April 29, 2010
Sergey Taneyev known as the “Russian Brahms,” wrote 4 symphonies but only his last was given an opus number and performed during his lifetime, conducted by Alexander Glazunov in 1898 in its premiere performance. Taneyev, who contracted pneumonia attending the cold wet funeral of Scrabin and died 2 months later, spent 20 years writing a book on counterpoint, a style he worked hard on. This was a work of a mature composer, master of counterpoint, well developed, yet relatively unknown and seldom performed. The first movement is a good example of counterpoint with each melody being answered and contrary to the objections of Taneyev a very Brahms sounding work. If any of these melodies are Russian based I certainly cannot hear anything. It also introduces the tritone melody which the listener will hear over and over throughout this 40 minute work. Both the heartfelt Andante and the bright Scherzo are well orchestrated with the 4th movement being a rousing finale of the first order. This C minor symphony will grow on you with repeated listens. It is certainly a work that belongs in your collection.
While Tchaikovsky had a lot of praise for his second symphony, Taneyev wrote the material during the 1877-78 time frame but never finished the work considering it a student exercise, thus no opus number. 100 years later after Blok had reworked the material it was given its premiere in 1977 minus a scherzo as it had never been written. Even though I remembered very little of the work I found it to be quite pleasant to listen to. A bit more of the Russian influence, a little on the heavy side, but very well structured and orchestrated. I felt that it was much more than a student work and I’m glad Blok completed it.
This recording with Sanderling and the Novosibirsk Academic Symphony Orchestra falls a little short of the available 1992 Chandos recording with Jarvi and The New Philharmonia. However, the Second Symphony is a much nicer second selection than the Oresteia Overture and with the value of Naxos recordings this is one that is hard to pass on.
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major
1… Introduction and Allegro(15:28)
Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 12
4…Allegro Molto (12:49)
6…Scherzo: Vivace (6:06)
7…Finale: Allegro energico-molto maestoso (10:20)
Total Time is 78:22
Thomas Sanderling conducts the Novosibirsk Academic Symphony Orchestra
Naxos CD# is 8.572067
April 22, 2010
Academy Award Winner for best foreign language film in 2009, The Secret In Their Eyes, (Argentina) is opening to selected US theaters on 4/16/10. This wildly popular (already in the top 250 of IMDB) Jean Jose Campanella film tells the story of a retired court clerk who decides to write a story about a 25 year old case that he had direct experience with. As the writing and research begin to take shape he begins to find out more and more resulting in a lot more than he originally bargained for.
Composers Kauderer and Jusid offer a subdued and tragic soundtrack, filled with delicate piano, sorrowful violin playing, and strings that unfold the tale in “Adagio for Strings” style. Performed by the Bulgarian Symphony, the score has been awarded as best in Argentina, Spain, Clarin, Havana and others. While there is percussion in key parts, there is no brass and it is primarily for piano and strings. This is definitely to be put in the category of chamber music on the elegiac side. “Her Eyes,” (link of track below) the opening track, sets the mood with cello, piano, and a complement of strings in a repeated theme. “Passion” begins with the loudest passage offering a frantic sound bite of 20 seconds that could go along with a commercial of someone running in an airport. It quickly shifts gears to a more subdued theme offered by the entire orchestra. “Sandoval’s Choice” is a pondering, slow moving underscore with a wordless chorus of a religious nature. “Liliana’s Music Box” is a pretty little tune done with the tinkle percussion sound but is a different melody from “Liliana’s Theme” offered on the cello and also in “The Train” as a poignant elegiac melody. Marston Smith on cello and Jusid and Kauderer on piano provide nicely played offerings, well recorded.
Overall this score is one to listen to when you want some music for the quiet times, relaxing, or easy to listen to background music while you’re working on something else. It is overall pleasant, passionate in sections, religious sometimes, but never over the top. Recommend. Available as a digital release on 4/13/10 and CD release on 5/25/10.
1. Her Eyes (1:47)
2. The Doubt (3:01)
3. Suspicious Photo (2:42)
4. Passion (1:13)
5. Sandoval´s Choice (1:56)
6. Crime Scene (2:03)
7. The Train Leaves (2:37)
8. Seeking Morales (1:05)
9. In the Cage (3:24)
10. He´s Back 1:30)
11. Finding Sandoval (1:25)
12. Main Theme (1:16)
13. The Elevator (1:46)
14. The Letters (1:46)
15. Liliana’s Theme (0:44)
16. The Bad News (0:57)
17. The Detainees (0:47)
18. Liliana´s Music Box (1:06)
19. Farewell (1:41)
20. Gomez (1:34)
21. The Call (2:22)
22. Unwrapping the Truth (1:09)
23. The Doubt – Reprise (8:56)
April 16, 2010
Available as disc on demand 04/20/10
Or digital download
Continuing their tradition of offering a sampling of material from the previous year, Silva is releasing the Best of 2009 on April 20th of this year featuring some new exciting work from The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nic Raine and James Fitzpatrick. This is an ideal way for you to sample the score and decide if you want to explore the entire work or just be content with this 50+ minute compilation of 11 films from 200? Yes I know that some of them are really not from 2009 but I really see no need to talk about it in this review. One of the points of the review is to tell you how much the orchestra has improved over the years and a new recording from Prague/Fitzpatrick is something to look forward to as opposed to cringing and mumbling under your breath oh no not another one I’d like to have but the orchestra and recording are less than.
Listen for the wonderful balance between orchestra, percussion, and choir in the opening cue of “War” from Avatar by James Horner. All are prominent yet nothing overpowers anything else. This is an excellent example of how conducting, performance, and recording can all come together for excellence. “End Credits” from Revolutionary Road by Thomas Newman certainly produce his sound with piano, quirky percussion, and the blending of the strings. While I was disappointed in the film the soundtrack was a lot better and the Prague performance sounded just fine. The simple elegant Desplat is heard in “Postcards” from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a 6 note melody that immediately got my attention when it first came to the theater. This performance did nothing but enhance the material I enjoyed so much. The other Desplat offering is from Twilight and is a classical piano solo offering from the popular movie. The elegiac violin is certainly prevalent in “Exodus” from Defiance by James Newton Howard. The sorrow and sadness can be felt. The heavy, stoic, and Wagnerian like “They’ll Remember You” from Valkerie, telling the tragic failure of the Hitler assassination attempt in operatic fashion is a nice choral piece well recorded, performed, and sung. The weak link is the latest Star Trek offering which I found to be quite uninspiring in its performance. It just didn’t have the vibrancy I was anticipating.
Compilation albums if performed and arranged well can be a positive addition to your collection as well as allowing you to sample a highlight from a soundtrack. If you like what you hear it’s easy enough to purchase the whole score. However, many times the theme material is more than adequate for your collection if the performance/arrangement are good. With the exception of the Star Trek material this 50+ minute offering is a nice way to enjoy the music from the past year or two.
1. Avatar – War (07:38)
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Prime / I Rise, You fall (04:59)
3. Let the Right One In – Eli’s Theme (02:41)
4. Drag Me to Hell – End Credits (Original Version) (07:13)
5. Valkyrie – They’ll Remember You (04:06)
6. Revolutionary Road – End Credits (04:53)
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Postcards / Daisy’s Ballet Career (04:48)
8. Defiance – The Exodus (04:50)
9. Slum dog Millionaire – Latika’s Theme (03:16)
10. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – The Meadow (04:09)
11. Star Trek – Hella Bar Talk / Enterprising Young Men (04:26)
Total Duration: 00:52:59
April 13, 2010
Starring Henry Fonda, Vincent Price, Ann Dvorak, and Barbara Bel Geddes the 1947 RKO release came and left the theaters with barely a ripple. Director Anatole Litvak remade the 1939 French film Le Jour Se Leve, added the Hollywood romantic layer, changed the character of the magician Maximilian, played by Vincent Price, and generally put their stamp on it. However, as pointed out by Ray Faiola in the liner notes, this was one of the first of many films that dealt with the post traumatic syndrome following WWII and really a noir film that needs exploring. Litvak went on to do Sorry Wrong Number, The Snake Pit, and Decision Before Dawn, Fonda Mister Roberts and On Golden Pond, and Dimitri Tiomkin High Noon, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Alamo.
While many are of the opinion that the soundtrack for The Long Night is nothing more than an orchestrating of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, they likely haven’t spent time listening to it like this reviewer has. The theme from the second movement of his symphony is used in many scenes but it isn’t the predominant melody of the score. It was used by Tiomkin as the background theme during the standoff scenes between Joe Adams, Henry Fonda, and the police. The love theme for JoAnn, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Joe is a strong one filled with heartfelt emotion as well as tragedy, one of the patented themes he seemed to pull out of his hat time and time again. “The Main Title” introduces the The Long Night theme JoAnn’s, a classical piano version, as well as the somber tragic movement of Beethoven’s 7th, the second movement, and ends with the love theme. The love theme tells the tragedy of what is going to unfold on the screen. Tiomkin took advantage of thematic material from Strauss (Waltz) Tchaikovsky (Romeo and Juliet), Mendelssohn (Violin Concerto), and Von Suppe (Poet and Peasant) in the score as well as some of the popular dance music of the day. Since the magic and dance scenes take place in the nightclub The Jungle, there was ample opportunity for swing, magic, and blues material, making this an extremely versatile score in the types of music offered. In addition there are some cues which are offered that were deleted from the final print. Unlike some scores that seem to set a definite mood this seemed to offer a nice selection of everything except for vocal material. I like the way Tiomkin made use of the Beethoven, using restraint and keeping dignity in the material as well as restrained orchestrating. His original themes are both keepers for the mp3 player.
The real shining star of this release is Ray Faiola and the Chelsea Studio! I’ve heard 78 acetate transfers before and they fall into 3 categories. The engineer keeps as much fidelity as he can resulting in surface noise that is quite annoying. The engineer eliminates all of the surface noise resulting in a dull lifeless recording. The engineer at Chelsea studios has figured out with some sort of voodoo magic to make it sound like it has life and is fairly quiet. I didn’t say digital quality, but it is quite listenable. Normally in my reviews I always try to let my words tell the story but in the case of this review I’m offering a before and after sound clip to let you experience firsthand the tremendous effort that goes into the mastering of this material. The links are provided below. Perhaps one can understand why Tiomkin thanked Beethoven and other classical composers when he received his Oscar for The High and the Mighty. You might even run out and purchase a copy of Beethoven’s 7th after purchasing this somewhat unknown soundtrack. Limited to 1000 copies so don’t delay. Recommended.
Produced and remastered by Chelsea Rialto Studios Produced by Screen Archives Entertainment
Total Duration: 01:09:41
April 9, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CA – 31 years ago, enthusiasm for films and adamant passion for the music that accompanies them brought to life a record label that would establish itself as a leading figure and key reference in the film music world. Fast-forward three decades and 365 odd days, and you’ll still find a bubbly and energetic young company with offices in Paris and Los Angeles, CA.
“Milan Records has always been very committed to bringing the best of the film and music worlds together,” explains Jean-Christophe Chamboredon, Chief Operating Officer of Milan Records in the United States and son of the founder. “Our uncompromising quest for quality and excellence enabled us to work with some of the greatest artists this industry has seen.”
Academy Award winners Maurice Jarre, Mychael Dana, Clint Eastwood, and Jan Kaczmarek represent only a small number of the artists that have left their imprint on Milan’s rich history. In addition to well-established composers, lesser-known artists have seen dramatic career changes once the music label had released their album; Javier Navarrete, composer of the Academy Award nominated soundtrack to Pan’s Labyrinth, being probably one of the most prominent examples.
In 2010 again, Milan Records boasts an ambitious and impressive slate of new releases. Earlier this year, the company released soundtrack albums to the cult Korean film Oldboy, to the mountaineering drama North Face and to the film adaptation of the best selling book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
“We are particularly thrilled about our forthcoming 2010 releases,” says Stefan Karrer, Executive Album Producer at Milan Records. “We have three very powerful albums to exceptional films. No One Knows about Persian Cats won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival; Micmacs is Jean-Pierre Jeunet new fantasy work expected to mesmerize audiences as did his film Amelie; and The Secret in their Eyes, Academy Award winner of Best Foreign Language Film, is a thrilling piece with a gorgeous orchestral score, a real treat for music lovers.” Later this year, Milan will also release the follow up soundtrack albums to the Showtime series Dexter and the soundtrack album to the widely acclaimed film Soul Kitchen by Fatih Akin.
Even though Milan Records is still releasing all of its soundtrack albums physically in Europe and in the rest of the world, the company had to adapt its way of making business in the United States.
“It is obvious that the past few years have been difficult for the music industry in general, and the soundtrack world in particular. The economics of the marketplace have changed dramatically and the problems are particularly serious in the US,” explains Nick Bobetsky, Senior Vice-President. “The transition from physical product to digital downloads made us rethink the way we do business. We have become much more careful and focused when it comes to physical product.”
Despite the changes, Jean-Christophe Chamboredon is confident about the future of the company and the soundtrack business. “We have come a long way and as long as there is music in films, Milan will have its place in this world.”
The Secret in Their Eyes is scheduled for a digital release on 4/13/10 with the CD coming out on 5/25/10.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had a CD release on 3/25/10
North Face had a digital release only on 3/11/10
Look for great things from this company in the future.
April 4, 2010
Growing up in the 60’s and being a trombone player in school I had the opportunity to perform several Nelson Riddle arrangements, “Gabrielle” from Paris When It Sizzles being one of them. Nelson, a former trombone player himself, loved brass and liked busy arrangements with lots of things going on at the same time, so you weren’t sitting with your horn down tapping your foot, you were busy playing. While he’ll be most remembered for being the arranger for Frank Sinatra, the extremely versatile Riddle wrote for television (Route 66 and The Untouchables), had a gold record for “Lisbon Antigua,” wrote musical and classical compositions, and did some excellent soundtracks, Paris When It Sizzles starring Audrey Hepburn and William Holden being one of them. Directed by Richard Quine who also directed two other favorite scores from the 60’s Sex and the Single Girl and How to Murder Your Wife, it tells the story of a director no longer being able to come up with ideas for scripts and his assistant acting out possible ideas. It’s a silly romantic comedy of the first order.
The “Main Title and Theme” introduces the motif after a long introduction, a bubbly upbeat romantic theme filled with happiness that is the Gabrielle theme played on many tracks. The big band version of the Gabrielle theme with organ, sax, muted trumpet, and bass trombone is available on The Bright and the Beautiful (liberty LST 7508). The version on the soundtrack album uses accordion, piano, brass and a greater emphasis on the strings. “Tango de Paris,” “Bastille de Cha Cha Cha,” and “Valse de Paree” are easy to listen to dance numbers with a French flavor. “That Face” is a romantic melody featuring guitar, alto sax, and the Riddle muted trumpet. “Gaby Blues” is a slow blues featuring flute, sax, and a small sample of glissando at the end of the track from the harp. “Saccharine Strings” is a European amour love song of the first order, muzak but romantic. The soundtrack ends with a happy ending waltz “Lavalse Grande” a re-statement of the main theme. Included on the album but not on the collectables two-fer CD # 7493 is a vocal rendition of “That Face” by Fred Astaire.
While some will feel that much of the material is background or elevator music others will appreciate that Riddle style in a film score. I just love that Nelson Riddle sound and found that it worked quite well in this score. Recommended.
1. Main title and theme:Gabrielle (02:53)
2. That Face (02:45)
3. Tango de Paris (01:59)
4. French bubble bath (01:39)
5. Saccharine strings (02:33)
6. Brandy glow (02:27)
7. Good night Gabrielle (02:53)
8. That Face (02:50)
9. That Face (02:26)
10. Valse de Paree (02:27)
11. Gaby blues (03:12)
12. Bastille cha cha cha (04:31)
13. Touch of tenderness (02:02)
14. Happy ending (02:12)
Total Duration: 00:36:49