Film Music Review
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Volume 10

Number 2

Spring 2008


Publisher and Editor:

Roger Hall

Contributing Writers:

Steven A. Kennedy

Steve Vertlieb


 

Main Titles

Latest News

Ratings and FMR Issues

The Sammy Awards

Essential Film Scores

Film Focus

Editor's Choice - Best of the Month

CD Reviews

DVD and Book Reviews

Best Film Music of 2007

If you have any comments or information to offer, write to:

Film Music Review

 


Latest News


Film Music Books

 

The new updated 3rd edition of A Guide to Film Music - Songs and Scores is available from PineTree Press.

It covers the years from 1926 to 2006.

For a limited time, if you order this guide you will also receive a Free accompanying CD of music examples.

 

 

 

Read about this guide which includes a
Free CD-R of
film music examples at this link:

Film Composers and Soundtracks

 

 

See the list of other film music books at the

FMR Home Page

 


Aaron Copland on Film Music

"It’s quite expensive to add music to a film. It would be a shame if nobody paid attention to it (laughter). The producers would have thrown their money out the window." -- Aaron Copland

Read the interview by FMR Editor Roger Hall
with the distinguished composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
at this excellent site:

Runmovies/ Soundtrack

 

 

Something Wild

Read the review of Copland's last film score from 1961

SOMETHING WILD

 

Also available is "A Conversation with Aaron Copland" at

American Music Recordings Collection


Bernard Herrmann: The Early Years

 

"Film music must apply what an actor cannot say. The music must really convey what the word cannot do. If you're dealing with an emotional subject this is the complete purpose of a film score."
-- Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975)

 

He is one of the most admired film composers from the past.

Read the article about Bernard Herrmann
and his early film scores,
with a new addendum of CDs
at this excellent site:

Runmovies/ Soundtrack

 

Two of Herrmann's great 1960s scores have been reviewed on FMR:

FAHRENHEIT 451 (selected for a Sammy Award)

MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (Best of the Month December 2007)

 

See also these CD reviews of Herrmann scores:

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951)

THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO and FIVE FINGERS(1952)

BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF (1953)

THE EGYPTIAN (1954 - with Alfred Newman)

BERNARD HERRMANN AT FOX, Vol. 2:
 GARDEN OF EVIL (1954)
PRINCE OF PLAYERS (1955)
KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953)

CITIZEN KANE:
The Essential Bernard Herrmann Film Music Collection (2 CDs
)

 

 


 

Dimitri Tiomkin's "Golden Decade"

"In Hollywood vernacular, I could write commercial."
-- Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979)

 

Read Roger Hall's tribute to Hollywood's highest paid film composer of the 1950s, reprinted with a new addendum of recordings at

Runmovies/ Soundtrack

 

See "Dimitri Tiomkin's HIGH NOON" at

Film Composers and Soundtracks

 

Also read the DVD review of Dimitri Tionkin's monumental score for

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

 

 


Celebrating Past Films and Music

CINEMA RETRO

A colorful magazine that celebrates films of the 1960s and 1970s.

CR has a lively website with many wonderful photos.

To read the latest news about films and film composers,

go here

 


Centennial Birthday Tributes

""I have been uncompromising, peppery, intractable, monomaniacal, tactless, volatile, and oftentimes disagreeable...I suppose I'm larger than life." -- Bette Davis

She is one of the most admired Hollywood actresses from the past,
known for her distinctive acting, her demanding work ethic,
and those beautiful Bette Davis Eyes.

She was also fortunate to have some of the
best composers working in Hollywood for her films.

Read her biography and reviews of recommended soundtracks
from her classic films at

"They're Either Too Young or Too Old"

A Centennial Birthday Tribute to Bette Davis

 

“Well, I think one of the main things that you have to think about when acting in the movies is to try not to make the acting show.”
-- James Stewart

As with Bette Davis, James "Jimmy" Stewart was fortunate to have some of the best composers working in Hollywood for his films. And like Ms. Davis, he also sang occasionally in his films.

Read all about it at

"Easy to Love"

A Centennial Birthday Tribute to James Stewart

 


From FMR's Steve Vertlieb

See Steve's observant two-part series of essays:

"Screening Music: On the art and history of music composed for film"

"Screening Music, Part 2: The advent of the soundtrack album and a year in celebration of Miklós Rózsa"

 

Also read his review of the Naxos CD at this link:

Miklós Rózsa:.  Violin Concerto & Sinfonia Concertante

See his column, "Vertlieb's Views," at The Thunder Child web site on

Frenzied Genius: The Romantic Passion of Bernard Herrmann

            A Magical Tribute to Bernard Herrmann

Time After Time: The Life of Miklos Rozsa

 


The Cue Sheet

The latest issues of this quarterly journal of The Film Music Society, edited by Marilee Bradford, have memorial tributes for two highly respected composers:

Vol. 22, No. 4 (October 2007)

Article by Miklos Rozsa from 1946; a personal remembrance by his daughter Juliet Rozsa; a revealing conversation with Rudy Behlmer; a touching tribute by John Mauceri; and a loving poem by Rozsa's granddaughter, Arianna Battagliano. This is a wonderful tribute issue.

Vol. 23, No. 1/2 (January/April 2008)

"Leonard Rosen: An Appreciation" by Jon Burlingame; Reflections by thirteen of Rosenman's friends and colleagues; "Rosenman and the Fantastic" by Jeff Bond; "Serving Two Masters: Leonard Rosenman's Music for Films and Concert Hall" by Sabine M. Feisst; "An Interview with Leonard Rosenman" by David Schwartz; and "Leonard Rosenman Filmography."

Read Randall Larson's interview with Leonard Rosenman
on STAR TREK IV at

Runmovies/Soundtrack

For more information, see

The Film Music Society (News & Events)

 

 


In Memoriam

 

Alexander ("Sandy") Courage died on 15 May 2008. He was 88.

Best known for composing the famous theme to the STAR TREK TV series, Courage had a long and distinguished career as an arranger, and conductor for many Hollywood musicals and film scores.

His good friend and world famous film composer, John Williams, said this about Courage:

"He made a very big contribution to the musical life of Hollywodd from the end of the second World War to recent years. He was known to most musicians in the community as having been one of the architects of what we used to refer to as the MGM sound, which meant that most of the musical films from MGM had a particular style of orchestration."

See the excellent 4 part video tribute to Alexander "Sandy" Courage, narrated by John Williams at

YouTube

Read the Los Angeles Times obituary by Dennis McClellan at:

Alexander 'Sandy' Courage

See also the extensive entry by Jeff Bond at

TrekMovie

Also this LA Times blog:

Extended Play

 

Emmy-winning TV composer Earle H. Hagen has died at the age of 88.

He was one of the busiest TV composers during the 1950s and 1960s, winning an Emmy for the series I SPY.

Film music historian and author of TV Biggest Hits, Jon Burlingame, has said: "There is no question in my mind that Earle Hagen is one of the most important composers in the history of television, if not the most important."

See the LA Times obituary at:

Earle H. Hagen

 

Leonard Rosenman, the composer of about 48 film scores, has died of a heart attack on 4 March 2008.

He received back-to-back Oscars for adapting existing music, first for the classical music in BARRY LYNDON (1975), and second for adapting the folk songs of Woody Guthrie in BOUND FOR GLORY (1976).

Rosenman also was Oscar nominated for CROSS CREEK (1983) and STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986). He received a Golden Globe nomination for his score to the animated version of
LORD OF THE RINGS (1978).

Leonard Rosenman was 83.

For a more information about Rosenman's life, see Jon Burlingame's obituary in

VARIETY (4 March 2008)


 
 

National Carry A Tune for Film Music

The lists for this annual event include film music at these links:

National Carry A Tune Week 2008

National Carry A Tune Week 2007

National Carry A Tune Week 2006


Hall of Fame

There are now ten film composers from the past listed on the

Tunemaker Hall of Fame

 

 

 

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Film music


Ratings and FMR Issues


FMR rating system for CDs and DVDs:

**** = Superlative (Highest Recommendation)

***1/2 = Very Good

*** = Good

**1/2 = Fair

** = Barely Passable

* = Poor

The Special Merit CDs are chosen at any time during a month for outstanding overall production of a soundtrack or compilation.

The Editor's Choice - Best of the Month designation is for those CDs that are singled out for their excellence. They are chosen anytime within a given month and may not be chosen every month.

2008 (Volume 10)

Number 1 (Winter)

2007 (Volume 9)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (January - February)

Number 2 (March - April)

Number 3 (May - June)

Number 4 (July - August)

Number 5 (September - October)

Number 6 (November - December)

 

2006 (Volume 8)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (January - February)

Number 2 (March - April)

Number 3 (May - June)

Number 4 (July - August)

Number 5 (September - October)

Number 6 (November - December)

 

1999 - 2005

Volumes 1 - 7

 

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The Sammy Awards


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 20th Annual Sammy Awards (or Sammys)

for film music CDs have been announced!

 

Here are the categories:

  • Best New Film Score
  • Best New Film Song
  • Best New Song/Score Compilation
  • Best Overlooked New Score
  • Best Vintage Film Score
  • Best Vintage Compilation
  • Preservation Award: Best Restored Film Score
  • Preservation Award: Best Restored Compilation
  • Preservation Award: Best Album Producer
  • Lifetime Achievement for Past Film Composer or Songwriter 

 

To read the choices for 2007, go to the

20th Annual Sammy Awards

 

See also

19th Annual Sammy Awards

18th Annual Sammy Awards

The Sammy Awards (Complete List)

 

 

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Essential Film Scores


Which film scores are essential from the 1930s to 1990s?

See the list of

100 Essential Film Scores

 

 

 

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Film Focus


 

The series devoted to a composer and one major film score

 

No. 1: Hugo Friedhofer and
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

by Steve Vertlieb and Roger Hall

 

 

 

No. 2: Miklós Rózsa and
PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE

by Roger Hall

 

 

 

 

NEW!

No. 3: Max Steiner and
KING KONG

by Steve Vertlieb and Roger Hall

 

 

 

 

NEW!

No. 4: Elmer Bernstein and
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS


by Jeffrey Dane and Roger Hall

 

 

 

 

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Editor's Choice CDs 2008

 


 

Best of the Month for January

 

HIGH NOON -- music by Dimitri Tiomkin

 

Best of the Month for February

 

KINGS ROW and THE SEA WOLF --
music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold

 

 

Best of the Month for March

SOME CAME RUNNING -- music by Elmer Bernstein

 

 

No Best of the Month for April or May

 

Best of the Month for June

CROSS CREEK -- music by Leonard Rosenman

 

 

 


CD Reviews


Capsule Reviews

Though Film Music Review no longer provides complete reviews for new soundtracks, occasionally a few of the latest releases will be listed here when they are considered of special interest.

Here are several capsule reviews of recent releases:

 

THE 39 STEPS -- Music from and inspired by
the West End Show

From an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon. Adapted by Patrick Barlow.
Silva Screen Records CD 1248.
14 Tracks ( Playing Time = 57:40)

Rating: Good

An enjoyable compilation of themes from Hitchcock film soundtracks such as THE 39 STEPS, THE LADY VANISHES, DIAL M FOR MURDER, PSYCHO, VERTIGO and others, performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Paul Bateman. The performances are not top drawer but pleasant enough. There are also several tracks of delightful period dance music, like the snappy "Embassy Stomp," with The Queen's Hall Light Orchestra, conducted by Charles Williams.

 

An Unfinished Life -- Piano Sketches

Music by Christopher Young. CD Produced by Flavio Motalla and Christopher Young.
BSX Records CD BSXCD 8835
21 tracks (Playing Time = 41:03)
Solo Piano: Dave Guili.

Rating: Very Good

These are 21 of the 26 piano themes written for but never used in the film AN UNFINISHED LIFE. They are arranged into Books One, Two and and were recorded in the composer's home studio. All of them are short and simple and are of varying moods, from reflective to rapid and rhythmic. They make for relaxed listening as sensitively performed by film composer, Dave Guili. These piano sketches deserve to be performed as concert pieces. A fine collection of piano music.


Soundtrack and Compilation Reviews

 

 

THE BLOB -- music by Ralph Carmichael

 

 

The Film Music of Phillip Lambro

 

 

The Film Music of Phillip Lambro

 

 

 

Halloween III : Season Of The Witch - Complete Original Motion Picture Score (Limited Edition Soundtrack - 1000 copies)

 

 

Halloween III -- music by John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

 

 

 

 

 

THE INTRUDER and other music by Herman Stein

 

 

 

 

Special Merit

LAND OF THE PHARAOHS -- music by Dimitri Tiomkin

 

 

 

MYSTERIOUS ISLAND -- music by Bernard Herrmann

 

 

NEW!

SUDDEN IMPACT -- music by Lalo Shifrin

 

 

 

NEW!

A TIME TO DIE -- music by Ennio Morricone

 

 


DVD Reviews 2007 - 2008


 

 

 

 

NEW!

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
2 Disc Deluxe Edition --
music by Dimitri Tiomkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW
(Guest: Dimitri Tiomkin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS and
THE RIVER -- music by Virgil Thomson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Special Edition DVDs
with Isolated score tracks:

 

FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966)
music by Leonard Rosenman
commentary by Jeff Bond
Isolated score track with commentary by
Jeff Bond, Jon Burlingame,
Nick Redman

 

 

 

 

 

 

JANE EYRE (1944)
music by Bernard Herrmann
commentary by Julie Kirgo, Nick Redman,
Steven Smith
Isolated score & F/X track

 

 

 

 

 

VON RYAN'S EXPRESS (1965)
music by Jerry Goldsmith
Isolated score track with commentary by
Jon Burlingame, Len Dobbs, Nick Redman
Disc Two: The Music of VON RYAN'S EXPRESS
Featurette

 

 

 

 


Book Reviews


 

 

New!

The Soundtracks of Woody Allen:
A Complete Guide to the Songs and Music in Every Film, 1969-2005
by Adam Harvey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Film Music of the Year


The 10th Annual Best of the Year survey
has been announced for

Best Film Music CDs, DVDs and Books of 2007

 


 

For additional information, see these

Film Music Links

 


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