Next, from Mark Isham… (Mania.com)
By:Randall D. Larson
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2007
THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Mark Isham’s absorbing musical score for Lee Tamahori’s Next, released on CD by Lakeshore, is as much a part of this gripping science fiction thriller as Nicholas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, or any of the other characters who pass through its vaguely futuristic Las Vegas scenery. The film, based on Philip K. Dick’s novella ‘The Golden Man,’ has to do with a Las Vegas magician (Cage) who can see a short distance into the future while being pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack. Isham’s composition is energetic and intense, yet never loses site of the story’s inherent humanity. He takes his approach from the film’s human element, and no matter how discordant or dynamic the score’s action moments get, Isham remains steadfastly interested in the story’s human quotient.
Opening with an understated motif for soft piano over strings, “8:09” introduces the theme that will become the score’s overarching nucleus. Haunting in its austere brevity, the motif will become a kind of ambient ostinato representing Cage’s gift – the essence of his ability at precognition, and what it means to possess such foresight. It is closely tied to Cage’s character, but representing more than simply the character’s humanity or emotional environment. It becomes tied to Cage as clairvoyant, musically illustrating how neither part is complete without the other, a motif suggesting the concept of “destiny” (it is most fully developed, in fact, in the track titled “Destiny,” and is associated with Cage’s ability to tap into destiny and discern a little bit of it ahead of time.
Next to this (no pun intended) is “Give Me Two Minutes,” which introduces the score’s action motif, a rapid pulse for choppy violin strokes over which a raspy percussion is slapped and a melodic counterpoint from strings is played. It generates plenty of excitement in its quick cadence, and serves to propel the action forward with urgency.
Like most action scores nowadays, Next is also a hybrid fusion of orchestra and synth pads, which suggests the influence of a Media Ventures temp score somewhere in the process of establishing the score’s sonic flavor (not to mention some semi-hip-hop male chants in the midst of “Pier 18’s” raging beat). But Isham handles the form well, and his score derives the necessary momentum to keep the action going while establishing a satisfying sound design that is rather pleasing on CD. But it’s in its softer moments that Next shines. The Destiny theme and its variants never really interact with the action motifs – Isham keeps the two musical notions fairly separate until the score’s conclusion – but in the development of the score as a whole, and the sequencing of tracks on the disc, the contrast is notable. “A Few Minutes of Your Time,” for example, generates an effective progression of tonality and texture as Isham builds his Destiny theme into an eloquent and persuasive ambience that is both emotive and forward moving in its influential rhythm. “Who Knows What’s Safe” similarly paints a gentle picture of pleasing tonality and languid melodic gestures. On the other hand, the predictable rhythmatics of “Second and Broadway” come across as a bit too perfunctory, even as they segue into a brief statement of the Destiny motif at the track’s end.
The score concludes with “I Believe Anything’s Possible,” which restates Isham’s Destiny theme into a chilled ambiance that eventually merged with the percussive vibe of his action motif, which empowers the cue and propels it into its final, dramatic resolution.
FILM MUSIC NEWS
Trevor Rabin, whose latest scores include The Guardian, Snakes on a Plane, Gridiron Gang and Flyboys, has been hired to compose the music for Get Smart, an action comedy directed by Peter Segal (The Longest Yard) and starring Anne Hathaway, Steve Carell and The Rock. It’s based on the 1960s CBS TV series that starred Don Adams (which was recently issued on DVD from TimeLife). Warner Bros will release the film next summer. – via filmmusicradio.com
On May 21st, Silva Screen releases their latest “Essential Film Music Collection,” a slightly higher-end version of their ongoing budget series “Film Music Masterworks.” The new edition compiles twenty years of music from a composer who is remains one of the most influential in the industry. The Essential Hans Zimmer Film Music Collection is a two-disc set that brings together 20 years of his notable film composition, ranging from his early success with Rain Man to last year’s The Da Vinci Code. The 23 tracks represent a major body of work including music from Gladiator, Pearl Harbor and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films. Interestingly, as Michael Beek of musicfromthemovies.com has noted, some tracks have been included from Zimmer-scored films that aren’t actually credited to him, such as Da Vinci Code’s “Kyrie for the Magdalene” by Richard Harvey, Hannibal’s “Vide Cor Meum” by Patrick Cassidy, and a “Symphonic Suite” from the first Pirates of the Caribbean composed primarily by Klaus Badelt. “The inclusion of these pieces,” Beek suggests, “serves to recognize Zimmer’s omnipresence in the film music industry and his continuing openness to collaboration when it comes to writing film scores.” The music is not original soundtrack music – it’s performed with their usual faithfulness and verve by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra perform the selections, joined on some tracks by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, with Nic Raine and James Fitzpatrick taking to the podium. www.silvascreen.co.uk
Aleph Records will release the soundtrack for the third Dirty Harry movie, The Enforcer, on June 26. Its score has never fully been released, only excerpts having been included on the original soundtrack LP. The Enforcer was the only of the Dirty Harry movies composed by the late composer Jerry Fielding - the other four films all boasted scores by Lalo Schifrin. Aleph Records has previously released the scores for the first two films of the series, Dirty Harry and Magnum Force. www.schifrin.com
James Newton Howard (Blood Diamond, Lady in the Water, King Kong) has scored Scott Frank’s new action film, The Lookout, about a troubled youth who gets caught up in a planned heist.
Alexandre Desplat (Hostage, The Queen, The Alibi) is scoring the new fantasy adventure film, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (calledHis Dark Materials: Northern Lights in the UK), based on the Philip Pullman parallel universe novel in which a young girl (Dakota Blue Richards)journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.
Stop Loss, a political drama about a soldier who refuses to return to battle in Iraq after returning home from the war will get an original score from composer John Powell (Ice Age: The Meltdown, United 93, X-Men: The Last Stand), who is also slated to score The Bourne Ultimatum and Horton Hears a Who.
Disney Records will release Hans Zimmer’s score to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on May 22nd.
Varese Sarabande will release Harry Gregson-Williams’ score for Shrek the Third on June 19th, almost a month after the film’s May 18th opening. John Debney’s score for Evan Almighty, a sequel to the fantasy-comedy Bruce Almighty starring Steve Carel, will be released the same day. Marco Beltrami’s score for the new Die Hard sequel, Live Free Or Die Hard will follow on June 26th.
There is still no word of a score soundtrack of Christopher Young’s score for Spider-Man 3, which nicely blended the Danny Elfman themes from the first two films with Young’s own dramatic score (including a gargantuan monster theme for The Sandman and a wickedly shapeshifting motif for Venom). A song oriented soundtrack CD was released last week by The Record Collection although hardly any of its songs are actually heard in the movie.
Finland´s leading film music composer, Tuomas Kantelinen, composer of such scores such as The Year Of The Wolf, Lupaus (The Promise), Hotet (The Threat), Mindhunters, and the upcoming Quest for a Heart is also working on two new projects. Arn – Tempelriddaren is the first one, an adventure about the time of the Crusades directed by Peter Flinth and written by Hans Gunnarsson, based on the Jan Guillou novel. Release date is set in December, 2007 in Sweden. The other project is Sergei Bodrov´s Mongol, a historic drama about the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world including Russia in 1206. Both projects offer a great chance for elegant, bold and memorable themes but also driving melodies through vivid period music and ethnic touches. The score to Mongol was recorded at George Martin’s Air Studios in London. The movie will be released world-wide with the US distributor being Picturehouse (Pan´s Labyrinth) and will open in the Venice and Toronto Film festivals this year. The score is supposed to garner a CD release. – via http://scoremagacine.com
Russian composer Yuri Poteyenko has scored Dnevnoy dozor (Day Watch), a sequel to the successful science fiction vampire actioner Night Watch which Poteyenko also scored. Night Watch garnered a Russian soundtrack CD (long sold out); no word yet on a CD for Day Watch. Both DVDs can be had as PAL imports.
Nicholas Hooper, the composer who has just finished recording the score for the new Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), recently won the BAFTA Television Craft Award for his music for Granada Television’s Prime Suspect: The Final Act starring Helen Mirren. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts had also nominated George Fenton (Planet Earth), Alex Heffes (Tsunami: The Aftermath) and Rob Lane (Jane Eyre) for the award. – via filmmusicradio.com
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