Past Columns

Soundtrax: Episode 2013-04 
March 19th, 2013

By Randall D. Larson

Released late last year to great acclaim, the album Trailerhead: Triumph was produced by Yoav Goren, the award-winning composer who has celebrated 20 years at the helm of Immediate Music, the acclaimed Hollywood-based music production company. Immediate was recently honored with the Vanguard Award by the Hollywood Music In Media Awards, in recognition of its success as pioneering producers of trailer music. Goren has also won an Emmy Award for his compositions as featured in NBC's Olympic Games.

Immediate's reputation for the highest quality cinematic music has resulted in over 5,000 placements in film, television, trailers, commercials and video games. The selections on Trailerhead: Triumph have been featured in high profile worldwide marketing campaigns for dozens of films and products, including:  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PTS. 1 & 2, TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLDS' END, AVATAR, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, ASSASSIN'S CREED, Glenfiddich, McDonalds, UEFA 2012 Championship.

“At its core, epic music has and always will convey a supercharged representation of various aspects of the human condition, with or without partnership with moving pictures.”

Q: What are the essential needs for scoring a movie trailer in today’s marketplace?

Yoav Goren:  To begin, one needs to be somewhat of a historian of music for film. A broad knowledge and palette of different styles and artistic approaches is essential, because this more or less represents the experience that music supervisors, who are the clients, have had with trailer music, and will often require two or more specific styles to be merged into a trailer cue.  On the creative side, it is mandatory to be able to make your musical creations seem fresh, edgy, creative, while still maintaining that cinematic sensibility that screams out: “this is a very important movie, so sit up and listen!”…..I find that the best trailer music will be long on emotional content when put up against picture. An essential need is keeping to a fairly simple melodic, or even just sound, motif which repeats in various ways while the arrangement around it grows bigger and more intense.

Q: How did you first get involved in writing music for trailers?

Yoav Goren:  I was working at a Santa Monica, California music store, consulting and selling the then newfangled MIDI gear and software. One of my clients was a guy named Jeff Fayman, who had a small home studio setup with a couple of samplers and a sequencing program that he felt he was underutilizing. He hired me for a series of consultations. We discovered that we shared similar passions for film soundtracks, and decided to try and write together. Jeff had composed music for a couple of low budget movie trailers, and we both thought that tapping into his contacts at the film studios could potentially get us some work in this field, and use that experience as a stepping stone to getting film scoring work, which is what we truly wanted to do. So we wrote a few orchestral type tracks and submitted it as a demo to a couple of contacts. Eventually, this landed us our first trailer scoring job – the 1993 Academy Awards Trailer (montage of the 5 nominated Best Picture Films). The producer at the trailer house which created the spot moved on to Universal Pictures a short time later, and she brought Jeff and I in to score our first official movie trailer, CARLITO’S WAY.

“There is not much time for subtlety in trailer scores, but rather a need to bring intensity, drama, and an almost over-the-top epicness in order to drive interest and anticipation for the film’s opening weekend.”

Q: How has trailer music evolved into a distinct form of composition on its own right?

Yoav Goren:  The path to the trailer music genre started with the type of music that trailer editors were looking to match up with their picture – typically big and dramatic film score music. So the first place these editors would look to find the right music would be previously released film scores unrelated to the current film trailer they were cutting. Because film score has a built-in cinematic sensibility, it was a natural choice to enhance the visuals of a movie trailer. However, very few film score pieces were actually useable in a short format film such as a trailer. Over time, trailers more or less followed a three act format – the setup beginning, the conflict exposition middle part, and the back end montage. Music for the trailer also needed to have a similar format, with plenty of stops and starts to allow for dialogue at key moments. Paired with the picture-editing style of trailers, the music started taking on a format and sound of its own – mysterious and enigmatic opening, followed by introduction of cyclical rhythms punctuated by short stabby strings, brass and percussion, then finally a big and thunderous epic thematic ending. The music had to, in a very short amount of time, convey the grandeur of the conflict, a broad range of emotions, and of course, a hugely cinematic sound in order to punctuate all that is unique about the film. Trailer music generally needs to cover all these requirements in a matter of two minutes max. There is not much time for subtlety in these compositions, but rather a need to bring intensity, drama, and an almost over-the-top epicness in order to drive interest and anticipation for the film’s opening weekend. So trailer music has definitely evolved from the traditional film score into its own signature genre.

Q: Along the same lines, how has what we’re calling “epic music” come to comprise a genre of music all to itself (even apart from its film music origins)?

Yoav Goren:  Epic music has always been around, way before film music owned the genre. Think of Wagner, Verdi, Mahler, Beethoven, to name but a few. Once films became the ubiquitous art form they are, portraying bigger than life scenarios and fantasy worlds, epic orchestral music was the natural cinematic soundtrack to convey heaping spoonfuls of drama and emotion. Modern Epic music evolved from such film composers as Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Elliot Goldenthal, Hans Zimmer (to name just a few out of dozens of pioneers in the field). Around the time that the more traditional and thematic film scores started giving way to more of a hybrid electronic/orchestral approach, focusing less on memorable melodies, the video game industry helped to introduce millions of gamers to epic music in many popular role playing, shooter and fantasy games. Of course, trailer music, starting from the early part of this century, along with movie trailer availability through the internet, and then finally the commercial release of original music by artists like Immediate and Two Step From Hell, to name a few, has contributed to the new and contemporary definition of “epic music” for a new generation. At its core, epic music has and always will convey a supercharged representation of various aspects of the human condition, with or without partnership with moving pictures.

Q: How do you define epic music and how do you apply that form to composing music for trailers?

Yoav Goren:  It’s really about a grand depiction of emotion in the music. In thinking about it, epic music does not necessarily need to have a 100 piece orchestra and choir, nor a bombastic production approach. When coupled with a trailer, the music’s role is to bring out a heightened sense of the drama, the conflict, the unique situation thrust upon the characters. Ultimately, the music serves and underscores the imagery, while not being overt and possibly adding another dimension to the conveyance of the film’s message (or rather the film marketer’s message!) Music becomes epic when you feel your heart being tugged, your hair standing on end, a rush of blood to your head upon seeing and hearing bigger-than-life imagery and sound.

“There is no bigger and more dramatic sound in the world than one hundred voices singing at full force, evenly balanced between men and women.”

Q: How and why have elements of modern film music affected what we’re hearing in trailers (marcato strings, anthemic choirs, etc)?

Yoav Goren:  The sound of orchestra and choir quite possibly have the broadest and fullest frequency range of any musical instrument ensemble. So it sounds really full, deep, and weighty. This transmits the importance of the music and the film to the listener/viewer. If we feel something is important, we pay attention. Film studios want us to pay attention to their trailer. Additionally, we as a culture have had about 100 years of moviegoing, and specifically have experienced the grand, lush sweeping orchestral soundtracks that are identified with some of the best films of all time. So epic orchestral music is already part of the common vernacular as it relates to music that will accompany a great film. And there is no bigger and more dramatic sound in the world than one hundred voices singing at full force, evenly balanced between men and women. Specifically, modern film music’s use of heavily rhythmic and cyclical marcato strings played at a fast tempo, with its influence from heavy rock, relates well to young audiences. Big, heavy and driving percussion also contributes to the more modern sound and its perceived ability to communicate better to contemporary filmgoers.

Q: What defines the instrumental palette you’re able to use on a given project (live orchestra, samples, combination) and how does that affect your approach to creating the music?

Yoav Goren:  Because genres for trailer music can go from purely orchestral to experimental electronics to guitar-driven rock to “other,” the instrument palette is quite broad. I would say that it would be extremely rare for a trailer music composition to only use orchestral instruments these days. I am currently working on a project which I recorded at Abbey Road studios of purely orchestral adventure music. In the post-production mixing stage, even on this project, there are quite a bit of synths sounds and samples that help keep the sound more modern, edgier, a slight departure from the traditional fare. The breadth and quality of sampled sounds available today is staggering, and coupled with some very creative processing plug-ins, allows for tremendous opportunities to enhance creativity.

Q: You’ve talked about two forms of trailer music – pre-created music (library music) and custom music specific to the trailer in question.  When writing the former, what are your inspirations – and do you find it less or more restrictive when writing music without a specific visual reference, yet music that will eventually need to support a kind of visual presentation?

Yoav Goren:  When writing, I draw quite a bit of inspiration from modern film soundtracks merged with the vast repository of music in my head which has shaped me as a composer over the decades. I really do rely on my compositional instincts quite a bit, and often my work will be marked by strong melodic and counterpoint elements. I certainly find it less restrictive than composing specifically for a trailer, because often I will be asked to write something “in the style of”, or worse, a “sound-a-like” to a specific existing piece (sometimes my own composition). With regards to the visual reference, when writing not specifically for a trailer, I do not find it at all restrictive to not write to picture. The pictures, or human condition scenarios, are often manufactured in my head while writing, and this has been a great engine to coax some of my most epic compositions to be born.

Q: I’ve heard trailer music sometimes referred to as composing a score for a 2-minute (or 1-minute, or 30 second) movie.  How do you approach creating customized music for a given trailer?

Yoav Goren:  By its nature, trailer music has a fairly simple structure. It usually is all about a single musical idea being built up and expanded over the course of a minute or two. Because of the time constraints, simplicity and repetition are the orders of the day. So given these limitations, it forces the composer to really focus in on a central musical idea, how to establish it and evolve it over a prescribed short duration - - and work effectively with picture as well.

Q: What have been some of your biggest challenges when composing trailer music?

Yoav Goren:  The biggest challenges come on those jobs that require the composer to achieve an extremely high-end produced sound (they all do actually), along with an original and creative composition – all in the course of 24 hours. Especially in those genres that require orchestral production, but without the orchestra, I am exclusively using samples. But the results must sound as good or better than soundtracks using a real orchestra. This is a real challenge. Frankly, much more time is spent on layering and mixing than the actual composition. The finished product must have impact. I’ve certainly learned a lot about how to achieve this impact by processing and mixing samples in certain methods.

Q: How did the recording designation Immediate form?  The name “Immediate” suggests the immediacy needed by trailer music to instantly grab a viewer emotionally – how is this notion applied in the music recorded by Immediate?

Yoav Goren:  Actually, when Jeff and I conceived of the name of our company, it was because we wished to be known as the guys who can immediately turn around a custom trailer scoring job. We spent many all-nighters trying to live up to our name.  Immediate Music then also conveniently came to mean a quick, turn-key publishing company which can clear music immediately, as we own or control both master and publishing sides of every track in our catalog. Also conveniently, “Immediate” serves the artist name responsible for the TRAILERHEAD releases in that the impact of the production style related to trailer music is felt instantly. As you implied, the emotional response of the listener is immediate with the kind of music Immediate releases commercially.

Q: How did the Trailerhead series of albums come about?  What were your objectives in releasing this music in a series of compilation albums?

Yoav Goren:  First and foremost, as an artist, I was somewhat frustrated that my musical creations which served the trailer industry were really only heard by professionals working in the field, and used more as a commodity rather than just taken solely on the compositional and production merits. While this was certainly the original impetus of my trailer music creations, over time, as regular folks starting getting wind of trailer music in general and Immediate Music in particular due to the availability of trailers online, I was very interested in having the music available as a standalone album. So the first objective for creating TRAILERHEAD was to do what every artist’s yearning is – to communicate their artistic endeavors and expressions with other people.

Another objective was to expose, in a much bigger way, the nascent art form of modern epic orchestral music in song-structure consisting of 3-4 minute chunks. The tracks on TRAILERHEAD were distinctly melodic, and unlike so much of classical orchestral music, were actually compositions that you can wake up humming the next day. So I really was interested in getting this music out to shine a light on a genre of music I really believed in, and could offer an alternative to the largely emotionless pop being force-fed to the masses. I am proud of this music, and I think the many talented composers working in this field deserve attention and rewards for creating musical masterpieces. At its core, TRAILERHEAD contains supremely digestible orchestral music which can evoke a broad range of emotions with its power and beauty, and encapsulates a specific approach to music I am very passionate about.

“The album’s opening track “Destiny of the Chosen”, a new track co-composed by me, Jeff Fayman and John Hanson, was composed without a trailer in mind, and then afterwards licensed to be featured in THE HOBBIT trailer.”

Q: What specific trailers made up the Trailerhead: Triumph album – and how did you choose to combine or extend them to make up the tracks on the album?

Yoav Goren:  The tracks I chose for TRAILERHEAD: TRIUMPH album were derived from a couple of sources. I wanted to include recently created new music never before released or included in any trailer, and I also wanted to hear directly from the fans which tracks they wanted to hear in a remixed, expanded form. It was a combination of styles – new hybrid orchestral/electronic trailer tracks that were unchained from any trailer, and more vintage trailer tracks produced for blockbuster trailers, primarily between 2004 and 2009. The album’s opening track “Destiny of the Chosen”, a new track co-composed by me, Jeff Fayman and John Hanson, was composed without a trailer in mind, and then afterwards licensed to be featured in THE HOBBIT trailer. 

Q: How did you come to develop the rock band Globus as an offshoot of your trailer project?

Yoav Goren:  Globus began as my “labor of love” solo project, one in which I experiment with how to fuse classical elements with the power of rock and trailer music. I think initially I just wanted to spend some more time with compositions I had written for trailers and see how else I can get creative with them. And so I started getting inspired to write actual songs that would utilize some of the orchestral/choral music I had been recording for a few years to service my trailer clients. As a lifelong fan of bands such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, ELO, The Moody Blues, Queen, Muse, and others who used the drama of a real orchestra in their productions, and being a closet rocker myself, I wanted to create a project of emotional and dramatic music that would showcase my identity as an artist, but in the rock song format which I really like. So I started with some of my pre-existing orchestral compositions, wrote new melodies and lyrics, and recorded a rock ensemble on top of the orchestra and choir. The result was an album called “Epicon” which I released in 2006, which was followed by “Break From This World” in 2011. Today, Globus actually exists as a performing rock band in Los Angeles, and we are currently working on our third album release for 2013.

Q: Where do you see the future of trailer music – and of Immediate, Globus, and the Trailerhead series?

Yoav Goren:  It is my humble mission as a composer, producer and label dedicated to the genre epic music to see it expanding and attracting new and young audiences. There is evidence that this is happening and will continue well into the future. Trailer music specifically is quickly growing way past the borders of the relatively tiny niche of film marketing. I’ve seen my trailer music creations used in major sporting events, marketing campaigns for countries, in films and television programming, video games, corporate identity, and not least of all at the retail level through the purchase of album and track downloads, as well as physical CDs and DVDs. I can certainly point to the ubiquity and popularity of YouTube as a major driver promoting epic music, and we all know how stratospheric YouTube’s growth has been and will continue to be. With potentially much broader exposition through online media, I can only see a wonderful future and many possibilities for my favorite kind of music.

Thanks to Greg O’Connor-Read for facilitating this interview and to Yoav Goren for taking the time to discuss this special form of film music with me. - rdl


New Soundtracks Releases of Note

CLOCKWISE/Maciek Dobrowolski/Keep Moving Records
Directed by Khalifa al-Muraikhi, 2010’s CLOCKWISE was the first movie produced in Qatar. In order to bring some Western sensibilities to this colorful recreation of 1001 Arabian Nights-style fantasies, and in keeping with the international approach with which the film was created, the director hired Polish composer Maciek Dobrowolski to write the score for his film. The film tells the story of Saad Ben Khalaf, a singer/drummer who is versed in the lost art of Fijiri (a repertoire of vocal music sung by Persian Gulf pearl divers); when he is the sole survivor of a terrible shipwreck he goes back in time through the use of a magical watch to learn the secret of his family, where he also falls in love with a beautiful female jinn who may supply the answer.  The score is a gorgeous, lyrical orchestral work, interacting four major themes that embody the two main characters, the time traveling transition, and the exotic world of the jinns.  Dobrowolski accomplished all this with fairly standard Western orchestrations colored with subtle Arabic flavorings, and a use of persuasive melodies that are simply exquisite.  CLOCKWISE is actually Dobrowolski’s first feature film score; he decided to pursue a film scoring career after hearing Hans Zimmer’s THE ROCK, and with a mix of self-taught determination and private lessons he began to get work scoring short films and games.  When CLOCKWISE came his way – the director found his web site and was impressed enough by the music examples posted therein to offer him the job – Dobrowolski had an ideal debut for his musical interests and talent.  Khalifa’s suggestion to Dobrowolski was that the music should “sounds like a Hollywood score with some Arabic influences.”  Dobrowolski favored the Hollywood quotient, largely since there was already an amount of Fijiri source music which set the Arabic flavor, and he wished to focus on the story’s dramatic elements in his music.  Recorded with a mix of orchestral samples, synth parts, live ethnic soloists, and a live string orchestra of 25 players, Dobrowolski achieves a rich symphonic sound, whose heavy melodic layers are infused with delicate textures of ney (flute), darabuka (a tabla or “goblet drum”), and duduk (double reed).   It’s a thoroughly engaging an impressive symphonic work, aided by the fine orchestrations of Radzimir Debski and the fluent integration of samples with live players.  Released in a limited edition of only 500 copies, the album contains two dozen tracks and 47 minutes of music (slightly expanded from a 40-minute private promotional released issued by the composer previously).  Gergely Hubai provides very thorough and informative notes about the making of the film and its score, which really augments one’s appreciation of the music and may well prompt you to seek out the film as well.
See: www.keepmovingrecords.com/eng/disc/50/
For more on the composer, see http://mdobrowolski.com (click on the “music showcase” menu item for sample tracks from CLOCKWISE).

EMPEROR/Alex Heffes/Lakeshore
EMPEROR is a film that deals with the meeting of two cultures at the crossroads of 20th Century world history,” said composer Alex Heffes (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE BRIDGE, RED RIDING HOOD [with Brian Reitzell]).  “This is a rich and complex backdrop for scoring a movie.”  A tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, EMPEROR portrays the story, inspired by true events, of the bold and secret moves that won the peace in the shadows of postwar Japan during the unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito’s World War II surrender.  As General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture – and psychological warfare – General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved?  “Director, Peter Webber discussed with me early on the need to combine a Japanese sense of restraint and minimalism with the more urgent and pressing US investigation,” Heffes said.  “I wanted to combine symphonic orchestral scoring with some Japanese instrumentation to retain a sense of emotion that could be read by movie audiences both western and eastern.”   To achieve this Heffes features three soloists: piano (Simon Chamberlain), cello (Alice Neary), and shakuhachi (Clive Bell) together with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Heffes).  He also featured Japanese ceremonial percussion to drive the movie forward. “The opening of the film has a broad string melody for the victorious US forces entering Japan,” explained Heffes.  “The end credits however, reprise that melody but with a slow elegiac brass choral arrangement to show how the early days of a victory pass leaving a deeper and more complex problem to be solved.”  Released by Lakeshore on March 5th, the soundtrack is a rich melodic and provocatively formulated score that generates an extremely pleasing sound on its own.  Evocative lyricism explores the psychological portrait of the characters while threatening and assured runs of percussive maintain the ever-present idea that they are in perilous territory.  With some of the composer’s loveliest melodies at its core, Heffes’ EMPEROR score possesses an assured voice and a terrific aural dimension.  Its range is restrained, meaning that it maintains a melodic/rhythmic structure drawn from the interaction of characters and cultures but it is not a military action or a war score, per se; the film is a battle of personalities and conflicting societies, whose earnestness and commitment are elegantly conveyed in the music. 

THE EXORCIST CHRONICLES/Philip Gardiner/Exorcist Chronicles
Writer-Producer-Director-Composer-etcetera Philip Gardiner has released his score to his 2013 EXORCIST inspired shocker (due for release on April 1) to iTunes.  He’s come up with a very good and quite provocative string-based main theme for violins and cellos stridently stroked and offset against and within one another.  The result is a festering and claustrophobic sound that generates a fair amount of trepidation just listening to it, let alone in context with what’s going on in the movie.  The trouble is that most of the tracks on the soundtrack is comprised the same kind of material with little variation.  As effective as it is by itself, ten tracks of essentially the same form of music becomes a little unnerving (perhaps that was the intention).  It’s likely very effective in the movie, but at the least it becomes pretty tiresome repeated track after track over more than half of the album. “Dark Woods” adds a synth percussion burbling behind the strings which gives it a slightly different vibe; “Daryl” slows the motif down a bit and emphasizes a different kind of synth percussion beat, but it soon reverts to the original formula; “Sadness” sets up an effective slow string cadence against gathering strains of synths; the consecutive “Otherworld” and “Pain” both lay down a languid and menacing sustained cello ambiance; “Duel” and “Peace and Reflection” are pleasant and folksy enough tracks for acoustic guitar, bass, and strings (the synth percussion recurs in the former; the latter is a bright and cheerful respite from the severely stroked string tracks); “Father Jan” is an atmospheric acoustic guitar piece with a hint of synth drumming behind it, and “Strange is Normal” is an unusual conglomeration of banjos and clacky wooden percussion that kind of does the same thing his cello/string material goes only using these other instruments, given a slight Middle Eastern style (perhaps suggesting the influence of Pazuzu?); it’s a very effective mix and generates an unusual and distinctly different, and therefore quite frightening, texture.   But the overabundance of the primary motif on all the other tracks, while interesting the first few times, wears outs its welcome after a few too many cycles.

THE FURY (expanded)/John Williams/La-La Land
In his fertile 1970s, between CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and JAWS 2, John Williams took a break from alien incursions and shark attacks to score Brian De Palma’s 1978 psychic horror film THE FURY (1978) with a darkly evocative score.  The slow, waltz-like main theme is quite reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann’s VERTIGO theme and utilizes the same sort of quietly building, up-and-down arpeggios, using woodwinds rather than Herrmann’s violin, but this grows into Williams’s own terror theme, dominated by brasses backed by strings, which nicely emphasizes the more horrifying as­pects of the scenario and retains De Palma’s omnipresent mood of surreal gloom.  The original 9-track 1978 Arista LP was reissued by Varese Sarabande in 1990 with a 10th track added (the original version of “Death on the Carousel”).  Varese released an expanded 2-CD version through its CD Club in 2002, with the original 9-track album version on CD2, and for the first time the actual film soundtrack (23 tracks) on CD1.  Sold out a decade ago, La-La Land now not only provides the expanded version anew, but raises Varese 9 tracks and adds nearly two fistfuls of extra music (admittedly, most of it is unexciting source music, wild ARP synth effects, and a 1:57 version of “Death on the Carousel” with the manic calliope music integrated into the underscore), and the distortion error in the earlier presentations of “Gillian’s Escape” has finally been corrected).  The influence of Bernard Herrmann on the score is not surprising, since Herrmann was a big part of De Palma’s break-out feature SISTERS and its follow-up film, the VERTIGO reworking, OBSESSION.  But THE FURY is clearly a Williams’ score with only sporadic nuances shaped by the Herrmann oeuvre.  The stately musical amble found in “Thru The Alley” and its reprise in “For Gillian” reflect the pomp of Williams’ promenade music (think “Tourists on the Menu” from JAWS), and Williams’ expertly develops the musical substance of Gillian’s theme into something quite different and intriguing in “Gillian’s Vision,” “Gillian’s Escape,” and “Gillian’s Power,” revealing that it’s this theme that is the score’s true focal point and that the Herrmannistic “Main Title” motif represents only the darker nuances of the story. Gillian’s music, like the character, is held in check until ready to establish its propulsive power. That Main Theme, by the way, is given an array of equally interesting subsequent arrangements, such as the brief embellishment of muted horns over strings by the strident sonority of an ARP synthesizer (resonating very like an ondes martenot) in “Coming Down the Stairs” (Michael Boddicker’s ARP also electrifies [no pun intended] the climactic moment of “Death On a Carousel,” the bristling synthetic chord giving the formerly acoustic timbre a remarkable punch, and presents the eerie martenot tremolo again in “Lifting Susan” where it accentuates the telekinesis power.  Williams’ use of the ARP synthesizer is, characteristically, restrained to an augmenting effect, but always submerged against beneath the larger power of the orchestra; the exception is the doubling of the climactic phrases by orchestra and ARP in the crescendo of “Gillian’s Power”).  There’s also a very provocative melodic motif found in “Hester’s Theme and The House” and some determinedly apprehensive chills evoked in “Approaching the House.”  Comparing the original tracks to those that appeared on the LSO-re-recorded album presentation is quite interesting; Williams adapted the album performances more orchestrally to favor the LSO (there’s no ARP anywhere in “Death On A Carousel,” for example, and those other cues favoring electronic integration are absent from the album recording altogether), so it’s very much a different rendition of much of the music.  La-La Land’s FURYous release of Williams’ best science fictionesque horror score is given a generous and definitive presentation here, embellished by thorough notes by Julie Kirgo which illuminate much about the film and its music.

THE LAST WAR (Sekai Daisens?)/Ikuma Dan/Toho [Ark Square]
The latest Ark Square-“exclusive” release makes available the score for this sobering apocalyptic 1961 war drama, featuring special effects by kaiju master Eiji Tsuburaya.  Ikuma Dan, who earlier scored the Toho/Shaw Bros coproduction, THE LEGEND OF THE WHITE SERPENT (1956; which also featured Tsuburaya effects), provided for THE LAST WAR a broad scaled symphonic work in an American/Hollywood/Golden Age vein, very melodic and dramatic. The main theme is like something out of a Biblical epic, slightly overblown but richly melodic and gloriously resonant.  That theme is offset by a harsh, brassy motif with ongoing percussion rattles and rolls that create a fatalistic, we’re-hopeful-during-doomsday sensibility in its plodding manner, and both themes effectively evoke the despondent tone embraced by the film.  There are a few "cute" incidental tracks that could have come out of a domestic drama movie of the '40s (these cover the various sentimental family scenes interspersed among the militaristic war-mongering sequences), but the music’s main focus is on building up to a nicely orchestrated cataclysm, including a notable Ifukube-esque lament as well as a number of requiem variations sung by children's choir.  Oddly (well, perhaps not), when the film was imported to America in 1967, this song was reportedly switched out for Disney’s schmaltzy song “It’s A Small World.” Previously available only via a single-CD release from Victor in 1991, Toho’s double-disc entry features essentially the same tracks (retitled) but provides them in stereo on CD1 and in the original theatrical mono on CD2, with a few extra bonus tracks (mostly source) added to the second disc.  It’s a wonderful score and a strikingly realistic portrayal of cataclysmic human war from Toho, nicely put together; it’s technically an Ark Square exclusive release but Screen Archives is also offering it at a comparative price.
See: www.arksquare.net

RIDDLE/Scott Glasgow/Varese Sarabande
Latest release in Varese’s limited edition (1000/c) series, Scott Glasgow (THE GENE GENERATION, BONE DRY) proffers an enthralling musical score sparkling with intricate textures, brooding mysterioso, and massive orchestral perturbations.  Directorial debut of John O. Hartman (production designer on several Glasgow-scored films) and Nicholas Mross, RIDDLE tells the story of a college student who is drawn to the mysterious small town of Riddle, Pennsylvania in search of her missing brother; when she begins to unravel a mystery connected to an abandoned psychiatric hospital on the edge of town, she uncovers a terrifying past the town is determined to keep hidden.  Glasgow’s music is impressionistic and splendidly orchestrated, imbuing the score with vivid colors and a growing sense of unease as the disentangling mystery begins to entwine the protagonist in an ever-increasing grip.  Flurries of strings buzz like wasps (“Signs of Nate”) while they stretch and slither like a viscous gossamer that suddenly hardens and thickens into enwrapping coils of serpent flesh (“Down the Rabbit Hole”). Low cellos murmur like sepulchral moans (“Bravery Test”); ethereal lines of melody float across the spaces between fragile notes of xylophone and harp (“Sympathy”) while close-miked violins slither over ringing tones of synth (“The Sheriff”).  The horrific epiphany conveyed in “The Town Secret” is delivered with on onrushing wave of dense string chords and brooding, distant nods of a shadowy sonority.  Jagged, percussive slams hammer during through those chords in “The Quarry Accident” with an array of massive dissonance that erupts and then recedes like the breathy froth of flame belching out and sucked back in the windows of a house fire.  Huge influxes of furtive string figures are amplified by even weightier constructs of massed violins to invest already tense moments like “Searching” with a penetrating anxiety, as if to propose potential disaster at any turn; flustering pizzicato agitato narrows into flowing funnels of pensive melody driven by rushing footsteps of yet more plucked strings (“Booby Traps”).   All of this culminates in climactic moments of bristling aural horror (“Confrontation with a Madman,” “Run For Your Life,” “Sanatorium,” “Shock Treatment”) where Glasgow musters his forces into massive, chilling conceptions heightened by insistently driven percussive energies, howling blasts or furious horns, and clustering, repeated crescendos.  Yet even as the music resonates with relief in “Aftermath” and “Denouement,” Glasgow continues to invest the music with a worrisome purpose, as in the striking, gradually ascent of gathering strings that seems to carry an epiphany of its own, crowned by a final, flashing filigree in the former, and its lighter, jubilant counterpart in the latter.  For all its assorted sonic semblances, Glasgow anchors the score in sympathetic melody, heard both fragmented amidst furtive mysterioso, or elegantly portrayed with poignant elocution (“Sympathy,” “Home Sick”).  It’s an often-scary, thoroughly haunting score but one that is also wholly accessible and pleasing on its own.  The composer’s best work yet, RIDDLE is an extremely expressive score that builds a haunting sonic dynamic comprised of articulate and intriguing musical notation and textures. 

S.O.S. TITANIC/Blake/Silva Screen
Between the 1958 British film A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and CBS-TV’s 1996 TITANIC miniseries (discounting 1980’s overblown RAISE THE TITANIC, more spy thriller than historical drama) came this respected 1979 miniseries from ABC.  S.O.S. TITANIC, a 140-minute epic (later shorn to 109 minutes and released to European theaters) told the story of the 1912 Titanic disaster from departure to sinking and its aftermath.  With James Costigan’s script based on a first-hand account by passenger-survivor Lawrence Beesley, the television film strove for dramatic accuracy over disaster spectacle.  David Janssen, Susan Saint James, Cloris Leachman, and David Warner starred; British composer Howard Blake provided an enthusiastically dramatic score.  US-based producer Roger Gimbel wanted to use an English composer for the movie, and had been much impressed by Howard Blake’s score for Ridley Scott’s THE DUELLISTS. Apart from the composition of a serious symphonic score there was also the intention to create a tapestry of historically-correct music such as that which would have been heard on the ship. An innovation in the story-telling portrayed the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers and this was also to be reflected in the music – with, for instance, Irish music from the 3rd, songs with piano from the 2nd, and a sophisticated orchestra heard from the 1st class decks.  Silva Screen’s premiere release of the score on CD reflects the film’s musical approach. There is an abundance of 1912-era popular and dance music played during the film’s first half, when the gaiety of life aboard the luxury liner is enjoyed by the 1st and 2nd class passengers with no idea that tragedy will soon strike; as it did in James Cameron’s TITANIC and several others versions of the story, the use of Irish music for the 3rd class immigrants reflects spirit and determination rather than excess and status.  Half of this album’s 30 tracks consist of this “source” music, replicated by Blake as it would have been heard aboard Titanic on that fateful night, but for film music aficionados, it’s all fluff – Blake’s engaging dramatic score is the meat and muscle of the movie, and this is nicely presented here in its original soundtrack presentation.  The main theme opens the album before the sequence diverts into a dozen shipboard standards; since the film opened with Titanic’s urgent S.O.S. and the rescue of so few of its passengers by the Carpathia, this music sets a powerfully dour atmosphere, reflecting the scope of the disaster we’ve just been brought into. After the titles, we’re transported back a few days to experience life aboard the liner prior to its fateful encounter with the iceberg.  The dramatic score returns at that moment of historic impact. “The Hit” suggests the surprise, realization, and action of the ship’s crew, the chaos of the passengers, and the mortal wound inflicted upon the Titanic’s hulls by the floating asteroid of frozen water. Blake utilized a pulsating, driving motif to reflect the urgency and effort of the crew to rectify the impossible, and rescue who they can with a disastrously insufficient amount of lifeboats, while a slow dirge for French horn comments on the sad fate of those for who there was no room (and the noble vessel itself, as it crashes below the waves with massive, down-strokes of strings and brass in “The Sinking of the Titanic”).  From the bustle of activity as passengers, still unaware of the doom lapping at their ship’s sides as they seek solace in crowded lifeboat queues, through the terrible lament of “Desolation” and “There is no God/Boarding the Carpathia,” Blake’s score emphasizes the human toll of the unsinkable passengers aboard Titanic, and reflects in its dramatic tone and timbres the scale of the tragedy the ship succumbed to, alone amid the desolate icy waters of the North Atlantic.

SPARTACUS – WAR OF THE DAMNED/Joseph Loduca/Varese Sarabande
For the third and final season of Starz TV’s brawny SPARTACUS TV series (following 2010’s SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND and 2011’s SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE), composer Joseph LoDuca provides a thick array of textured rhythms and melodies that bring the gladiator’s world, character, and battles to rich musical life.  LoDuca, who first came to note when he scored Sam Raimi’s seminal EVIL DEAD movies, subsequently settled into a series of striking historical scores for HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.  Those scores were particularly notes for their intricate ethnic textures and broad, epic musical dynamic, attributes that LoDuca invests into his latest SPARTACUS series score.   “From all accounts, the final season of SPARTACUS has been the most challenging,” LoDuca writes in a note for the album booklet.  “Since the beginning, both the dramatic and the visual aspects of this saga have given me an endless palette of colors and emotions. This time, my charge was to musically finish the story as satisfyingly as our writers, producers, cast, and crew have done.”  With the culmination of the intrigue and adventure began with BLOOD AND SAND, LoDuca adds more choir, serving as his Greek chorus, to his instrumental palette.  It’s earthy, dazzling, and brawny music, tinged with the graceful eloquence of lyrical solo violin and voice, chanting heroic choruses, and powerful, muscular melodic charges comprised of massive configurations of orchestra and choirs.  Varese Sarabande’s album is set for release on April 2nd.

TAKE THIS WALTZ/Jonathan Goldsmith/MovieScore Media
Canadian filmmaker/actress Sarah Polley, who previously worked with a BAFTA Award winning composer Jonathan Goldsmith on the Oscar-nominated 2006 drama AWAY FROM HER, wrote, produced, and directed 2011’s TAKE THIS WALTZ, a romantic comedy starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, about a happily married woman who falls in love with an artist who lives across the street.
Goldsmith’s dreamy and inventive score favors an unusual timbre comprising highly-reverbed guitar, glass harmonica, music box, and toy piano, all of which communicates a fresh and rather surreal rhythmic ambiance that adds an almost otherworldly ambiance which plays over the neighborhood love story conveyed by the story.  After a while, the aural atmosphere becomes haunting, even the clicking mechanism of the music box and the exaggerated reverb of the music becomes an essential texture within the world established by the movie (the kaleidoscopic resonance of “Airport Rickshaw” is bizarrely beautiful in its multicolored musical confluence).  This is not your typical romcom music, and it’s definitely worth your attention for what it does and how it does it.  Kudos for Goldsmith for straying far outside the typical musical box and coming up with an approach that avoids the gloss of the film’s explicit storyline and suggests the mechanistic innerworkings of hearts and desires and conflicts that are so interestingly explored by Polley in her film.  Apart from Jonathan Goldsmith’s score, MSM’s album also features the song ‘Green Mountain State’ by Corinna Rose and the Rusty Horse Band, and folksy roots type song that fits perfectly within the sonic dimension established by Goldsmith.

TOMB RAIDER (game score)/Jason Graves/Sumthing Else
Jason Grave’s music for the Tomb Raider video game reboot is a lavish network of musical rhythms and epic melodies, deeply textural, exotic, and, above all, flowing with a graceful heroic aesthetic.  The new Tomb Raider game explores the origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor as she must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.  Game developer Crystal Dynamics entrusted BAFTA award-winning composer Jason Graves with their ambitious reboot of the iconic Tomb Raider franchise, giving him creative freedom to infuse atmosphere, emotion, and authenticity to Lara Croft's origins story through his score. The end result combines found sounds, authentic percussion, and some truly unique custom instrumentation interwoven with orchestral themes and textures. The Tomb Raider soundtrack “is the culmination of more than two years of work and musical exploration,” Graves said. “It contains all the musical elements I love, wrapped up neatly together – mysterious textures, evocative percussion, and thematic developments to die for. It's been wonderful accompanying Lara through her first adventure.”  The result, from this non-gamer’s standpoint, is a thrilling work with a compelling sonic dynamic that stands up to repeated listening and, through Graves’ articulate musical narrative, conjures up vivid landscapes, images, and tangible perceptions of its own.  The score’s thick tangle of penetrating orchestrations are a network of intriguing sounds and strains that congeal, entwine, flow freely, and unwrap to reveal blossoming melodies (“Reaching Roth,” an oasis of lyric sonority in a mass of seething musical figures and rhythms).

In the 6:31 “A Call for Help,” flowing fields of bristling string figures support the embarking cadence of a wind-swept horn melody, introduced demurely but soon unveiled like the brilliant glow of morning’s dawn.  Graves’ percussive rhythm builds the primal bedrock over which the score’s timbres and melodic structures grow, providing a symbiotic foundation that interacts with melody and energy as the music surges forward, a lithe woman racing through the grass or flying through the vines, intent on singular resolve.  The aggressive drums that introduce “Entering Himiko's Tomb” are soon left behind as a persuasive gathering of progressive chord patterns sway like forests of kelp swept among a haunting, wave-like mysterioso, dappled by curious petals of softly piping flutes.  “The Descent” proffers an array of plummeting aural tendrils, drifting downward amidst the constant throb of drums serving as a seething, cacophonous ostinato of danger, culminating in a sneeringly fatalistic reprise of the horn melody as darkness overcomes all.   The glorious melodic motif emerges anew in “Paying Respects,” dissipating into a poignant rumination of winds and cello, as it does again with great power in “The Ritual” until it achieves an exhausted, perhaps nearly post-coital denouement.  The bright colors of “On the Beach” manifest a pleasing respite from the tomblike gloom of the score’s muscular adventure material, setting down a warm melodic phrasing for strings, horn over glistening whitecaps of harp; but the 6:49 track progresses past the sunlit beach into darker territories and, like “A Call for Help,” the track is a journey all its own, through territories enriched by moaning horn flows, urgently striding mercado string flurries, and a forceful rhythmic succession that arrives in a discomforting landscape of aggressive but light instrumental interactions, as miasmic string swirls interlace with blaring horn blows and penetrating drum designs, a technique reprised with greater energy in the succeeding “Secret of the Island” after an intriguing prelude from processed, ringing bells that reverberate foggily like one’s waking from a deep, forced slumber.  That ringing recurs in “The Oni,” wherein it embodies the ethereal spirit of the powerful natives Lara encounters on the island.  Menacing targets for destruction in players’ gameplay, Graves takes the time to paint them in broad, vigorous musical colors, giving them life and depth before they splatter.   “Scaling the Ziggurat” is like something out of CONAN, a rough-hewn surface encrusted with progressively abrasive layers as the music determinedly ascends, grip by grip, ever higher.  As an origin story, the journey the music has taken at last finds its epiphany in the completed Lara Craft, whose experiences in this particular tomb has varnished her character and bolstered her courage; Graves finishes his work with “A Survivor is Born,” an elegant, lovely, intimate and very confident version of his Lara Croft theme, fully rendered and ready for the next adventure.  The album then concludes with a short (0:52) reprise of Lara’s theme in all its self-assured glory.  So much more than music to drive gameplay, Grave’s Tomb Raider soundtrack is an admirable atmospheric adventure charged with coarse sonic grain and curious interplay of rhythms, melodies, and exotic flavors.  A splendid discovery unearthed from Lara’s latest raid.

See: www.tombraiderstore.com  and www.tombraider.com  


Soundtrack & Music News

Noted Italian composer and pianist Armando Trovajoli, whose long career as a film composer encompassed more than 200 titles, has passed away at the age of 95 on February 28. With more than 300 credits as composer and/or conductor, Trovajoli (sometimes spelled Trovaioli) was especially admired for his jazz-infused scores for low-budget exploitation comedies as well as science fiction, gangster, horror, Westerns and peplum films from the ’60 ‘70s, including ATOM AGE VAMPIRE, WEREWOLF IN A GIRL'S DORMITORY, THE LONG DAYS OF REVENGE, BLAZING MAGNUM, HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, and much more.
For more information, see the tribute by Tim Lucas at the video watchdog blogspot.

Orchestrator Lawrence Ashmore, best known for his work on Patrick Doyle's scores, died on March 5th after suffering a stroke.  Among his recently notable films as orchestrator are PASSION OF THE CHRIST, NANNY McPHEE, and HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.  After more than sixty years in music, Ashmore took a semi-retirement in 2008 and began giving Master Classes with advanced students, including serving as mentor to young composer/clarinetist Lloyd Coleman in 2009. For more details, see: http://larryashmore.co.uk 

For its 250th (and final) release, Film Score Monthly offers a 3-disc offering of Jerry Fielding’s Oscar-nominated score for Sam Peckinpah’s revisionist western, THE WILD BUNCH(1969).  The film’s powerful music is arguably the greatest accomplishment of its composer.  From the outset, Peckinpah wanted a score departing from Hollywood tradition. Fielding delivered in spades, with colorful, effective music that, to some extent, counterbalances the stark violence of the film and directly exposes the heart of Peckinpah’s characters. He evokes the Mexican setting by integrating popular folk tunes of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries into his score, while passages of action and suspense are shot through with lopsided, asymmetrical meters. Complex and edgy, Fielding’s score pays homage to his models while creating a brave new sound world for a new kind of western.   FSM’s deluxe 3CD presentation of THE WILD BUNCH includes the complete score, sourced from studio masters; a re-mastering of the 1969 soundtrack album; plus extensive alternates, demo recordings and additional music. The 20-page booklet (designed by FSM’s art director Joe Sikoryak) includes informative liner notes by Lukas Kendall and John Takis. Additional notes (including a track-by-track commentary by Takis) are available online. 

Voting is open for film music fans to vote at www.bsospirit.com (the Spanish web site is bilingual).  
The BSOSpirit Association, which along with Leitmotiv Music and the Córdoba provincial government, organizes the Córdoba International Film Music Festival, has announced nominees for the 12th Annual Goldspirit Awards.  Nominees were selected by vote by the association of contributors to the BSOSpirit website, dedicated to film, television and video games soundtracks. As always, the winners will be decided by the fans, who can vote for their favorite scores and composers in each of the categories at the website.  Winners will be announced during the  Film Music Festival next June. In addition to announcing the BSO Spirit Awards, composer Marco Beltrami is scheduled to receive a special award, the First Elmer Bernstein Award, for his work in film music.

In partnership with Walt Disney Records, Intrada has released Danny Elfman’s latest score, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL. “Elfman anchors with gentle music box tune, then expands idea into large-scale orchestral work, including chorus,” notes Intrada’s Douglass Fake. “Moments of truly imaginative color trade with massive action set pieces, music of light trades with music of darkness. Everywhere, magical Elfman melody abounds!”

Christopher Lennertz continues to score NBC’s number one new drama series, REVOLUTION, returning March 25, 2013. The second half of this season will revolve around the characters’ struggle to restore electricity in a dystopian future where all power has suddenly stopped working. Because the new story arc focuses on electricity, Lennertz will incorporate electronic influences to add some spark to the classical orchestration and off key instrumentation. To fit with the post-apocalyptic landscape devoid of power, Lennertz incorporates several out of tune dulcimers and acoustic ethnic instruments to craft a sense of ominous anonymity. With the next story arc revolving around turning the power back on, Lennertz will incorporate more electronic instrumentation in addition to the full orchestra to supplement the mystical score. Lennertz records the score weekly with a full orchestra. He recently scored IDENTITY THIEF (soundtrack recently released by La-La Land), and is scoring the upcoming film THANKS FOR SHARING.

Amazon France is offering a 4-CD box set Box in honor the Michel Legrand’s 80th birthday last year.  That occasion was an opportunity to perform a series of concerts across France and Europe, and publish an anthology box set combines three faces of Legrand: song, jazz and cinema. Each CD offers a selection balance between standard and rare tracks, some never published, and exhumed from the archives of the composer, combined by vocals, jazz influences, and film music.  The fourth album provides a collaboration between Legrand and renowned harpist Catherine Michel; playfully and inventive, they revisit some famous works of Legrandesque: Summer of '42,  Yentl’s waltz, Don Quixote and others.

John Debney has composed the dramatic action thriller THE CALL. Directed by Brad Anderson (THE MACHINIST), THE CALLstarsHalle Barry and Abigail Breslin in a story about a traumatized 9-1-1 dispatcher Jordan (Barry) as she tries to rescue a girl (Breslin) kidnapped by a serial killer Jordan has encountered in the past. Debney is no stranger to scoring films about homicidal sociopaths; he recently scored action thriller ALEX CROSS, and earlier in his career com

posed the genre favorite thrillerI KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER.  Debney’s score for THE CALL covers a wide breadth of sonic territory, from pounding industrial techno to soothing piano-and-string-based interludes. The dread created by Jordan’s past trauma is conveyed through Debney’s surging sound design, which he backs with classic Hollywood style orchestration.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (March 17th), Hallmark Hall of Fame has digitally re-released the sold out soundtrack to Mark McKenzie’s 1999 Irish film DURANGO.  That film scorereached a billion listeners around the world at the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000, during its "In Memorium" tribute, and now countless millions as the closing title music to each and every new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie premier. One of the early symphonic scores composed by Mark McKenzie, DURANGO tells the story of a young Irish man who learns that love and life are more than warm feelings and provision for self when he joins a cattle drive across the Irish countryside in the early 1940's.  “Having DURANGOavailable as a digital download from the longest running and most honored TV movie series in the USA, makes at least one Irish heart happy; and that's mine!” said McKenzie.  DURANGO is now available on amazon and iTunes.

Quartet Records had announced the premiere release of Philippe Sarde’s score for the 1985 romantic drama HAREM.  Starring Nastassja Kinski and Ben Kingsley, Arthur Joffe's HAREM takes audiences into the exotic world of the Orient when a Wall Street broker is kidnapped and transported to the Harem of a charismatic sheik named Selim, where she eventually surrenders into a more relaxed lifestyle.  But conflict is brewing….  The score by legendary French composer Phlippe Sarde (TESS, QUEST FOR FIRE, GHOST STORY) is a passionate work of contemporary and Oriental influences performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, The Ambrosian Singers and pianist Warren Bernhardt. The album contains the entire score specially edited by the composer himself for optimal listening experience. The richly illustrated 12-page booklet contains liner notes by Gergely Hubai, discussing the film and the score based on original interviews.

Composer Michael Wandmacher scores Arcade Pictures’ THE LAST EXORCISM PART II, now in theaters. Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly, THE LAST EXORCISM PART II follows Nell Sweetzer on her road to a new life after ridding herself of an the evil force during the last film; however, as evil forces go, it doesn’t stay gone for long.  Wandmacher has created a jarring, electronic score for THE LAST EXORCISM PART II, incorporating haunting vocals with electronic foregrounds to create an eerie, unsettling sound.

Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe, and Lisa Gerrard have collaborated to score the 2013 TV miniseries, THE BIBLE.  The five-part docudrama was created and executive produced by Mark Burnett (THE VOICE, SURVIVOR) and Roma Downey (TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL) and will cover the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, including stories from Noah's Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion's Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The soundtrack album has been released on CD by Mercer Street Records.


Chris Ridenhour has received a Matchflick Flicker Award for Best Soundtrack for his work in ABRAHAM LINCOLN vs ZOMBIES. Ridenour supplied an excellent musical score which fits the action, the film’s historical period, and the story’s tongue-in-cheek conceit.  He is perhaps the first composer to apply 19th Century folk tunes to the zombie battlefield. 

BSX Records has announced a pair of new digital film music compilations. Cinema Classics for Solo Piano is a stripped down arrangement of classic film themes as performed by Mark Northam.  Hearing these themes for solo piano really lets the melodies shine and spotlights the genius of such composers as Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Dave Grusin, Nino Rota and John Williams.  Film Music For a New Age Vol. 1 is the first in an upcoming series of newly recorded/arranged versions of themes that are new age-influenced from films including AVATAR, CLASS OF THE TITANS, LEGEND, and STAR TREK GENERATIONS.

Silva Screen will soon launch their FIFTY YEARS OF DOCTOR WHO commemorative website containing a wealth of new Doctor Who releases old and new (web site address not yet reported).  There will be all sorts of goodies on offer, kicking off with music from THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI, the episode showing the regeneration of the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) into the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker).  It was broadcast in March 1984 and in 2009 the episode was voted the best in the history of the series by fans.  The music is by Roger Limb and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, who have become legendary for their innovative work in electronic music.  The 25th of March 2013 will see this seminal soundtrack released for the first time on CD and digital download. (listen to clips here on amazon)
Silva has also announced the forthcoming release of Eric Neveux’s score for series 2 of BORGIA. This one-hour dramatic series currently in its second season chronicles the rise to power of a Catalan Cardinal and his clan, who seek to establish a dynasty that would hold sway over the entire world.

On April 2, Real Gone Music will reissue Alfred Newman’s legendary score to THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.  This is the premiere CD-release of the original 1959 soundtrack album.  The score occupies a special place in the hearts of Newman fans, and not just because the story on screen that it accompanies is so heart-rending and enduring. Contrary to what one might expect of a movie set in the Holocaust, the music to the film is lyrical, even on occasion lighthearted; as Newman put it, “the music would be motivated by high ideals, the tenderness and spiritual qualities inherent in their family life and their special badge of courage.”  Indeed, the humanity that has made the diary of Anne Frank one of the most profound documents to survive the Holocaust is expressed in every note Newman wrote for the film. Real Gone Music proudly presents the original stereo film soundtrack album for the first time on legitimate CD with the original album artwork and new liner notes.
see http://www.realgonemusic.com/news/2013/2/18/the-diary-of-anne-frank.html

Ark Square of Japan has announced the release of Spiritual Songs (Tamashii No Uta) -The Recovery Support Project for the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster.  Produced by noted composer Taro Iwashiro, the fundraising project is performed by Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and features eight Japanese film composers and individual performers.

Saimel of Spain will release Giorgio Gaslini’s score to Aldo Grimaldi’s QUANDO LE DONNE SI CHIAMAVANO MADONNE (“When Women Are Called Madonnas”).  The 1972 film is set in the Middle Ages, and tells the story of a woman accused of adultery who must defend itself in court. Gaslini creates a melodic main theme with evocative and beautiful voice of Edda Dell'Orso. The guitar, clavichord and percussion provide the score ancient music tone. It is a composition of great beauty that has a sweet tone and remains in the listener's memory from the start, thanks to a great job on the vocal songs and instrumentals themes. Limited Edition. 

Clemistry Music, created by award winning film composer Shawn K. Clement, announces the April 16, 2013 release of AUDISTRY, an evocative music compilation on the Clemistry Music Label. Coinciding with the general availability via download and CD, an invitation only launch event will take place at Paramount Pictures, Hollywood. AUDISTRY was conceived and constructed combining Clement’s deep Other-Worldly cinematic orchestral music and signature guitar sound, with the genre-mashing production aesthetic of music producer Audnoyz (Steve Thomas). [German music technology journalist, Joerg Sunderkoetter was first to frame the Audnoyz aesthetic ‘Kopf Kino’ (mind cinema) an aural sojourn for the inner eye - like experiencing synesthesia, seeing the music, imbued by its multi-referential stylistic cinematic properties.] The twelve tracks that comprise AUDISTRY vary in breadth and depth, speaking to the collaborators cerebral sonic creativity and unique artistic vision. Menacingly dense, this work envelops you in an aural journey, replete with unexpected genre juxtapositions, cinematic soundscapes, stirring orchestra, sublime vocals, and biting guitars. Often in a cacophony of sound, something familiar emerges only to segue to a well-placed Zappa moment of discord. Sometimes frenetically bombastic, sometimes contemplative, this music is always cinematic, evocative and exciting. Taking several months, the bi-coastal collaboration occurred North of Los Angeles and in suburban Boston, its slicing, dicing, mixing and mangling reaching completion the last of December 2012. AUDISTRY will be available digitally from leading electronic distribution retailers and sources including as well as in Compact Disc from Amazon.
See: http://www.clemistry.com/


Games Music News

The soundtrack to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is now available on iTunes.  Featuring the work of Neal Acree, Glenn Stafford, Russell Brower, and Derek Duke, the music features the Skywalker Symphony and Chorus, vocals by Laurie Ann Haus, guitar, and a plethora of percussion and distorted synths.


Michal Cielecki’s soundtrack to Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is available through gamersgate:


Randall D. Larson was for many years senior editor for Soundtrack Magazine, publisher of CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal, and a film music columnist for Cinefantastique magazine.  A specialist on horror film music, he is the author of Musique Fantastique: A Survey of Film Music in the Fantastic Cinema and Music From the House of Hammer.  He has written liner notes for more than 120 soundtrack CDs for such labels as La-La Land, FSM, Perseverance, Silva Screen, Harkit, Quartet, and BSX Records.  A largely re-written and expanded Second Edition of Musique Fantastique is being published: the first of this four-book series is now available.  See: www.musiquefantastique.com

Special thanks to Benjamin Michael Joffe and Kelsey Kennedy

Randall can be contacted at soundtraxrdl@gmail.com

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