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FILM SCORE FRIDAY 4/16/04

By Scott Bettencourt

On May 25th, Atlantic will release the soundtrack to HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZBAKAN. Alarmingly, the cover describes it as "Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture," but since John Williams is prominently credited on the cover, one can only hope they merely shoehorned an irrelevant song or two in after all the great new Williams cues. Please?


Aleph will release Lalo Schifrin's complete score to DIRTY HARRY on June 8th, plus seven minutes of alternate cues.


On May 11th, Varese Sarabande will release James Horner's score to BOBBY JONES: STROKE OF GENIUS, a biopic with Jim Caviezel as the titular golfer, directed by Rowdy Harrington (Road House, Striking Distance).


Nicholas Pike is releasing a CD of his score to the psychological thriller LOVE OBJECT, starring Desmond Harrington (Wrong Turn) as a man obsessed with a realistic sex doll (no, it isn't Cherry 2004). The CD can be ordered from the composer's website, www.nicholaspike.net.


The British label NMC is releasing LOVE FROM A STRANGER, featuring a rerecording of cues from Benjamin Britten's score for the 1937 film of the same name. The CD will also feature cues from Richard Rodney Bennett's score to The Return of the Soldier, Elisabeth Luytens' score to the Amicus horror film The Skull, and Roberto Gerhard's music from the Oscar nominated drama This Sporting Life.


Erich Kunzel will conduct the Cincinnati Pops in a concert featuring orchestra/choral suites from Miklos Rozsa's scores to Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis and King of Kings on May 14th, 15th and 16th. For more information, go to the Pops website.

At the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center of San Diego County, David Amos will conduct the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra in a concert featuring the world premiere of Laurence Rosenthal's "Three Prophets" on June 6th. Rosenthal will discuss his film and concert work in a pre-concert talk. For more info, go to this website.


On April 21st, Howard Shore will receive ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award, and Clint Eastwood will receive their Opus Award, at a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. ASCAP will also honor the composers of the most successful films and television programs of the last year.

On May 12th, BMI will present its Richard Kirk Award for Outstanding Career Achievement to composer Mark Mothersbaugh, at the BMI's Film & TV Awards ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Previous winners of the Kirk award include John Barry, Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Kamen, Thomas Newman, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Silvestri, John Williams and Hans Zimmer. That evening, the BMI composers who have scored the top-grossing films and highest rated television programs of the year will also be honored.


On July 8th, PBS' Soundstage will air an hour-long special featuring songwriter-conductor Burt Bacharach and singer Ronald Isley (of the Isley Brothers) performing Bacharach's songs (including such movie tunes as "Alfie" and "The Look of Love") from their acclaimed recent album Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach.


The website BSO Spirit has a new interview with composer John Debney at this link. Debney's score album for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST has officially reached Gold Record status, as well as having been number one on Billboard's Soundtrack and Christian charts.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

The Best of Lone Wolf and Cub - Hideakira Sakurai, Kuuihiko Murai - La-La Land
Love Object - Nicholas Pike - www.nicholaspike.net
Stealing Time - Joey Newman - La-La Land


IN THEATERS TODAY

Connie and Carla - Randy Edelman - Song CD on Epic with one Edelman cue
Kill Bill Vol. 2 - The RZA, Robert Rodriguez - Song CD on Maverick, inc. score cues by Ennio Morricone and Luis Bacalov
Prisoner of Paradise - Luc St. Pierre
The Punisher - Carlo Siliotto - Score CD due from La-La Land
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion - Jeff Beal, Nawang Khechog - Score CD on Karuna
Young Adam - David Byrne - Score CD Lead Us Not Into Temptation on Thrill Jockey


COMING SOON

April 27
Godsend - Brian Tyler - Varese Sarabande
May 4
Van Helsing - Alan Silvestri - Decca
The Thorn Birds - Henry Mancini - Varese Sarabande
May 11
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius - James Horner - Varese Sarabande
Last Tango in Paris - Gato Barbieri - Varese Sarabande
The Lion in Winter - Richard Hartley - Varese Sarabande
May 18
The Day After Tomorrow - Harald Kloser - Varese Sarabande
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Ennio Morricone - Capitol/EMI
May 25
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - John Williams - Atlantic
June 8
Dirty Harry - Lalo Schifrin - Aleph
Date Unknown
Basic Instinct (expanded) - Jerry Goldsmith - Prometheus
Battle Cry - Max Steiner - Screen Archives/BYU
The Brave Little Toaster - David Newman - Percepto
Foxes of Harrow - David Buttolph - Screen Archives
The Keys of the Kingdom - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Laws of Attraction - Edward Shearmur - La-La Land
Love From a Stranger - Benjamin Britten, Richard Rodney Bennett, Elisabeth Luytens, Roberto Gerhard - NMC
Narrow Margin - Bruce Broughton - Intrada Special Collection
The Punisher - Carlo Siliotto - La-La Land
The Reluctant Astronaut - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
Son of Fury - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Timeline - Jerry Goldsmith - Varese Sarabande


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

April 16 - Charles Chaplin born (1889)
April 16 - Henry Mancini born (1924)
April 17 - Ernest Gold wins his only Oscar for the Exodus score (1961)
April 18 - Miklos Rozsa born (1907)
April 18 - Mike Vickers born (1941)
April 18 - Andrew Powell born (1949)
April 18 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording score to The King's Thief (1955)
April 18 - Maurice Jarre wins his second Oscar for Dr. Zhivago score; presumably decides to stick with this David Lean kid (1966)
April 19 - William Axt born (1888)
April 19 - Sol Kaplan born (1919)
April 19 - Dudley Moore born (1935)
April 19 - Jonathan Tunick born (1938)
April 19 - Alan Price born (1941)
April 19 - Lord Berners died (1950)
April 21 - Mundell Lowe born (1922)
April 21 - Franz Waxman begins recording score to The Story of Ruth (1960)
April 21 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording score to Wild Rovers (1971)
April 21 - Eddie Sauter died (1981)
April 22 - Isao Tomita born (1932)
April 22 - Bride of Frankenstein released (1935)
April 22 - Jack Nitzsche born (1937)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

THE ALAMO - Carter Burwell

"Carter Burwell's score is disappointingly James Hornerish (conventionally romantic, with Celtic pipes), but it has one moment of sublimity: the stirring low brass and drums as the Americans lie sleeping and the Mexicans begin their surprise approach. That music supplies the mythic dread that's absent from the rest of the picture, despite Dean Semler's blue-lit mists and Michael Corenblith's expressive rubble."

David Edelstein, Slate.com

"As directed by John Lee Hancock, it's dull, talky, and sometimes maudlin (as in a Ken Burns documentary, the letters home and Celtic panpipes are never far way)."

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

"No wonder Disney/Touchstone moved 'The Alamo' from its end-of-the-year schedule. It's got mixed-ethnicity brotherhood, battles and drunken commanders a la 'The Last Samurai'; a portrait of harsh Southwestern frontier life a la 'The Missing'; a flutey war-is-hell score played over lingering shots of corpses a la 'Cold Mountain'; and a climactic few-against-the-many siege a la 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' (and 'The Two Towers' for that matter)."

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

"'The Alamo' is gorged with dull, wince-worthy dialog. 'Kiss all six children for me' one of the men writes in the hours before the Mexican Army's assault. Does his wife not know how many kids they have? Of course she does. The detail is here to wring every last drip of sorrow we have for those under siege. And like Carter Burwell's score (a confusing letdown from the creator of very fine scores for the Coen Brothers and Spike Jonze), such lines point out the ways in which the inherently moving tale of the doomed never builds."

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

"To rattle the settlers' nerves, the Mexican repeatedly play a cavalry ditty called 'Deguello' (Slit Throat) to remind them of their impending doom, and in a way, the treatment of this tune sums up the film's pros and cons. For John Wayne's windy, ahistorical but genial 1960 version of the story, the director-star rejected the song as too banal and unattractive, and substituted the hauntingly beautiful alternate Dimitri Tiomkin had written for Howard Hawks' 'Rio Bravo' the year before, which imbued his picture with strong emotional resonance. The actual tune as heard here is indeed annoying, but the filmmakers have turned this to their advantage in a charming scene in which Crockett, already established as an accomplished fiddler, provides his own imaginative accompaniment to the piece in a vigorous rooftop improvisation, an interlude that ultimately lends the film a poetic coda. Carter Burwell's score, which employs Gaelic-sounding strains, is more conventional than much of his work, but happily avoids the insistent pounding and point-making of most modern big-picture soundtracks."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR - Paul Haslinger

"From the retro ambient score by ex-Tangerine Dream member Paul Haslinger on up, virtually every moment of the film owes a debt to 'Risky Business.'"

Keith Phipps, The Onion

"Pic makes first of many winking allusions to 'Risky Business' very early, as soundtrack swells with Tangerine Dream-like sound while Matthew Kidman (Hirsch) notes shapely blond Danielle (Cuthbert) moving into the suburban home next to his."

Joe Leydon, Variety

I'M NOT SCARED - Ezio Bosso, Pepo Scherman

"Editing could be a little tighter, but Pepo Scherman and Ezio Bosso's fretful, obsessive string score helps maintain a consistent thread of tension."

David Rooney, Variety

SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, AND SPRING - Bark Jee-Woong

"To illustrate the ideals of harmony and peace, a certain amount of discord and dissonance must be endured. The music sometimes tests the limits of such endurance; it sounds better suited to accompany the sinking of the Titanic than the progress of the monk's creaky rowboat."

A.O. Scott, New York Times

"Bark Jee-woong's sometimes unconventional, varied score (ethereal, perky, chant-like, choral) is a further fillip."

Derek Elley, Variety

THE WHOLE TEN YARDS - John Debney

"Pic's look is slick and easy on the eye, with Seth Flaum's editing a sharp plus and John Debney's jokey score a distinct negative."

Robert Koehler, Variety


EXORCIST FOUR TIMES TWO

FROM: "Christopher M. Walsh"

SUBJECT: The Exorcist: The Beginning and Michael Kamen
 
To the good people of FSM,
 
I don't know how new or old this news is, but learning that director Paul Schrader's version of "The Exorcist: The Beginning" is to be released after all, on DVD as a companion to Renny Harlin's reshot version, makes me wonder:
 
Did Michael Kamen complete his score to Schrader's version?
 
As someone who admired, and was fond of, Mr. Kamen -- I interviewed him for my college thesis in 1996 (and it was an entertaining, enlightening call) -- I am heartened by at least the possibility of hearing more of his work.
I had also read that there may be DVD releases of both versions of the Exorcist prequel. Considering how quickly Schrader was taken off the project, I'd be surprised if there was a score written for his version, but I could be wrong. I still haven't heard who scored the final version, though I believe Christopher Young was announced for the project at one point after Kamen left.


ON TROY AND RELATED TOPICS

FROM: "John B. Archibald"

SUBJECT:Re: Gabriel Yared
 
I never thought much of Mr. Yared's work. I never even bothered to get the CD of "The English Patient," since I found that score mostly unmemorable.
 
However, I watched the DVD last night of "Possession," and was struck by the Herrmannesque quality of the score. I was surprised to learn it was by Yared. I shall certainly acquire this score; it was thematic and evocative, and contributed mightily to the overall mood of the film, which I also thought was a lot better than I'd heard.
 
Consequently, I'm more interested today in what Yared presented for "Troy," and I'd certainly be likely to buy a recording of it.
 
I hope a CD becomes available.
FROM: "Randy Derchan"
SUBJECT: Hollywood decisions
 
Master and Commander is a great example of deviance-and defiance-for the big-budget studio film. When I saw it, I kept expecting it to play out like Pirates of the Caribbean, but instead, it was a "surprise" and became its own creature. I rested easy after a while, knowing the movie was in Weir's hands, because he wasn't resorting to predictable Hollywood filmmaking. He didn't seem to care if he connected with everyone in the theater or not and I'm glad he was given the freedom to do that. Now if more people would be like that!
 
I agree with your viewpoint of Hollywood, but I don't feel that Master and Commander is a great example. I felt that script was just a big as sellout in many spots. I really felt that film had too many Hollywood predictables also. It wasn't an action film and I expected that, but I almost felt that it was a bit overrated in the originality department, minus the ending. Even the name of the film was a studio debate and got two titles. Needless to say, not the best example for me to ponder the preceding issue with. Tarantino may be a better archetype, in my opinion.

Troy, on the other hand, looks to be another Cleopatra, but not as good. With the new score, expect lots of pan flutes.


YET ANOTHER LETTER ABOUT PASSACAGLIAS AND CHACONNES

FROM: "Sean McDonald"

SUBJECT:  I'll bet John Williams could write a great passacaglia

We don't seem to have nearly enough passacaglias and chaconnes in filmscores but I'm ever on the lookout for them because I for one think they're one of the most powerful musical forms for when a composer wants to instill a mounting sense of awe, terror, sadness, majesty etc. It's great that Jerry Goldsmith actually composed three for THE BLUE MAX. Not one but three! And they're all roof-raisingly brilliant. And he composed a truly powerful passacaglia as a musical epilogue for PAPILLON that magnificently sums up Papillon's endurance and all the hideous hardships he endured. Hope Goldsmith composed other passacaglias that I haven't discovered. The jaw dropping music that accompanies the big graveyard scene in THE OMEN does sound like a passacaglia but not sure -- I admit I'm light years from being a musical scholar.

Douglas Gamley wrote a chilling, awesome, passacaglia for organ into his excellent score for TALES FROM THE CRYPT. The passacaglia appears near the beginning of the film as the doomed characters make their way to the crypt keeper and then reappears at the end taking on scary doomsday proportions as the 5 visitors realize that they've all been damned for eternity. The kind of music the Phantom of the opera would perform.

Not sure but I think George Van Parys' great main title music for LES DIABOLIQUES would be a chaconne. Whichever it is, passacaglia or chaconne it's one incredible main title that this mysterious composer wrote. A personal favorite. One wonders if Van Parys wrote a complete score for the film that was rejected. Another great one, a very sad passacaglia was composed by William Walton for HENRY V.

Wonder if Miklos Rozsa wrote any passacaglias or chaconnes. I hope that he did.

I think the "icy ascent" passage from John Williams solemn, baroque tinged score for THE EIGER SANCTION is a chaconne. Again a wonderful passage in this gutsy, unflinchingly dark score. And what a hair-raising finale the score has! Which brings me to my point. I know this is mere wishful thinking but it would be great if Williams composed a big demonic passacaglia into one of his scores [if he hasn't already]. One of the greatest standards of what a passacaglia was composed by Benjamin Britton for his opera PETER GRIMES. And I've always suspected that John Williams could write a passacaglia that would be a match or even surpass the one from PETER GRIMES. Something that would bring the house down. Which Williams does on a regular basis. I for one love the recent Star Wars scores Williams wrote THE PHANTOM MENACE and ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Both scores are brilliant and I admire them both quite a bit. I was disenchanted with Star Wars films after seeing the disappointing RETURN OF THE JEDI. Ignored the two recent films when they came out after all the bad press they received. But upon catching up with them I found them to be vastly different from JEDI and a whole helluva lot more interesting and entertaining. Andy Dursin was right on the money praising MENACE. I agree with him that CLONES wasn't as good but I still enjoyed most of it. Christopher Lee stole the show. Love the atmospheric finale with Christopher Lee's ship flying through vast stormy looking skies accompanied by Williams awesome theme for Darth Sidious -- Lee meeting up with Darth Sidious -- Yodas saying "The shroud of the dark side has fallen--" A particularly grand version of the Darth Vader theme accompanying that one HUGE shot of all those destroyer ships taking off. "Most impressive."

Well enough rambling. This emails getting too long. I'll close by saying I think you're doing a good job. And I hope that Lukas Kendall will write the liner notes booklets for INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE when someday,deluxe editions of those two scores are released. He did a wonderful job for the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK booklet. I wouldn't mind if another edition of the RAIDERS score was released too containing more previously unreleased music.
 

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