The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014

Marco Beltrami and the SNOWPIERCER soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 AUTOMATA (Zacarias M. de la Riva / Movie Score Media) Scores like A.I. and I, ROBOT have portrayed automatons as having infinitely more soul than their human creators, a purity of electronic spirit that makes them closer to God than any flesh and blood creation. No score has religiously captured that spiritual ghost in the machine with the beautiful, beatific quality of Zacarias M. de la Riva, whose transcendent use of the chorus, and the anguished, spare strings of homo sapien despair merge for a moving requiem to the human race, while signaling the birth […]Read On »

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CD Review: PHILOMENA soundtrack

PHILOMENA soundtrack | ©2013 Decca Records

Where Alexandre Desplat’s Oscar attention-getter last year was the heavy duty ZERO DARK THIRTY, the most definitely lighter PHILOMENA is likely to get similar notice for its often whimsical, if bittersweet quality. For the track-down here is of the sold son of an Irishwoman forced long ago to give up her kin by decidedly sinful nuns. Philomena’s American road trip with an English journalist has a fun sense of child-like discovery with bells and charmingly driving rhythmic momentum – of course with a notable theme that’s always behind always behind the melodic wheel, as brilliantly taking root in a carousel […]Read On »

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CD Review: The Ten Best Scores of 2013

Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph Trapanese / OBLIVION soundtrack | ©2013 +180 Records

THE BOOK THIEF (John Williams / Sony Classical) The kind of unabashedly thematic, and mostly melodic music that’s made John Williams into the most popular film composer of all time is often the sound of innocence itself, an unabated musical youthfulness that he’s also played to ironic effect when dealing with children confronting the unimaginable. Here it’s a genocide that’s heard, but rarely witnessed within a young German girl’s sheltered life during World War 2. Such is the devastating, gentle power that speaks volumes for THE BOOK THIEF‘s score as it encapsulates the innocence, first loves and ultimate shock of […]Read On »

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CD Review: The Best Scores of 2012

CLOUD ATLAS soundtrack | ©2012 Water Tower Records

THE BEST SCORES OF 2012 BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin / Cinereach Music) An adolescent’s ability to turn a dangerous world into a place full of fantastical possibility provides the subtext for this strikingly fresh, Cajun-cum-magical realism score by director Benh Zeitlin and co-composer Dan Romer. “Beast’s” flooded island is a palpable, dangerously enchanted place in this jambalaya of music box bells, fiddles and plucked strings, strongly melodic storytelling that dances with local flavor while taking listeners to a truly new, mythic land where giant prehistoric pigs can come to life. In the their native […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE IDES OF MARCH soundtrack

THE IDES OF MARCH soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande Records

In the midst of a very busy year that’s included THE TREE OF LIFE, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE,  the finale of HARRY POTTER and the ironic opening and closing titles of CARNAGE, French-gone-gloriously Hollywood composer Alexandre Desplat found time to expose our nation’s king-making machine during the month of THE IDES OF MARCH. Far more serious in tone than his previous, ironically offbeat political takedown for GHOST WRITER, Desplat lets his Americana flag fly here, and at low, concerned mast. A Copeland-esque orchestra reveals George Clooney’s potential president as yet another moralist full of hot air, with a trumpet […]Read On »

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CD Review: The Best Scores of 2011

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS- PART TWO soundtrack | ©2011 Water Tower Music

THE BEST SCORES OF 2011 THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (Thomas Newman / Relativity) There’s always been something ethereal, if not downright unearthly about the dreamy, often rhythmic sound that’s allowed Thomas Newman to become the first alt. rocker to make it big as a film composer. It’s a sound that’s particularly well-suited to the spiritual, conveying a universe behind the walls of reality in such scores as THE RAPTURE, OSCAR AND LUCINDA and PHENOMENON. Now Newman’s on the side of the angels with hats for this moving, faith-based Phillip K. Dick adaptation. His mesmerizing mix employs strings and acoustic guitar, suspenseful […]Read On »

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Composer Interview: Conrad Pope spends time with MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN soundtrack | ©2011 Sony Classical

It takes many skilled hands to keep Hollywood running as the stars take their bows- an army that includes personal assistants, makeup artists and publicists, all of whom are sure to step out of the way of the glaring flashbulbs. Then there’s the even less sexy caste of the studio machine called “below the line,” the mostly unrecognized visual effects artists, writers, production designers, editors, costumers and other skilled craftspeople who allow the stars to shine- their own jobs eased on the steam of even more obscure laborers chained to computers and sewing machines. Yet these toiling men and women […]Read On »

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CD Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 soundtrack

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 soundtrack | ©2011 Warner Bros.

Alexandre Desplat is back in the HARRY house to weave his musical spell with HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2. But if things seemed more than a bit wispy and time-biding after the last two POTTERS, nothing will prepare you for this literally smashing wrap up, especially with a spectacular musical finish that brings John Williams’ spirit back to the Halls of Hogwarts like never before. Having impressed with the epic franchise fantasy scores for THE GOLDEN COMPASS and THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON, Desplat thankfully raises the scoring stakes with his second POTTER big time, his brew […]Read On »

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Profile: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS composer ALEXANDRE DESPLAT conjures up musical magic

© 2010 Warner Bros. Records | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Soundtrack

Since a grand musical wizard named John Williams established the sound of Harry Potter nine years ago with THE SORCERER’S STONE, new composing students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have capably added on to its ever-evolving foundations. These acolytes have ranged from William Ross to Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper, each bringing their distinctive touch of fantastical wonder and darkness during their sojourns. The near decade of six POTTER films so far have certainly gotten bleaker for our young heroes with the rise of their nemesis Lord Voldemort, who makes the triumvirate of Harry, Ron and Hermione grow […]Read On »

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