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 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   Erik Woods   (Member)

Mark McKenzie's long-awaited score to MAX AND ME comes out on March 9th by Sony Classical. I've had the great pleasure of listening to the score and it's lovely. Think of it as an indirect sequel to his score to THE GREATEST MIRACLE. Big orchestra, choir and lots of emotion. Recorded in London featuring violin solos by Joshua Bell, The London Voices, Libera Boys Choir, Clara Sanabras, Dave Arch and Issac London.

If you want more info about the music and hear samples please head over to



 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 11:40 AM   
 By:   hollywoodvegas   (Member)

Still can't find a retailer that has it available.


 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   Lokutus   (Member)

Still can't find a retailer that has it available.


It's fucking iTunes only!

 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 2:18 PM   
 By:   Christian K   (Member)

A) Finally!

B) The Great Miracle eventually saw a CD release as well, so don't give up all hope just yet.

C) The guy on the left side of the cover looks a bit like JNH.

 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Mike S   (Member)

The subject of Father Kolbe seems to bring out the best in composers. Wojciech Kilar's requiem is further testament.

 Posted:   Mar 7, 2018 - 3:20 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I never expect much in terms of originality from McKenzie, but he almost always delivers solid orchestral, traditional writing. So colour me intrigued.

 Posted:   Mar 9, 2018 - 7:21 AM   
 By:   Erik Woods   (Member)


Anyone listening to this today?


 Posted:   Mar 9, 2018 - 7:35 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

"C) The guy on the left side of the cover looks a bit like JNH"
Haha. My first thought too!

 Posted:   Mar 9, 2018 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   Jon Broxton   (Member)

My review of MAX AND ME, for anyone who's interested.

In my opinion, this is an early contender for Score of the Year.


 Posted:   Mar 9, 2018 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Erik Woods   (Member)

B) The Great Miracle eventually saw a CD release as well, so don't give up all hope just yet.

According to McKenzie via Facebook it doesn't look like the score will EVER be released on CD. The film isn't even finished yet.

"They're still working on the will be released probably in 2019. I doubt there will ever be a CD release. This is it."


 Posted:   Mar 10, 2018 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   moviescore1   (Member)

This is a great score. Downloaded it yesterday and have been listening to it all day. If you were a fan of McKenzie's Greatest Miracle score, you will love this. So great to hear a classic, melodic orchestral score with some heart.

 Posted:   Mar 10, 2018 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

I never expect much in terms of originality from McKenzie, but he almost always delivers solid orchestral, traditional writing. So colour me intrigued.

Definitely, not like JunkieXL, who in your opinion:
JXL is an absolutely brilliant composer. One of the best currently working. 
stated in the Tomb Raider 2018 thread.

At least you share the attitude of most current filmmakers which is why JXL gets big projects and McKenzie doesn't....

 Posted:   Mar 12, 2018 - 8:37 AM   
 By:   knisper.shayan   (Member)

just listening to "max and me"...simply beautiful.

 Posted:   Mar 12, 2018 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   Kylo Ren   (Member)

The only score I have heard of his is "Blizzard" and that's only because a member of the family was watching it and I picked up on the music standing out in a good way. It actually reminded me of Williams crossed with Elfman in parts. Very good stuff.

It elevated the film tremendously. By the end, I couldn't hate it even if I tried, just because of the music. The film outside of it's music is just ok, perfect for children. There's a lot worse Christmas films out there.

 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 8:33 AM   
 By:   Washu   (Member)

It is is a pretty good saccharine traditional score, but it isn't anything special at all.

It almost strikes me as a poor man's Horner score in this mode, but Horner's scores usually had at least one good theme, this is forgettable in comparision. I would be shocked in a negative way if it was still in my top 10 of the year by the end of the year. Not a fan of the clichés here either, the wordless voices (even if I am thankful that he added words to at least one of the cues) and the wailing. It isn't doing anything for me i'm afraid.

I can think of dozens of better film scores than this from the last few years.

 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 8:52 AM   
 By:   Buttons   (Member)

Thanks for the heads up Erik. Added it to my iTunes collection to listen to after work. I love Mark McKenzie. One of the few composers still keeping me interested in film music.

 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

I've listened to this a few times through and have debated how I wanted to contribute meaningfully to the conversation. I have mixed feelings about most of Mark Mckenzie's post-2000 scoring, including this, and here's why:

It's beautiful and thematic. There's more heart and sincerity in the music than in all of [insert Zimmerian Music Sequence Composer #25672981-3]'s entire career output. Inarguable.

It's also very... Simple and obvious. The melodies, harmonies and orchestrations aren't as richly imagined or creative as I tend to now like my film scores. When listening to this score I constantly found my mind filling in lines of harmonious counterpoint that would make the music shine with greater inspiration and originality, while maintaining the lofty spirit integral to the emotional tone of his music.

I think the truth with Mckenzie is that his sense of orchestration and counterpoint is, for my taste, too simple and obvious (ironic, I guess you might say, given him background as an orchestrator for other composers). His melodies are usually of a very high quality (sometime magnificent even) but the supporting harmonic development and sense of orchestrational creativity isn't really up to the task (in my opinion) and keeps the music feeling somehow too simplistic when it didn't need to be. It's just not his style to engage the full ensemble with lots of contrapuntal activity I guess, even though we know he CAN orchestrate like that when he so desire (BLIZZARD is brazenly colorful and florid, just how I like my "beautiful" music to be) but he usually shies away from that sound - in my opinion to the detriment of his music, which just begs for the full vitality that composers like Williams, John Scott and others imbue their music with. It heightens and enriches the listening experience.

The last cue of MAX AND ME is an exception to this. Rolling string lines, grand contrapuntal brass playing broad counter melody to the choir, chatting trumpets over big chords in the organ - feels inspired, exuberant, and full of life. While I understand the rest of the score builds to this moment so it's grandness feels "earned", at the same time I can't help but wish at least a little more creativity went into the music leading up to it.

What I really miss from Mckenzie is his earlier, more muscular stuff. FRANK AND JESSE, WARLOCK: THE ARMAGEDDON, BLIZZARD and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF GARCIA LORCA are much more interesting efforts, with a richer harmonic vocabulary and more variety in the orchestrations, while maintaining the high level of melodic beauty he's known for. Those were inspired efforts that I love and listen to frequently - but his later music (especially the Hallmark stuff) is just too... Simple, light, obvious and incidental.

MAX AND ME is definitely more dramatically potent than those Hallmark efforts, but it's still a far cry from the resounding harmonic splendor some of the aforementioned titles afforded the listener.

But then again, I'm sure all these obscure faith-based things he's scoring are also "simple, light, obvious and incidental" fils unto themselves as well, so there's always that...

I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with this sentiment, and probably rightly so since I'm projecting my own tastes onto how I wish Mckenzie penned that score as opposed to judging it on its own existing merits. I hate to in any way disparage a melodic and thematic score with a big heart in such dark purgatorial for that type of music... But I also expect a lot from a composer this gifted and it's frustrating to hear an effort that's sincere but doesn't seem to push him creatively to deliver something transportive and brilliant, when we know he CAN do that/

I'll listen a few more and see if my opinion changes.

 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I know exactly what you mean, re: much of McKenzie's work. It's lovely, well written and orchestrated, but doesn't have the depth I need to sustain repeat listens. Even Durango (one of his most popular scores) I was playing again recently and I got tired of it with the exception of perhaps one theme. Just not enough interesting stuff going on to hold my attention. I too feel a bit bad saying so, but I wanted to back you up since I know it took some guts to post that opinion.


 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 10:40 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Thanks Yavar, it's an interest conundrum, isn't it? Here's a big, heartfelt score replete with lush writing, big choir, Joshua Bell on solo violin, a big London ensemble... And yet it feels... Missing genuine ethos somehow. I totally agree about DURANGO as well.

I wish he'd revisit the sounds of these kinds of works below - the basic "Mckenzie Ingredients" are the same, but there's far more interest and dramatic depth present in these scores, in my opinion.

 Posted:   Mar 15, 2018 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I just wish he'd picked up the habit of using more unusual harmonies and such (instruments, time signatures, etc.) from his time spent working with Jerry Goldsmith. smile Even Goldsmith scores I'm not wild about tend to reveal more with repeat listens. That's what I mean by depth -- not everything is there to absorb on the first listen. Same definitely goes for my other favorite composers like Alfred Newman, Miklos Rozsa, Basil Poledouris, Elmer Bernstein, Roy Webb, etc. Certainly true of the best works by today's masters as well (ie. Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, of course practically everything by John Williams and Ennio Morricone...)

I agree those three McKenzie scores you posted YouTube samples from are among his more re-listenable works, and I'm glad I have them in my collection. I do also like Blizzard, but I think I'm a bit more forgiving of festive Christmas scores going for the obvious.


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