moore voicing Rapunzel, Donna Murphy as her mother and Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider. The voice cast also includes the likes of Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor and Richard "Jaws" Kiel.
Now veteran Disney scorer Alan Menken provides the music, collaborating with lyricist Glenn Slater on the songs, voiced by the cast, which feature on ten of the albums twenty tracks, and there is a Grace Potter vocal tagged on at the end. The songs are standard fare - perfectly agreeable, without being anything exceptional - a mix of pop, folk and show tunes, the most memorable being the duet between Moore and Levi on "I See the Light."
As for the underscore, "Flynn Wanted" gets things off to an adventurous start, with some galloping action music. "Horse with no Rider" is more on the menacing side, with choir adding weight at one point then. The menace continues, initially march-like, into "Escape Route," though things do turn somewhat lighter, and "Campfire" is a much more peaceful affair, with again a folksy, somewhat Celtic feel, though the cue does turn menacing at the end.
The folksy element combines with a medieval feel for the increasingly lively "Kingdom Dance," whilst "Return to Mother" is sad and subdued, continuing into "Realization and Escape," before choir joins the orchestra in a soaring moment, leading to some tense moments, before ending with a burst of exciting action. The lengthy "The Tear Heals" follows and goes through many moods before reaching its lovely, emotional ending, with soaring strings, brass and choir, leading to a tender, guitar-lead conclusion. Finally, "Kingdom Celebration" opens on a very light and folksy note, complete with banjo and fiddle, before a rousing orchestral/choral conclusion.
A very listener-friendly album all round, Menken proving once more just how expert he is at this kind of fare.
The film is already in release in the States, but opens in the UK at the end of January. In the meantime, the Tangled soundtrack album is available both on CD and as a digital download.


From CineMedia Promotions:-



(Los Angeles, CA – December 16, 2010) Hot off the airing of the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead, film, television and video game composer Bear McCreary’s latest project is a gift to the fans. Angry Video Game Nerd’s Christmas episode, How the Nerd Stole Christmas is viewable at

“Because I’m such a huge fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd,” described McCreary, “I thought that the least I could do was pitch in some music and help him out on one of his videos. However, I never really thought we would end up with something as cinematic, narrative and funny as we would end up with.”

“I needed a score for this one that was very different than the others,” said James Rolfe aka The Angry Video Game Nerd. Rolfe reviews really old, not-so-classic video games on his popular site. The idea for the Christmas episode was to create a take on Chuck Jones’ classic animated version of the Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In How The Nerd Stole Christmas, the nerd steals all of the new video games and replaces with them with the, well, crappier video games from his childhood.

“This whole thing sounded like a lot of fun, so I dove in,” said McCreary. “I had a blast with the classic video game sounds in this score. I’ve had projects with 8-bit music, but few opportunities to mix these sounds together with live, orchestral music. The results were often surprisingly effective.”

In addition to mixing in the sounds of classic video games, McCreary incorporated a new arrangement of the classic song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” with lyrics written by the Angry Video Game Nerd. Doug Lacy. He also incorporated other holiday references, as Bear describes:

I even tucked several musical quotations into the score itself, including a Christmas classic, ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies’ by Tchaikovsky. I used this quote while The Nerd snuck into the village of Gameville to steal games. However, when he descends down the chimney, James added a well-known sound effect from Super Mario Bros. Taking that reference to its next logical level, I scored the following scene with a quotation of the underground music from Super Mario Bros, combining it with ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies!’

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

McCreary earned his first Emmy© nomination for his original theme music for Human Target. The series featured the largest group of musicians to play on a television series, according to Variety. McCreary’s latest project is The Walking Dead -- the runaway hit of the 2010-2011 television season -- airing on AMC.

Next up for McCreary is The Cape, which begins airing January 9, 2011 on NBC. In addition to his work for television, McCreary’s credits include the video games SOCOM 4, Dark Void and Dark Void Zero, and the films Step Up 3D and Wrong Turn 2.

To read Bear’s in-depth blog entry about the creation of the music, and for a free download of the music, visit

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


In a Better World
Music by Johan Soderqvist
MoveScore Media MMS 10022
23 Tracks 47:12 mins

MovieScore Media's third Johan Soderqvist release is for the composer's eighth film collaborations with director Susanne Bier, the drama In a Better World.
The film's African settings allowed the composer to investigate sounds of the region and the Mbira is used especially for these scenes, and can be heard in many tracks starting with the lightly propulsive title cue and the brief, almost ethereal "Marianne;" together with haunting vocal solos, present in "Trying to Save Her, "Dawning" and "The Revenge." For the film's more domestic settings, Soderqvist principally uses warm strings for the more intimate and emotional scenes, and synths to underline the more atmospheric moments. Rhythmic elements come into play for episodes of tension such as "Let's Do It" and "Elias Says No," whilst strings are added to the mix for the dramatic build of "The Bomb."
All is well by the lengthy "End Title," when strings join with the Mbira to flow nicely to a conclusion, before a brief "Epilogue" ends the album with a reprise of "Marianne."
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and ordering suggestions for this CD only release.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I hadn't heard anything lately from composer Debbie Wiseman so, whilst sending her season's greetings, I asked her what she had been up to. I'd obviously been looking in the wrong place, because she's been as busy as ever, scoring "Joanna Lumley's Nile" and "Martin Clunes: Horsepower" for British TV, and also providing the music for Dutch costume drama "The Throne."
In February we will hear her music in the Channel 4 drama series "The Promise," and the second series of "Land Girls," which starts on BBC1 on January 17th. Even better news is that both will have soundtrack releases, "The Promise" by Silva Screen, and "Land Girls" by Warner Bros.
My thanks to Debbie for the update.


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - The Videogame
Music by Winifred Phillips
WaterTower Music
17 Tracks 53:19 mins

I have yet to see Zack Snyder's CGI fantasy Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, but from clips I have seen the animation certainly looks impressive. Snyder was also responsible for 300, so if that's anything to go by, I am sure it will be amazing.
Whilst Snyder has worked extensively with Tyler Bates on his previous movies, Australian David Hirschfelder go the nod for this one, and his efforts are available on CD from WaterTower Music.
Of course most films of this scope also have a video game created around them and Legend of the Guardians is no exception. Thus, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment duly obliged. Occasionally the music for such games is composed by the film's composer, as was the case with 300, where Tyler Bates duly adapted his themes but, more often than not, a new composer, or composing team is brought in to score the game, which is often in development before the film receives its final score mix. This was the case here, and for the Legend of the Guardians game, Snyder personally chose Winifred Phillips, who completed her score before Hirschfelder came on to the movie.
Winifred, aided an abetted by her producer Winnie Waldron, is of course responsible for some of the most entertaining and inventive game music of recent times, for some such diverse titles as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Speed Racer, The Da Vinci Code, God of War, Shrek the Third and Sim Animals. A multi-talented composer and vocalist, she utilises synths and samples in her scores and provides all the vocal work, whether it be in the form of solos or choral pieces. Often one finds it hard to believe it is just her you are hearing.
Although created with synths and samples, it has to be said that Phillips has achieved quite an epic cinematic sound with her music for Legend of the Guardians. As you know, I am not a great lover of synthetic music, but here I found I was very much entertained and swept along by the sheer scope of the score, which features more than 20 themes. As you know, I am a sucker for melody, so who could ask for more!
Chief among the themes on display is the "Guardians' Theme," which is utilised within the many action cues, as well as given a more ethereal treatment, care of Winifred's haunting vocal solo in the beautiful "With Hearts Sublime."
The other major theme Winifred describes as that for the "Ancient Evil" is very reminiscent of Howard Shore's choral writing, especially his Ring Wraiths theme from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Regarding the action cues, I don't know, but can imagine Phillips is something of a fan of Bear McCreary, as stylistically some of the more percussive moments, particularly in "Eyes in the Night," mirror his style on the likes of Battlestar Galactica and Human Target, so if you are familiar with his music, you will most likely enjoy this.
I should also mention the cue "Take Flight," a thrilling little scherzo, which I enjoyed and, for those of you who enjoy a world music sound, "Wild Fire" offers busy ethnic percussion and instrumentation. The tragic, yet beautiful "The Fallen" also impresses.
In November, "With Hearts Sublime" received a 2010 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the category "Best Original Song - Video Game." This should give you a good indicator as to the quality of the score.
Winifred Phillips' Legend of the Guardians score is available as a digital download from iTunes, and take time to visit her website at, where you can view an excellent documentary on the scoring of the game, featuring on screen commentary from both Phillips and Waldron, together with scored game play. Why not also check out samples of Winifred's other work while you're there, some of which is also available on iTunes.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Go to for these and all your Italian soundtrack requirements.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Once Fallen
Music by Jeff Beal
MovieScore Media MMD 0012
20 Tracks 43:32 mins

Available as a digital download only, MovieScore Media has released Jeff Beal's score for the recent low-budget crime drama Once Fallen, which reunites the composer with the film's star Ed Harris.
Beal, like fellow screen composer Mark Isham, comes from a jazz background and if you enjoy the latter's smoky and gritty urban scores, then chances are you'll like this one too, as it's very much cut from the same cloth, with trumpet drifting in and out of many of the cues, though absent from the film's title track, which moves along rather more optimistically than much of what follows. But the instrument quickly makes its first tentative appearance in the upbeat "Prison Fight" that follows. Aside from the jazz-based atmospheres, "There Are No Rules" and "The Kidnap" present some percussive movement, and "Beat and Leon," "If I Go, You Go," "Father and Son" and "Reunion" a few moments of sentiment; with the title theme (this time with trumpet) returning to close out the final album track "A Gift From Beat/End Credits."
Go to for samples, a trailer for the film, and for ordering suggestions.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Big Boss
Music by Peter Thomas
All Score Media ASM 034
20 Tracks 40:51 mins

The legendary Bruce Lee starred in only a handful of films, but his star shines as brightly today as it always did. Had he lived, he would have turned 70 on November 27th, and to mark the occasion All Score Media have premiered the soundtrack to his breakthrough film, 1971's The Big Boss (he had only enjoyed moderate success in the USA, prior to his move into the Hong Kong filmmaking scene, most notably in the TV show The Green Hornet), a film I first saw as a double feature with the following year's Fist of Fury at our local cinema (when we had one - oh I miss the many nights I enjoyed there!).
You didn't look for complicated plots with Lee's films. In his first three films at least, he was always the good guy going up against seemingly insurmountable odds. He displayed a certain charm in The Big Boss and Way of the Dragon, whilst was more ruthless in Fist of Fury. I urge you to seek out these early films in particular as, whilst the fights grew ever more spectacular in Enter The Dragon and Game of Death (which had to be completed using a double), the rawness and simplicity of the first three show off Lee's martial arts talents just as well, and let him dominate the screen more so than the latter films with their largely American casts.
So, what of the music on this album? Well, The Big Boss was originally scored by Chinese composer Wang Fu-ling, but the powers-that-be decided it would sound too alien for the majority of western audiences. It was retained in the English release however, but I don't recall if it was still attached when I first saw the film at the cinema. Certainly, every time I have seen it since, it has had the replacement score by the redoubtable Peter Thomas. I know this for a fact, because as soon as I put this CD on the player I immediately recognised the composer's versatile main theme, first heard in the opening track as the "Big Boss Theme," in all its brassy propulsive glory. The theme is reprised in various forms throughout the tracks that follow, in a score that is very much of its time, a jazz-pop concoction, with plenty of groovy, beat-driven source-like cues, action writing and tension, plus a love theme that plays airily in "Girl Loves Cheng Li," and smokily in "China Love." There is also "Communication in Hyperspace" with its simulated satellite electronic chatter, and more weird electronics in "EKG." But overall this is a tuneful and enjoyable listen and a great reminder of the film.
The accompanying 12-page booklet features a number of stills from the film, plus Gerd Naumann's introductory notes in both German and English.
You can sample the tracks by going to, where you can also find ordering suggestions for the album, both on CD and as a digital download.


Sorry there's been nothing from me since Wednesday, but the run-up to Christmas is always a busy time for me, work-wise. Can't promise something every day next week either, but I'll do my best. Anyway, here's some news from Costa Communications:-



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 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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Music by Clint Mansell
Lakeshore Records
16 Tracks 54:06 mins

Composer Clint Mansell has two films currently showing, the Natalie Portman starrer Black Swan and the Dwayne Johnson thriller Faster. The score for the latter has been released by Lakeshore Records, both on CD and as a digital download.
The first six tracks on the album feature various vocal numbers, the most interesting being the DeAngelis brothers' "Goodbye My Friend," and Kenny Rogers' version of "Just Dropped In." After that, it's score all the way, with Mansell evoking a typically contemporary urban sound, all electric guitars and percussion. At times, the music is dark, dramatic and atmospheric, and sometimes quite mournful; at others it's hi-octane, like the highly percussive "History Lesson" and the opening of "The Driver Drives." There is very little light to be found, though "Lovers" does provide a piano-lead interlude. But even this develops a pounding drumbeat as it progresses.
The penultimate track, "On a Mission," brings matters to a fatalistic close, before "Redemption" builds from a quiet opening to a big, dramatic conclusion.
I am not a great lover of this genre, but I have to say, as contemporary urban-styled scores go, this one has more to offer than many I have heard in recent years.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Jackboots on Whitehall
Music by Guy Michelmore
MovieScore Media MMS 10021
32 Tracks 64:10 mins

Composer Guy Michelmore first came to my attention through his excellent orchestral scoring of a number of Marvel animated features based on popular comic book characters like The Avengers, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and The Hulk. He has up to this point rarely ventured into the realm of cinema scoring, and it is therefore nice to see him getting an opportunity like for this big screen alternate history of World War II, Jackboots on Whitehall, which is told by puppetry and features a stellar British voice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Timothy Spall, Alan Cumming, Tom Wilkinson, Richard Griffiths and Pam Ferris.
Seizing the opportunity with both hands, the composer unites with the City of Prague Philharmonic to come up with a score that draws on the finest orchestral war film scoring traditions, evoking the spirits of Ron Goodwin, Elmer Bernstein et al, whilst adding more contemporary Media Ventures-styled guitars in places, and a notable Celtic twist. It's all very rousing, particularly the heroic main theme, with plenty of exciting action writing and menacing guitars for the Nazis, whilst always remaining just that little bit tongue-in-cheek. "Harvest and Village" makes for a rare pastoral interlude, and there are some rousing highland reels for the Scottish forces, who it seems play a big part, and also a rocking version of "Scotland the Brave." It all makes for a highly entertaining listen indeed.
Available on CD only, go to for samples, a trailer for the film and ordering suggestions.
Let's hope this is just the start of bigger things for the underrated Michelmore.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Conan the Barbarian
Music by Basil Poledouris
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Nic Raine
Prometheus Records XPCD 169
Disc 1 - 18 Tracks 60:21 mins
Disc 2 - 14 Tracks 61:48 mins

For the second collaboration between Prometheus Records and Tadlow Music, following their successsful teaming for the complete recording of Dimitri Tiomkin's The Alamo, we now have a new complete recording of another, more contemporary, masterpiece, Basil Poledouris' score for 1982's Conan the Barbarian, the film that gave "The Governator," Arnold Schwarzenegger his first big cinematic break. As before, the music is performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of Nic Raine, using Poledouris' regular collaborator Greig McRitchie's orchestrations.
A soundtrack album was issued at the time of the film's release, and an expanded edition followed some years later, but for those of us who love the score, there was always the regret that a complete version never appeared and whilst, in an ideal world, that complete version would be compiled from the original soundtrack recordings, this re-recording is the next best thing.
The score is spread over two discs, and features 14 previously unreleased cues, with five bonus tracks at the end of disc two featuring three alternate cues, two of which are also previously unrecorded, an orchestral version of "Riders of Doom" and, as an extra special bonus, the "Chamber of Mirrors" track from the film's disappointing sequel Conan the Destroyer, the score of which could also do with a re-recording, as it is one of the worst soundtrack performances I have ever heard.
Performances are adequate, though perhaps lacking the gusto of the Alamo recording and there has been some criticism of the recorded sound. The main difficulty I find is that I am so in love with the original performance of the score (even if the composer was himself less than happy with both the performance and recording of it), that, for all its faults, it will always be the definitive recording, rawness et al. Having said that, I very much welcome having all the extra music and, if one cares to take the trouble, I suppose one can always listen to the two recordings in tandem.
The accompanying 24-page booklet is sadly minus original artwork and stills from the film, but does feature some very nice pictures of the composer ( a couple taken at his performance of the score at the 2006 Ubeda Festival, shortly befopre his all too early demise) and his family, as well as some of the re-recording sessions; all these accompanying album producer James Fitzpatrick's introductory notes, cue-by-cue guide and production notes, with a foreword by Basil's daughter Alexis. All-in-all, a fitting tribute to the composer and, along with Lonesome Dove, one of his masterworks.
If you go to www.tadlowmusic/conan.html, you can watch footage from the recroding sessions, as well as order your copy of the album.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Francis Lai: The Essential Film Music Collection
Music by Francis Lai
Silva Screen Records SILCD 1338
20 Tracks 68:54 mins

Although not released in the UK until February, Silva Screen kindly sent me a link to the latest in their "Essential Film Music Collection" series, this one a single disc offering, featuring many of the best themes written by the great French melodist Francis Lai, here featuring the composer conducting orchestral arrangements, recorded in Paris a couple of years ago. Some of the themes were originally conceived electronically, so it is interesting to have the opportunity to hear what they would have sounded like had they been orchestrated originally.
Of course this collection barely scratches the surface of the great man's cinematic output, which numbers more than 100 films, but generally most of his best remembered themes are included.
I first fell in love with Lai's music when, as many lusty youngsters did at the time, I ventured to the cinema to catch up with the exploits of sex bomb Sylvia Kristel in Emmanuelle II, but it wasn't the near groundbreaking (at the time) sexual antics on display that I took away with me, but rather Lai's beautiful music. It started me on a quest and, as well as the soundtrack album to that film, I soon added Love Story, A Man & A Woman, Love is a Funny Thing and Hannibal Brooks, with Bilitis and International Velvet following as the films were released.
This collection has many of my favourites, including main themes to Bilitis, Emmanuelle II, Love Story, A Man & A Woman, Rider on the Rain, Mayerling and Vivre Pour Vivre; the beautiful "Concerto Pour La Fin d'Un Amour" from Love is a Funny Thing;" to a couple of selections from Les Uns et Les Autres, the film on which he collaborated with fellow Frenchman Michel Legrand. It's a shame International Velvet and Hannibal Brooks are not presented, but at least there's the opportunity for me to catch up with less familiar pieces from the likes of 13 Jours en France, Itineraire d'Un Enfant Gate, La Belle Histoire, La Course du Lievre a Travers Les Champs, Le Lecon Particuliere, Le Genre Humain, Les Etoiles du Cinema, Les Miserables, Les Ripoux and Pour L'Amour de Tes Yeux Noirs.
Nearly 70 minutes of largely highly melodic and varied music, some of it pop-styled, some more conventional, this is a fine introduction to the music of Francis Lai for anyone not familiar with it, and something of a concert-styled overview for those who are.
You'll have to keep an eye on if you want to snap up a copy in February.


From Costa Communications:-





LOS ANGELES –Five-time ASCAP Award-winning TV and film composers Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon and Marc Fantini win the 2010 HMMA: “Best TV Score” for the weekly CBS’s series Criminal Minds. The Hollywood Music in Media Awards were held at the Hollywood & Highland Center, home of the Academy Awards, Thursday, November 18th, 2010. The team is back for the sixth season of the hit show Criminal Minds starring Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson as members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. The composers are also scoring the new Criminal Minds spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Oscar® winning actor Forrest Whittaker, which will debut later this year.

Explains Steffan Fantini, “For Criminal Minds, the idea for the music was to bring haunting elements into the drama. It is a hybrid score which blends dark orchestral, guitar loops and sound design. Music is composed that is literal to a specific scene. A spot of blood or an eyelash is all addressed musically to build the drama of a scene for the viewer.”

Due to the uniqueness of the scores and the popularity of the show, the Criminal Minds’ composers write a weekly blog describing the music they have written for each episode. The blog appears on the website. The current entry explains that the current episode needed a score that harkened back to the golden age of Hollywood. For this specific episode, the composers created a classical orchestral motif that was reminiscent of that era. The composers described the episode as the films: “Sunset Blvd” meets “Psycho”.

The three composers attend spotting sessions for each episode and develop their own perspective. “Knowing that our music is the unseen character, we strive to create a unique and original musical identity for each project,” says Steffan. “The pay off for us is that we can play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Scott Gordon. “There are no egos, until there are,” he laughs. The composing team’s singular and combined musical backgrounds and talents make them leaders in the film, TV and videogame music genres. Their musical palette spans multiple genres from classical to pop, rock to jazz, and alternative to hip hop.

The Fantinis began their careers as recording artists and producers. At age 12, Marc played guitar solos on leading New Kids On The Block albums. Steffan and Marc also sang and produced many artists’ hits. They then transitioned into film and TV scoring. Meanwhile, Scott Gordon was becoming a leading engineer and mixer for many iconic performers including Ringo Starr, Alanis Morissette, Bon Jovi, The Eagles, Tom Petty and Aerosmith. Through the Ringo Starr session, Gordon met the Fantinis which led to the collaborative relationship.

The trio eventually moved into film scoring by writing music for composer Mark Mancina on Training Day and Shooter. Fantinis and Gordon went on to compose for films including Hurricane Season and Mercy Streets. Their current projects include the film The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone, the Sony Playstation game Sorcery and the TV series Army Wives.

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.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
Music by Jesper Kyd
20 Tracks 63:11 mins

The latest game in the Assassins Creed series is set during the occupation of Rome by The Borgias in 1503 and is again scored by BAFTA award-winning composer Jesper Kyd, who utilises Renaissance period instrumentation alongside He says of the project: "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."
I am working from a copy of the album the composer's publicists, Top Dollar PR, kindly sent me, which has 20 tracks, but I gather the commercial download, available from the likes of iTunes and, has 21.
The first track on my copy is "Master Assassin," a powerful, ethnic styled, percussive piece with ethnic female voice thrown into the mix. This is followed by the impressive majesty of "City of Rome," which moves steadily to the same ethnic sound, enhanced by choir and various instrumental/vocal soloists. A savage male voice choir introduces "Cesare Borgia," whilst "Flags of Rome" becomes increasingly percussive, while female voice soars over. "The Brotherhood Escapes" offers hi-octane action for choir and percussion, with the initially brooding "Brotherhood of the Assassins" gradually gaining impetus, before fading away. "The Pantheon" opens expectantly, but percussion then drives it forward. The male choir return for "Villa Under Attack," effectively mixing with percussion to provide a powerful moment in the score. After this, there's time for reflection in "Echos of the Roman Ruins," with its mournful female vocal, before the pulsing "Borgia Tower" and "Borgia Occupation," with its echoing voices and pounding drums, which build in power, joined by chanting male choir.
"Roman Underworld" is dark and desolate, giving way to "Countdown," which ticks along, building in intensity as it goes. "Borgia - the Rulers of Rome" is a pretty desolate affair, with female voices; the propulsive "Ezo Confronts Lucrezia" following, with the propulsion continuing into "Battle in Spain," where male voices join to provide another powerful moment. "Fight of the Assassins" offers percussive conflict, giving way to "Desmond Miles," with mournful electric cello or violin, backed by shimmering electronics.
The penultimate track, "VR Room" is an ethereal affair, with "Apple Chamber" continuing the shift to a more electronic sound, as it closes the album in somewhat minimalistic fashion with its rippling keyboards and synth pulsings.
A hit and miss affair then, rather like Kyd's previous scores for the series; at its best when the percussion and voices drive the score forward, and also in the haunting use of ethnic female vocals, but the increasing shift towards electronics provide a disappointing close to the album.