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Index for Reviews to Volume 10

(2008)

Total Reviews = 41


Editor's Choice

Best of the Month for January

 

LAND OF THE PHARAOHS -- 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

 

 

 

 

 

Best of the Month for September

EL CID (3 CD Box Set) -- music by Miklos Rozsa

 

 

 

Best of the Month for October

THE KENTUCKIAN and
WILLIAMSBURG: THE STORY OF A PATRIOT --
music by Bernard Herrmann

 

 

 

 

Best of the Month for November

HIGH NOON -- music by Dimitri Tiomkin

 

 

No Best of the Month for December

 


Capsule Reviews

 

THE ESSENTIAL HARRY POTTER FILM MUSIC COLLECTION
2 CDs
Disc One, 16 Tracks (Playing Time = 59:52)
Disc Two, 15 tracks (Playing Time = 53:27)

 

Music by John Williams, Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper.
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Fitzpatrick and Nic Raine. "Double Trouble" performed by The Mid Herts Youth, conducted by Peter Twitchin. Produced by James Fitzpatrick.

Silva Screen Records SILCD 1251

Rating: Very Good

This 2 disc set offers soundtracks from the first five Harry Potter films: the first three by John Williams are on Disc One; the fourth by Patrick Doyle and the fifth by Nicholas Hooper on Disc Two. As one might expect, the John Williams scores are the superior ones, with Patrick Doyle doing nicely for GOBLET OF FIRE, and Nicholas Hooper the weakest for THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. The playing by the busy City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is first class, under two different conductors. Special kudo to The Mid Herts Youth for their fine rendition of "Double Trouble" from THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. The succinct CD notes are by the late David Wishart, one of the most respected annotators of releases on Silva Screen and other labels. This is a very fine compilation of themes from the first five Harry Potter films, with excellent sound and a nice simple art design. Recommended.

-- Roger Hall, October 2008

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.
Produced by James Fitzpatrick and Rick Clark.
14 Tracks (Playing Time = 51:59)

 

 

Silva Screen CD 1262

Rating: 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.

-- Roger Hall, September 2008

 

 

MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF TIM BURTON

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Nic Raine and James Fitzpatrick.
Produced by James Fitzpatrick and Rick Clark.
15 Tracks (Playing Time = 60:33)

 

Silva Screen CD 1261

Rating: 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 Orchestra and Choir.

-- Roger Hall, September 2008

 

REEL CHILL Vol. 2

 

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Fitzpatrick, Nic Raine, Paul Bateman and Mario Klemens. Also unidentified orchestra conducted by Alex Heffes, and The London Ensemble, London Music Works.

2 CDs (Disc One = 66:07/ Disc Two = 56:14)

Silva Screen Records CD 1274

Rating: Very Good

I have not heard the first volume, with the silly title of: REEL CHILL:The Cinematic Chillout Album. It features many pieces by classical composers like Barber and Handel. I can't compare it with this new one, but I believe this is the better of the two because it has more music by film composers.There are many fine themes on this two disc set, including those from Oscar-winning film scores, like SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, ATONEMENT (Elegy for Dunkirk) -- also winner of a Sammy Award for Best New Film Score, and THE LAST EMPEROR. But there are also some overlooked gems here too. They include: the beautiful theme from JANE EYRE (John Williams), the Main Theme from John Barry's ENIGMA, and "The Final Letter" from DEAR FRANKIE by Alex Heffes, who also conducts the orchestra in his lovely theme, and the piano soloist (Christopher Ross) is also quite good. Other welcome themes are: Michael Kamen's Main Theme from the television series, BAND OF BROTHERS and Hans Zimmer's "The Village" from THE THIN RED LINE on Disc One; Jerry Goldsmith's memorable jazz Main Theme from CHINATOWN, Thomas Newman's spare theme from ROAD TO PERDITION, and "Dawn/ Georgiana" from Dario Marianelli's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. There are also a few mediocre tracks, like the meandering opening track on Disc One from Chris Mansell's THE FOUNTAIN, Mark Isham's pounding and ponderous theme from CRASH (London Musical Works listed, but the vocalist is not), and Nicola Piovani's unmemorable theme from the vastly overpraised LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL on Disc Two. The art design by Damien Doherty is very strange. Is it supposed to be drops of running water? If so, what's the point of it? Even with these mild criticisms, this is a very good listen, especially for those who don't have all these film scores. The City of Prague Philharmonic performs better than ever and the recorded sound is exceptional, as usual with Silva. More than half of the tracks were recorded in 2007 and 2008. An outstanding release. Recommended.

-- Roger Hall, November 2008

 

SEX AND THE CINEMA

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,
conducted by Paul Bateman, Nic Raine, and James Fitzpatrick. 16 Tracks (Playing Time = 61:49)

 

Silva Screen Records CD 1263

Rating: Barely Passable

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!

-- Roger Hall, September 2008

 

 



SOMETHING THE LORD MADE

Music Composed by Christopher Young.
14 Tracks (Playing Time = 40:57)

Produced by Flavio Motallo and Christopher Young. Orchestra conducted by Bruce Babcock. Orchestrations by Christopher Young, Bruce Babcock, Pete Anthony, Jim Honeyman, Gernot Wolfgang, Bill Liston, Frank Bennett.

BSX Records BSXCD 8837

Rating: Very Good

1. Something The Lord Made (1:55)
2. Dr. Vivien Thomas (4:04)
3. Class Three (2:46)
4. An Expression Of Faith (2:39)
5. Towards The Great End (3:20)
6. Me Oh My (1:37)
7. Only God Can Fix Hearts (3:00)
8. Vena Cava (3:26)
9. Turning Blue Into Pink (1:44)
10. An Innocent Heart (2:11)
11. Building A By pass (5:23)
12. The Angel (2:23)
13. What Exactly Is God's Plan? (4:59)
14. Thanks Be (2:56)

This HBO Film (produced in 2004) has a wonderful score by Christopher Young. From the opening title track with a solo piano stating the eloquent hymn-like main theme, this is a highly sensitive score of deeply emotional music. It also includes some tracks with smooth jazz touches on such tracks as: "Class Three" and "Me Oh My." But much of this soundtrack is of a more reflective nature and provides much to enjoy. In the CD flyer is a personal and poignant message from Christopher Young about the loss of his mother to cancer and how much this score was a reflection of her. Having just lost my sister to cancer, this score was a great comfort to me as well. The score is one of soothing themes and serene orchestral serenity. Another nice touch is the listing all the musicians on the CD flyer, which is a tribute to this fine orchestra and not often done on soundtrack CDs. There are three pianists listed so I can't tell which one performs the main theme. The orchestra under Bruce Babcock's skillful direction is top notch. This soundtrack is recommended for those who want something worth savoring like a fine wine. SOMETHING THE LORD MADE is also something that Christopher Young "made" it's a loving tribute to his late mother and also demonstrates his supreme talent and sensitivity. An important release for 2008 and highly recommended.

-- Roger Hall, October 2008

 

 

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

Music Composed by Kevin Kiner. Original themes by John Williams. CD Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Mark Evans. 32 Tracks (Playing Time = 67:39)

 

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

Sony Classical CD 88697-35616-2.

Rating: ** (Barely Passable)

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 fan boys 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.

-- Roger Hall, September 2008

 

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.

 


 

Full Reviews

 

THE AVENGERS: 50 Years of Music of Laurie Johnson

THE BIONIC WOMAN: THE RETURN OF BIGFOOT PART 2 -- music by Joe Harnell

BLAZING SADDLES -- music by John Morris

THE BLOB -- music by Ralph Carmichael

THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL -- music by Jerry Goldsmith


CINDERELLA LIBERTY -- music by John Williams

THE FILM MUSIC OF PHILIP LAMBRO

THE FOUR MUSKETEERS -- music by Lalo Schifrin

HALLOWEEN III -- music by John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

THE INTRUDER and other music by Herman Stein

THE MIKLOS ROZSA COLLECTION:
COLLECTION FOR GUITAR

MYSTERIOUS ISLAND -- music by Bernard Herrmann

THE NIGHT DIGGER -- music by Bernard Herrmann

100 GREATEST TV THEMES, Volume 2

ONE MAN JURY -- music by Morton Stevens

THE THEREMIN: PROFESSOR THEREMIN'S AMAZING
ETHER WAVE MARVEL


THE PROFESSIONALS: 50 Years of Music of Laurie Johnson

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

 

THE FORD AT FOX COLLECTION:
THE ESSENTIAL JOHN FORD


DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
FRONTIER MARSHAL
BECOMING JOHN FORD

Capsule review: This set is a bit disappointing, especially the awkwardly filmed and edited documentary. Commentary by Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman on DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK is very good. Film transfers are clean and sharp, but with great scores by David Buttolph and Alfred Newman, these classic films deserve to have isolated music tracks. Rating: ***1/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rating: ****

 

 

 

 

 

THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW
(Guests: Dimitri Tiomkin & Dr. Samuel Hoffmann)

Rating: ***1/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rating: ***1/2

 

 

 

 

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

Rating:
****

 

 

 

 

 

 

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]

Rating: ****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rating: ***1/2

 

 

 

 

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

Rating: ***1/2

 

 


Book Review

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Sammy Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read all the previous Sammy Awards, click on these links:

20th Annual Sammy Awards For 2007

19th Annual Sammy Awards For 2006

18th Annual Sammy Awards For 2005

The Sammy Awards (Complete List)

 


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