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FILM SCORE FRIDAY 5/28/04

By Scott Bettencourt

Just as their Special Collection of Bruce Broughton's NARROW MARGIN has become available, Intrada has announced that their next CD in the series will be Leigh Harline's score for 1957's classic WWII submarine thriller THE ENEMY BELOW, which will be available in July. The CD will feature the complete score in stereo, as well as liner notes by a writer with the improbable name of "Jeff Bond."


Varese Sarabande will be releasing a CD of Jeff Beal's music for the popular Tony Shalhoub TV mystery series MONK on July 15th.


Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 soundtrack, to be released June 22nd, will feature a "Spidey Suite" and a "Doc Ock Suite" by Danny Elfman along with the inevitable songs. No word yet if there will be a separate score album.


The online magazine salon.com is more noted for its political coverage than its film music analysis, but this week it featured an article by Dave Roos entitled "Wail Watching," discussing my least favorite current trend in film music, which I think of as "the Eastern moan" and which Roos calls "the vaguely ethnic wail." Roos discusses the start of this trend in Gladiator and its continuation in scores such as The Four Feathers and Hulk, culminating in its current use in The Passion of the Christ and Troy. John Debney discusses his own use of it in Passion, though when the article was first published his name was consistently misspelled as "Denby" (maybe the writer was confusing him with acclaimed New Yorker critic David Denby) but the mistake has since been corrected.


Film fans who were upset when George Lucas made alterations to the first three Star Wars films and kept the original versions out of circulation will have more fuel for the flames of their anger when they learn that Lucas is planning to release a similarly altered version of his first feature, THX-1138, which will now feature digitally augmented cityscapes and crowd scenes. So if you've got a letterboxed laserdisc of his original, outstanding version, keep it.


FIND ME A YOUNG JOHN WILLIAMS

FROM: "Mark Ford"

SUBJECT: Johnny Williams TV appearances
 
Attention John Williams fans, for what will probably be fleeting appearances by him on late 50's TV...

The TRIO pop culture cable channel is currently showing reruns of the Johnny Staccato TV series. [Excerpted from the TRIO website] "Set in NYC, this Brilliant but canceled series centered on jazz pianist Johnny Staccato, who supplemented his meager income as a jazz pianist by working as a Private Detective. An important background for many episodes was "Waldo's," a small jazz club in Greenwich Village where Johnny spent much of his spare time and met most of his clients. Originally airing on NBC in 1959, this series was shot in black and white and features amazing jazz performances by the Pete Candoli jazz combo which included Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne, Red Mitchell, Red Norvo and Johnny Williams, who perform the score by Oscar-winning composer Elmer Bernstein."

Johnny (John) Williams appears as "Piano Player" in the following episodes"

Shop of the 4 Winds - showing 7/2/04 at 8:30 EDT, 7/19/04 at 8:00 & 11:00 EDT
Naked Truth - showing 7/1 at 8:00 & 11:00 EDT

Proof that the man came from the world of jazz. Enjoy!


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - John Williams - Atlantic
Narrow Margin - Bruce Broughton - Intrada Special Collection


IN THEATERS TODAY

Baadassss! - Tyler Bates - Song CD due from BBE
The Day After Tomorrow - Harald Kloser - Score CD on Varese Sarabande
The Mother - Jeremy Sams
Raising Helen - John Debney - Song CD on Hollywood
Saved! - Christophe Beck
Soul Plane - The RZA


COMING SOON

June 8
Battle of Britain - Ron Goodwin/William Walton - Varese Sarabande
The Chronicles of Riddick - Graeme Revell - Varese Sarabande
Dirty Harry - Lalo Schifrin - Aleph
The Great Escape - Elmer Bernstein - Varese Sarabande
The Lion in Winter - Richard Hartley - Varese Sarabande
Man on Fire - Harry Gregson-Williams - Varese Sarabande
The Notebook - Aaron Zigman - Varese Sarabande
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation - John Morgan, William Stromberg - Varese Sarabande
Van Helsing: The London Assignment - John Van Tongeren - Decca
June 15
Around the World in 80 Days - Trevor Jones - Disney
The Terminal - John Williams - Decca
June 22
The Door in the Floor - Marcelos Varvos - Decca
Salem's Lot - Christopher Gordon - Varese Sarabande
Two Brothers - Stephen Warbeck - Decca
June 29
The Clearing - Craig Armstrong - Varese Sarabande
July 15
Monk - Jeff Beal - Varese Sarabande
Date Unknown
The Big Empty - Brian Tyler - La-La Land
The Brave Little Toaster - David Newman - Percepto
The Enemy Below - Leigh Harline - Intrada Special Collection
Foxes of Harrow - David Buttolph - Screen Archives
The Keys of the Kingdom - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Killer Klowns From Outer Space - John Massari - Percepto
King Arthur - Hans Zimmer - Hollywood
The Punisher - Carlo Siliotto - La-La Land
The Reluctant Astronaut - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
Son of Fury - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Terror Tract - Brian Tyler - La-La Land
Timeline - Jerry Goldsmith - Varese Sarabande
Vic Mizzy: Suites and Themes Vol. 2 - Vic Mizzy - Percepto


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

May 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold born (1897)
May 29 - Masaru Sato born (1928)
May 29 - Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov born (1936)
May 29 - David McHugh born (1941)
May 29 - Danny Elfman born (1953)
June 1 - Werner Janssen born (1900)
June 1 - Nelson Riddle born (1921)
June 2 - Marvin Hamlisch born (1944)
June 3 - Curtis Mayfield born (1942)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

GODZILLA (re-release) - Akira Ifukube

"Then comes a radio report -- 'Gojira has been sighted' -- and a special bulletin -- 'All residents need to be evacuated immediately' -- and then a long, long silence, the army's enormous spotlights playing over the black ocean waters. The reptile's head, with its cruel, beady eyes, appears -- to the heraldic low horns and drum rolls of Akira Ifukube's stunning overture, which segues into a mournful march reminiscent of the first movement of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, and then into the film's most famous musical phrase, the sawing, three-note string motif that sings, 'GO-ji-ra GO-ji-ra GO-ji-GO-ji-GO-ji-GO-ji GO-ji-ra.' The deep-sea final sequence is underlit and hazy, the music deeper and slower, invoking Wagner's Gotterdammerung; and you can only just make out the blurred monster as it contemplates the divers, seeming to await its own demise. 'Gojira' is no masterpiece, but it has the power of a masterpiece: It's the most emotionally authentic fake monster movie ever made."

David Edelstein, Slate.com

REVERSIBLE ERRORS [TV] - Laura Karpmann

"Forced to re-investigate the case, Potter and Selleck -- who, shades of 'Friends,' still makes a pretty convincing romantic lead opposite another much-younger leading lady -- find time to reminisce about how great their sexual escapades were (briefly shown at the outset, accompanied by a 'Body Heat'-like score)."

Brian Lowry, Variety

SHREK 2 - Harry Gregson-Williams

"Design elements, from the imaginative costumes and glittering backgrounds to the highly articulated character work, are superb, but while Harry Gregson-Williams' score is inventively invigorating, some of the pop song choices are uncharacteristically underwhelming for a franchise that sets its own bar so high."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

STRAYED - Philippe Sarde

"Though Philippe Sarde's score teeters on the edge of mawkish at times, it generally enhances the mood."

David Stratton, Variety


BOOK IT, DANO

FROM: "Eric Kunze"

SUBJECT: Hawaii 5-0 fan alert
 
For fans of the music from Hawaii 5-0 who don't also track classical listings, Albany Records has just released a CD (TROY 662) of Don Ray's Piano Concerto and Suite No. 2 from Family Portrait. Don Ray's music was featured on more Hawaii 5-0 episodes than any other composer. Both the above works include numerous quotes from this much-beloved music.

Also note with sadness the passing of Fred Karlin whose music for Futureworld and the TV miniseries turned series Man from Atlantis is still remembered with great fondness.


SAFE SCORING WITH TROJANS

FROM: "dimitri"

SUBJECT: Gabriel's Horner
 
I am glad that film score fans, critics and movie reviewers are taking the time to note just how bad Horner's score is to "Troy." It's nice to know that many people are listening & pay attention to movie music. While I praise Yared for his wonderful, spectacular music, I too look down at Petersen and the studio for rejecting this wonderful work. Listening to Yared's music, it makes me wonder what people were smoking of course when he was fired. Overall, Yared's score should have been kept in the film, end of story.

Now to create controversy and stress.

There is a lot of hate rampant on the Internet for Horner, his score, and for just taking over the project. I have yet to understand this. Would we concentrate the same amount of hate towards Jerry Goldsmith or John Barry if they had taken over for Yared? I think not. It really shames me that people even go out to say that Horner was working behind the scenes just waiting for Yared to be removed. At this point, it's not hate, it's just ludicrousy and inflicting terror on the film music community. It's really quite childish. I was surprised that a petition wasn't written to get Yared back on like what happened in "Timeline" with Goldsmith. I'm not saying it's wrong, but is there really anything we can do with less than two weeks to write and record an "epic" score?

While I love and appreciate Yared's beautiful music, I can't help but also lose respect for him. If you look past his score and the efforts put forth (which most people won't be able to do), this man writes a letter detailing the events and "pointing fingers" for his departure. We then see people posting messages of hate towards Horner and what was supposedly done, which were deleted by webmasters at some soundtrack review web sites. How can a person do this? Or why? Yared risks his reputation not just as a composer, but just as a person, as a "Joe Schmoe" who lives in this world as the rest of us. I don't remember hearing a peep from Goldsmith with his rejected score. We heard from Donner, which was great, but Goldsmith didn't go around making accusations or sending out letters to web sites. In the end, directors and studios probably won't remember a rejected score in "Troy." They will remember what this man did, and his actions afterwards.

As a graduate student and researcher, I know what it is to lose something you have created, or have articles rejected for reasons sometimes unknown to me. But I don't go writing letters and bad-mouthing people, whether it comes from my mouth or if I ask others to do it for me. Yes, it's a horrible, sick feeling of putting so much effort into something and then having it rejected, but I face the troubles head-on and don't make a fuss. You just make the next one even better.

Well, now that I've wreaked havoc among the people, I encourage every single person reading this to look at recent events objectively and, if possible, without bias. Take a step back and see for yourself what a rejected score has driven people to say and do. I will say that I still admire Yared's work. I will admire his unique and artistic perspective in his film music and his concert works. But I will remember and not forget the hatred of a man out for blood and revenge.

I think "hatred of a man out for blood and revenge" is overstating it a little bit, and frankly I find it refreshing that for once a composer went public with his story instead of just playing politics and shutting up for the sake of future work.

Considering how long Yared had spent working on the score, if there were something truly wrong with it it should have been abundantly clear much earlier, and if Petersen felt the need to replace him then he should have been replaced sooner so the second composer could have had an acceptable amount of time to write a thoughtful, original replacement score.

That said, I saw the film last weekend and Horner's score was much better than I expected -- at least the orchestral parts. The synth-y cues and the inevitable "vaguely ethnic wail" were predictably lazy. I also felt the "Remember" theme sounded distractingly like Silvestri's theme for Tomb Raider 2. Which reminds me -- Horner's claim in his FSM interview that the world is running out of new melodies is one of the saddest justifications for plagiarism (or at the very least lazy composing -- did he really have to use that danger theme AGAIN?) I've ever heard.

MailBag@filmscoremonthly.com

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