January 27, 2012
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.
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
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
January 23, 2012
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
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/
January 19, 2012
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.
January 18, 2012
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-OF–NERETVA-THE-NAKED-AND-THE-DEAD/
January 17, 2012
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
Total Duration: 01:07:12