Music

CD Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD – Original Soundtrack

Sunset Boulevard Soundtrack | © 2010 Counterpoint Records

If it was only talk that helped to kill the silent movie stars, it’s likely that some of them may have been able to squeeze a few more years out of the goggle-eyed mooning and over-expressive hand gestures that passed for screen acting. But when the rapturous strains of Eastern European émigrés like Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner and Franz Waxman joined with the newfangled dialogue recording and sound effects, the silent stars were indeed shot deader than the screenwriting lothario who messes with the wrong Hollywood cougar in 1950’s SUNSET BLVD. So it would be fitting that one of […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE FILM & TV MUSIC OF CHRISTOPHER GUNNING

The Film & TV Music of Christopher Gunning. Soundtrack | ©2010 Chandos Records

In his four-decade and counting career, Christopher Gunning has been a stalwart of the English scoring scene with a wide variety of television and film work, his music evoking a lush symphonic sound that will nicely remind listeners on these shores of the late John Barry. Now with the success of what might be his most moving, and heartfelt score for the Edith Piaf biopic LA VIE EN ROSE, Chandos has taken the opportunity to record a treasure trove of Gunning’s greatest hits with the BBC Philharmonic, selections that are no small revelation of the composer’s  lassically-trained talents, especially now […]Read On »

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CD Review: NORTH DALLAS FORTY soundtrack (2,000 edition)

NORTH DALLAS 40 soundtrack | ©2010 Film Score Monthly

One of the more curious composer-to-picture match-ups in the 70’s was throwing John Scott, a genteel English composer renowned for such classically lush scores as ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA and THE COUSTEAU ODYSSEY, into the very macho game of football- and we aren’t talking the Euro definition of guys kicking around a pigskin. Yet it’s exactly that strongly thematic sense of drama that let NORTH DALLAS FORTY make a memorable touchdown as one of America’s better sports films. Credit Canadian director Ted Kocheff, who’d worked with Scott on the equally unlikely Aussie thriller WAKE IN FRIGHT to let the composer make […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T soundtrack

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T. Soundtrack | ©2010 Film Score Monthly

There were some pretty bizarre kids’ movies back in the day like SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. But no now grown-up cult item still has the tuneful catchiness of 1953’s 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T, which stands as the only insane collaboration between uber-serious producer Stanley Kramer, phantasmagorical children’s author Dr. Seuss, and Friedrich Hollaender, a German cabaret composer whose political whimsy would see him sent packing from Nazi land to a Hollywood career. This colorful fantasy about a piano-hating kid’s ultimate bad dream would see Hollaender put Seuss’ wonderful gibberish to melody, resulting in a number of tongue-twisting delights […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE TOURIST soundtrack

THE TOURIST soundtrack | ©2010 Varese Sarabande Records

Forget Johnny Depp. No man is proving to be a more reliable companion to Angelina Jolie’s mysterious allure like James Newton Howard, who turns in his second terrific score for the actress after this year’s SALT. While there’s a surfeit of that film’s ballsy spy action here, THE TOURIST is mostly plying the same kind of luxurious, old-world waters that Henry Mancini and John Barry did when movies like CHARADE and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE were the height of escapist fashion- a throwback appeal that THE TOURIST pulls off with panache. Most of this music is the elegant equivalent of […]Read On »

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CD Review: HAPPY NOW soundtrack

Happy Now soundtrack | ©2010 Movie Score Media

Euro-specialist label Movie Score Media now goes digging into the ghosts of their favored composers’ pasts with their “Discovery Collection”- a cool niche within a niche that reveals what might be a real spook with 2001’s long-buried score to HAPPY NOW. And it’s likely that ATONEMENT Oscar winner Dario Marianelli is similarly smiling due to the light that MSM is shining on his atypically wacky mystery score for an uber-serious composer, one which chronicles a Welsh politician’s amazement that the girl he and his mate most definitely murdered years ago is now back in town. Listening to the soundtrack’s Theremin-like […]Read On »

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CD Review: 48 HRS. soundtrack

48 HRS. soundtrack | © 2011 Intrada Records

While James Horner showed he could go where no Enterprise scorer had gone before with his breakthrough, nautical-styled space adventure for 1982’s STAR TREK II, it would be that year’s 48 HRS. which truly showed him off as being far from a one-note composer. If audiences hadn’t seen this kind of hilariously foul-mouthed, squib-filled “buddy cop” movie before, then they certainly hadn’t heard the vibrant, ethnic spin that Horner put on the genre – a ferociously energetic approach that made KHAN’s musical wrath sound positively sedate by comparison. Horner likely keyed off of the manic urban energy that filled Eddie […]Read On »

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In Remembrance: The 10 Best Scores of Composer John Barry

John Barry - THE CONCERT

If the theme’s the thing in film scoring, then the passing of  composer John Barry Sunday at age 77  represents the true end of unabashed, symphonic lyricism. There were few composers who had his way with melody. Even the most explosive action of Barry’s Bond scores had a slow, hypnotically seductive rhythm. It was a lyricism that made generations fall in love, not only with their dates in the darkened theater, but with the lush possibility of film music itself. And that was just fine for Barry, who like so many of us, spent the better part of his youth […]Read On »

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CD Review: CLASH OF THE TITANS soundtrack (3,000 edition)

Clash of the Titans Soundtrack | ©2010 Intrada Records

With no offense to Ramin Djawadi’s rock-fueled percussion that accompanied the more-than-manly, 3-D CGI revamp of this year’s CLASH, it’s likely that Laurence Rosenthal’s symphonically lush, hero-making music of the gods was the stuff that played in Perseus’ ears as he slew Medusa and turned the Kraken to stone. It’s an old school style that will also forever identify CLASH for a certain geek generation, for whom no amount of cool computer effects will ever replace Ray Harryhausen’s home-made brand of stop-motion wonder, for whom Rosenthal’s score provided a more than worthy send-off. Now Intrada pays tribute to the alter […]Read On »

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CD Review: BRUC soundtrack

Bruc Soundtrack | ©2010 Movie Score Media

You can likely put the number of Napoleon-ea action scores on a short list, a unique quality that makes the genre open musical territory for Spanish-born (and American-trained) composer Xavier Capellas, who’s handled the scoring chores on such Spanish-funded horror pictures as BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR and FAUST. BRUC carries as similarly unhinged quality as a Catalonian goes Rambo on the Emperor’s assassins who pursue him through the mountainous wilds of Monteressat, giving Capellas the opportunity to unleash heroic hell in one of the more weirdly off-kilter period scores since Joe Lo Duca’s BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. Here more symphonically traditional adventure […]Read On »

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