On Swashbucklers and Skinwalkers
By Randall D. Larson
The latest dazzling soundtrack from Hollywood’s Golden Age to emerge from Naxos’ “Film Music Classics” series, in a stunning digital recording magnificently performed by William Stromberg and the Moscow Symphony from score reconstructions by John Morgan, is Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s mighty score from The Sea Hawk, the 1940 Warner Bros swashbuckler, paired with the 1946 Bette Davis drama, Deception. The former has seen two notable releases previously, a respectful LP recording by Andre Previn conducting the London Symphony (issued on CD by Deutsche Grammophon in 2002), and a 1988 recording with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Varujan Kojian, commissioned and released by Varese Sarabande. Naxos’s new release is a world premiere recording of the complete score for both films – one hour forty minutes of Korngold’s masterful music for Sea Hawk, and a solid half hour of the intricately romantic and provocative Deception, including the original film version of the score’s celebrated cello concerto, which is better known on compilations via the composer’s concert hall rendition. The Sea Hawk includes music never before heard that was omitted from the film when it was released.
Widely regarded as Korngold’s finest adventure score since The Adventures of Robin Hood, which Morgan and Stromberg restored in complete form for Naxos in 2003), The Sea Hawk is a pulse-pounding, severely dramatic romantic adventure score, here performed by full orchestra and chorus. Its main theme, arguably a better and more intense composition than the tuneful Robin Hood theme, reappears frequently to bolster the heroism of this story of seafaring daring-do. In keeping with the leitmotiv-style of era, the score abounds with thematic interaction, as the main theme and others vie for victory not unlike the flashing swords of Errol Flynn and nemesis Henry Daniell. An epic flavored and textbook example of 1940s filmscoring, the score’s many moods remain as thrilling, as powerful, and as emotive as they did more than 67 years ago.
The performances of both scores sparkle on this lavish and lively recording. The gleaming clarity of the horns and sharp rapport of the percussion resonates beautifully amidst roiling fields of strings and winds. Played loud or listened to on headphones, it’s the next best thing to having the Moscow Symphony performing in your living room. Your impression of the music will be enhanced by thorough liner notes about the film (by film historian extraordinaire Rudy Behlmer), its music (by Int’l Korngold Society President Brendan G. Carroll), and this restoration (by John Morgan).
Modern Werewolf Tale
MovieScore Media’s latest soundtrack release (the intrepid new label’s 24th) is of Andrew Lockington’s score for Skinwalkers, the newly-released werewolf movie that has been gathering some attention since its release on August 10th. Skinwalkers is a coming-of-age tale with a difference – a 13-year old who is unaware that his werewolf curse will see him change in ways that are a little more frightening than the usual deepening voice and skin breakouts.
The orchestral score by Canadian composer Lockington is action-filled but persuasive, with a subtle understatement of thematic melody that belies the typical sound-mass designed horror score we’re hearing in most films like these. Lockington, who was once assistant to Mychael Danna and who has scored a handful of his own features since 1997, including Saint Ralph, Xchange and Cake. For Skinwalkers the composer has pieced together an interesting mix of traditional orchestral elements with manipulated modern and medieval instrumentation; all of this is held together with a firm rhythmic structure based on far eastern percussive elements, which gives the score a notable sophisticated elegance. The attractive and melodically energetic music works very well on disc, easily inviting repeating listenings – something not always applicable of horror scores designed of darker material. Lockington has a firm grasp on the score’s direction, layering its rhythms are melodies without sacrificing scary music or (the whiplike appendages that dance across the musical spectrum in “Legend” are quite intriguing, while “Gunfight” and its powerfully stroked shards of violins over horns and percussion enrage a panic that is difficult to ignore, even on CD).
Joining the exciting score is a metal song, “Destitutional,” by fellow Torontonians Braintoy.
Nominees for the World Soundtrack Awards announced
The World Soundtrack Academy has released its list of nominees for the three principal categories in the World Soundtrack Awards, the most pre-eminent international prizes for the recognition of film music: Film Composer of the Year, Best Original Score of the Year and Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film. In addition to this, at a later time, the Academy Board will also select the Discovery of the Year 2007. In addition to the Awards presented by the Academy, film music fans around the world can vote for their choice of the best soundtrack of the past year. The winners will be announced on Saturday, October 20 on the closing evening of the Ghent International Film Festival.
The nominees for the World Soundtrack Awards 2007:
Film Composer of the Year
• MYCHAEL DANNA (Little Miss Sunshine, Breach, The Nativity Story, Fracture)
• ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (The Queen, The Painted Veil)
• PHILIP GLASS (Notes on a Scandal)
• HARRY GREGSON WILLIAMS (Déjà Vu, Shrek the Third, The Number 23, Flushed Away)
• JOHN POWELL (Happy Feet)
Best Original Score of the Year
• THE FOUNTAIN by Clint Mansell
• LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE by Mychael Danna
• NOTES ON A SCANDAL by Philip Glass
• SHREK THE THIRD by Harry Gregson Williams
• ZODIAC by David Shire
Best Original Song Written for Film
• "LE FESTIN" from Ratatouille (Music and lyrics by Michael Giacchino and Performed by Camille)
• "FALLING SLOWLY" from Once (Written and Performed by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)
• "I NEED TO WAKE UP" from An Inconvenient Truth (Written and Performed by Melissa Etheridge)
• "WHEN YOU TAUGHT ME HOW TO DANCE" from Miss Potter (Written by Mike Batt, Nigel Westlake, and Richard Maltby, Jr. - Performed by Katie Melua)
• "YOU KNOW MY NAME" from Casino Royale (Written by Chris Cornell and David Arnold Performed by Chris Cornell)
The World Soundtrack Academy was founded in 2001 by the Ghent International Film Festival and a number of film music composers, now encompasses over 270 leading composers. The stated goal of the Academy is to promote music in film, and it is achieving this with ever greater success, as can be seen by the growing (international) interest and recognition being given to film music. (Other annual film-music specific awards include The International Film Music Critics Association and the industry-chosen Film & TV Music Awards, sponsored by Film Music Magazine.
More info: www.worldsoundtrackawards.com
Warner Bros Apologizes For "300" Score
Posted by: Justin (IP Logged)
Date: August 2, 2007 06:25AM
The Official 300 DVD website features this curious statement:
"Warner Bros. Pictures acknowledges and regrets that a number of the music cues for the score of 300 were, without our knowledge or participation, derived from music composed by Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal for the motion picture Titus. Warner Bros. Pictures has great respect for Elliot, our longtime collaborator, and is pleased to have amicably resolved this matter."
Posting a comment at musiconfilm.net, “Justin” noted aptly: “This is the first time in recent memory in which anyone, let alone a studio, has made a public apology for a score that (obviously) followed too closely to its temptrack. While some are curious as to what 300 composer Tyler Bates has to say about this – the person who should be put in the hot seat is the director or producers, whom surely are the ones who asked Bates to follow Goldenthal's Titus so closely.” No word yet from Mr. Bates.
Academy Bans “For Your Consideration” score promos
In news that will probably distress soundtrack collectors more than it will film composers, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that studios will no longer be allowed to send "For Your Consideration" score CDs to Academy members. It's unknown what impact these discs have had on the nominating and awarding of Score Oscars, but collectors (at least those who can find and afford the rare discs) have always appreciated the chance to own such rarities as the two-disc A.I., the complete Goldsmith Mulan, and scores that are otherwise completely unavailable on CD (such as After the Sunset, Bringing Out the Dead, and The Fast and the Furious). –via www.filmscoremonthly.com
Double Disc Wind and Lion
Accommodating requests from collectors, Intrada has put together an expansion of Jerry Goldsmith's epic score to the 1975 film, The Wind and the Lion, certainly one of his most powerful and provocative action/adventure scores. While Intrada had previously re-issued on CD the excellent original LP program, with the unusual partnership and cooperation of Sony BMG, Warner Bros., and Film Score Monthly, Intrada presents the definitive presentation of The Wind and the Lion as a 2-CD set (Intrada previously released the original album tracks (totaling 38 minutes) on CD. The first disc presents the entire 63-minute score in chronological order, remixed from the original 3-track elements. The second disc presents the 2-track Arista mix LP program everyone has grown familiar with over the years (remastered), as well as the source music heard in the film (arranged by Alexander Courage). Says Intrada’s Doug Fake: “Some of the highlights on the expanded program heard here for the first time include the fabulous Americana fanfare for brass that accompanies President Roosevelt's afternoon horse gallop; the complex material for "The Blue People" with whom Candace Bergen's character mistakenly seeks refuge when escaping from Raisuli; rich thematic statements during "The Riff/The Well"; and powerful music during "Mercy" – all bringing exciting new depth to the score.
For cover art, track listing, and sound samples, please visit http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT67745/it.A/id.5477/.f
Testify! A 3rd Simpsons Song Soundtrack
Set for release on September 18, 2007 from Shout! Factory, The Simpsons: Testify music is the third soundtrack CD issued with Alf Clausen’s music from the TV series. The soundtrack will contain a collection of the best songs from the last nine seasons of the longest running primetime comedy on TV today; regrettably Clausen’s instrumental underscore – albeit much of it consisting of cues measured in seconds – is not included on the album, which arrives just in time to accompany the premiere of Season 19 of The Simpsons on FOX. The songs featured were mixed specifically for this new album. For the first time, Clausen’s re-imagining of Broadway hits Evita, My Fair Lady, and The Sound Of Music can be fully appreciated for all of their satirical nuance.
The Simpsons: Testify: Tracklist:
- 1. "THE SIMPSONS" MAIN TITLE THEME
- 2. TESTIFY
- 3. THE VERY REASON THAT I LIVE (FEATURING KELSEY GRAMMER)
- 4. HE'S THE MAN (FEATURING SHAWN COLVIN)
- 5. STRETCH DUDE AND CLOBBER GIRL
- 6. "THE SIMPSONS" END CREDITS THEME (PERFORMED BY LOS LOBOS)
- 7. ODE TO BRANSON
- 8. SOLD SEPARATELY
- 9. ISLAND OF SIRENS
- 10. THEY'LL NEVER STOP THE SIMPSONS
- 11. YOU'RE A BUNCH OF STUFF
- 12. WHAT DO I THINK OF THE PIE?
- 13. BABY STINK BREATH
- 14. TASTES LIKE LIBERTY
- 15. JELLYFISH
- 16. HOMER & MARGE (FEATURING "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC)
- 17. "EVERYBODY HATES NED FLANDERS" (MEDLEY) (FEATURING DAVID BYRNE)
- 18. I LOVE TO WALK
- 19. MARJORIE (FEATURING JACKSON BROWNE)
- 20. "THE PRESIDENT WORE PEARLS" MEDLEY
- 21. GLOVE SLAP (FEATURING THE B-52S)
- 22. O PRUNY NIGHT
- 23. AMERICA (I LOVE THIS COUNTRY)
- 24. AMERICA RULES
- 25. WELCOME TO MOE'S
- 26. WE ARE THE JOCKEYS
- 27. SONG OF SHELBYVILLE
- 28. "A STAR IS TORN" MEDLEY
- 29. WHO WANTS A HAIRCUT? (FEATURING BAHA MEN)
- 30. "MY FAIR LADDY" MEDLEY
- 31. SPRINGFIELD BLOWS
- 32. "KING OF CATS" ITCHY & SCRATCHY MEDLEY
- 33. LADY (FEATURING RICKY GERVAIS)
- 34. YOU MAKE ME LAUGH
- 35. LADY RIFF (FEATURING RICKY GERVAIS)
- 36. POPPA, CAN YOU HEAR ME?
- 37. "YOKEL CHORDS" MEDLEY
- PREVIOUSLY UNAIRED BONUS TRACKS
- 38. HULLABA LULA (FEATURING KELSEY GRAMMER)
- 39. SONG OF THE WILD BEASTS
- 40. DANCING WORKERS' SONG
- 41. OLDIES AND NUDIES
Last Soundtrack on the Left
From Rock Bottom Rules comes the first-ever soundtrack album from Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, which was fairly notorious on the occasion of its original 1972 release. The unusual musical choice consisted of a number of folk/ballad/pop tunes written by David Hess (who played the infamous and despicable Krug in the movie), which tended to compliment the movie in a rather disturbing fashion, playing against its grisly and graphic terror with tuneful and cheesy music. Alongside the ballads, Hess also used some early electronic gear for the sounds that accompany some of the more violent scenes.
David Hess is an accomplished (and two-time Grammy winning) musician and songwriter who's been responsible for some well known tunes (in the 50's he wrote "All Shook Up", "Frankie and Johnny" and "Speedy Gonzalez" among others). He's also starred in over 30 films. The release is a low-budget CDR release, but not a bootleg; it’s an official release from David Hess' record label. The release includes a bonus tune, “The Road Leads to Nowhere/Wait For the Rain,” released by the Hess Bros for the Cabin Fever soundtrack. – www.davidhess.com
Film Music News
Klaus Badelt was recently in London to score Killshot with a part of the London Metropolitan Orchestra at Abbey Road studio 1, replacing Stephen Warbeck who was previously attached to the film.
Full story at: www.hans-zimmer.com
Pale Blue continues their digital releases of new British film music, following Jocelyn Pook’s Heidi. Up next is Mark Thomas’ score for the 2005 film of the classic Scottish tale, Greyfriars Bobby. John Henderson’s moving film starred Christopher Lee, James Cosmo, and Gina McKee, about a loveable pooch who remains loyal to his master, even after his death. Thomas’ music is a melodic, sweeping orchestral work, with some Celtic flourishes and is well deserved of a release. The album will be available via iTunes on August 20th.
Despite their apology about the association between the music to Zach Snyder’s 300 and that of Titus (see above), Warner/Reprise has released a handsome deluxe package called 300 The Complete Recordings. Bound in a 42-Page Casebound book (11-1/4” x ½” x 5-3/4”) with a special debossed “blood splatter” color design, the package contains 42 pages of epic scenes from the film as well as an expanded soundtrack that includes three bonus tracks not included on the first releases of the soundtrack, plus a remix version of the track "To Victory," by Philip Steir.
New from Japan is a quirky soundtrack from Saru No Gundan – aka Ape Corps, aka Army of the Apes – the 1974 Japanese Planet of the Apes rip-off TV series (which was also constructed and released as a feature in 1987, called Time of the Apes. The music is by composer Toshiaki Tsushima, and has been released in Japan on Ultra-Vybe. The album consists of 56 tracks of various styles and lengths (anywhere from 15 seconds two a couple of minutes; with 60 seconds a fair averaging 60 seconds) ranging from 70s Japanese pop, mad little incidental stings, military-sounding cues, spaghetti-western-type tracks, songs sung by little children, a series of little brassy fanfares, timpani-and-brass bursts and all sorts of other things. The music is truly all over the map.
Since traversing Springfield in The Simpsons Movie, Hans Zimmer will now assume the musical helm of the Batman sequel The Dark Knight. The SuperHeroHype web site recently relayed that Zimmer told them he was "playing around" and "getting some ideas" for a new Batman theme for the second movie in the relaunched franchise. "It's going to evolve," Zimmer said. "There is a big Batman theme which I was playing with for the last one, but I always felt the character hadn't earned it yet, so I just want to go and play around, and I now want to go and complete that theme, so that's part of the idea. I felt I had a good start, and now it would be really nice to develop that world a little further."
See – www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=6114
Screen Archives will release archival soundtrack CDs of Max Steiner’s classic score for 1940’s The Letter, the Bette Davis classic directed by William Wyler, as well as Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for Rudolph Maté’s classic 1950 film noir, D.O.A., starring Edmund O’Brien as an accountant who discovers he has been mistakenly poisoned. Steiner’s The Letter is from the composer’s rich period at Warner's while Tiomkin’s D.O.A. is a masterwork of stark nourish composition. Some fans of the score were wondering if the music’s biggest drawback – the silly “whoopee” slides that were imposed upon a bar scene where O’Brien ogles a sexy woman – would be included – Ray Faiola of Chelsea Rialto Studios, who is remixing the archival soundtrack for Screen Archives, told the FILMUS-L listserver that has not “mixed the whoopie slides into the body of the score. I did, however, place their complete recording session on the disc as an extra. They really have to be heard to be believed! Most of the score is very clean, and the score is complete including the incredible jam session cue.”
Lakeshore Records recently released the soundtrack to Charlie Bartlett, the upcoming teen comedy starring Anton Yelchin and Robert Downey Jr., and the disc features songs from the film as well as Christophe Beck's score. A sticker attached to the CD promises that the disc features no "inspired by" songs, and that the contents of the CD are "100% movie music." www.lakeshorerecords.com
El Records has released a new soundtrack of Max Steiner’s classic Western score for John Ford’s The Searchers This 2007 UK reissue is presented here in its original form (it was previously available as a promo CD issued by Screen Archives in 1996). Steiner’s score evokes every last aspect of Ford's vision: its grandeur, its darkness, its passion, and its romance. It is an integral part of one of the greatest movies of the 20th century.
Varese Sarabande will release, on August 28th, the score for the gritty, fast-paced action thriller, Shoot ‘Em Up. The score kicks into high gear with a memorable opening scene and never relents. Clive Owen stars as Mr. Smith, a mysterious loner who teams up with an unlikely ally (Monica Belluci) to protect a newborn baby from a determined criminal (Paul Giamatti) who hunts them throughout the bowels of the city. Former Tangerine Dream member Paul Haslinger contributes a wildly aggressive score. Also coming up on August 28th from Varese is Randy Edelman’s score for Balls Of Fury (read: Kung Fu Soccer meets ping pong) : The inspirational and exotic score is by Randy Edelman, who has previous served up rousing Asian-influenced scores for films like Dragon and Shanghai Noon.
This week’s releases from Varese include: Rush Hour 3 (Lalo Schifrin reprises his previous two scores), The Invasion (John Ottman; sci fi thriller) The Last Legion (Patrick Doyle; historical fantasy adventure in ancient Rome = latest 300 clone), As You Like It (Patrick Doyle again; latest Kenneth Branagh. Coming up for September are Danny Elfman’s The Kingdom (political thriller) and Dario Marinelli’s The Brave One (Neil Jordan cop thriller). A US date for Dario Marianelli’s Goodbye Bafana (released in Europe last April) has yet to be given/
Japan’s Varite Note has reissued Senza Movente (Without Apparent Motive) in a complete score release. Previous editions of the soundtrack to the original 1971 suspense movie were not as extensive. This release includes bonus unreleased takes as well.
Commotion Records will issue, on August 28th, soundtracks to The Ten (Craig Wedren [the band Shudder to Think, Wet Hot American Summer, High Art] composed both score and songs for this new ten commandments comedy), Broken English (Zoe Cassavetes’ directorial debut; featuring the dark and luscious electronic score of French DJ Duo Scratch Massive, as well as the pulsing rhythms of I Am Kloot and Juan Trip), and Vacancy (the Kate Beckinsale/Luke Wilson summer scream fest, featuring a heart-pounding score by Paul Haslinger, formerly of Tangerine Dream).
On October 18th, La-La Land Records will issue Battlestar Galactica: Season 3, score by Bear McCreary, and Superman: Doomsday, score by Robert J. Kral. www.lalalandrecords.com
Games Music News
Film, television and video game composer Inon Zur has created the original musical score for Crysis, the next-generation PC first-person shooter developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts. Renowned for composing emotionally dynamic orchestral music, Zur was commissioned by Crytek to produce a modern cinematic score that heightens the impact of the dramatic storyline, realistic environments and highly-evolved gameplay.
"Inon’s ability to describe a complex situation through music is uncanny," said Crytek Audio Director Joseph Zajonc. "He grasps human interaction and internal conflict and delivers musical support for these scenarios with sensitivity and assuredness in his compositions. Inon’s sense of orchestration and the sound palette he has developed for this title are integral to the feel and identity of Crysis."
The score was recorded with the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra in Seattle. Zur’s compositions feature sweeping themes, immersive setup pieces, intense action music, and "otherworldly" musical soundscapes performed by the orchestra to invoke the alien influences in the game.
Zur’s diverse repertoire of projects includes Hollywood film trailers, network television productions, CGI movies, blockbuster video games and symphony concerts. Most recently Zur composed the music for CBS' Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side TV webisode series.
For more information on Inon Zur visit www.inonzur.com.
For information on Crysis visit www.nanosuit.com.
Randall 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 from the Fantastic Cinema and Music From the House of Hammer. He now reviews soundtracks Music from the Movies, Cemetery Dance magazine, and writes for Film Music Magazine and others.