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IFMCA announces its 2009 winners for scoring excellence

MICHAEL GIACCHINO’S UP WINS BEST SCORE OF 2009

Michael Giacchino wins the 2009 Score of the Year award from the International Film Music Critics Association for his inventive and nostalgic score for the Disney Pixar film, UP, which also wins Best Original Score for an Animated Feature. Giacchino receives a total of four awards, including Composer of the Year, in part for also writing the Best Original Score to a Fantasy/Science Fiction Feature winner for the JJ Abrams STAR TREK reboot.

Giacchino won the Association’s first Score of the Year award in 2004 for another Pixar film, THE INCREDIBLES.

Christopher Young wins two awards for DRAG ME TO HELL: Original Score for a Horror/Thriller Film and Film Music Compostion of the Year for “Concerto to Hell.” Also receiving two awards is James Peterson for Breakout Composer of the Year and Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure Feature for the mixed martial arts prison movie THE RED CANVAS.

Veteran composer Marvin Hamlisch wins Best Original Score for a Comedy Film for Steven Soderbergh’s THE INFORMANT!, while Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski wins Best Original Score for a Drama Film for director Tom Ford’s debut film, A SINGLE MAN. Rounding out the feature film winners is Armand Amar’s Best Original Score for a Documentary Feature for the French nature documentary HOME.

In other original scoring categories, Bear McCreary who has been nominated for every season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA wins his first award for Best Original Score for Television for the final season of the SyFy series; and James Hannigan receives the Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media award for the movie spin-off game for HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE.

Intrada takes its fourth Record Label of the Year award for its continued excellence in soundtrack release, including the long-anticipated, complete release of Alan Silvestri’s 1985 score for BACK TO THE FUTURE this year’s Best New Release/Re-Release of an Existing Score winner. The Film Score Monthly label takes the Best Film Music Compilation Album or Box Set award for DAVID RAKSIN AT M-G-M and Tadlow label wins the Best Re-Recording of an Existing Score award for its new recording of Ernest Gold’s EXODUS.

2009 FILM AWARD WINNERS

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

• UP, music by Michael Giacchino

FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

• MICHAEL GIACCHINO

BREAKOUT COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

• JAMES PETERSON

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

• A SINGLE MAN, music by Abel Korzeniowski

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

• THE INFORMANT!, music by Marvin Hamlisch

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE FILM

• THE RED CANVAS, music by James Peterson

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION FILM

• STAR TREK, music by Michael Giacchino

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A HORROR/THRILLER FILM

• DRAG ME TO HELL, music by Christopher Young

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

• UP, music by Michael Giacchino

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

• HOME, music by Armand Amar

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

• DRAG ME TO HELL – “Concerto to Hell,” music by Christopher Young

OTHER 2009 AWARDS

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR TELEVISION

• BATTLESTAR GALACTICA [SEASON 4.5], music by Bear McCreary

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

• HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, music by James Hannigan

BEST NEW RELEASE/RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE

• BACK TO THE FUTURE, music by Alan Silvestri; Douglass Fake, producer (Intrada)

BEST RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

• EXODUS, music by Ernest Gold, conductor Nic Raine; James Fitzpatrick, producer (Tadlow)

BEST FILM MUSIC COMPILATION ALBUM OR BOX SET

• DAVID RAKSIN AT M-G-M, music by David Raksin; Lukas Kendall, producer (Film Score Monthly)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

• INTRADA

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing about original film and television music.

The IFMCA was originally formed in the late 1990s as the now-defunct “Film Music Critics Jury” by editor and journalist Mikael Carlsson, a regular contributor to filmmusicradio.com and filmmusicmag.com, and the owner of the Swedish independent film music label MovieScore Media.

Since its inception, the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 50 members from countries as diverse as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to Alexandre Desplat’s THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s ATONEMENT in 2007, James Newton Howard’s LADY IN THE WATER in 2006, John Williams’ MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s THE INCREDIBLES in 2004.

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association, its members and the list of past awards, please visit http://www.filmmusiccritics.org or contact press@filmmusiccritics.org.

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Time After Time/Rozsa

February 14, 2009

time_after_time_fsm12031

Nicholas Meyer, director and screenwriter of Time After Time, first got my attention with his novel The Seven-Per-Scent Solution, a tale about Sherlock Holmes and Freud. It was an excellent page-turner and gave this reviewer many hours of entertainment. Not exactly remembering the circumstances it could have been one of those reads where I ended up going to sleep in the early hours of the morning and having a hard day staying awake at work that day. It was that good! When I saw the preview and the credits for Time After Time, knowing that Meyer was involved, I was intrigued enough to go to the theater and see it. While I found the film to be entertaining it wasn’t anymore than that, a pleasant diversion for two hours. I’ve heard the phrase ‘holy grail’ mentioned with this film and in my opinion this is certainly not the case. Starring Malcom Macdowell, Mary Steenburgen, and David Warner it tells the story of H.G. Wells and his time machine going forward to modern day San Francisco with Jack the Ripper along for the ride. It tried to make a tale palatable to the generation of Star Wars fans. Perhaps it did. The film in my opinion would have been far more interesting if it had stuck to the basic concept of a science fiction thriller instead of injecting far too much romance and comedy trying to make it appealing to all who saw the film.The musical score from Miklos Rozsa was truly a step back in time, perhaps the reason why he was chosen for this particular assignment. His style was perfectly suited to the film and the themes he created for the picture are some of his best, especially the “The Time Machine Waltz.” Thankfully it turned out that the use of the “Spellbound Theme” (the original idea was to use the theme) was tied up in a rights issue and couldn’t be used. This CD offers a solo piano version (not in the film except for a few seconds) in addition to the piano and string version as played in the film and rerecorded on the LP as well as this CD and is the highlight. “Warner Bros. Logo/Prelude” is also a trip back in time with the playing of the classic Steiner fanfare, which leads us into the main theme a 5-note motif repeated throughout the film. “Jack,” which includes a tune Rozsa found in the Chants d’Auvergne, is a wonderful musical box theme used as a motif to indicate that Ripper is about. “The Vaporising Equaliser” (intentionally spelled wrong) is a very brief track, quite eerie sounding, and has a modern sound that really doesn’t sound like Rozsa at all. While there are tracks which have the film noir/40’s sound of Rozsa none are as prevalent as “The Ripper/Pursuit” cue which will bring back memories of The Killers, Naked City, and The Lost Weekend, that yearning from the string section and staccato beat from the entire orchestra. “Redwoods,” featuring first an oboe, then lush strings followed by cello and the concertmaster on violin is a highly romantic love theme one of his finer efforts.

This is a score that has always found the soft spot in my heart from the very first time I heard it in the theater so my opinion is far from objective. I welcome the additional material especially the solo piano cue of “The Time Machine Waltz” as well as the other 10+ minutes of material on the CD. Keep in mind I was first in line to get my copy of the original LP on the Entr’Acte label which was a completely new recording done in London to save money as the reuse fees were actually more expensive than going overseas and recording! This in addition to the fact that it wasn’t uncommon to rerecord on the lp to make it more pleasant listening experience as the record labels were looking at a different market in addition to the soundtrack collector. In addition to excellent history about the making of the film, the music, and track-by-track analysis from Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald there is a retrospective from Nicholas Meyer, which was an extremely good, read. This is truly one of my favorite scores from any composer.

Maintitles Rating: *****
FSM #Vol. 12 #3
Track listing

1. Warner Bros. Logo*/Prelude (01:19)
* by Max Steiner
2. Jack!/L’Aio de Rotso (01:16)

3. Farewell (00:53)

4. The Vaporising Equaliser (00:27)

5. Search for the Ripper (01:26)

6. The Time Machine (01:32)

7. Decision (00:46)

8. Taking Off/Time Travel (02:47)

9. Man Before His Time (01:53)

10. First Bank Montage/Second Bank Montage (01:02)

11. Utopia/Car Ride (01:57)

12. Cartoon/War (00:21)

13. The Ripper/Pursuit (03:12)

14. The Time Machine Waltz (04:31)

15. The Redwoods (02:06)

16. Palace of Fine Arts/The Dinner/Search for a Victim (02:28)

17. A New Victim/Frightened (01:52)

18. The Telephone Book/The Envelope (00:43)

19. Decision for Murder/Murder (01:58)

20. The Prism Pin/The Fifth Victim (02:02)

21. The Last Victim/Aftermath (02:27)

22. Valium/H.G. Arrested (01:26)

23. 3:20 P.M./Nocturnal Visitor (02:08)

24. Despair (01:03)

25. Dangerous Drive (02:57)

26. The Journey’s End/Finale (03:39)

27. The Time Machine Waltz (04:59)

Total Duration: 00:53:10

Produced by Lukas Kendall and Craig Spaulding

Orchestrations by Christopher Palmer

Digital Mastering by Doug Schwartz

chsa5069Many can only think of The Planets, a hugely popular work when the name Holst is mentioned. One might get the impression that this was the only composition he ever did if you browse the CD section of a Borders or Barnes and Noble which offers a multitude of different orchestras performing this wonderful work. Holst actually has over 200 cataloged compositions including operas, ballets, wind and brass band suites, songs, fugues, as well as beautiful smaller orchestral works. He wrote many compositions for his students as he taught music at St. Paul’s Girls School as well as James Allen’s Girls’ School in London and Morley College. His general attitude of the press and people (he had a card that said “I do not hand out my autograph”) likely contributed to his lack of popularity. Couple this with his bad eyes, lungs, digestion, and a concussion from falling off the podium which kept him from conducting as much as he could have and one can see his lack of popularity save for The Planets included on nearly every top 100 classical list. While this release is titled Volume No. 1 the sudden and surprising death of conductor Richard Hickox could certainly put in jeopardy any further volumes.Ballet from The Perfect Fool, Op.39, a clumsy satire of the Wagner work “Parsifal” was performed in 1923 and toured until 1924. It has not been widely performed since, not because of this wonderful orchestral showpiece but the ballet itself. It has been reduced to this 11+ minute suite from its original length of 70+ minutes. The four parts are performed in one movement, which consist of Andante, Earth, Water, and Fire. Opening with a brass fanfare and percussion the ballet slides from the Andante to the Earth section without pause. It is a staccato section with brass including the tuba. The middle section or Water is a quiet tranquil part featuring a lovely English folk melody on the flute, depicting a peaceful place. The last section, Fire, is 180 degrees from the previous section and features orchestrations one might here in Holst works such as Beni Mora or The Planets.

The Golden Goose, Op. 45 No. 1 is a choral ballet, based on a Grimm tale expanded from the 1969 revision recorded by Imogen Holst (Lyrita SRCD 223). While the 1926 work has received little playing time this reviewer found it to be a pleasant listening experience. The choral singing of the Joyful Company Of Singers was top notch and the folk melodies like The Perfect Fool were most enjoyable.

The Lure came about as a result of a commission for a ballet from Chicago that was never performed. Written in 1921 and edited later by Imogen Holst and Colin Matthews the 10-minute work is yet another orchestral showpiece of material featuring Rimsky-Korsakov brass and a folk tune from W.G. Whittaker’s “North Countrie Ballads, Songs, and Pipetunes.” This reviewer enjoys the way both styles are incorporated into one suite.

The Morning of the Year, Op.45 No. 2 commissioned by the BBC music department was also edited by Holst and Matthews and is a choral ballet with the theme of nature mating in the spring. Because of the subject matter the music is a bit harsh with less melodic passages and development of the material. I must note that I never saw the ballet so I am just surmising that the dance certainly called for the type of written material that Holst provided.

Overall I found this CD to be a pleasant listening experience that is filled with wonderful melodies, choral work, and superb orchestration. Holst seems to be a combination of Vaughan Williams and Rimsky Korsakov. This is definitely worth exploring and adding to your Holst collection which is likely one in number.

CD# CHSA 5069
Produced by Brian Couzens
Engineered by Ralph Couzens

Track Listing:
‘The Perfect Fool’
1….Andante (1:00)
2….Dance of Spirits of Earth (3:48)
3….Dance of Spirits of Water (3:02)
4….Dance of Spirits of Fire (3:41)
‘The Golden Goose’
5….Sound of drum and trumpets play (3:50)
6….The Mummers Play (4:35)
7….The Human Organ (1:53)
8….Jack creeps up, unseen by court (3:07)
9….Dance of the Three Girls (3:24)
10. The Goose Dance (2:57)
11. Jack and Princess embrace (4:58)
‘The Lure’
12.Ballet music for orchestra (10:15)
The Morning of the Year
13.I am that which men did make (4:28)
14. Dance of Headman and Hobby-horse (3:00)
15.Dance of Youths (3:22)
16.Dance of Maidens (2:37)
17.Mating Dance (4:28)
18.Dance of the Youngest Couple (3:03)
Total Time is 67:42