Soundtrax: Episode 2011-04
April 24th, 2011
By Randall D. Larson
Tyler Bates continues to ride the tide of big-budget and provocative action films that resulted in such notable scores as Zach Snyder’s 300 and WATCHMEN, and Scott Derricksen’s remake of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Tyler’s work for Zach Snyder, in particular, has resulted in a particularly compelling marriage of music and image in cinematic storytelling, an aesthetic that hopefully will continue with Snyder’s forthcoming interpretation of Superman in 2012’s MAN OF STEEL. I spoke with Tyler earlier this month about his recent efforts, including SUPER, SUCKER PUNCH, and his forthcoming scores to CONAN and THE DARKEST HOUR.
Q: You’d worked with SUPER director James Gunn before on SLITHER. How was it rejoining him to develop the music for SUPER?
Tyler Bates: Oh, I loved James. He’s one of my favorite people altogether. This was very cool because he shared the script with me before production and – I won’t give away the ending of the movie, but the end of the movie is dialogue-driven. It’s Rainn Wilson’s character Frank at the end of the film. James wanted to shoot to music, so he gave me the opportunity to have Rainn come in the studio and perform the dialogue sequence a couple of times. The cadence of his voice seemed to naturally dictate a rhythm and an attitude, and really the score was born from that moment. It was great. They shot to it and we had a great time working on it together.
Q: SUPER has both an interesting take on the super-hero concept and a very fresh approach to its music, which is far from the traditional Hollywood super hero musical milieu. How did your concept for the score originate and how was it developed as you got more involved in the project?
Tyler Bates: I think there were a couple key principles involved in what the movie is. One of the characteristics of the film is that it, I don’t know if it forces you to, but it certainly asks you to experience adverse emotions simultaneously. James the director is very comfortable experiencing more than one emotion simultaneously, which for me is pretty difficult! But that was telling in approaching the music. And really what we wanted to do was to start in a very simple place and, through Frank’s experience in the film, he grows tremendously as a person, and he grows emotionally. The music is definitely on that journey with him, and I think ends up probably in a much more passionate and sophisticated place than you might think from the first few minutes of the film. His character goes through significant changes, and I wanted to grow with this character throughout the film. We started with very minimalist conceptual stuff that was a little bit light-hearted, and really took it into a deeper emotional place. That’s really the heart of this film. It’s not about a superhero who becomes more than anybody else, it’s just about somebody taking action or trying to gain some control in their life when they’ve been passive for the most part –maybe they lacked passion because of their environment. Frank’s character is really not accustomed to feeling love or friendship from too many people. So it was really nice.
Q: Your use of voices seems to lend an almost surrealistic or spiritualistic approach to the music, kind of like a Greek Chorus looking down on this part of humanity and chorusing in comment on what they see. What was your intention for the integration with the choir and the orchestra to paint the score for SUPER?
Tyler Bates: You know it is kind of a spiritual awakening of sorts. It’s played comedically because of the Holy Avenger, and it starts off in that place and obviously it’s very bizarre, but while we’re playing comedically there’s something really earnest in that experience. For him it’s a reality. We’re kind of laughing at him a little bit, but we’re laughing with the movie as well. We’re also thinking a little bit about how a very important event in anyone’s life leads to some sort of divine inspiration, and that’s what it’s really about. I don’t want to state this as being anything deeper or more sophisticated than it is. It’s just a moment for him and so I thought it would be fun to kind of bring in that whole madrigal boys choir approach. Lisa Papineau who sang on the score is a former bandmate of mine and is very deep emotionally; the way she’s able to express her whole myriad scope of emotions was absolutely appropriate for this movie. So I knew that she had to do this with me and I think that her personal taste really had a positive influence, or a significant influence, on what the score ultimately became.
Q: I found your score is a unique way to score a heroic film; there are no vestiges of 300 of WATCHMEN anywhere to be found.
Tyler Bates: There would have been if either his abs or his penis was hanging out, but that wasn’t the case! This is like an everyman, an everyperson. And while some people appear on the outside to be more together than Frank’s character in this movie, everybody is insecure. If you’re not, there’s something wrong with you. I think that that’s really what we’re examining and embracing in this movie. Obviously he got tangled up in a sequence of events that were a little bit more than he bargained for in the movie, but nonetheless I think that that’s really what this is all about. It’s not trying to paint this guy as anything other than just an average person who just sort of answered to a call of inspiration.
Q: Your score plays it very real; there’s no bombast.
Tyler Bates: Well, we always try and keep it real. When you as a film composer are putting you work out there, when you look at some of the stuff I’ve done that has been on a large scale in the studio world and then an indie film like this, you could be inclined to polish the music more than is appropriate for the film, and that’s just not how we roll here. When I’m working on a movie, I get into the fabric of the actual film itself, and I try and do the best I can to express something from that world. This was tricky at times because we did want to get big with it but we certainly didn’t want to lose sight of the movie we’re in and the story we’re telling.
Q: What type of orchestra were you using on this one?
Tyler Bates: Ten strings and I think three brass.
Q: It has almost a humbling sound, because it has that characteristic of being very reflective and very intimate.
Tyler Bates: Thank you. The emotion is everything. At the same time it wouldn’t be appropriate, if we even had the resources to blow this out with a huge orchestra, to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed on this film musically. It’s just not the nature of the movie. If you look at Frank’s suit, every piece of music in the film has to answer to him and to the suit. Does it go together? Does it belong in the same frame together? And that’s sort of like a minimalist parameter that I had to work with. I thought that that made me approach the music at times a little bit more emotionally than I may have if I didn’t have this sort of tricky parameters just with our resources and obviously with the nature of the film itself.
Q: I wanted to ask you about scoring the animated TV series SYM-BIONIC TITAN. How would you describe the music needed for this show and how did you work or alternate with Tim Williams in composing the music?
Tyler Bates: Actually I’m the sole composer on it as far as the credit is concerned. Tim and I used to be next-door neighbors until a couple years ago. We’ve worked together a long time. He’s been an amazing dimension in my whole life of film scoring as my orchestrator. Genndy Tartakovsky is a friend of mine and he came to me when he was developing that show. I’d never done anything like that, an animated series that’s suitable for kids. He said, “I’d love it if you could work on my show, I know you’re probably too busy to do all the music yourself, but it would be great if you approached it with your team.” And so I introduced Genndy to Tim and Dieter Hartmann, who has worked with me for a couple of years, and Brian Cachia who works with me daily in the studio here and myself. It was literally the five of us plus Wolfgang Matthes who you’ve probably seen in a lot of credits on my work. Wolfie’s been with me almost fourteen years or something; he mixed all the shows. But it was really just a complete team effort, and we’re all really emotionally involved in the process and all very much enjoying the collaboration and the collaborative spirit. There wasn’t this pressure of the studio – it was really just us as a team working together having a great time, and we all really love the show. When it came down to writing, I was definitely participating, but Tim and Didier did most of the heavy lifting on that show.
Q: What kind of music needs did that show have?
Tyler Bates: It’s more cinematic than you would expect for a cartoon, and it’s not just a bombastic silly cartoon. It would probably lean more towards the fantasy genre because we’re dealing with creatures from outer space, a lot of battling and stuff, but there are also a lot of emotional moments in each episode. I think it’s pretty touching and you know it really spanned the globe, the whole spectrum musically because Genndy’s tastes are so broad. Sometimes we’re doing music that would suit a kid’s animal show on TV, and other times we were in the world of ’80s bands like Gang of Four, Joy Division, and the Sex Pistols. Then there was a lot of big, classic film-score-y kind of stuff. It was just huge and orchestral. Mind you, it was mostly samples, but we all play on it as much as we can. Everybody picks up instruments and adds to the fabric of the music.
We don’t know if the show’s coming back, but it’s been a true pleasure and everybody we’ve worked with has been great. And for me personally, Randall, the most important thing in my career is the people I work with. You can set your sights on doing the biggest movies or making the most money, but at the end of the day that doesn’t necessarily do the trick for me. While everyone likes to get paid and do great movies, I just like to work with fantastic people first. I would do this anytime with Genndy and Tim and Didier and everybody.
Q: You get the right people and creativity is contagious...
Tyler Bates: It certainly is. And we’re all personally responsible for making sure that we still love music. I know it sounds kind of silly, but when you’re a composer long enough and you go through the studio movies, the pressure of doing that is so intense sometimes that you can lose sight of the joy of creating music if you’re not careful. Those experiences are also fantastic, but you need to balance them out and make sure that the people that you’re spending your time with and working for are good amazingly talented and good quality people that feel good to work your kidneys off for.
Q: You rejoined Zach Snyder for SUCKER PUNCH. What was Zach’s vision for music in this film?
Tyler Bates: It was definitely morphing over the years. He first told all of us about SUCKER PUNCH when we were in the middle of WATCHMEN, so I think between then and completing the script and filming the movie it definitely morphed. It’s not a musical, per se, I think he had always visualized songs as being a huge part of telling the story. I know “White Rabbit” has been there since the day he mentioned the story to us. What ended up happening was that he had the extended action sequences in which the songs alone were not really capable of addressing and carrying us on that journey completely. So the songs expanded into score. I think that he wanted to make sure that the songs felt “SUCKER PUNCH” and not like it was a series of needle drops.
Q: They’re recognizable but done with new attitude. They become cinematic when combined with score and drive the action.
Tyler Bates: Yeah. “White Rabbit” especially. Zach had asked me to consider doing something related to the song with the choir and the orchestra, so toward the end of that WWI sequence we ended up with about a hundred and fifty people playing the vocal melody of the first verse of the song. That was a lot of fun to incorporate those things into score and to do them in that way.
Q: The remixes and mash-ups of recognizable pop/rock songs serve as a musical narrative throughout the film. As a music supervisor on the film, what was your role in selecting and remixing the songs for use in the film?
Tyler Bates: I would say Zach selected most of the songs anyway. I weighed in on song possibilities when there were a couple of songs up for debate at one point, but I would say that as a music supervisor the pure intent of that credit was that I was involved more in the arranging and producing of the songs than as a music supervisor. A lot of the songs were already in a working sketch form when I came onboard. They brought Marius [De Vries] on a year before me. He worked on some sketches with them before production because there were a couple on-screen records that actually really didn’t make it into the theatrical version of the film but you’ll find in the director’s cut. So by the time I came onboard I helped further develop the songs and helped worked with the musicians and the vocalists to help flesh the whole thing out.
Q: Emily Browning, who plays Baby Doll, performs a lot of the songs herself.
Tyler Bates: She does three. Actually she had sung something that’s no longer part of the film and did such a good job with it that Zach and Debbie Snyder, as we were going to record a couple different bits, asked if Emily could do some atmospheric vocalizing in conjunction with whoever was singing the song, especially when it came to “Sweet Dreams.” And actually Marius just got her to sing the whole song, and when Zach and Debbie heard it, it seemed to make a point as far as the storytelling went. It wasn’t designed initially that she didn’t speak for the first 27 minutes or whatever it is into the film, but that’s how it occurred. Then, by her singing the opening number, it gives us some insight into her character and I think it does help in the storytelling process through that period.
Q: It starts out being her story, which inevitably gives the ending greater force.
Tyler Bates: I think it was one of those things that was serendipitous or fortuitous and just developed. She has a great natural voice and I think in this particular case it was fitting that she do the songs where she appears in the film. In each case I think it’s an emotional moment that she does a great job with.
Q: How did the score/songs serve to differentiate or contrast the real world with the various levels of fantasy in the film – either helping to blur the edges or clarity when the story moves from one to the other?
Tyler Bates: The songs serve as the link to the conscious world of Babydoll, beginning with “Sweet Dreams.” The score (at least in the action sequences) was designed to simply underscore the sense of reality in the various alternate realities/action.
Q: What was your involvement with the film’s score and how did you interact dramatically or conceptually with the selection and presence of the songs in the movie?
Tyler Bates: It’s a long answer. There are sequences in the film, like the second and third fantasy sequences, the WWI and the dragon sequence, and those are where the thrust of my focus were. I didn’t do anything with the samurai sequence – that was all Marius working with the original Bjork track and a remix by Skunk and Anzie; I added some other elements to put it all together. I think that was the concept, to do that as a remix, whereas with “White Rabbit,” with my transitioning into the score and back and coming out of “Search and Destroy” and back into it, those were moments where Zach really wanted to blow it up into huge orchestra. You can’t really hear some of it in the movie so well because the sound design got really intense and massive, but it’s pretty huge.
Q: You mentioned some songs didn’t make the cut? Why?
Tyler Bates: There were a couple things where artists didn’t want their songs covered, or maybe the lyrics were too on the nose, or whatever. I don’t want to say in particular because I don’t want to anybody to feel their song was dissed because that’s not it.
Q: Zach was looking for a particular type of song that would fit his visual storytelling concept.
Tyler Bates: To be honest, I think a lot of it’s visceral with him. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t really think about it, because he certainly does, but Zach likes what he likes and he has very visceral response to every form of art. He’s a very cerebral guy on one hand, but he’s definitely like a guy who’s way into sports and stuff and has a very visceral, instinctive way of navigating.
Q: He’s also references a lot of genre staples, like samurai films and such. Did any of that affect where you had to come from in your music?
Tyler Bates: No, I don’t think so, other than the fact that imagery he’s putting up on screen is always so huge and impressive and interesting. You respond to that more than anything. To be frank with you, I never thought about any of that stuff. I just know that I’m in Zach’s world and it’s only fair to say that everybody should celebrate their influences, and they have in filmmaking as well as song writing and all forms of art for a long time. I don’t think that’s something to be critical of. I think he does it very well. And you know what, that’s what he wants to do. It’s not like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s making the movies he wants to make and he’s telling the stories he wants to tell, and he’s creating the imagery that gets him going. There’s a great audience for things, but the thing is I know Zach as an artist just feels that he’s gotta do what is true to him.
Q: Sometimes people go to movies with a lot of personal baggage, and if the movie doesn’t fit with that, they don’t like it.
Tyler Bates: That’s cool. It’s so hard to really please people, to be honest with you. You just try to do the best work you’re capable of doing and that’s all we do. We just put our heart and soul into everything and do the best we can with it. Hopefully people respond positively. They don’t always, but you hope they do.
Q: Is it too soon to tell if you’ll be working with Zach on MAN OF STEEL? And just in case, how would Tyler Bates approach writing music for Superman?
Tyler Bates: At this time, all I can say is that I would love to do the film, of course. Anything with Zach is always wonderful, but that’s still developing and I think the pieces for that puzzle are still coming together. So I don’t know if I’m going to be doing that or not.
Q: I’d be very interested in seeing see what you’d come up with for that.
Tyler Bates: ’d love to. I think that I can do something that would satisfy the whole commercial approach that’s probably necessary to the film, but to also give it something different.
Q: Now you’re involved with both Marcus Nispel’s CONAN THE BARBARIAN and the alien invasion film THE DARKEST HOUR for Chris Gorak, who did RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR – your first time working for either of them, I believe. Where are you on these projects and how much can you describe about your musical approach?
Tyler Bates: On CONAN I’m probably about 65% into the writing. It’s really a lot of fun. It’s been exciting. I think that Marcus has made a great movie and it’s been a pleasure working on it.
Q: On CONAN (as with SUPERMAN possibly to come) you’re facing a very iconic musical legacy – how challenging is that for you to deal with?
Tyler Bates: I answer to the director and the picture. Basil Pouledoris was an amazingly talented composer and I’m never going to compete with his work or people’s emotional attachment to his work in the context of CONAN. What I have to do is approach the movie from my perspective in the best way possible, because if I’m really considering whether or not my score is going to get the fan boys excited or whatever, it’s not going to be a good score and it would be a disservice to the film and to the audience. I think that people have to expect that I would do my own thing and do something new for the film, and I’m really excited about it and I’m excited about the music, I think it sounds really compelling and I’m real proud of how it’s developing.
Q: How would you describe the music you’re writing for CONAN?
Tyler Bates: I would say it’s heavy, visceral, emotional, and very passionate. It’s consisting of much more entirely organic material than usual for me. There are almost no synthesizers in the score at all. I’m playing a lot of instruments and we’ll have a number of colorists in to do some solo work and stuff of that nature. It just feels really good and it’s exciting to me right now. I’m not really comfortable talking about it because we’re not done yet; however I’m really excited by how it’s shaping up and hopefully people will like it. I’ve done several remakes of iconic movies, so I can never compete with the original. How am I going to compete with Bernard Hermann on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL? You can’t even get that in your head or else you’ll be polarized and you will not be able to. I can’t place those expectations on myself. It’s unfair for the public to do that, and why would they want me to do what’s already been done? I think this movie is a different movie. It’s really I think great, it delivers some great action, and there’s some great character stuff in it and it’s a lot of fun. And I have to respond to that. So far I think it’s going pretty well.
Q: On THE DARKEST HOUR – we’ve seen a few alien invasion movies come out of Hollywood lately. How will you approach music for Gorak’s particular take on the extraterrestrial incursion?
Tyler Bates: It’s pretty tonal. It’s exciting in the action sequences but there’s a lot of mood-vibey, tonal stuff. So that’s definitely required a lot of knob-twirling – which is great, because it’s a totally different beast than Conan. It is absolutely a polar opposite so I’m very excited about doing that because I don’t think there’s really any cross-talk between the two.
Q: Did this one come in before CONAN?
Tyler Bates: They’ve both kind of been jogging side by side. Schedules in films are constantly in flux, so while one is taking a pause and doing their own thing for awhile, the other one gets hot and heavy. So it’s very difficult to plan your schedule perfectly because in this age of visual effects and being in the digital era you can play with your movie all the way down to the wire. So schedules are really not something you can bank on. But I’m very, very deep into both of the movies, and I’m very excited about with them. I think Chris Gorak’s an amazing person as well as a great director so I’m very thankful to be part of his movie as well.
For more information, see: http://www.tylerbates.com/
Appreciative thanks to Lisa Bates for facilitating this interview, and Kelsey Larson for transcribing it for me. -rdl
HEROINES IN MUSIC/Carl Davis/Threshold Records
This latest release in the Carl Davis Collection compiles the lengthy suites adapted by the composer from his scores for a quartet of British films based upon novels noted for their strong female protagonists. Faithfully arranged and re-recorded by the Philharmonic Orchestra under Davis’ baton, these four provocative scores – THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981; 23 mins.), HOTEL DU LAC (1986; 10:47), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1995; 15 mins), and CRANFORD/RETURN TO CRANFORD (2007/09; 30 mins.) – come to life on this disc. Each of the scores is emotionally powerful and musically compelling, nicely exploiting Davis’ gift for intricate melodic beauty and expressiveness.
HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL/Murray Gold/Lakeshore
This film is a sequel to the 2005 animated family film, which described, RASHOMON-like, the investigation into a crime at Granny's house involving Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, The Woodsman and Granny, disturbing the peace in the forest. HOOD VS. EVIL takes a similar formula – Red Riding Hood and the Wolf are called to examine the sudden mysterious disappearance of Hansel and Gretel. Murray Gold, noted for his splendid DOCTOR WHO scores, ignores the fact that these are simplistic kid films and treats the score with an array of stealthy and exciting motifs that give the story a much larger than life substance. Like his music for the Timelord, HOODWINKED TOO! (Gold did not write music for the first film) is full of engaging melodies, broad orchestral maneuvers, and a lot more pomp and bombast to accompany the adventures of director Mike Disa’s animated cast, “Hearing Mike talk about his work...he's a passionate guy...he draws stuff while he's on the phone...I mean, he DREW this movie!” said Gold. “You listen to a guy who DREW a movie!” The music is a ton of fun. A beautifully overblown heraldic theme (“A Hasty Exit,” the intro reprised in “Hoodwinked Logo”) takes a hint from the opening of Laurie Johnson’s original AVENGERS theme before moving into an engaging interaction between saxophones and strings, which adds a cute moment of its own with the recognition, as does Gold’s heroic anthem for the main character, “Red.” The score is almost constantly in motion, yet it’s not cartoon music. It’s full of a variety of Schifrinesque big band flavorings (“The Unstoppable Hoods,” “Fight The Fight, Fighters”), Mancin-esque toe-tapping jazz (“Operation Free The Children,” “Three Pigs,” “A Pitiful Fight”), chorale-driven mysterioso (“Sister Hoods,”), action scenes full of massive gusto (“Out Of Reach,” “Legs”) rock-driven orchestral drive (“An Unwelcome Disturbance”), expressive, intimate moments colored with honest sensitivity (“All In the Balance”), epic Hollywood bombast (“A Dastardly Growth Spurt,” “Swaggering Through the City”) even accordion-driven opera choruses (“The Song of Kirk”). Some tracks, like “How It All Started” and “Until Next Time,” contain almost all of the above in a single cue. Gold’s ensemble featured several notable players (including the late Maurice Williams lead trumpet), with music conducted and orchestrated by Ben Foster. “The audience for this needs to feel the fun,” he said. “This is all 100% organic - no overdubs, or stems or clever patching things together. This is just a great bunch of musicians in one room. That's how I like to record.” Lakeshore will release the album digitally on April 26th and in stores on May 17, 2011.
IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD/Ernest Gold/La-La Land
Ernest Gold’s marvelous score for Stanley Kramer’s classic 1963 roadshow comedy, receives its most definitive treatment yet in this lavish 2-CD set from La-La Land. As with many big scores of the 1960s, the soundtrack album (released on LP by United Artists) was a re-recording arranged and conducted by the composer; it was not the actual movie soundtrack recording. That version of the score saw its first release on CD from Rykodisc in 1997, but its flow was severely marred by the unnecessary inclusion of dialog extracts and sound effects meant to replicate the “movie” experience (in so doing besmirching the score experience); though it did contain an audio interview excerpt with Gold and Kramer that has thus far not been reprised. Last year Kritzerland made amends by releasing the album version sans Ryko’s infuriating dialog interruptions, adding half a dozen cues in their original film versions (the overture and main titles maintained their sound effects, but these were intended to be partnered with the music for comic effect by the composer in the first place). Both those releases are out of print. The intrepid investigators at La-La Land have managed to resurrect the original film tracks through careful extraction from a less than ideal rear-range portions of the film’s original six-track composite soundtrack, and it’s to the credit of Ray Faiola and his team for arriving at an imperfect but highly satisfying capture of the score as it was heard in the film, less dialog, less effects. The film version, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, differs from the album version (performed by the Hollywood Studio Orchestra) in length (25 tracks/73 minutes versus a mere dozen/28 minutes on the UA LP) and performance; while the film version suffers a bit in dynamic fidelity in some tracks due to the reduced range of the source tracks, there’s a lot of music that wasn’t presented in the album version that is presented here for the first time; more nuances of the themes, moments of intricate comic assessment and musical merriment. IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, lavishly filmed in Cinemascope with a huge cast of major stars and even more major star cameo appearances, was designed to be the comedy counterpart of Hollywood’s epic widescreen blockbusters like BEN-HUR and THE LONGEST DAY; it thereby invented the short-lived trend of epic comedies (with THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES and THE GREAT RACE among those that followed, with IAMMMMW standing tallest among them). Describing a madcap chase to retrieve a hidden cache of stolen loot by a manic menagerie of merry men and women, the film remains one of the funniest comedies of its decade, and has aged very little since then. Ernest Gold’s score was designed to match the dynamic, large-scale character of the film. He provided only a few motifs for specific characters, choosing instead to ground the madcap mayhem concocted by the cast with a carnivalesque waltz that gives the film a playful drive that keeps its crazy cast connected and its momentum moving forward. Jeff Bond provides very thorough album notes for the package; supplemented by an informative page by Ray Faiola describing the arduous process of locating and restoring the original soundtrack recordings from part of the six-track movie soundtrack.
MONROE/Dominik Scherrer/Mammoth Screen (MP3 download*)
British composer Dominik Scherrer, best known for scoring the first three seasons of the PRIMEVAL sci-fi series and the current MISS MARPLE TV movies, has released an album of music from TV’s MONROE, a UK medical drama largely influenced by HOUSE. The soundtrack now joins the small number of Scherrer’s score, so far, to be available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. Scherrer’s series theme, presented here in an extended version, is an attractive, sparkling tune for acoustic guitar over banjo, bass, violin and xylophone, carrying with it a pleasing folksy harmony. The episode music retains this acoustic characteristic, providing an ironically down-to-earth sensibility for the show’s arrogant and pompous title character. The mix of roots music traditions and modern rock instruments is extremely listenable and satisfying on the album; in the midst of its rolling rhythms a few moments stand out in particular: the playful chorus added to the jangling riff of “Risky Operation;” the reflective strings and synth intonations of “Nighttime Hospital;” “”Wheeled to Theater” with its crying synth opening into an invigorating melodic cadence for keyboards, fiddle, and voice over a great bass line (reprised at the end of “Fortune”); the saturating sincerity of “”Into Charlotte Land” with its poignant, offset violin characteristics; the modernistic undulation of instrumentation in “Fortune;” the aching heartache of “Monroe and David’s” morose cello melody. I’ve found MONROE’s sound, texture, and melodic structure to be thoroughly captivating.
(*the album is also available in a limited CD edition from the composer’s web site: http://www.dominikscherrer.com/ )
RIO/John Powell/Varese Sarabande
John Powell continues his mastery of scoring animated features with this playful yet heartfelt score. Directed by Carlos Saldanha, director or co-director on the Powell-scored ROBOTS, ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN and ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS, RIO tells the unlikely (as if those other films about collaborating talking prehistoric mammals and humanoid robots were “likely”) story of a domesticated Minnesota macaw joining up with a Latina macaw named Jewel from Rio De Janeiro in which various comic adventures ensue. Like Powell’s music for ROBOTS and the two ICE AGE films (not to mention HORTON HEARS A WHO, KUNG-FU PANDA, BOLT, MARS NEEDS MOMS, the should-have-won-the-music-Oscar score for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, and the upcoming Dr. Seuss feature, THE LORAX), Powell conveys a broad, epic orchestral sweep along with a gentle melodic sensitivity. RIO is naturally flavored with South American musical influences, and a few cues include the traditional whistles and other signature flavorings that cry out “Rio!” but more often Powell allows the influences to be heard from the orchestra rather than ethnic instruments, coloring the mood without a specific cultural identification (the album closes with one authentic Brazilian track, “Market Forro,” by Carlinhos Brown & Mikael Mutti). This allows the score to focus on flavoring character emotion and forward motion. There’s an almost Elmer Bernstein-esque flavor to the main melody (it takes flight especially well in “Birds Moved” and “Flying;” hinted at in “Bedtime Flyers” and portrayed in Latinesque style in “Idiot Glider”). The music changes direction frequently, cartoonlike, but retains its balance and musical composure; it takes a journey with the characters, eventually propelling itself into an epic velocity that surges forth in the massive bombast of “Rio Airport.” There are a few comic touches to help convey site-gags along the way, such as the brief incursion of slashing PSYCHO-strings in the midst of “Great Big Momma Bird,” a couple of sour musical pratfalls in the wonderful tribute to failed romance, “Juicy Little Mango,” and a rapid swerve into Brazilian dance music in “Umbrellas of Rio,” but for the most part Powell plays it straight and gives RIO the emotionesque expression and forward motion that only a great score can.
SCREAM 4/Marco Beltrami/Varese Sarabande
Marco Beltrami has rejoined the SCREAM Team for this fourth go-round of delicious slasher scares, providing the kind of eloquent scarability with which he provided the first three films in the franchise. In this film, also known trendily as SCRE4M, Wes Craven is back in the director’s seat and Sidney (again played by Neve Campbell) is finally in recovery from her years-ago encounters with the Ghostface Killer, when guess who comes back to pay her a visit? Beltrami is along for the ride and offers up a spooky sonic undercurrent that personifies the film’s sense of fun and fright. “Sidney’s Lament,” the haunting vocal theme Beltrami introduced in the first SCREAM, makes its presence known in “When You Let Someone Go,” a nice reflection back at the previous films in the series, and serves as the new score’s thematic focal point. It is reprised from intricate piano notes in “I Know How You Feel” and from a radiant, swelling ascent from orchestra in “Touch and Go.” The rest of the music is mostly in the spooky/scary variety, but it’s all quite tonal, whispering like the gentle twinge of a knife’s edge against your spine and gently caressing your consciousness with hauntingly flavored breaths. Like the movie, the score is fun horror, an ultimately satisfying exercise in the Craven-Beltrami house of horrors. Incidentally, Lakeshore Records has released a songtrack album that contains two score cues by Beltrami that are not on the Varese album: “Don’t Mess With The Original” and “Jill’s America;” however both are purchasable as single tracks from amazon and iTunes.
TALL SHIPS: THE PRIVATEER LYNX/ David James Nielsen/ Moviescore Media
It’s not surprising that a score for a TV documentary about life aboard 19th Century sailing ships contains an eloquent and engagingly melodic score rich in feeling and romantic adventure. David James Nielsen (The Little Documentary That Couldn’t, Reclaiming the Blade) provides an excellent score for the first of 13 episodes of this series about America’s greatest tall-masted sailing ships airing on The Sailing Channel. The soundtrack has been released by Moviescore Media. “Robert [Margouleff, director] wanted a score that was ‘memorable, noble, and majestic,’ evoking the feeling of being on the sea with the wind and the waves,” said Nielsen. “Overall, the specific requirements of the score were to evoke the romanticism associated with sailing, as well as to provide a sense of the wonder, beauty, and mystery of nature.” Nielsen has crafted a fine score with a striking orchestral base despite what is likely a sampled orchestra. The digital files are enhanced and sweetened by live hand drums and flutes that create an exotic texture and build a musical portrait of these large wooden ships whose original crews encountered native populations far from American shores. Nielsen’s main theme is vivid in its sun-dappled splendor, rolling on waves of glistening rhythm, given a sense of the abstract – or perhaps spiritual – through high choir sonorities above the melody. A related theme is “Captain Craig Chipman's Theme,” a bold theme suggestive of an intrepid character that is closely tied to the main theme. A motif made of predominant staccato string sounds, bolstered by the nobility of brass or flute/pennywhistle intonations (“Sailors at Work,” “She’s A Fast Ship,” “The Last Battle of the Revolution”), ensures a sense of excitement as the episode follows the voyage of the powerful 122-foot Lynx – an authentic interpretation of an 1812 privateer originally built by a young America that was facing War with England. The captain and crew of the Lynx take us on an unforgettable adventure on the Pacific, witnessing natural wonders, battling treacherous weather and living the unique lives of sailors. This theme is combined with the main theme in tracks like “Heroes of the Ocean,” integrating a stalwart sense of heroic daring-do with the workaday shipboard music. “One of the most enjoyable scenes to score,” said Nielsen, “was where the crew encounters heavy weather and large waves. This is ‘The Forces of Nature,’ where I used heavy drums and Asian percussion to give my heroic theme for the crew a sense of action, suspense, and excitement.” Other themes created included the acoustic guitar hymn, “Our Precious Mother Earth,” which is used for the more contemplative crew interviews (also heard in “First Mate Killick's Message” and “Tall Ships Are Made of People”), “Learning the Ropes,” – “in which young people aboard the ship learn about the sailing life,” he explained – and “The Earth is a Ship,” which combines many of the themes Nielsen wrote into one 6-minute track.
Lynne Littman’s TESTAMENT (1983) was a speculative drama about a woman (Jane Alexander in an Oscar-nominated performance) who faces the challenges of survival and the need to keep her family together when fallout from a nuclear war dooms them to a certain death. Horner’s score, composed between his two bombastic STAR TREK scores and around the same time he wrote KRULL and BRAINSTORM, was quite the opposite of those vibrant works – an exceedingly sparse and subtle score, emphasizing a tender, folksy theme that underlines the closely of the family – those persons who remain in the center of the film, innocently doomed by the temper of world powers. The film was released theatrically at the same time the Nicholas Meyer’s big-budget TV movie describing in more broad terms the results of nuclear Armageddon, THE DAY AFTER (nicely and also sparsely scored by David Raksin), yet Littman’s intimate drama carried far more emotional resonance. “What I wanted to convey in the movie [was] very simple and [it] had to work very elegantly and quietly in the background and couldn’t twist and audience for tears,” Horner said in a documentary on the film’s DVD release (quoted by Scott Bettencourt and Frank K. DeWald in their extensive supporting liner notes for the album). “It just had to be doing the right thing all the time. And there are certain orchestral colors which, in my mind, do these functions.” Horner bracketed the score with a motif for somber, ominous, doom-sounding trumpet over synthesizer, piano, and bell. It’s an unobtrusive score that works quietly in the background; finally reaffirming that hope must always triumph even in the worst of odds with an upsurge of choir as the film ends.
UNSTOPPABLE/Harry Gregson-Williams/La-La Land
Tony Scott's UNSTOPPABLE is a massive, organic, adrenalin-laced action film – pretty much usurping the title of Definitive Runaway Train Thriller, conveying its story on the backs of actual massive machinery with hardly a pixel of CGI to be found. For someone who loves trains the way I do it was especially cool – the awesome power and weight of those locomotives really came through in the film’s visual and sound design and gave the story a tremendous verisimilitude. And that includes the music. In his score, Gregson-Williams maintains a growing percussive beat, suggested by the heavy clack of steel train wheels passing over steel track junctions and the winding rev of diesel locomotives energizing up for a long haul. The size and weight of the beasts in Scott’s film form the scope and propulsion of the music; in the process, the score shifts alliances from the massive steel engines to the characters in control of them – Denzel Washington and Chris Pine – the percussive rhythm becoming the beating of their hearts, the surge of the blood coursing through their veins. The bond they establish during the potential catastrophe forged by the runaway locomotive and its hazardous cargo links them no less than the gondolas, reefers, tank and box cars are linked to the runaway engine on full steam, and in his treating both machine and men with a very similar musical design Gregson-Williams suggests one is the extension of the other, with the lead dancer switching places from time to time. Above the drumming vibe, melody lines of strings and horns emphasize tension, danger, opportunity, and risk; making the score a very human one despite the preponderance of machinery that forms the film’s landscape and threat. In their midst, tender lines from keyboard, electric cello, and electric violin evoke both sympathy and admiration for the two heroes in the cab of AWR 1206. The score is perfectly suited to its film, giving it a steely drive and powerful scope; it’s a little less so on the album where its near-continuous thumping clank becomes a portion too redundant and staccato; but in smaller doses it remains a compelling powerhouse and a trainspotter’s, or a drummer’s, eager muse.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS/James Newton Howard/Sony Classical
The music for this haunting story of forbidden love occurring amidst the magical world of a 1930s era circus is somber and atmospheric, a love theme tinged with trepidation so that it never really achieves unrestricted passion; although a degree of self-respect and homecoming is achieved in the satisfying climactx, “The Stampede/I’m Coming Home.” Howard avoids any hint of the circus environment in his score, focusing entirely on character emotions and reactions. There are moments of fragile poignancy and pensive reflection, with “Rosie,” the theme for the elephant with whom the protagonist forms an unexpected bond (and the score’s primary extended melodic piece); her theme is languorous and sturdy, its bulk comprised of massed strings and reverberating harp, suggesting both the power and sensitivity of the great animal. The score is supplemented by contemporary performances of four 1930s era songs, whose simple and scratchy vintage sound is a bit jarring in between Howard’s lush orchestral sonorities, and a fifth song presented instrumentally in the score.
YOUR HIGHNESS/Steve Jablonsky/Varese Sarabande
Steve Jablonsky has saddled this historical adventure-fantasy-comedy with an orchestral accompaniment of epic stature, as befits this tale of a medieval quest of invaliant knights, jealous royalty, and a hot warrior babe with a hidden agenda. I really love Jablonsky’s writing for French horn; his theme for the TRANSFORMERS movies really grabbed me with its low timbres and languid musical pronouncements of doom; that same tonality, introduced in the opening track “Let Us Quest!”, gives YOUR HIGHNESS an oppressive atmosphere that evokes the landscape of ancient times under the yolk of dysfunctional royalty. But there’s much more to the score than that simple sensibility. A gorgeous, lyrical theme for the warrior maiden Isabel (Natalie Portman) resounds with the splendor of the king’s court rippled with the self-assurance of a strong spirit and equally strong bow-arm, the latter two attributes suggested by a very pleasing melisma of the theme expressed by the majestic voice of Lisbeth Scott. Jablonsky’s low-register writing fits Lisbeth’s voice wonderfully and she is able to evoke some intensely powerful and emotive expressions that are well supported by the orchestral textures that surround them; she is among the score’s most striking instruments. Thadeous (Danny McBride) is represented by a slightly intoxicated, swaying motif suggestive of his usual demeanor (“Goodbye My Tinys,” “Tis I, Thadeous The Hero”). A clashing array of hammering percussion, cavernous male chorus set against a chanted rallying cry of female chorus and higher trumpets and strings accommodates the kidnapping of the princess-to-be (Zooey Deschanel) and recurs during the action scenes as Thadeous and his motley crew try to regain the distressed damsel. Jablonsky’s opening theme goes on to become a proud motif for the king and his court, reflecting the nobility of Thadeous’ more perfect brother, Prince Fabious (James Franco) in “Best Man” and again in “Not In My Castle,” wherein the affront of the abduction of Fabious’ betrothed prompts the king’s command for both of his sons to go and get her rescued. There’s also a raucous, percussive recurring action motif for stomping strings embellished by sirenlike electric guitar phrases (“Here Comes The Marteetee”). There are a few motifs that capture a noticeable Zimmeresque stylistic flair (“Muldiss Darton, City of Lore”), and plenty of opportunities for Jablonsky’s orchestra and choir to soar into mighty and majestic surges (“The Same Betrayal As Before,” “Kill-Trophy and The Warrior’s Birth,” etc.). The score’s action music comes to a head in “Orgy of Violence” which massively encapsulates orchestral and choral conflict, with Jablonsky’s main theme resonating with eloquence and sad judgment upon the proceedings until it captures a splendid taste of heroic triumph from joyfully blaring trumpets. The story concludes with Lisbeth’s powerful aria in “’Till We Meet Again,” followed the period-styled “Way of the Warriors” and, as a coda, a reprise of Thadeous’ comically playful theme.
Soundtrack & Music News
Patrick Doyle’s score for the latest Marvel super-hero adventure THOR, comes out from Buena Vista on May 3rd (April 25th in the UK). The album includes 23 tracks of solid orchestral might and pathos. Check amazon.uk for some impressive soundbytes.
The Seventh International Film Music Festival City of Ubeda has announced the Goldspirits Award nominations for 2010. This announcement, months before the beginning of the event, allows a popular vote to determine the in each section, which will be announced before the festival, except for the best revelation composer category, the winner of which will be announced during the awards gala, to be held from 18th to 24th July 2011 in Ubeda, Spain. In the list of nominations can be found here.
Lakeshore Records has released the song-based soundtrack to CEREMONY,the film debut of writer/director Max Winkler (son of Henry Winkler), who explained, “the songs inside are very dear to me. They have accompanied me every step in the journey of this movie, from when it was nothing more than a tiny idea kicking around in my head till now.” The soundtrack features original music by Eric D. Johnson (of the Fruit Bats) and songs by General Public, Van Dyke Parks, Ringo Starr, Eric Burdon & The Animals and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. In addition to composing the music for CEREMONY, Johnson has also composed the music for the upcoming film MY IDIOT BROTHER.
Lakeshore Records will release Alexandre Desplat’s score to TREE OF LIFE on May 24th.
Composer Igor Stravinsky said, “Film music should have the same relationship to the film drama that somebody's piano playing in my living room has on the book I am reading.” Stephen Edwards (COOL DOG, FEAST, SHARKS IN VENICE) combines the two with Piano Music From The Movies, a sublime and expressive interpretation of various film music cues for solo piano. Most of the tracks featured on the recording were originally performed by a larger ensemble, in some cases a full orchestra. Taking these pieces and stripping them down to a solo piano may seem an odd choice. “What I love about this collection,” said Edwards, “is that in many of the instances these are very similar to the original piano recordings that were in the movies - just my pianistic interpretation of them.” Though he’s a film composer himself, Stephen Edwards decided to pay homage to the film music that moved him. “Shawshank Redemption is one of my all-time favorite movies and I'm so moved by Thomas Newman's muted and slightly dissonant beauty in this score; FIELD OF DREAMS moved me so profoundly because of the relationship with my own father and the piano music grabbed me immediately in the theatre when I saw it in the 1990s; A.I is a beautiful tone poem that very few would guess is actually written by John Williams. "’Playing Love’ from THE LEGEND OF 1900 is a bravura jazz piece turned into a beautiful thematic statement - and in the film actor Tim Roth's character plays the piece in the movie just as it is heard on this CD. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is probably my all-time favorite Morricone theme – I can still remember the very late night in the 1980s when I saw that movie on late night TV and was bowled over by the beauty of the single voice and orchestra playing that iconic tune – and this is my pianistic remembrance of that recording.” As to one of the lesser-known themes on this recording, “BETTY BLUE sounds like Gabriel Yared's modern take on the Chopin Ballades,” said Edwards. A prolific composer, Edwards has scored more than 60 movies. He is producing a feature-length documentary, Requiem for My Mother, about a new choral work he composed in honor of his late mother that premiered at the Vatican. Piano Music From The Movies will be available digitally and on CD on April 26, 2011
Now available from La-La Land is pair of notable releases: Michael Hoenig’s electronic score for the 1988 remake of THE BLOB; limited edition of 2000 units. “Hoenig (of Tangerine Dream fame) crafts a spine tingling score to accompany cinema's favorite gelatinous blob of terror.” The limited edition cd has been expanded and remastered from the original 1/4 inch elements courtesy of Sony Pictures. The first 100 CDs purchased through the label’s website will be signed by the composer at no extra charge. Also available is the game score for CRYSIS 2, music by Borislav Slavov, Tilman Sillescu, Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe (main themes by Zimmer).
- via Danny Gonzalez/Film Music Examiner New York
Monstrous Movie Music is proud to announce the release of three superb science fiction scores from the fabulous fifties: IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter), PROJECT MOON BASE & OPEN SECRET (Herschel Burke Gilbert), and THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (Heinz Roemheld) Each release is limited to 1,000 copies, and contains the original soundtrack, bonus music not heard in the picture, and a 16-page illustrated liner booklet. CDs are $19.95 each, plus $3.75 shipping in the U. S. (for one to three CDs). The three scores have never before been released and have been on the want lists of classic sci-fi film music fans for decades. Sound samples are on the MMM web site.
Naxos has issued a score to Jacques Feyder’s 1926 silent film version of CARMEN, composed by a little-known figure in the early soundtrack era, Ernesto Halffter (1905-1989). Halffter, a Spanish composer of classical works who wrote music for a dozen films from the silent era up through the 1970s, of which CARMEN is described as “one of the great impressionistic Spanish masterpieces of its era.”
Elia Cmiral's soundtrack to the new movie ATLAS SHRUGGED, PART 1, is available from he producer's web site:
Master of the 1930s/40s era swashbuckler Erich Wolfgang Korngold continues to be recognized for his classical work as well as his film music. Ondine Records, distributed by Naxos, has issued Korngold’s Symphony in F sharp (Op. 40) along with the premiere recording of his once-lost 1919 composition, Tänzchen im alten Stil (Dance in the Old Style). John Storgårds conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic.
Disney will release Hans Zimmer’s score for the latest PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie, ON STRANGER TIDES, on May 17. Disney has also released, in addition to the DAFT PUNK soundtrack CD and its various extras posted on different download sites, TRON LEGACY Reconfigured, an album of remixes of various Daft Punk cues from the soundtrack. See: www.disneymusic.com
According to an announcement on the band Linkin Park’s web site, they will again team up with Steve Jablonsky to create the music of the forthcoming third TRANSFORMERS movie, DARK OF THE MOON. A fresh take of the band’s single Iridescent (first heard on their current album A Thousand Suns) will be featured as the end credits song in the sequel. The band previously contributed songs to the previous TRANSFORMERS movies, with one of them (“New Divide”) also being included in Jablonsky’s score for TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.
- via filmmusicreporter.com
Quartet Records has releases the first-ever soundtrack of Henry Mancini’s music for HARRY & SON (1984). This film marked the third collaboration between Paul Newman as director and Mancini after SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (1970) and the TV movie THE SHADOW BOX (1980). A fourth collaboration between the two would still follow in 1986 with the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Newman called HARRY & SON his most personal film as a director; it portray the relationships and misunderstandings between a widower father who loses his job and his young son who aspires to become a writer. In many ways, HARRY & SON was Paul Newman’s final song to his own deceased son, who died just a few years before the film was shot. Mancini’s score is utterly emotional, benefiting from a thrilling melody in jazz style, one of his better, used as a leitmotiv to reflect the melancholy and solitude of both Harry (Newman) and his son Howie (Bobby Benson). With less than 20 minutes of music in the film, it is thanks to MGM’s well-vaulted tapes with the original recording sessions that the label was able to discover an hour of music written by Mancini for the film, intended as both an underscore and source music, including many themes not included in the final cut. The remixed album includes a 20-page booklet with many color stills and liner notes by Daniel Schweiger.
Harkit Records has released an expanded reissue of Henry Mancini’s iconic music to BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961). Regrettably most of the film’s dramatic underscore has been lost to time. The album he produced, as with most 60's OSTs, consists mainly of the source music, which swings terrifically but is a lopsided representation of the score as a whole. Fortunately Harkit found the original main title music (introducing “Moon River”) which is one of the finest musical-visual opening moments of any film in recent memory (on the album Mancini re-arranged it to be sung by choir where the original was purely instrumental, the lead melody taken by, in turns, harmonica [or likely harmonium on closer listen], strings, and wordless choir). This opening music remains compellingly haunting, describing in its wistful eloquence everything we need to know about Audrey Hepburn's character before a word is spoken, as she stands silently eating a bagel in front of the Tiffany's window. A beautiful, iconic moment and marriage of image and music. The album also presents Audrey Hepburn’s version of “Moon River,” which Mancini said he felt was the “definitive” version and regretted not including it on his soundtrack album.
Mark Isham’s website coyly posted a Congratulations announcement a few weeks ago. “We would like to congratulate BitTorrent user "locobot121" from India for being the first person to steal ‘The Conspirator’ soundtrack and post it online for free! Congrats! You're #1!” Honest folk can order the album, autographed, direct from Isham’s MIM label. As with the recently issued THE MECHANIC, Isham’s score to THE CONSPIRATOR is available in several packages, including one that includes a free T-shirt showing Abraham Lincoln and the logo “I Buy My Music.”
Brian Tyler’ score for FAST FIVE, latest film in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, will be released on May 3rd, from Varese Sarabande. Chris Tilton’s TV score for the second season of FRINGE comes out the same day.
Check out composer Chris Boardman’s blog site at Wordpress.com – he’s been running a very interesting series on TOP TEN MYTH OF BEING A FILM COMPOSER.
Games Music News
LaLaLand Records has released a massive 8-CD box set with Medal Of Honor: Soundtrack Collection: Limited Edition, comprised of the sensational scores from the acclaimed Electronic Arts Medal Of Honor video games, composed by Michael Giacchino and Ramin Djawadi. “This comprehensive collection brings together some of the best music ever recorded for the video game industry,” notes the label’s web site. “Each disc has been remastered from EA vault elements, as well as source material from the composers’ private collections. This comprehensive box set is a limited edition of 2000 units. The 40 page booklet includes exclusive liner notes by film music writer Dan Goldwasser. All of it is housed in an attractive, reinforced cardboard slipcase, featuring an exclusive introductory quote from MOH creator Steven Spielberg.
Inon Zur has penned the musical score for The Lord of the Rings: War in the North video game. Zur recently conducted a full 70+ piece orchestra and the Pinewood Singers choir at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London to record the game soundtrack session. To date, Zur has composed the music to more than 40 video games, 15 television shows, and 10 movies, as well as many movie trailers. Recipient of numerous accolades for his work within the video game space, including a Hollywood Music in Media Award for Dragon Age: Origins, Zur's score sets the stage for this upcoming Action/RPG set in the brutal, war-torn unexplored lands of northern Middle-earth.
Garry Schyman's award-winning music from the video games BioShock, BioShock 2 and Dante's Inferno will be performed by the Media Composition and Studio Ensemble full orchestra at Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, California State University Northridge on May 9, 2011. The concert program also includes the first public performance of Schyman's Viola Concerto "Zingaro" (Second Movement) featuring renowned viola soloist Andrew Duckles. The Studio Ensemble is a lab band/orchestra for the Media Composition program at CSUN. Their spring concerts feature full orchestra with both professional and student performers. Previous guest artists have included David Newman and Mark Watters.
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 now writes for CinefantastiqueOnline and has written liner notes for more than 70 soundtrack CDs for such labels as La-La Land, Percepto, Perseverance, Harkit, and BSX Records. For more information, see: www.myspace.com/larsonrdl A massively re-written and expanded Second Edition of Musique Fantastique will be published this Spring, see: www.creaturefeatures.com/products/books/musique-fantastique/
Randall can be contacted at email@example.com