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FILM SCORE FRIDAY 12/5/03

By Scott Bettencourt

The latest nominations for the Grammy awards were announced yesterday. Here are the contenders in the film related categories:

BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA

Catch Me If You Can - John Williams
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - John Williams
The Hours - Philip Glass
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Howard Shore
Seabiscuit - Randy Newman

BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA

Chicago
Gangs of New York
Kill Bill Vol. 1
A Mighty Wind
School of Rock

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA

Act A Fool (from 2 Fast 2 Furious) - Christopher Bridges & Keith McMasters
The Hands That Built America (from Gangs of New York) - U2
I Move On (from Chicago) - Fred Ebb & John Kander
Lose Yourself (from 8 Mile) - J. Bass, M. Mathers & L. Resto
A Mighty Wind (from A Mighty Wind) - Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy & Michael McKean

Randy Newman was also nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the cue "Seabiscuit" from the Seabiscuit soundtrack, and Joel McNeely was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album for his conducting of the Varese Sarabande re-recording of Bernard Herrmann's The Day The Earth Stood Still.


MICHAEL SMALL 1939 - 2003

Composer Michael Small died in New York on November 24, 2003 at age 64 of cancer, surrounded by his family. Born in 1939, Small was the son of Jack Small, a general manager for the Shubert theater organization who was friends with such Broadway luminaries as Jule Styne and Jerome Robbins. Michael attended Williams College and planned to become a Broadway composer but his career path changed when producer Edward Pressman heard his work at a BMI showcase and hired him to score his first film, Out Of It, a youth comedy starring Jon Voight. Small's score for the film involved the participation of the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, including oboist/vocalist Michael Kamen and drummer Mark Snow. Small scored three films for Out of It director Paul Williams (no relation to the songwriter), including the drug comedy Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues, based on a novel co-written by Michael Crichton.

Small studied orchestration with composer Meyer Kupferman who, in a sad coincidence, died this week at the age of 77. In 1971, Small scored the thriller Klute, which in many ways proved to be the defining film of his career -- it was the first of nine films for director Alan J. Pakula, and it helped establish Small as the musical voice of cinematic paranoia, a talent he displayed in such projects as Child's Play, The Parallax View, The Stepford Wives, Night Moves, Marathon Man, Rollover, and The Star Chamber. At the same time, he worked on such non-thriller projects as Pakula's post-WWII Western Comes a Horseman and the geriatric caper comedy-drama Going in Style, and collaborated with such acclaimed directors as Robert Wise, John Schlesinger, Walter Hill, Michael Apted, and Sidney Lumet. One of his most inventive scores of the era was his music for the PBS adaptation of Ursula K. LeGuin's sci-fi classic The Lathe of Heaven, which was recently released on video for the first time but which, like far too much of Small's output, has never had a soundtrack release.

In 1981 he wrote one of his finest scores for the remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, which was the first of four projects for director Bob Rafelson. Their partnership led to the historical adventure Mountains of the Moon, which not only gave Small the chance to write in a different genre but even led to a soundtrack album. In Rudy Koppl's exhaustive profile of the composer in the Autumn 1998 issue of Music From the Movies (which provided much of the information for this article), Small listed Mountains as one of his favorites of his own work, along with Klute, The Parallax View, Marathon Man and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

During the 1990s Small took fewer assignments, and his last projects were the documentary The Endurance, the TV remake of the musical South Pacific, and episodes of the Nero Wolfe TV series, starring Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin. He is survived by his wife Lynn and his children Jonathan and David.

THE SCORES AND (ALL TOO FEW) ALBUMS OF MICHAEL SMALL:

OUT OF IT
JENNY
PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD
THE REVOLUTIONARY
THE SPORTING CLUB
Song & Score LP on Buddha
KLUTE
CHILD'S PLAY
DEALING: OR THE BERKELEY-TO-BOSTON FORTY-BRICK LOST-BAG BLUES
LOVE AND PAIN AND THE WHOLE DAMN THING
THE PARALLAX VIEW
THE STEPFORD WIVES
NIGHT MOVES
THE DROWNING POOL
MARATHON MAN
AUDREY ROSE
PUMPING IRON
THE DRIVER
GIRLFRIENDS
COMES A HORSEMAN
GOING IN STYLE
THE LATHE OF HEAVEN (TV)
THE BOY WHO DRANK TOO MUCH (TV)
THOSE LIPS, THOSE EYES
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
ROLLOVER
THE STAR CHAMBER
CHIEFS (TV)
KIDCO
FIRSTBORN
DREAM LOVER
TARGET
NOBODY'S CHILD (TV)
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
Score LP on MCA
BLACK WIDOW
JAWS: THE REVENGE
Score CD released as a composer promo
ORPHANS
HEAT AND SUNLIGHT
1969
SEE YOU IN THE MORNING
MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON
Score CD on Polydor
MOBSTERS
Score CD on Varese Sarabande
CONSENTING ADULTS
Score CD on Milan
WAGONS EAST
Score CD on Varese Sarabande
POODLE SPRINGS (TV)
INTO MY HEART
THE ENDURANCE
SOUTH PACIFIC (TV)
THE NERO WOLFE MYSTERIES (TV):
BEFORE I DIE
CHAMPAGNE FOR ONE
COP KILLER
DEATH OF A DOXY
DIE LIKE A DOG
THE DOORBELL RANG
THE GOLDEN SPIDERS
IMMUNE TO MURDER
MOTHERHUNT
MURDER IS CORNY
OVER MY DEAD BODY
POISON A LA CARTE
PRISONER'S BASE
THE SILENT SPEAKER
TOO MANY CLIENTS


The Contender composer Larry Groupe and writer-director Rod Lurie have reunited for a new ABC TV series, LINE OF FIRE, in which Leslie Bibb plays an FBI agent investigating mobster David Paymer. The series, which co-stars Anson Mount and 24's Leslie Hope, plays Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. and premiered this week.
 

The singing duo Opera Babes (soprano Rebecca Knight and mezzo Karen England) have recorded a Sony album entitled Beyond Imagination, and included among the classical pieces is "You'll Live On in My Heart," which is the theme to Cinema Paradiso (by Ennio & Andrea Morricone) with new lyrics by Knight.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Angels in America - Thomas Newman - Nonesuch
Captain Scarlet - Barry Gray - Silva
Commando - James Horner - Varese Sarabande CD Club
The Island - Ennio Morricone - Varese Sarabande CD Club
The Robe: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition - Alfred Newman - Varese Sarabande CD Club
A Summer Place - Max Steiner - Screen Archives/BYU


IN THEATERS TODAY

Honey - Mervyn Warren - Song CD on Elektra
The Last Samurai - Hans Zimmer - Score CD on Elektra


COMING SOON

December 9
Calendar Girls - Patrick Doyle - Hollywood
Cold Mountain - Gabriel Yared, various - Sony Classical
Dreamkeeper - Stephen Warbeck - Varese Sarabande
The Fog of War - Philip Glass - Orange Mountain
House of Sand and Fog - James Horner - Varese Sarabande
21 Grams - Gustavo Santaolalla - Varese Sarabande
December 16
Peter Pan - James Newton Howard - Varese Sarabande
Scary Movie 3 - James L. Venable, various - Varese Sarabande
December 23
Big Fish - Danny Elfman - Sony Classical
Paycheck - John Powell - Varese Sarabande
January 13
The Statement - Normand Corbeil - Varese Sarabande
Date Unknown
The Abominable Dr. Phibes - Basil Kirchin - Perseverance
Amerika - Basil Poledouris - Prometheus
Battle Cry - Max Steiner - Screen Archives/BYU
The Black Swan - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Brannigan - Dominic Frontiere - La-La Land
The Butterfly Effect - Michael Suby - La-La Land
The CBS Years vol. 2: American Gothic - Bernard Herrmann - Prometheus
Dirty Harry - Lalo Schifrin - Aleph
The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal - various - La-La Land
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
Hidalgo - James Newton Howard - Hollywood
The Keys of the Kingdom - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
McQ - Elmer Bernstein - Film Score Monthly
Mighty Joe Young, etc. - Roy Webb, et al - Monstrous Movie Music
On Dangerous Ground - Bernard Herrmann - Film Score Monthly
The Reluctant Astronaut - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
Secret Weapons Over Normandy - Michael Giacchino - La-La Land
This Island Earth, etc. - Herman Stein, et al - Monstrous Movie Music


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

December 5 - Jerry Goldsmith records score for the Room 222 pilot (1968)
December 5 - Masaru Sato died (1999)
December 6 - Mort Glickman born (1898)
December 6 - Lyn Murray born (1909)
December 6 - Piero Piccioni born (1921)
December 6 - Richard Markowitz died (1994)
December 7 - Ernst Toch born (1887)
December 7 - Tom Waits born (1949)
December 7 - John Addison died (1998)
December 8 - Leo Shuken born (1906)
December 8 - John Rubinstein born (1946)
December 8 - Bruce Kimmel born (1947)
December 8 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording score to The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1958)
December 9 - Alessandro Cicognini died (1995)
December 10 - Alexander Courage born (1919)
December 10 - Leigh Harline died (1969)
December 10 - Roy Webb died (1982)
December 11 - Rogier Van Otterloo born (1941)
December 11 - Rachel Portman born (1960)
December 11 - Anthony Collins born (1963)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

THE COOLER - Mark Isham

"Mark Isham's lush vintage score, heavy on the brass, with Isham himself on trumpet, reinforces the film's romantic undertow."

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"From Arthur Coburn's seamless editing to Toby Corbett's evocative production design and Mark Isham's outstandingly atmospheric score (abetted by a fine choice of tunes one can associate with the old Vegas), production values are tops, as are the abundant supporting turns."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

THE HAUNTED MANSION - Mark Mancina

"The fluid editing, Mark Mancina's Danny Elfmanesque score, and some nicely calibrated special effects keep the film moving along, and Disneyland freaks will enjoy ticking off the bits of the ride that have made it on-screen, but there's none of the wild-card energy Depp and Geoffrey Rush brought to 'Pirates.'"

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

IN AMERICA - Maurice Seezer, Gavin Friday

"Craft contributions are solid, although the score tilts precariously at times toward jaunty feel-good strains."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

TIMELINE - Brian Tyler

"The clumsy, wooden, screen adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel 'Timeline' suggests a particularly wretched episode of 'Star Trek" tricked out with fancy fireworks and weighed down with a score that grinds away like a cement mixer.'

Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Already well known in some circles as a troubled production (highlighted by re-editing so significant that Jerry Goldsmith's original score no longer fit and had to be replaced with a jack-hammer score by Brian Tyler), pic seems patched together right from the jumpy start, when a victim of a sword-wielding knight suddenly appears in the middle of the American desert."

Robert Koehler, Variety


THE MORRICONE THE MERRIER

FROM: "David Anthony"

SUBJECT: The Island
 
Hi Scott

Your comment that Morricone's theme to The Island is 'your personal favorite melody in his canon', suggests, that like many people on the FSM comments board, you have an extremely limited knowledge of Mr Morricone's music. Of cause I could be doing you an injustice and you may have heard a good percentage of his scores? But really, the best in his canon, are you kidding?

How about:

La Califfa
Duck you Sucker
The Red Tent
Guns for san Sebastion
Maddalena
Questa Specie D'Amore
Addio Fratello Crudele
Il Deserto dei Tartari
Novecento
Once Upon a Time in the West/America
The Leone Westerns
El Greco
Il Grande Silenzio
Faccia a Faccia
L'Avventuriero

I could go on and on. What really gets me about FSM, is that people are always willing to make a sweeping statement about a composer or piece of music etc., but never back up how qualified they are to make these comments. So, how much Morricone music have you heard?

Regards, David

You begin your letter by accurately quoting me as selecting the theme from The Island as "my personal favorite melody in the Morricone canon." However, mere lines later, you have inaccurately accused me of picking the Island theme as "the best" Morricone theme.

I chose the words "personal favorite" with extreme care; "best" is something entirely different, and is the kind of "sweeping statement" I personally try to avoid in my columns (notice how often I use the word "arguably"). I feel I am extraordinarily qualified to pick my favorite Morricone theme, since it is MY favorite that is being discussed.

I never said that The Island is a great score. It's a minor work in the Morricone oeuvre, for a terrible yet oddly fascinating film. Yet that main theme has stayed with me for 23 years, and will be included in the third installment of my One Hundred Favorite Themes series (a series which you might want to avoid, Mr. Anthony).

For the record, I own just over 200 Morricone CDs, and have listened to all of them at least once, as well as 15 LPs of Morricone scores that I don't have on CD (the Morricone LPs I owned that were eventually released on CD I sold to my local Amoeba Records, and they seemed quite pleased to receive them). Does this indicate I have sufficient familiarity with Morricone's work to decide which my favorite is? And given the unparalleled quantity of Morricone's output (and the fact that much of it was written for films that have never been seen in the U.S.), I suspect that for even the most devoted American Morricone fan, there are dozens if not hundreds of scores that he/she has never heard.

By my count, I have seen 48 of Morricone's films, beginning in 1979 when I saw Days of Heaven at the Marin Theater in Sausalito, California, and continuing this year with the theatrical re-releases of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the expanded version) and Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, both at L.A.'s Nuart Theater.

True, I am much more familiar with the work of Herrmann (I have heard at least part of each of his feature scores) and Goldsmith (the only Goldsmith feature scores I've never heard any of are Black Patch, Face of a Fugitive, A Gathering of Eagles, Shock Treatment and the rejected Public Eye) than with that of Morricone, whose voluminous output makes it nearly impossible to even know the majority of his work, much less 90-95 percent of it. But I'd like to think that 215 albums and 48 movies make a good start.

And for the record, my second favorite Morricone theme is "Estate - 1908" from 1900.


ON TEMP SCORE EXTRAVAGANZA PART 3

FROM: "Chris C. Tilton"

SUBJECT: Luke Goljan's Temp Score article
 
I find it strange that you would publish an editorial by someone who shows a clear lack of musical knowledge. Since I know them so well, I shall comment on his statements regarding The Matrix scores.

I was pretty sure it's common knowledge by now that the Matrix scores were not temped with anything and that they were extensively influenced by post-modern composers such as John Adams, David Lang, and Witold Lutoslawski. His references to Stravinsky are very strange since neither The Matrix nor Dark City sound like him. He says Stravinsky influenced the two composers, but let's be realistic here. EVERY composer of the 20th century has been influenced by Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" in some way or another. Then, he goes on to talk about how the Power Plant sequence sounds like the Borg ship music from First Contact. I just have to roll my eyes since Davis was clearly going for a dissonant John Adams/Ligeti hybrid here. Now I know most people without an abundance of classical knowledge wouldn't pick that up, but these issues have been discussed countless time in interviews with Davis. All he had to do was a little research on the net to find that his conclusions are way off base. Am I crazy or is FSM publishing more and more articles about film music by people who seem to refuse to do something as simple as research?

There's also something odd about the fact that classical music is rarely referenced when discussing composers that referenced classical music in their scores. Again -- RESEARCH!

FROM: "Chris"
SUBJECT: Return of the Temp Score
 
Luke,
I'm not sure completely what your point is in the article, although it looks as though it's leaning towards the opinion that virtually no composers working in film are capable of being original these days. Do you really think all these scores are completely ripped off? I mean, there's a difference between James Horner's score using the exact rhythm (a rhythm so original that it identifies only one piece) to Holst's Mars from the Planets in a cue for Mask of Zorro, and something sounding similar to something else because it opens with fifths in the horns right before a choir comes in. Consider--

There's a 7 note motif in Mozart's Piano Concerto 21 that is exactly the same as the main theme to the last movement of Haydn's trumpet concerto.

The main theme from the last movement of Brahms Sym1, although conceptually extremely similar to the Ode to Joy theme from Beethoven 9, is melodically fairly different.

In the ending theme of Mahler Sym1, there's a horn configuration that intervalically matches a tune from the big chorus of the Handel Messiah.

Shall we conclude that Mozart, Brahms, and Mahler were all unoriginal composers? Keep in mind too that many of these film composers in your article are working for directors who are insistant about how well the temp works...and if the composers don't copy the approach, they get fired. All that on top of having 5-6 weeks to write an hour of orchestral music. It's tougher than you think to write a score that doesn't have its origins and influences in previous work. Even for Brahms.


THE LOSS OF TWO MICHAELS

FROM: "Matthias Budinger"

SUBJECT: Michael Kamen and Michael Small
 
I am feeling sad hearing that Michael Kamen and Michael Small have passed away. I met both composers in 1988 and 1990 respectively in Munich when they recorded BARON MUNCHHAUSEN and MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON. Kamen was a zestful and vibrant character, a real rock 'n' roller in the best sense, the best composing match to Terry Gilliam's over-the-top cine-fantasies. Michael Small I especially liked due to his quiet, sensitive and serene manner. He was a wonderful composer to really serve a filmic drama without over-powering the audience. A truly mature and intelligent composer who didn't have any kind of commercial thinking.
FROM: "Mark Hasan"
SUBJECT: Kamen's Edge of Darkness
 
Just a quick note the memorable score to Edge of Darkness was released in the UK on a 12" 45rpm LP, and CD (both, in mono, via the BBC label).

CONCERT IN BLACK

FROM: "Kenneth Laws"

I know that not much slips by you guys over there but I thought I would draw your attention to a recent BBC broadcast just in case. Last Friday on the BBC's "Friday night is music night" programme the BBC Concert Orchestra performed a world premier of Stanley Black's score to the film "Blood of the Vampire" I must admit that I'm not familiar with this movie but the music was very good indeed and for my money puts Black up with the big boy's. Later on during the show there was a brilliant Black arraignment of the nursery rhyme "three blind mice." This performance can currently be heard by going to www.bbc.co.uk/radio2 and clicking on Friday night is music night.


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