Film Music Review
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Volume 10

Number 3

Summer 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

For comments or questions, write to:

Film Music Review

 


Latest News


10th Anniversary Special

for

FILM MUSIC REVIEW
(1998 - 2008)

Which film soundtracks did our writers choose as their favorites?

Read their lists at the

10th Anniversary Special

 


Film Music Books

 

The updated 3rd edition of
A Guide to Film Music
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-R
with film music examples.

 

 

 

 

 

Read about this guide at this link:

Film Composers and Soundtracks

 

 

See the list of other film music books at the

FMR Home Page


Carry A Tune with Film Music

What are your favorite film themes or songs from the past?

You can participate in an annual web survey and maybe win a Free CD.

For more information, click on this link:

National Carry A Tune Week 2008

Read the film composers from the past who were chosen for the

Tunemaker Hall of Fame

 


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


 

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"

His review of the Naxos CD is at this link:

Miklós Rózsa:.  Violin Concerto & Sinfonia Concertante

His column, "Vertlieb's Views," has these artciles at The Thunder Child:

Frenzied Genius: The Romantic Passion of Bernard Herrmann

           Time After Time: The Life of Miklos Rozsa

Read Steve's extensive article originally published in Midnight Marquee Magazine, now reprinted at the Bernard Herrmann Society web site:

    Herrmann and Hitchcock: The Torn Curtain


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

 


 

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."

For more information, see

The Film Music Society (News & Events)

 

 

 

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Ratings and FMR Issues


FMR rating system for CDs and DVDs:

**** = Superlative (Highest Recommendation)

***1/2 = Very Good

*** = Good

**1/2 = Okay

** = 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)

Number 2 (Spring)

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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Search here for...

Film music


 

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


Read the list from the 1930s to 1990s at

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

 

 

 

 

No. 2: Miklós Rózsa and
PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 3: Max Steiner and
KING KONG

 

 

 

 

 

New!

No. 4: Elmer Bernstein and
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Editor's Choice 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

 

 

 

Best of the Month for July

SHE -- music by Max Steiner

 

 

 

 

 

Best of the Month for August

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST -- music by John Williams

 

 

 


CD Reviews


Capsule Reviews

Though Film Music Review no longer provides complete reviews for
new soundtracks and compilations,
occasionally some of the latest ones will be listed here :

Here are several capsule reviews of recent releases:

 

THE FILM MUSIC OF THOMAS NEWMAN

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, conducted by James Fitzpatrick, Ken Alwyn, and Nic Raine. Also London Music Works.

 

 

Silva Screen CD 1262. 14 Tracks (Playing Time = 51:59)

Rating: ***1/2 (Very Good)

This compilation contains themes and excerpts from twelve films with music by Thomas Newman:

THE GOOD GERMAN (2006) -- 2 tracks = 5:49
ROAD TO PERDITION (2002) -- Main theme, 3:52
AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) -- 2 tracks = 6:08
THE HORSE WHISPERER (1998) -- End title, 3:37
THE GREEN MILE (1999) -- Main theme, 4:00
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (2004) --
The Letter That Never Came, 4:00
LITTLE WOMAN (1994) -- Main theme, 4:10
CINDERELLA MAN (2005) -- Main theme, 5:31
FINDING NEMO (2003) -- Finding Nemo/ Nemo Egg, 2:34
MEET JOE BLACK (1998) -- Whisper of a Thrill, 6:16
SIX FEET UNDER (2001) -- Theme, 2:11
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994) -- End titles, 3:51

Thomas Newman is one of the most respected and trusted Hollywood composers working today. This compilation gives an ample sampling why this is true. Starting off with two tracks from the somewhat overblown score for THE GOOD GERMAN, the rest of the tracks have more interesting sounds to offer. That includes such tracks as the melancholy theme for ROAD TO PERDITION and the moving one from LEMONY SNICKET. There are several tracks (AMERICAN BEAUTY and SIX FEET UNDER) featuring a very good group known as London Music Works. The CD notes by Michael Beek has two pages about Newman and the remaining pages describing each of the films represented. Arrangements are by Matt Hohensee (5 tracks), Dan Head (2 tracks), Dominic Nunns (2 tracks), Evan Jolly (1 track), Rick Clark (1 track), Adam Klemens (1 track), Adam Saunders (1 track), and one track (LITTLE WOMAN) by Thomas Newman. This is a very good CD compilation of Thomas Newman's better known film scores between 1994 and 2006, well performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, under three different conductors. Recommended.

 

 

MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF TIM BURTON

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Nic Raine and James Fitzpatrick.

 

Silva Screen CD 1261. 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 60:33)

Rating: ***1/2 (Very Good)

This compilation contains themes and excerpts from eleven films directed by Tim Burton:


SWEENEY TODD (2007) - 4 tracks = 9:38
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) - Christmas Eve = 4:28
THE CORPSE BRIDE (2005) - The Piano Duet/ Victor's Piano Solo = 3:05
SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) - End Credits = 3:11
BATMAN (1989) - 12:55
BATMAN RETURNS ( 1992) - End Credits = 4:49
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990) - Main Title/Ice Dance = 5:04
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005) - Finale = 3:36
BEETLEJUICE (1987) - Main Title = 2:04
PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (1985) - Breakfast Machine = 2:18
ED WOOD (1994) - Main Title = 15:10
MARS ATTACKS (1996) - Introduction & Main Titles = 4:03

This is a an ample sampling of the quirky films of Tim Burton, who I've never quite liked very much except for EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and ED WOOD. Burton receives most of his musical assistance from his alter ego, Danny Elfman. There is one score by Stephen Sondheim (SWEENEY TODD) and one by Howard Shore (ED WOOD). The performances here are all quite good but the ugly CD booklet detracts from its appeal, yet the notes by Michael Beek are succinct and helpful. Impressive performances by the City of Prague Philharmonic and Choir.

SEX AND THE CINEMA

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,
conducted by Paul Bateman, Nic Raine, and James Fitzpatrick.

 

Silva Screen Records CD 1263. 16 Tracks (Playing Time = 61:49)

Rating: **1/2 (Okay)

If the above Tim Burton compilation can be considered as appealing mostly to the male listener, then this SEX AND THE CINEMA compilation should appeal mostly to the female audience. Each of the sixteen tracks are devoted to a different film:

THE PIANO (1993) - 3:45
EMMANUELLE (1974) - 2:51
BILITIS (1977) - 3:45
EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) - 3:52
BODY HEAT (1981) - 4:33
LOLITA (1962) - 4:34
AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) - 2:54
THE HUNGER (1983) - 3:50
BETTY BLUE (1986) - 5:37
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (1993) - 4:32
BASIC INSTINCT (1992) - 3:01
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) - 5:10
LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972) - 3:34
FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) - 5:01
INDECENT PROPOSAL (1993) - 4:42
SEX AND THE CITY (1998-2004) - 0:41

There are some very good themes, like John Barry's BODY HEAT and Jerry Goldsmith's BASIC INSTINCT, and some pretty bad ones too, such as: Pierre Bachelt's EMMANUELLE (sung in a sexy whisper by Keith Ferreira) and Francis Lai's BILITIS. There are also a few themes by classical composers: Dimitri Shostakovich's delightful Waltz No. 2 from his Jazz Suite No. 2 used in EYES WIDE SHUT, and the popular Leo Delibes "Lakme (The Flower Duet) in THE HUNGER. There are also a few welcome surprises, like the Robert Harris "Love Theme" from LOLITA and Lee Tzung Sheng's "Begone Love" from FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE. The SEX AND THE CITY TV theme is wasted as a final track. The uncredited CD notes are very skimpy and too general. And that putrid pink cover art doesn't look sexy to me. It reminds me of Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach!

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

Music Composed by Kevin Kiner. Original themes by John Williams. CD Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Mark Evans.

 

Music performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kevin Kiner and Nic Raine.

Sony Classical 88697-35616-2. 32 Tracks (Playing Time = 67:39)

Rating: **1/2 (Okay)

If the Tim Burton compilation can be considered as appealing mainly to men and the SEX AND THE CINEMA to women, then this animated STAR WARS film probably will appeal mostly to young listeners who are not very critical. There is really not much originality here. The memorable STAR WARS Main Title by John Williams is hardly played at all -- the first track lasts only a little over a minute. In fact most of the tracks are rather short lasting about three minutes or less. There are lots of heavy brass and drums which have become a cliche in action films these days. Much of this score features a lot of orchestral huffing and puffing and an uneven mix of styles, a little electronics here and a Big Band sound there. Nothing is brought together into a cohesive whole. But the CD sound quality is very good. Of course there is a large wall poster included on the CD insert flyer, instead of anything about the film or the score. But Kiner's score is such a weak echo of the milestone score John Williams had created for the STAR WARS films, there isn't much to discuss. It looks like a lot of money was spent on the production of this soundtrack CD. Too bad it doesn't have enough exceptional music to warrant such expense.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

 

Soundtracks and Compilations

 

 

Vol. 1-50 Years of the Music of Laurie Johnson

 

New!

THE AVENGERS: 50 Years of Music of Laurie Johnson

 

 

 

New!

Blazing Saddles -- music by John Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BLOB -- music by Ralph Carmichael

 

 

 

 

Cinderella Liberty

 

New!

CINDERELLA LIBERTY -- music by John Williams

 

 

 

 

 

The Film Music of Phillip Lambro

 

 

The Film Music of Phillip Lambro

 

 

 

 

New!

THE FOUR MUSKETEERS --
music by Lalo Schifrin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

100 GREATEST TV THEMES, Volume 2

 

 

 

 

 

Vol. 2-50 Years of the Music of Laurie Johnson

 

New!

THE PROFESSIONALS: 50 Years of Music of Laurie Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

New!

THE SIX STAR WARS FILMS: New Recordings of the Classic Scores -- music by John Williams

 

 

 

SUDDEN IMPACT -- music by Lalo Shifrin

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

New!

GARDEN OF EVIL (1954)
music by Bernard Herrmann
Isolated score track and commentary by
John Morgan, Nick Redman, Steven Smith, William Stromberg
[Included in FOX WESTERN CLASSICS box set]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


 

 

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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