When a release is digital only as the case with SILVA FILM MUSIC 2011 one knows the market is not the soundtrack collector but a person who might not own a CD. The sampling rate is much smaller perhaps 192kBit/s resulting in a somewhat muddy sound on my Marantz CD 5004/Grado 325i headphones. I transfer everything to CD and the file was 1/5 the size of a wave file. However, I took the time to compare sound with the MP3 player I have with modest quality TDK earbuds and it produced an adequate sound. The file size was perfect for it!


There are seven cues performed by The London Music Works and five from City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra both used frequently by Rick Clark of Silva Records.  This is their 5th year of offering a compilation.The selections chosen are definitely many of the box office hits of 2011 and are geared to the under 30 crowd with the possible exception of War Horse that just happened to be the best cue in my opinion. It is performed with the right amount of delicacy from the piano, a nice lush sound from the strings, and good harmonic tone from the brass. The tempo is similar to the OST and it is well recorded. Being a former trombone player I know how difficult it is for 10 brass players to be in unison to get that right sound. I also found the suite from Super 8 to be pleasant enough as Giacchino is an excellent composer and the orchestral arrangement and recording were fine. The Adventures of Tin Tin had a listenable blend of electronics and refrained jazz. For me the rest of the tracks were ones I have to put in the category of music I just don’t understand. Available for download from Amazon.


Track Listing:

1… Thor Kills The Destroyer from Thor (1:53) composed by Doyle

2… Lily’s Theme from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2:18) composed by Desplat

3… The Reunion from War Horse (3:55) composed by Williams

4… I Drive from Drive (1:59) composed by Martinez

5… Super 8 Suite from Super 8 (6:10) composed by Giacchino

6… Love Death Birth from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1(6:10) composed by Burwell

7… The Adventures of Tintin from The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3:06) composed by Williams

8… Captain America March from Captain America (2:36) composed by Silvestri

9… Mermaids from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (8:06)

10… It’s Our Fight from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (6:40) by Jablonsky

11… Magneto from X-Men: First Class (1:51) composed by Jackman

12… Sky Fight/End Credits from Immortals (2:17) composed by Morris


Tracks 1,4,7,9,10,11,12 performed by London Music Works

Tracks 2, 3,5,6,8 performed by City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Total Time is 47 minutes


Back to Gaya/Kamen

January 24, 2012

Available in a limited edition of only 1000 copies Moviescore Media has released the Michael Kamen (1948-2003) soundtrack to the German animated film Back To Gaya (Boo, Zino and the Snurks), a joint effort of individuals including Steve McLaughlin, Christopher Brooks, Ilan Eshkeri, and Robert Elhai who completed the sketches of composer Kamen, who passed away suddenly while working on the soundtrack. Like the film this CD is dedicated to Michael. Moviescore Media will share a portion of the revenues with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (1996) which furthers music education. This is a World Premiere recording.


The story involves Snurks and the recovery of their Dolomite magic stone which their home Gaya needs to survive. It features the voices of Patrick Stewart and Emily Watson.

1… Main Title (1:30) the strings are a prelude to the French horns that offer the main theme. The harmony is then offered by the strings playing two different lines in a rather complex orchestration that shows the Juilliard schooling of Kamen. You will hear this melody in other cues.

2… Snurks (1:27) is an absolutely delightful cue featuring the playful side of the bassoon usually known for its dark nature. The cellos and basses prelude the theme which is then played by the bassoon. There are a few really low notes which are guaranteed to vibrate your woofers!

3… Flying (1:59) is exactly what you think it should sound like which a proud majestic melody is introduced by the horns and complimented by a wordless choir in the background. This is a very uplifting piece no pun intended!

4… The Kiss (1:21) a playful cue with tremolo strings and a flute and oboe offering the melody. Very nice underscore material.

5… Fireworks (1:36) continues along similar lines to “Flying,” except it is yet another new melody which is proud, majestic, and uplifting. Another complex well orchestrated arrangement.

6… The Professor (2:32) while short this cue is divided into three parts. It begins with tremolo strings and a minor key motif. Disturbing strings indicate danger with dissonant horn motifs. It changes to a peaceful somber section complete with flutes. It changes again with a Planet of the Apes horn motif which blares out wildly with strings in nervous agitation.

7… The Race (2:29) offers a great classical European sound. The pace is like a race with a comical touch to it. This is another track that shows the classical training of Kamen.

8… Baby Chase (2:57) after a tense beginning the track turns somewhat comical with another well played solo from the bassoon.

9… The Vortex (3:04) is a bold ominous sounding cue with swirling harmony and lots of harmony counterpoint and harmony in a somewhat complex orchestral arrangement. It ends on a somewhat quiet note in a minor key further enhancing the dark threat. If you like your music loud and in your face this is a cue for you.

10… Wrecking Ball (0:44) is a short cue with a distant timpani, sliding trombones and crisp staccato brass.

11… The Toy Store (1:41) this begins as a typical waltz that ends up offering loud mocking horns making it a fun listen.

12… Balloon Crash (2:25) it seems the bassoon has a busy time as it is featured in yet another cue.

13… Rat Chase (2:42) strings with a sense of urgency harmonized with other strings are a prelude to a theme played by the orchestra in a comical cue.

14… The Sewer (3:00) begins with a Vivaldi feel which quickly changes to a somewhat disturbing track which makes a brief reference to “Dies Irae” before it offers loud dissonance from the horns along with agitated strings.

15… Find a Way In (1:32) another cartoon comical cue with the tuba being given center stage along with a bassoon.

16… In Charge (1:42) a bassoon seems to be the featured instrument on this score as it begins and ends this track.

17… Switched On (1:46) starts as a peaceful track, which crescendos in a major key melody and it ends as it started very peaceful.

18… So Unusual (1:43) begins with tremolo strings which become harmony as the horns offer a motif.

19… Free Will (3:43) a somewhat peaceful track, a sunrise spectacular changes to one of a disturbing nature including a two note danger cue.

20… Night Flight (1:39) the urgency chords open and continue in the cue as loud dissonant brass dominate the cue. It ends on a quiet note.

21… Big Dumb (5:18) tremolos from the strings prelude a majestic horn in a sad track. Tension becomes the order of the day as it becomes a dark cue of mysterious nature. There is a two note danger motif from the horns.

22… Robot Chase (3:05) offers growling brass with the strings introducing an 8 note motif from the horns. This is a good action cue well orchestrated.

23… Climb (2:24) is another action cue with more ape like horns and a very disturbing theme.

24… Catching Dolomite (1:39) starts as a restatement of the main theme but quickly becomes tension with powerful brass statements. It ends in mystery.

25… Manuel Targeting (1:21) a frantic staccato cue with swirling strings and horns highlight this track.

26… We’re Free (4:01) is a powerful cue that offers the main title in (FFF). Proud sounding horns offer majestic fanfare again with a choir background. It ends with a huge crescendo which just dies as if out of fuel.

27… The Mayor Runs (1:38) a flute and oboe begin the playful track which is filled with a lot of fun chords.

28… Back to Gaya (1:22) is a restatement of the main theme where it all began an hour ago.


Many themes, along with superb complex well thought out orchestrations make this CD a real winner. You can hear how much fun the orchestra is having playing this. The digital recording is bass solid, crisp treble, and excellent ambience. This soundtrack is available from iTunes as well as Screen Archives Entertainment. Remember this is a limited edition so act quickly as it will sell out. One can only imagine the Kamen fan that has been given another soundtrack to enjoy.







Music performed by London Metropolitan Orchestra

Moviescore Media CD# MMS-12001




Of the many film composers who also wrote classical music Korngold certainly is close to the top of the list along with Vaughan Williams, Miklos Rozsa, and Dimitri Shostakovich. These composers seem to have been at home with either the silver screen or the concert hall. This was especially true of Korngold who saw fit to borrow his film material and use it in his classical material or the other way around. Having recently completed a review of Battle of Neverta (1969), I found that Bernard Herrmann did the very same thing using a section of his symphony and part of his clarinet quintet.

Sea Hawk Suite (1940) is an eight minute compilation that highlights the major themes including the main title, reunion (love theme), and finale. This suite is likely in the library of many pop orchestras and has been performed by Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra and his now legendary series of RCA recordings truly highlighting the golden age of film music. The opening with the horns announcing something truly majestic is superbly performed by the brass section of the Oregon Symphony. This fanfare has to rank with some of the finest in the history of classical music! The fanfare theme leads to another sweeping version of the love theme before the fanfare returns which leads us to the middle section which is further treatment of the love theme. Brendan Carroll calls it erotic and I certainly can’t argue the finale is a return to the rousing main title ending the suite.


After Korngold suffered a major heart attack he recuperated in Canada and it was at this time he began work on his 54 minute Symphony in F-Sharp masterpiece. Completed in 1952 it was first performed in 1954 by the Austrian State Symphony. The performance was so poor Korngold, who was present in the audience, asked that the tapes be destroyed! It wasn’t until 1972 that Rudolph Kempe and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the work on RCA with son George Korngold producing. This recording is still available on the Varese Sarabande label (VSD5346) if you’re interested in an archival recording.

Symphony in F-Sharp, op. 40

1… Moderato ma energico (15:20) begins like it is going to be a dissonant piece with two dissonant notes until a solo clarinet offers a theme with harmony still being the two dissonant notes. The string section takes over the dark complex melody with horns calling out play a role in the orchestration. The sound is Mahler like with horns sounding like Bruckner. As the movement continues there is further conflict between strings and the horns complement this in the harmony. There is a brief pause from the darkness as a romantic love theme not unlike Sea Hawk emerges. It is peaceful and very tranquil seemingly out of place. The movement ends as it begins with low rumbling from the lower register with the clarinet again.

2… Scherzo: Allegro molto (10:33) a fluttering flute and agitated strings begin the work. A theme is introduced that could easily be conceived as Star Wars material from the majestic horns. Listening to this passage one can certainly appreciate the influence he had on John Williams. There is a pause and the movement takes a second direction. Softly played and thought provoking it ends with a return to the frantic scherzo and the horn theme before it concludes with a brief return to the quiet melody and then ending abruptly like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

3… Adagio: Lento (16:57) is very much in the category of a funeral march, a solemn movement. It is centered on a three note motif that is allowed to fully develop with a series of variations which came from his score The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. This is a movement which will bring Gustav Mahler to mind. Tragic comes to mind when you listen to this movement.

4… Finale:  Allegro (11:04) just when you settled into tragedy the finale begins with a bright and very lively melody from the fluttering flute. It has a traditional sound and if you think you’ve heard the theme before you’re correct as it came from Kings Row. As part of the last part of the movement Korngold returns to the mystery and intrigue of the first movement before he ends the work with a jubilant conclusion.


One could easily draw the conclusion that this was written in the late 19th century. After the somewhat atonal beginning this is a work that draws upon the Austrian birth of Korngold. There is a flavor of Mahler, Strauss, Bruckner, and references to his work for the silver screen. While there are now several recordings available of this fine work you’ll find none better than James DePriest and the Oregon Symphony. The digital recording is crystal clear with excellent ambience. As a bonus you also get Sea Hawk which may lead you to the complete recording of this work on Naxos.   http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.570110-11


Battle of Neretva/Herrmann

January 20, 2012

Written toward the end of his long and successful career Herrmann was asked to write the score for the UK version of the Yugoslavian production of Battle of Neretva a massive undertaking. The viewing time was 175 minutes with a score from Kraus-Rajteric, a tragic minor key undertaking that took up less than ¼ of the film. The 127 minute edited print is what Herrmann worked with. When American International gained distribution rights the film was edited down to 102 or 83 minutes leaving much of Herrmann’s work on the editing floor. This new Tribute Film Classic release (TFC-1007) offers double the amount of material previously offered on the Southern Cross (SCCD 5005) with the exception of the track with the Roland Shaw “Danica’s Theme.” This London Philharmonic recording with Bernard Herrmann conducting is also available on Label X (ATM CD 2003).

The orchestra for this recording has an immense sound as it was composed for a 98 piece orchestra. The result in this re-constructed recording is nothing short of spectacular recorded in 96kHz/24-bit. It was carefully miked and as conductor Bill Stromberg explains in his part of the liner notes he positioned some of the musicians differently to further enhance the experience. As an example he split the 6 trombones putting 3 on the left and 3 on the right. It does make a difference in what you hear. Spectacular is an understatement!

1… Prelude* (2:26) an arsenal of percussion is the prelude to the main title theme offered by the horns with strings and brass providing the harmony. What follows are more drums, complex horn work until the strings are allowed to carry the melody with the horns now providing the harmony. This is a powerful war march!

2… Nazi Attack (2:47) offers the 5 note motif from the rejected Torn Curtain. The track is quite loud continuing the brass in attack mode.

3… The Retreat* (3:23) begins with a Herrmann 3 note muted brass motif which changes into a rather somber funeral like melody introduced for the first time.

4… Dawn (1:39) has its roots in Herrmann’s tone poem For the Fallen. Typical muted horns from Herrmann are balanced with oboe and woodwinds in a quiet cue for this CD.

5… The Poem (0:51) returns to the main theme from “Prelude” in a slower paced stoic version with horns giving us the melody. There is clever harmony from a bugle call.

6… Rout (1:05) a loud cue with percussion almost overpowering what melody there is.

7… From Italy* (2:46) is a theme recycled from his clarinet quintet Souvenirs de Voyage. This cue is soft yearning strings carrying the melody with harmony from the clarinet.

8…The Flag (0:58) is another return to the main theme from “Prelude.” The pace is largo with strings carrying the melody. We hear more bugle like calls indicating the military presence.

9… Tanks (1:38) is a loud cue featuring staccato brass and a return to the 5 note Torn Curtain motif.

10… The Road (5:12) is a new theme funeral like with the melody being traded between the horns and the strings.

11… Pastorale* (1:57) is another recycled melody from the television series The Virginian. This is a string orchestra arrangement that is peaceful and quiet.

12… March (1:51) Chetnik’s March is one that will loosen your ear wax if you’re listening on headphones. It is very rousing.

13… Grief (1:15) returns to the theme we heard in “Retreat.” This too is orchestrated for strings.

14… Trestle (0:50) A brief cue with tension type underscore.

15… Suspense (1:19) this is a cue that is the calm before the storm and is also from On Dangerous Ground.

16… The Lookout (1:40) also a recycled cue from On Dangerous Ground.

17… Death Hunt (2:12) is a classic cue from On Dangerous Ground and the best cue on this CD. It is loud and played at a frantic pace with fox hunt type calls from the brass. Quoting John Morgan it was …”performed with such energy and ferociousness.” I’ve included the audio cue which I thought long and hard about. It really doesn’t do it much justice.  17 – Death Hunt

18… The Bridge (1:30) is another cue taken from On Dangerous Ground. The timpani provides a constant rhythm in a very nice underscore track.

19… The Message (0:57) the horns answer each other with the bugle motif while a bassoon lurks in the background.

20… Waiting (1:08) continues the message cue as a prelude to some typical muted horn work from Herrmann. A quiet cue.

21… Hunt Scherzo (1:48) originally came from his Symphony (1941). This is similar in sound to what you would hear in The Devil and Daniel Webster. The brass get no holiday on this one!

22… Danica’s Death* (1:41) a romantic accordion with strings emphasizing the Italian influence which is the melody from “Separation.”

23… The Front (2:19) the snare drum precedes lower register instruments and offers a relentless beat.

24… Battle and Fanfare* (4:59) begins with 5 note Torn Curtain cue and proceeds to offer the listener one of the better battle cues on record. No day off for the brass and the percussion as it is very loud.

25… Separation* (3:36) this very sad theme comes from the “Retreat” cue and the tempo is a death march.

26… Italian (0:58) the clarinet quintet music is used “From Italy” in this very brief cue.

27… Slow March (2:09)  It is a restatement of the main theme.

28… Riva’s Death* (1:17) was originally called “Farewell” on the OST. It is another cue taken from the clarinet quintet and is part of the Italian connection.

29… Finale* is a combination of “Retreat” and the main title.

30… End Title* (1:39) a restatement of the main title in a major key very proud and majestic. This was the Partisan March on the OST.

Tribute Film Classics TFC 1007 *Indicates a track that was part of the OST.

This release is not limited and available through http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/16839/BATTLE-OF-NERETVA-THE-NAKED-AND-THE-DEAD/

Be sure to read the other review on this release https://sdtom.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-naked-and-the-dead-1958herrmann/

In three plus years Intrada, La-La Land, and Kritzerland have released thirteen scores for Les Baxter (1922-1996) soundtracks. Quite an accomplishment for someone who was best known for his exotica albums he did for Capitol Records in the 50’s and 60’s. He has worked on over 100 soundtracks so at this time we are just beginning to scratch the surface. This latest release from Kritzerland (KR-20021-1) includes the comical The Raven which offers a lot of fun material and a very serious dark and dissonant An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe, a television special. These are two scores completely at odds with each other.

The Raven (1963) starred Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, Jack Nicholson, and Hazel Court starred in this spoof of wizards trying to outdo one another. I can remember going to the drive-in and seeing this expecting a horror film and being a bit disappointed that it really wasn’t but enjoying it anyway. The score from Les Baxter definitely reinforces the comical side using such instruments as a tuba to make this soundtrack quite humorous for the most part. It is just another side of the versatile Les Baxter. It is a mono source but as usual the sound is clear.

1… Main Title/The Raven (2:20) a clock ticking begins the track as a prelude to the creepy electronics (hammond novachord). There is no melody only a feeling of eeriness.

2… Dr. Bedlo/To the Crypt (1:30) uses a tuba, contrabassoon, and vibraphone to achieve a comic effect. Again there is no melody.

3… Not Quite Dead Dad (1:36) is back to the electronics in another somewhat creepy sounding track.

4… The Plan (1:20) woodwinds, harp, and electronics contribute to this underscore.

5… Wild Ride to the Castle (1:44) a traditional melody is turned into a satirical track. The sound is almost television like and reminded me of a program like Bewitched or cartoons.

6… Dr. Scarabus/The Castle/Lenore (2:49) offers a combo of orchestra and electronics. The tuba work is outstanding on this track.

7… Duel to the Death (4:41) contains a potpourri of material beginning with a horror statement that turns into a pentatonic one, a distorted Auld Lang Syne with mocking sliding trombones and a humorous Strauss Waltz. It is definitely a fun track.

8… The Duel Continues (3:58) as the title indicates more of the same follows with a reference to glow worm.

9… The Escape/Quoth The Raven: Nevermore (2:16) is more of a typical sound that you might hear in a horror movie.

10… End Titles (2:09) is the traditional theme from track 5 in a similar mocking style.

11… Raven Electronica (1:50) a bonus selection is another Raven version found in track one.

An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe (1970) was a one man television special for Vincent Price as he told four Poe stories. It was produced by American International who did an entire series of films with the Poe name in the 60’s. If you’re not familiar some of these pictures had little to do with the Poe stories. They offered very loose interpretations. The four tracks reveal another side of Les Baxter that is very much atonal and modern sounding. The recording is from a mono source which is not going to fill your room with surround sound ambience but is a clear one.

12… Main Title (0:20) is a very brief somewhat generic style of drama music that could fit other types of shows.

13… Tell Tale Heart (7:09) could very well have come from a Thriller episode as it has that sound from the violins an off key sound with urgency. This is very minor key featuring flute, tremolo strings, and harp. To my surprise there was no steady rhythm for the heart.

14… The Sphinx (5:01) does have some flavor of ancient Egypt, the mummy sound. It offers the tremolo modern day horror sound from the strings and a creepy flute.

15… Cask of Amontillado (4:46) are featured in an atonal offering more tremolo strings, harp, and flute.

16… Pit and the Pendulum (7:05) dark strings are featured that play frantic ascending and descending scales. The harp is also featured on this track which lacks any melodic material.

17… End Titles (0:40) a generic sound with snare drum and a brief reference to a melodic line ends the special.

The release is limited to 1000 copies as are most of the Kritzerland releases. While it is sold out at Kritzerland I saw that it was still available for purchase at Intrada and SAE.

It can be said that there are more Herrmann recordings than any other soundtrack composer. Soundtrack Collector has over 1000 recordings available and Herrmann did less than 100 films. As an example there are 66 releases of Citizen Kane. So what is so special about yet another release of his material? Other than “The Prelude” the rest of the tracks are new. You get an opportunity to hear a very special orchestration that consisted of 24 brass musicians, 3 bass clarinets, bassoons, contrabassoon, harps, and a large percussion section with no strings. You also get to hear a fine re-construction from John Morgan superbly played by the Moscow Symphony conducted by William Stromberg in 96kHz/24-bit which translates into quality that the human ear can’t hear, well most of us.

Based on the very successful novel by Norman Mailer, which was on the N.Y. Times best-seller list for over a year and sold millions of copies, the film starred Aldo Ray, Cliff Robertson, Raymond Massey, Joey Bishop, and Barbara Nichols and was filmed on location in Panama being directed by veteran Raoul Walsh. As explained in the liner notes written by Kevin Scott this film was subjected to trouble from the start. The music was an exception.

While five of the thirteen tracks are under a minute and the sound is definitely Herrmann the war music is unlike anything you’ve heard especially from the 50’s. In fact as a standalone experience you’ll likely not know it is a war soundtrack. There is nothing close to a patriotic march, references to feel good American songs or really anything military at all.

31… Prelude (1:57) this is the one track that has been offered on several available compilations from Silva and other companies. Bass drums and timpani introduce the melody which is offered by the 24 piece brass section. The staccato jagged theme is ably supported by harmony coming from the tubas, trombones, and horns. If I were a member of a brass band I would want to play this as a showcase for my orchestra. The melody is repeated in other cues and is the main title of the soundtrack. After the crescendo the track ends with twilight zone chords.

32… The Jungle (0:56) begins with quiet woodwinds and a harp in this eerie cue. Primarily woodwinds there is one brief 3 note motif brass very Hermann like followed by another four note motif, the final two notes coming from the Contrabassoon which is woofer vibrating. This is underscore that could fit a variety of scenes from other kinds of movies.

33… The Snake (1:53) offers a “Jaws” like two note motif from the woodwinds to begin. Dissonant and jagged sounding brass chords are offered from horns, trumpets, trombones, and tubas at irregular intervals.

34… The Buzzards (1:41) is more underscore with the tubas being answered by bass clarinets and bassoons. The 4 note motif with the contrabassoon heard in “The Jungle” is repeated.

35… The Grenades (0:24) is filled with brass statements in this very brief cue.

36… The Pass (1:51) begins with the motif heard in “The Buzzards” which is another vibrating growl from the lower register of the orchestra. A 2 note motif comes from the horns which are answered by the trumpets and trombones in an irregular fashion.

37… Wilson’s Death (0:58) there is a solemn brass statement which indicates a funeral like taps. The end if filled with muted staccato trumpets.

38. The Mountain Ledge (1:33) offers an extended dialogue between the low woodwinds and brass.

39…The Fall (0:48) really does give one the feeling of falling with rapid, loud, ear piercing descending notes from the trumpets. It ends quietly with the muted 3 note motif from the trumpets.  39 – The Fall Audio Track

40… The Fog (0:40) a sense of movement and mystery like “The Jungle” are offered in this creepy track.

41… Croft’s Death (1:26) disturbing jagged notes from the trombones with alarming percussion make up the majority of this track. It ends with a percussion roll.

42… Prayer and Rescue (1:38) horns begin this quiet and somber track with nice woodwind harmony. There is a variation of the main title theme offered by the horns in a religious way. The jagged motifs from horns and woodwinds end the track.

43… Finale (1:14) begins with the three note “Buzzard” motif and quickly changes to the “Prelude” theme with loud brash horns carrying the melody. It is brought to a rousing conclusion.  43 – Finale Audio Clip

Total Time is 17 minutes

Herrmann lovers are going to quickly fall in love with this outstanding soundtrack while others are going to grow to appreciate it with repeated listens. One thing that has nothing to do with the performance or the material is the liner notes. I for one do not have a degree in music and I don’t appreciate the technical explanations given as far as the track analysis is concerned. I feel that Kevin was talking to musicians and not the soundtrack listener. As I stated earlier his explanation of bringing the film to the screen was outstanding, being well written and easy to understand. Battle of Neeta will appear as a separate review. I can give this nothing but an outstanding recommendation. This release can be ordered from SAE at  http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/16839/BATTLE-OFNERETVA-THE-NAKED-AND-THE-DEAD/

Did you know that David Newman was nominated for an Oscar for the film Anastasia in 1997? That growing up he intended to become a classical conductor and did lead such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Belgium, and L.A. Philharmonic? He has composed soundtracks for over a 100 films? His father was Alfred Newman, brother is Thomas Newman, and cousin is Randy Newman? While some of us might feel that he has taken a back seat to Randy and Thomas that is really not true at all. He is carrying on the outstanding Newman tradition as well as other family members.

This is the second release of David Newman that Perseverance Records has offered with their first being Runestone PRD 029 that has sold out.

Konferenz der Tiere (Animals United)– (2010) is an animated story about animals who unite against humans who have caused disasters such as a dam preventing water, oil spills, and forest fires. Based on the childrens novel The Animals’ Conference by Erich Kastner (1899-1974) who is also known for Parent Trap and Emil and the Detectives, originally wrote this as a pacifist satire using animals with world peace as a solution for the Cold War after World War II. The adapted satire was turned into an animated comedy with a message, aimed at the children’s market. This Constantin Film was made in Germany and produced and directed by Reinhard Kloos and Holger Tappe. The success of the film allowed US voices and a run at the theaters in the U.S. market. Some of the more prominent voices in the cast are Jim Broadbent, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, and Vanessa Redgrave.

David Newman composed a classical score that gets off the path for the emotional and comical scenes when called for but always returns to the classical umbrella. It is rich in harmony, counterpoint, and extremely well orchestrated. It has a minimum amount of electronics. Within the score you’ll find themes David created for the cast of characters such as Angie, Socrates, Charles, and Billy. Charles is especially clever being a variation of the French Marseilles. The main title “Animal Paradise” offers a full rich theme that takes advantage of the entire orchestra. It will pull your emotional strings without going too far and becoming syrupy. This theme is also prominent on the “Animals in New York track. As the theme unfolds you’ll hear other motifs and an ever present African rhythm which are prominent on many of the cues. “The Great Horn” while very brief is actually a very clever two note horn motif with properly placed notes coming from the other brass. “Monkey Jazz” is a brief jazz quartet cue that is dying to be expanded into a much longer improvisational piece. “Toby Meets Smiley” has quite a modern sound with the electric guitar and reminded me of the quirky style that Thomas Newman uses. “Russian Ship” will take you on a very brief Slavic dance journey. “Animals Techno,” a bonus track is the one track that is very synth sounding with twangy guitar and full of special percussion effects. I’ve included 4 audio clips in the track listing.

This was certainly a score that required many listens to maximize my enjoyment. On first listen I was quite annoyed with the huge number of tracks and the brevity of many as there are several under a minute. My ear would settle into one style of music and there would be an abrupt change to a completely different orchestration. That changed for me as I grew to appreciate and realize the complexity of what Newman weaved into this soundtrack. It is without a doubt a big step above what many of the modern scores are all about. It is well recorded and it was quite evident that  the Berlin Score Orchestra enjoyed performing this material. It offers nice ambiance and clarity. It is available for $15.95 directly from www.perseverance.com

Track listing


Animal Paradise (01:54)  01 – Animal Paradise (Audio Clip)


Golfing With Caca (01:35)


Billy The Scatter Brain (01:08)


Drumming For Water (02:33)


Russian Ship (00:30)


Oil Spill (00:40)


The Fire (00:40)


Toby Meets Smiley (01:35)


Charles For Lunch (00:15)  09 – Charles For Lunch (Audio Clip)


Charles Escapes Being Dinner (00:43)


The Plan (00:41)


Tree Of Life (02:19)


Charles Lays Out His Plan (01:04)


Billy Walks (00:19)


Waterhole Standoff (03:01)


The Rhinos Approach Billy (00:17)


No Water (02:15)


Billy and Socrates (01:08)


Valley Of Death (01:01)


Billy Walks Through the Valley of Death (00:45)


The Panther Chases Billy (01:19)


The Animals Meet Up (00:42)


Socrates Tells His Story (03:13)


The Dam (01:37)


Dam Water (00:34)


Ice Water (00:26)


Hunter (00:31)


Billy Gets Chased By Hunter (01:47)


Billy Slides Through the Water Tube (00:29)


TV Groove (00:46)


Dam Floods Gates (01:38)


Hunter in Car (01:17)


Water Shortage (03:18)


Let’s Find Angie (01:04)


Charlie Talks With Angie (00:30)


The Great Horn (00:28)  36 – Great Horn (Audio Clip)


Conference in Two Hours (00:34)


Tales Of The Humans (05:46)


Animals March (01:02)


The Black Panther (00:52)


It’s Showtime (02:16)


Animals Untied Part 1 (03:36)


Animals United Part 2 (01:47)


Socrates (00:19)


Dam Break (00:52)


Animals In New York (02:19)

Bonus Tracks


The Animals Drum Down Wall (01:23)


The Fire Band (00:36)


Monkey Jazz (00:33)  49 – Monkey Jazz (Audio Clip)


Animals Techno (01:15)

Total Duration: 01:07:12

The Trial/Jean Ledrut

January 9, 2012

If Jean Ledrut, composer of The Trial, is remembered at all it will be for his lawsuit against rock and roll British star Joe Meek (1929-1967) for plagiarism and his use of a 4 note motif allegedly taken from La March d’Austerlitz (1960) in his 5 million copy hit Telstar. While the court ruled in favor of Meek he died before he could reap the royalties of a 5 million copy seller. The soundtrack from The Trial falls into three categories: original, material from d’Albinoni rearranged by Remo Giazotto in the 20th century, and the Martial Solal Trio. The Orson Welles directed film was based on the novel of Franz Kafka and starred Anthony Perkins, Akim Tamiroff, Elsa Martinelli, Jeanne Moreau, and Romy Schneider. Unlike CD producer Bruce Kimmel, who considers it a big favorite, I don’t even remember it coming to the theaters in Minneapolis. I’ve read the novel and only recently have seen the film.


1… Adagio d’Albinoni (7:42) is the opening track and is taken from the Italian composer Tomaso d’Albinoni (1671-1751). The Adagio in G Minor was found in Dresden by Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto who re-orchestrated the piece in 1949. This is a cue you can definitely put in the sad classical music category. While the melodies are completely different if you have Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” which was featured in Elephant Man, you’ll have something similar. This is something that has been used 20 times in film and television. It was used in such films as Flashdance, Rollerball, and Gallipoli as well as being performed by Sarah Brightman and The Doors. It begins with bars of an organ taken from the last track and then changes into an orchestral version featuring yearning strings carrying the melody and harmony from the cellos plucking quietly in the background.


2… Air Sentimental (3:14) is an original composition of Jean Ledrut and is a very easy listening piece. The harp is featured in a harmony role. One could easily call this track elevator music.


3… Ouverture d’Operette (1:44) definitely falls into the category of a staged dance number. It features the brass and overall has a very upbeat lively feeling to it. It is the only other original composition of Ledrut on this release.


4… Adagio Slow (3:00) a variation of the adagio is offered in this jazz version for piano, bass, and drums. It begins with the solo bass and then offers a somewhat complicated melodic piano line, typical Blue Note sound of the 50’s and 60’s


5… Sentimental Slow (2:46) with the Martial Solal Trio is a jazz trio arrangement of the Sentimental theme. It begins with solo bass followed by cymbals and then some cool jazz style ivory work.


6… Ambiance Kafka (2:29) starts with distorted dissonant strings in this twelve tone composition that sounds like it could be science fiction music. During the track there are a couple of references made to the adagio theme from the flute.


7… Jazz Sur L’Adagio D’Albinoni (1:52) is a big band jazz instrumental version of the sentimental theme. All the instruments in the orchestra have short crisp solos.


8… Jazz Hallucination (2:23) another variation of the sentimental theme with quicker bass and drums and then some really frantic piano work.


9… Diabolic K (4:49) with the Martial Solal Trio is a variation of the adagio theme in a frantic jazz interpretation with the trio. The piano is in the style of jazz great Thelonious Monk.


10… Concerto a Cinque opus 5, no. 12 is a new melody played by the strings. It is a very solemn melody that is very tranquil.


11… Adagio d’Albinoni (8:15) the final track is arranged baroque style for organ of the adagio melody.  It has a very religious sound.

Total Time is 40:15


The first release of 2012 for Kritzerland offers variety with jazz trio, strings, solo organ, and big band. The recording is mono but clear and crisp. It is limited to 1000 copies so it would be better to act sooner rather than later on this quite unusual release.

Kritzerland #20021-0








Considering that Roy Webb(1888-1982) scored 300 films, was nominated for an Oscar seven times, and had his piano concerto from Enchanted Cottage performed at the Hollywood Bowl, his nickname still has become “The Forgotten Man” as far as Hollywood film composers are concerned. He composed the majority of his material for RKO and only freelanced when they closed their doors in 1955.

If you were to purchase (4) CD’s, FILM MUSIC OF ROY WEBB (Cloud Nine Records CNS 5008), MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (Monstrous Movie Music MMM 1953), MURDER IS MY BEAT (Rhino Records R2 72466), and FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK (Varese Sarabande VCD 47225) along with this Marco Polo Release (8.225125) you’d have the majority of what is available. The Marco Polo release from 2000 features only material from Val Lewton (1904-1951) films. The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by William Stromberg with score reconstructions by John Morgan for Cat People, Bedlam, The Seventh Victim, The Body Snatcher and I Walked With A Zombie.

CAT PEOPLE (1942) is very loosely based on the novel Black Alibi from another forgotten man, Cornell Woolrich, who was responsible for a lot of film noir screenplays. The first of eight films Val Lewton did for RKO from 1942-1946 was directed by Jacques Tourneur and starred Simone Simon as a Serbian girl who was convinced she would turn into a werecat. Co-starring were RKO regulars Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, and Kent Smith. There are many who feel that this was the finest in the series as it emphasized the premise “it’s what you don’t see” to scare you. The score from Webb is based on a tune, “Do-Do,” used by Debussy in Children’s Corner and Stravinsky’s Berceuse du Chat (Cat’s Cradle Song). It was scored for the 40 piece RKO orchestra.

1… Main Title (1:20) begins with a Roy Webb fanfare of Beethoven’s Fifth and the morse code for the letter ‘V’ (victory) combined to introduce RKO Studios. It seamlessly gives us a six note motif “Cat Theme,” from the trumpets and then a very dramatic playing of the “Do-Do” theme with mysterious strings ending the cue. The motif, a scary one, is similar to what Hans Salter did for the Frankenstein monster.

2… Irena (1:55) begins with the “Cat Theme” from the clarinet which is quite ominous. The theme for Irena is a very delicate, romantic melody that Webb offers as he cleverly mixes in the “Do-Do” theme along with another playing of the cat theme from an alto flute. This track positively shows how effective his orchestrations are. I’ve included this clip as an overall example of the score. 02 – Irena

3… The Cat People (2:26) begins with the cue “Cat Theme” from the clarinet and then offers a “King John” theme which is quite religious and becomes the good and God fearing melody. Irena is telling the story of how the Serbian village she comes from believes in the evil of the werecat. The cue changes and we hear the “Irena” theme at the end.

4… Irene and Oliver (2:20) is a delicate version of “Do-Do” without brass and percussion. The andante pace is quiet and soothing. The mood changes to a Universal style motif while there is a frightening offering of the “Cat Theme” from an alto flute.

5… Need For Help (2:49) Begins with soft underscore followed by a solo violin, a tragic bassoon solo of the “Do-Do” theme and then a brief eerie clarinet solo. The track ends with a short repeat of the “King John Theme.”

6… Evil Cat (1:38) is an extremely suspenseful underscore that offers the “Irena” melody in a harmonic variation along with a minor key version of the “Do-Do” theme. Webb offered this theme in many variations and keys.

7… The Aftermath (1:12) opens with a Schubert Unfinished style beginning, very dark, a few bars of “Irena” followed by a fifth theme “Escape.”

8… Dream Sequence (1:14) provides a scary underscore with swirling strings, distant horns, “Cat Theme” from the organ, and a distorted version of the “Do-Do” theme.

9… Too Late (1:51) A soft introduction with tranquil flutes leads us to a subdued and peaceful version of “Irena.” The cue ends with a tragic rendition of the “Do-Do” theme.

10… Horror Sequence” (1:06) begins with the organ offering the “Cat Theme,” and then builds tension to a dissonant version of the “Do-Do” theme.

11… Dr. Judd Murdered (1:23) begins with a quiet tremolo from the strings building to a rare somewhat loud statement from the orchestra.

12… End Title (2:30) mirrors the tragic ending of Irena and Dr. Judd with a sad version of “Irena” melody, a brief appearance of the “King John” theme and a happy crescendo for Oliver and Alice.

Total Time is 21:49

If you listen to this score repeatedly you will become aware of how well thought- out this score is. It is actually complex, with a lot of counterpoint using the different themes as well as harmony. John Morgan did a fine job with his re-construction to keep this the understated soundtrack that Roy Webb composed, a well schooled musician from Columbia University. The digital recording is crystal clear and the orchestra has rehearsed it well to give it a strong performance. When you listen to it remember Val Lewton wanted subdued music which would enhance  his movie at the same time. Webb did it perfectly.

BEDLAM (1946) a nickname for St. Mary’s of Bethlehem tells of the happenings in the madhouse in Eighteenth Century England also known as the “Age of Reason.” Both Bethlehem  and age of reason are contradictions as we soon find out. The warden in charge of the facility is Simms, played by Boris Karloff, who is cruel and evil to the inmates but comes across as a charming personality to the upper class, a level in society he wishes to attain. Enter Nell Bower (Anna Lee) who truly knows the mistreatment Simms is up to. As a result she is made a prisoner in the asylum until the patients revolt, let Nell go, and put Simms on trial for his crimes. His sentence is death by being walled up. The film was directed by Mark Robson, another Selznick employee who defected to RKO. The idea for the screenplay written by Val Lewton came from a set of 8 engravings by William Hogarth, done during 1732-1733, one of them called Bedlam. This was the last of the nine films that Lewton did for RKO.

13… Main Title (2:12) Period type music begins the track which changes back to a dreary tie theme “Bedlam” which includes a four note motif repeated through the brief arrangement. The arrangement ends with an air of mystery, only a pause, and it continues with a very religious statement before it returns to a chamber arrangement of the “main title,” a very Mozart sound. It returns to the “Bedlam” motif and ends on a tense moment.

14… The Quaker (1:51) has a very religious and stately opening before returning to the main theme and ending on an upbeat note. Listen for the organ offering harmony to the theme with a brief fugue.

15… Nell’s Escape (1:07) begins with ominous strings and brass fanfare making this a scary track but retaining the subtle nature of Webb.

16… End Title (1:48) is a mixture of material. We hear a tragic end with minor variations, a few religious organ bars before ending with the main theme. I’ve included the end title  track.  16 – end title Bedlam

Total Time is 6:58


THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943) was #4 of the nine films that Val Lewton did for R.K.O. and his personal favorite. This was not the case with the public and the movie quickly disappeared. It was filmed as an ‘A’ picture but company politics prevented that from happening and it was only given ‘B’ status. In addition (4) scenes were deleted to reduce the time to ‘B’ release and this resulted in some confusion to a storyline that offered suicide, lesbianism, lusting for an underage person, all taboo subjects at the time. The reason it passed production code standards had to do with the fact Joseph Breen had recently spent a failed year as a producer for R.K.O. The film starred Tom Conway who re-visited his role of Dr. Judd from Cat People, Jean Brooks as Jacqueline Gibson the missing sister, Hugh Beaumont as Gregory Ward the boyfriend, and Kim Hunter (her acting debut) as Mary Gibson the sister looking for the other sister. The search revealed that Jacqueline was part of a satanic cult, the Palladists who were trying to get her to commit suicide as she wanted to leave the group. There is a shower scene involving Mary Gibson and Mrs. Redi that some feel is where Hitchcock got the idea for Psycho. Webb composed his usual subdued psychological score, to write some of his best music.

17… Main Title (1:11) Morse Code/Beethoven’s Fifth introduces us to a melodramatic 6 note theme which also features harmony from strings and brass. 17 – main title 7th victim

18… Principal’s Office (1:50) is an adagio with very soft, sad, and yearning strings. No distinct melody but the mood is made quite evident. There is no brass on this track.

19… Mary Sees Jacqueline (3:31) continues with the yearning music, written without melody for mood. We do hear a few brief bars of the main melody and a bit of tension.

20… Jacqueline is Found (1:36) begins with a danger motif to get your attention which includes a rare use of the drum. The track is extremely subdued until the two note danger motif is repeated.

21… Jacqueline (0:57) A tension building track that offers a dreamlike sequence.

22… The Pallidist’s Trial (3:04) Low register strings, dissonant brass, a creepy sounding organ, and a harp are featured in this very complex track. This could be as loud as you ever hear from Roy Webb.

23… The Chase (2:24) offers frantic strings, dissonant piano chords, a brief reference to the main title, all precede a section of gaiety for an acting troup. It ends on a note of gloom.

24…Desirous of Death (1:42) is an eerie beginning with tremolo strings, dark woodwind chords, and the danger motif all contributing to the bleak music.

25… Love Scene (2:10) has a dark beginning which turns into a majestic “sun appears from behind the clouds” cue which is the happiest moment you’ll hear from this dark score.

26… End Title (0:25) begins with the two note danger motif a prelude to the final use of the main title melody.

Morgan did a special job in creating the fine complexities of this Roy Webb score. His orchestrations certainly enhanced the material.

Total Time is 18:51

THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) was based on the short story from Robert Louis Stevenson and was the eighth in the series of films Val Lewton made for R.K.O. Directed by a young Robert Wise the film starred Boris Karloff as Gray, Bela Lugosi as Joseph and Henry Danielle as Toddy MacFarland. The film dealt with grave robbing so a doctor/teacher for a medical school could teach surgery. The story took place in Edinburgh in 1831 so much of the musical material is source adapted from the time period by Roy Webb.

27… Main Title (1:32) begins with a swirling mysterious sound followed by a very Scottish melody, proud and military. What follows is a very short courtly dance and the track concludes with a snare drum which continues without pause to the next track. 27 – main title body snatchers

28… Edinburgh (1:17) is a short cappella sung in the film by a blind street singer. Strings are added to accompany her part way through. The song is “We’d Better Bide a Wee,” which dealt with a young woman wanting marriage but also having to help her elder mother and father.

29… The First Body (3:43) is dark, mysterious, with ever changing tonal ideas and tempos. You’ll hear creepy notes from the oboe, bassoon, and lower register sounds from the strings and brass. The track finally returns to the main theme played in a minor key with an oboe solo.

30… Finale (1:56) a rare loud forte for Webb begins with an agitated orchestral sound of yearning strings, dissonant brass, and timpani all contributing. As it quiets down there is a return to the main theme in a major key to end the all too brief selection of material from the film.

Total Time is 8:31

Film-music historian Bill Whitaker, who did many liner notes for Morgan reconstructions, was quite the champion of this score. He considered it one of the finer efforts of Roy Webb. I had a bit of problem with the Slavic accent in a song clearly defined for a Scottish brogue.

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) was lurid sensational title that didn’t represent the film at all but an idea conjured up by the executives at R.K.O. This was the third film in the series for Val Lewton that was directed by Jacque Tourneur who also did his first two films Cat People and Leopard Man. Tom Conway starred as Paul Holland, Betsy Connell as Frances Dee, and James Ellision as Paul Rand. Curt Siodmak who was responsible for a string of Universal horror stories did the screen play. The story involves a nurse Frances who is hired to take care of Holland’s wife who is in some sort of a trance. Voodoo?

31… Main Title (1:38) Begins with Morse Code/Beethoven’s Fifth R.K.O. introduction followed by a prelude reminding you of the sea. There is a hint of the “O Marie Congo” theme which you’ll hear throughout the score the main title.  31 – main title I Walked With A Zombie

32… Chant (1:55) is from a bass male quartet singing without orchestra the “O Marie Congo” sad sounding Caribbean song.

33… Fort Holland (0:55) is an instrumental version of a vocal that was sung in the film by calypso singer Sir Lancelot. This track is peaceful with soft strings and flutes.

34… Zombie (3:22) offers underscore with a somewhat bright sound which is a prelude to a short crystal clear bass clarinet solo of “O Marie Congo.” The second section begins with a bassoon solo followed by the “Fort Holland” theme from the flute. The third section gives you a sense of mounting tension.

35… Dr. Maxwell (2:22) is a somewhat upbeat cue with flute solo followed by a feeling of yearning.

36… End Title (3:23) begins with swirling and mysterious sound backed by excellent harp harmony with references to “O Marie Congo.” There is a brief return to the bass male quartet and it crescendos forte with the congo theme to end the soundtrack.

Total Time is 13:35

Total Time for Entire CD is 69:53

In my opinion this is a must have CD for your soundtrack collection. It is the best recorded example of Roy Webb. In addition the 36 page booklet offering extensive information from historian Scott McQueen is a must read. The nine R.K.O. films of Val Lewton are all available on DVD at reasonable prices. The Bratislava Orchestra has done their homework and gives an excellent performance of a superb John Morgan reconstruction.