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A Musical Premonition
By Randall D. Larson
May 03, 2007
© Varese Sarabande
THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDATIONS
I had a strange feeling that Klaus Badelt’s new score was going to be a good one. For Premonition, the third effort from actor-producer-director-random hyphenate Mennan Yapo, the composer noted for Catwoman, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Poseidon, The Promise, and the 2002 remake of The Time Machine, has composed a soft-spoken and eloquently atmospheric score. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a depressed housewife who is seemingly having premonitions about the death of her husband, unsure if the death or the premonition is actually the real thing. Badelt underlines the storyline’s growing unease with an ambience built from sustained strings contrasted against a burbling layer of double-fingered, high end piano and an airy pattern of woodwinds. This motif, introduced in the first track, is essentially romantic but slightly tinged with an element of discomforting unsureity. It’s a tonality that Badelt will develop through the score, released last week by Varése Sarabande in a nicely sequenced arrangement of fairly longs cues (five to ten minutes, on average, bracketed by 2-minute title tracks). “Linda and Jim” is a melancholy love theme for the main characters. In “Severe Severing,” Badelt’s introductory piano fingering is taken by Herrmannesque violins and for a time in becomes an ostinato of apprehension as Bullock’s character begins to sense that things are not quite right, before the track morphs into a progressive development of ambient material. Most of the tracks proceed likewise, laying down a brooding mysterioso and then developing various layers of texture and tonality on top of it, in the process crafting a compelling but discomforting musical atmosphere. “Severe Severing,” for example, develops early on into a rising crescendo for violins, before quieting and introducing an electronic pattern for recurrent, low synth noise over which the fluidity of strings and winds resonates; the low end synth pad becomes a heartbeat or growing unease and near panic, until the cue morphs into interlaced trembling patterns of piano, synth sounds, and strings. The beauty of Badelt’s orchestral strains is contrasted effectively against the frequent reflective, repetitive, or just plain strange sounding electronic reverberations, which powerfully develop a growing sense of incorrectness and panic on the part of the listener/viewer, culminating in an overpowering wave of processed strings, rumbling textures, and other sounds that wash over the listener in a sinewy roar. The music follows these kinds of patterns throughout the soundtrack, making for a fairly progressive listening experience on CD, as Badelt weaves his textures and tonalities and motifs throughout a translucent canvas without having to rely on recurring themes scurrying back to the fore. He allows the music to proceed slowly and softly, allowing motifs like the piano/violin ostinato and his strident synth pads to developing harmonically in a fine arrangement of musical patterns; the score is both frightening and very intriguing, musically. “Inconsistencies” is quite affecting in this regard, ascending to a powerful string-driven climax at the 6-minute mark, resolving afterwards into a pleasing pattern of assertive strings that herald the re-arrival of the violin ostinato. “Something’s Really Wrong” develops all of this into a very effective melodic sound collage, while “If Tomorrow is Wednesday” draws it to its quiet resolution. “A New Life” concludes the score with an austere reprise of the “Linda and Jim” love theme.
Also new from Varése Sarabande is Carlo Siliotto’s powerful and melodic score for 2005’s Nomad: The Warrior, the historical epic set in 18th-century Kazakhstan about a young man who is destined to unite the country's three warring tribes. Siliotto has demonstrated his affinity for affecting melody and powerful orchestral scoring in 2004’s The Punisher in previously in several Italian films and TV movies. His music for Nomad is potent stuff, providing an epic resonance for the film that is appropriate to both its period and large scale presentation. The large scaled orchestral score is richly melodic and contains an intriguing breadth of musical color and tone. Low end vocalisms, deep horns, and percussion-driven rhythms are associated with the Jungar (West Mongolian) tribes, while flowering violin melodies represent the heroic Kazakhs. With the exception of one tracks incorporating traditional Kazakhstani folk music, the score is fluently evoked through Western-styled orchestral music. The music if nicely performed by the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra enhanced by a number of solo vocals and various folk instruments, which lend the music a likable and interesting layered texture. The music is intricate and large-scaled, fragile and strongly hewn. It follows and enhances the emotions of the storyline, while also intensifying the film’s energy and heroic resonance. Partially in the style of the grand historical epic adventures of the 1950s and partly enhanced with contemporary world music affectations, Siliotto’s composition is a large tapestry of splendid melodies that develop and interface quite effectively.
FILM MUSIC NEWS
The Record Collection has released the “music from and inspired by” song soundtrack from Spider-Man 3 this week, a collection of new and recycled songs from the likes of Wolfmother, Snow Patrol, the Killers, The Flaming Lips, Chubby Checker, Jet, The Oohlas, and others – strange bedfellows for a single disc. Also issued for online distribution is a limited edition soundtrack package containing a 32-page embossed hard-cover book featuring stills from the movie and 5 collectable movie cards housed inside an 8”x8” box made from a replica of the rubberized Spider-Man suit. This version will also contain a bonus track by The Flaming Lips titled, "Theme From Spider-Man." The album will be available in 4 different collectable picture discs enclosed in clear gatefold sleeves. Images from the film will be pressed on one side of the vinyl. This special package is available online only at: www.spiderman3soundtrack.com
Reportedly Christopher Young’s original score for Spider-Man 3 was laced with tracked-in Danny Elfman cues from Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, as well as a few other odds and ends. Unfortunately, there is no word yet about any score CD release for Young's Spider-Man 3 score.
In other Young news, though, Varése Sarabande will release Christopher Young's score to Lucky You on June 6th, 2007. Lucky You tells the story of a hotshot poker player (Eric Bana) who tries to win a tournament in Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems. The movie which is directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) opens on May 4th, 2007 in the US. Lucky You is the second collaboration of Christopher Young with director Curtis Hanson.
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. Warner Bros will release the film next summer. Expect a soundtrack CD. – partially via filmmusicweekly
Lakeshore Records reports that a score soundtrack for Disturbia will be released on July 10th. A CD containing the songs from the film was issued on April 3rd. The score CD will feature the musical score by Geoff Zanelli (who also wrote additional music for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, as well as music for the forthcoming Shrek the Third videogame, along with games music enchantress Winifred Phillips. www.lakeshore-records.com
He’s not scoring for the upcoming Simpsons feature film (it’s being scored by Hans Zimmer), but according to the Gorfaine-Schwartz Agency Michael Giacchino is doing the music for the new Simpsons video game, produced by Electronic Arts. Giacchino’s agency also announces that the composer is also attached to another upcoming game, Fracture, from LucasArts. Giacchino, who is perhaps best known for his feature film scores The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible III. – via filmmusicweekly
Karl Jenkins may be the most popular contemporary classical composer currently writing contemporary classical works. Pieces such as ‘Adiemus’ and ‘The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace’ have given the composer worldwide notoriety and his albums are some of the bestselling titles in the classical charts. With all that in mind it’s no wonder the composer has seen fit to cross over into the realm of film, having already written for a couple of TV projects, as well as arranging for many adverts. Jenkins first feature film score is River Queen, a film that was actually made back in 2005 but is only just reaching screens in the UK this month. Director Vincent Ward (What Dreams May Come) brings forth a dramatic story about an Irish family who are caught on both sides of the British/Maori conflict during the 1860s colonization of New Zealand. The film, which stars Samantha Morton, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Rea and Temeura Morrison, is a largely Kiwi production and was well received upon its original release. The soundtrack was released on EMI in England this week, and is available as an import.
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. – via musiconfilm.com
It has been confirmed finally that Brian Tyler has been hired to compose the original score for the fourth Rambo film, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone. This marks the second time Tyler follows in the footsteps of the legendary Jerry Goldsmith – in 2003, Tyler replaced a rejected score by Goldsmith on Richard Donner’s Timeline; now, Tyler will do a sequel score to a trilogy scored by Goldsmith, who wrote one of his most well-known themes for the first film, First Blood. Brian Tyler also has the score for Alien vs Predator 2 coming up. – Mikael Carlsson, via filmmusicweekly
Composer Mark Mancina has launched a newly redesigned website! Featuring animated slideshows with music from his films as well as audio from upcoming projects, the website can be viewed at www.markmancina.com.
Not so long ago Silva Screen Records released The Incredible Film Music Box, which featured 56 of the biggest and best film themes from the last six decades. That set is now cancelled out somewhat by their newest compilation, titled 100 Greatest Film Themes, which is a companion to their own 100 Greatest TV Themes set. The 100 track selection is spread across 6 discs and takes in 67 years of the best film themes ever recorded – from Gone With The Wind to The Da Vinci Code, it’s all here in one neat package (re-recorded and performed by Silva’s usual splendid orchestras). 100 Greatest Film Themes will be is released on May 28th and is available from www.silvascreen.co.uk
Paul Haslinger, whose recent scores include horror films Turistas and Vacancy, changes pace with an independent drama comedy entitled Gardener of Eden. The film tells the story about a young man whose life is changed when he captures a serial rapist. Kevin Connolly directs, Leonardo Di Caprio produces and Lukas Haas, Giovanni Ribisi and Erika Christensen star in the film. Haslinger is also doing the music for the independent drama comedy Gardener of Eden. – Mikael Carlsson, via filmmusicweekly
The latest set of releases from Film Score Monthly presents four scores on two discs: Two original Colpix LPs (taken from sealed vinyl sources) are paired on one disc: Damn The Defiant! features Clifton Parker's score for the seafaring historical adventure directed by Lewis Gilbert and co-written by Nigel Kneale, starring Alec Guinness and Dirk Bogarde, while Behold A Pale Horse features an early Maurice Jarre score for Fred Zinnemann's Spain-set drama starring Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif. The second release combined the scores for two feature film comedies featuring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz: The Long, Long Trailer featured a score by Adolph Deutsch, while Bronislau Kaper wrote the score for Forever, Darling, which co-starred James Mason. www.filmscoremonthly.com
Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen, who was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Composer last year, has been hired to compose the music for The Knight Templar (original title: Arn – Tempelriddaren), a Nordic co-production which is a film version of Jan Guillou’s best-selling medieval adventure novel. The film stars Joakim Netterqvist, Sofia Helin and Stellan Skarsgard among others, and it’s directed by Danish helmer Peter Flinth (Eye of the Eagle). Kantelinen, who has just finished work on the animated feature Quest for a Heart, has also been signed to compose the music for Russian director Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol, a historic drama about the early life of Genghis Khan. – via filmmusicweekly
Lionsgate is releasing two current film scores online on iTunes. On May 1, Jonathan Goldsmith’s music for Away from Her, Sarah Polley’s acclaimed drama starring Julie Christie, Michael Murphy and Olympia Dukakis, came out, and on May 22, Brian Tyler’s score for Bug, the new horror thriller directed by William Friedkin, will be released. – Mikael Carlsson, via filmmusicweekly
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