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Beauty and the Beast is one of your most recent assignments, how did you become involved on the movie and at what stage of the production did you become involved?

I was introduced to Christophe Gans in March 2013, when the editing of the film began. He told me a lot about film, his intentions, his desire to make a film for everyone, but in which each generation finds its account. I quickly made what would become the waltz of the film, which he enjoyed very much.


How much time were you Given to score Beauty and the Beast, and where did you record the score?

I had a lot of time on paper, the first sessions taking place in October, so about 7 months starting from April. But there was 80 minutes of music to write, and the film was constantly being altered and edited. The sessions took place at Abbey Road Studios in October and December.


I sensed a hint of the style of John Barry Within the score, with its beautiful strings, plaintive piano and emotive sounding horns, what artists or composers would you say have inspired you or influenced you in the way you write music or approach the scoring of a motion picture?

I do not think I have had any direct influences whilst scoring the picture as I think listening to other composers music is not always a good idea> My ideas for the style of music came mainly from discussions with Christophe Gans who gave me some ideas as to what style of music was needed or he felt would be best suited to the movie, whilst working on Beauty and the Beast we discovered many common musical tastes: Woljieck Kilar, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Hermann, Michel Legrand to name a few. In any case, I knew he wanted a large musical score that was generous and romantic, but within the frame a European context. He wanted the film repatriated with its French origins of the original story, and the music involved in it.


Do you believe that orchestration is a significant part of the composing process?

Yes I think it is, however on this occasion I did call upon the services of a co-orchestrator, Mathieu Alvado, which is the first time I have done this because the task of scoring the movie was so immense and there was really not a great deal of time, so we worked on the orchestrations together. It was essential, above all, that music has a “body”, it has to be noticed but it also must not overpower the images. I decided very quickly the option of a “classic” nomenclature, although without the orchestra’s trumpets.


The score for Beauty and the Beast is large and sumptuous, with quite lavish and lush themes. When you began to score the movie, did you have any fixed ideas about what style of music you would write and did these ideas alter as the project progressed?

Having ideas and developing them is essential, it gives coherence to the whole thing. The score consists of 4 or five main themes, but they all at times cross over into each other. Without upstream work, without image, it would have been difficult. Once fixed my nomenclature, and having identified the main areas of work, I tried these themes. Then began to work with the images.


Do you prefer to create a primary or main theme for a score first, and then build the remainder of the work around this?

Yes I think one has to establish a central theme firstly, but at times the movie dictates otherwise, the main theme I composed was originally supposed to be present a lot more in the film. But the film itself decided otherwise.

As I have Said Beauty and the Beast is a great work, All which is fitting for the story, in fact I would say it is very much akin to what I call an old fashion film score, that ‘contains strong thematic material and is full of energy, what is your opinion of contemporary movie music as Opposed to music from the 1940′s thru to the 1970 s?

It is great to have nostalgia and be able to look back at vintage scores, I think John Williams remains a reference today he remains busy and composing wonderful scores, which he also did back in the 1970. That said I really like the work of people like Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat, and many other contemporary composers who are working in film.


What musical education did you receive and did you focus upon Any Particular instrument whilst studying?

I did classical studies at the conservatory, both in composing and oboe, which was my main instrument.


What size orchestra did you Utilize on Beauty and the Beast and what choir Performed on the score?

I used an orchestra that had 80 members, plus I added to this the London voices which made up the adult choir and also we had the Tiffin Boys choir for the children

You began to write movie music at a very early age, I think you were fifteen when you undertook to score your first film, but your first official credit is on IMDB as SHIP OF MARRIAGE in 1994?

Ship of Marriage or “The boat wedding” was I suppose my first feature and it was also the first feature film by Jean-Pierre Améris. The budget was very small we had about twenty musicians in total if I remember correctly. I had previously however worked with the same director on a documentary As sometimes happens, he was more than happy to entrust the music for his movie to me.


You have I think Predominantly Worked in France and Europe, where do you prefer to record your scores, do you have a preference for a Particular studio or internship and indeed an orchestra?

I work a lot in France of course, and have a lot in common with the French musicians. But we begin to experience problems with studios. More film music is recorded abroad, which makes a lot of studios in Paris close due to lack of projects. I love recording in London, which is European capital as far as recording is concerned.


Was the film music something that you had always been attracted to, I ask because you have also written numerous songs, so was movie music something that became more prominent as your career progressed?

Yes, the music always came first, as a teenager I was passionate about jazz and I listened to the big bands! Then from there I became interested in writing for cinema. I have actually not written so many songs except maybe for movies when I’m asked to, but the song or song writing is not my main musical path. By contrast I worked on a lot of arrangements for songs as well as being a composer.

How many times do you like to see a movie before you start the actual work of composing, and do you spot the movie with the director?

With Beauty and the Beast, I saw the film for 7 months, I cannot tell you how many times I watched it in that period, it was several times a week at least, this was I wanted to ensure that the music would be suited to each and every scene, and as I have said the film was constantly changing and being edited and then re-edited, so I had to change the way in which the music was utilised, or maybe would have to cut the running time or at times extend it. We ran through the reels chronologically, each reel being spotted with Christophe Gans and Sébastien Prangère who was the editor on the movie we did this to be absolutely positive and accurate with everything.

Beauty and the Beast has been released by the Spanish soundtrack label Quartet records, did you have any input into what music Would be included on the release, there is 80 mins of music on the disc which includes the French and English versions of the song, how much did you write for the movie?

Yes of course, I did involve myself with the preparation of the compact disc release; I had to shorten some of the cues so that the two versions of the song could be included on the disc. I did not write the song.


Have you ever experienced problems with a temp track on a movie, Has a director ever asked you to fashion a score “just like the temp” and do you find the use of temp tracks helpful or unproductive?

Temp-tracks can be very useful, provided that the director understands their role and knows to abandon them once the composer begins work on the film. The problem is that the temp is sometimes installed on the film right from the outset of the production and everyone that is involved with the movie becomes used to this music, so it can be hard for the composer to come in at a later stage and write something that works for the director, producer and at times even the distributor. They are however very useful tools or guides for the composer when it comes to the pace of the film.


I Understand That You Were in ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS playing the role of a pianist in a bar, have you ever been on location for any of the movies or TV shows you-have Scored, if so did you find it helpful with the development of your score?

It was not a role, just a representation! I went several times on film sets, but I’d rather stay in the post-production department. The only thing that helps me to find an idea for a score is to see the movie as much as possible, and talk as much as possible with the director and editor. Even reading the script rarely gives an idea of the film as it will be, because of editing and even whole scenes being cut.

Have you Any Given concerts of your movie music, and do you perform on your own scores?

I have not had the chance to make my music into concert suites as yet, except once at Cannes for the film “Paris I love you.” Otherwise I always conduct the orchestra in the studio; this is probably the most impressive moment and also a better time.

What would you identify as the main differences between scoring a TV show or series and a motion picture, or do you approach both TV and film in the same way?

The difference is mainly due to the budgets that are available, with TV the budgets are smaller thus it can be a case of being inventive as a composer and utilizing to your best ability what you have available.


As a composer and conductor do you find it better to work-have a conductor with the orchestra so That you can study and supervise the recording session from the desk?

No, I really prefer to conduct my own music for film and television, I’m in front of the orchestra, in a privileged position, it gives me a sense of participation in the life of the music after spending weeks alone, it also allows you to adjust more quickly balance issues for example. And above all: listen closely, without filter, this is the greatest reward of all.

Have you ever been at a recording session and Realized that maybe the music is not working as you would have liked it to, if so what do you do in a position like this?

No I don’t think this has happened to me, but It might do fingers crossed it will not.

What are you working on at the moment, and what do you do musically away from the film?

I’ll soon start to write arrangements for an album by a French singer. In the periods between projects, I just listen to a lot of music, which I never do when I am working. I now have many records to listen too. I love to read music as well: just released is the simile Varsity “sacred spring” of Stravinsky.



RYSE; SON OF ROME, has a very epic/exciting sounding score which is brimming with proud and commanding musical themes. I am always amazed at the quality of music that is being written for games in recent times, in fact I would go as far as to say that many of the scores that are written for games are in many ways superior to some film scores, the composers of game music are at times sadly overlooked and even dismissed by collectors of film music but game music for me is just an extension of film music and therefore should be treated as one and the same and be considered and respected in the same way as music for motion pictures. As games become more sophisticated and realistic and continue to develop so does the use of music within them.

RYSE;SON OF ROME is just one example, its thunderous and attractive thematic properties adding atmosphere, tension, drama and emotion to each new step of the game. Tilman Sillescu is just one of the composers who worked on this project and together with musical collaborators Borislav Slavov and Peter Antowski has created a score that is commanding and at the same time highly listenable, for me personally the music evokes the raw power that composer Jerry Goldsmith fashioned at times when he wrote for action or epic story lines, such as FIRST KNIGHT, CASSANDRA CROSSING,TOTAL RECALL, and THE WIND AND THE LION. The score contains powerful percussive lines that act as an impressive background to driving strings, flyaway woodwinds and growling turbulent sounding brass which are carried along by further use of strident strings, timpani and bolstered by synthetic support, added to this are a number of ethnic instruments which add a certain authenticity to the soundtracks overall sound, and at certain points it also has Hermannesque sounding strings which punctuate and enhance further brass stabs. But although this is a full on powerhouse work for the majority of its running time it still remains attractively and enticingly thematic. It is however not all action mode music as the soundtrack does contain a number of less effervescent sounding interludes that contribute a more settled atmosphere and add an attractively subdued and even calming and emotive persona to the work. The impressive orchestration plays an immense part to the works hard hitting impact, with rams horn entering into the equation at one point and although this is only a fleeting appearance it is sufficient to add an air of menace to the proceedings which is unsettling and chilling, also the introduction of the aforementioned ethnic instrumentation gives the score greater depth and seems to give it credence. I recommend this score without question or doubt and I hope that film music collectors who for what ever reasons are unwilling to give game music a place in their collection might be persuaded to take a listen to RYSE; SON OF ROME, because I know if they do they will be blown away by its epic sound, its quality compositions, its imaginative and innovative orchestrations and its sheer power. Ten out of ten for this one….


Music from two Italian Peplums, Digit movies have again managed to amaze me with this marvelous double compact disc set. The music from HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED released for the first time in its entirety. Both scores have been issued before on the CAM- Phoenix label, and some music from HERCULES made it onto a RCA LP which also included dialogue and sound effects. Both scores are the work of composer Enzo Masetti and conducted by Italian film music stalwart Carlo Savina. I remember when I was a kid going to what we used to call Saturday morning pictures, this was a thing for kids during the 1960,s and was always a bit of an experience, at times it was hard to hear the movie for the noise being generated in the cinema. It was at these Saturday morning sessions that I became familiar with characters such as HERCULES in the form of Steve Reeves plus many other characters from Greek mythology, this was via a huge amount of Italian peplums that were screened at these Saturday morning outings. Of course I was not at that time aware that the films were of Italian origin, I just enjoyed them. As we all know some of the Italian peplums were re-scored for U.S. and U.K. audiences, but I honestly think that the films I watched all those years ago contained the original scores by Masetti, I might be wrong so don’t all write to me and tell me I was imagining it. With this release in particular I think Digit movies has managed to convince me that they are probably the best soundtrack label in the world. With each release this dedicated label brighten my listening experiences. This magnificent 2 cd set. Is a must have item. I was a little apprehensive when it was announced as an up and coming release, but my fears of sub standard music and poor sound quality because of it’s age were totally unfounded. The sound quality is in a word wonderful, the music is superb and the presentation of the compact disc by Digit Movies is excellent. I thought that maybe the music would not be that interesting, simply because British scores from the same period were no more than a continuous musical wallpaper on the film, with no real purpose or character. But this collection of themes are thoughtfully composed, meticulously orchestrated and performed to perfection. The level of sound quality achieved here is stunning. Enzo Masetti has penned some exquisite and wonderfully lyrical compositions for both of these movies, with the first compact disc HERCULES standing out just slightly from Disc number 2, HERCULES UNCHAINED. There is just so much music here, a total of 79 cues in total. It is true to say that many of the cues are somewhat short-lived, but this does not in any way detract anything from them in the quality stakes, and are a vital component within a score that is varied and rich in its overall sound.

The style that Masetti utilized for both of these movies is a fusion of romantic, dramatic and epic, and somewhat akin to the style utilized by Eastern European composer Dasan Radic during the 1960,s on his LONG SHIPS and GENGHIS KHAN scores, I only mention this to give you a basic idea of what to expect. Track number 21 on disc one of the set is a good example of the sound and the flavour of the scores, URANGANO contains brass, strings wistful woods and an almost heavenly choir. The compact discs contain numerous previously un-released cues and Digit movies have taken much time and also a lot of care in restoring and releasing these soundtracks, and this time and care has certainly paid off, and we as collectors are the ones to reap the benefits of their labours. The art work is stunning and the notes by Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog are well written and extremely interesting. The booklet contains various examples of posters from the movies, and also lobby cards and even the original art work of the RCA album. It also has a fascinating spread of black and white photographs taken on the sets of both movies, one in particular caught my eye, which is of Mario Bava who was F/X photographer. I cannot recommend this release enough, it is one to buy play enjoy and cherish.


Released in 1977 this was the cinema version or sequel to the highly successful TV series SANDOKAN. Directed by the famed Sergio Sollima, the movie enjoyed moderate success at the box office and starred Kabir Bedi who reprized his performance as Sandokan from the TV shows. At the time of the movies release only a single 45 rpm record was issued which included two cues from the soundtrack, but thankfully the full score still remained intact and in fairly reasonable condition in the vaults of GDM. Digit movies have lovingly and meticulously restored the tapes and have issued for the first time in stereo the full score from this adventure yarn, music courtesy of the original Italian composing duo Guido and Maurizio de Angelis. As we are all aware the style and sound of this talented pair is at times an acquired taste, in other words you either love it hate it or just sit and think at times why did they do that, as in KEOMA-THE VIOLENT BREED. I am happy to say with this particular soundtrack, there is a little bit of everything that should please everyone, or at least I hope so. There are a number of fairly descent melodic themes within the work, which are orchestrated and arranged in a way that I will describe as conventional, taking into account the other works of the De Angelis brothers. There are some grand sounding cues which to be honest took me by surprise. Fully symphonic and full blooded orchestral cues which are certainly not John Williams, Hans Zimmer or Alan Silvestri but hit the spot emotionally and musically sweeping along at a brisk pace, there are also so more offbeat cues included as one would expect from the Brothers De Angelis, track 2 for example, where the composers utilise a sitar being played in no particular direction, backed by percussion, after a few seconds it does become monotonous, but I am sure it services the movies story line well, even if it is not exactly a pleasurable listening experience. The score relies upon the usage of the string section, which is enhanced and supported throughout by the likes of woods and mandolin, which perform the central theme in various manifestations giving it a bright and vibrant sound each time it emerges. Track 6 is a good example of this, layered strings act as a background to a mandolin picking out the theme, which in turn is replaced by delicately placed and performed woodwind, and then as the cue reaches its final seconds the mandolin returns. There are also a few more atonal cues within the score, but these to are in there own way entertaining. As with the majority of De Angelis soundtracks there is a song included on this occasion performed by long time collaborator of the De Angelis boys, Oliver Onions,I say collaborator but we all know that Onions is an alias for the composing duo, MOMPRACEM (track 21) is a fairly typical example of the vocals heard in many other De Angelis scores, so nothing outstanding but again not unpleasant, this is repeated in an “off vocal version” which is basically the cue without Oliver Onions and includes just orchestra and choir. I think I am going to stick my neck out and highly recommend this release, it’s certainly not the usual example of the music of the De Angelis and will I think be an entertaining and pleasant surprise to anyone who purchases it. It comes with some stunning art work on the front cover and informative notes, along with some colourful stills from the movie. Recommended.


Like so many collectors during the 1970,s I was introduced to the music of Franco Micalizzi via his landmark score for the comedy western THEY CALL ME TRINITY, it was not until about a year later when I purchased the LP record THE BEST OF FRANCO MICALIZZI that I realised there was far more to this Maestro than the catchy little tunes on the Trinity score, Personally I am of the opinion that Micalizzi is probably the most important film music composer in Italy next to Morricone, he has the ability to create jazz infused cues and romantic emotive themes plus he has written some classic Italian western scores, which include some pretty infectious thematic material. I think my next encounter with Micalizzi came with THE DEVIL WITHIN HER, then THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING followed in quick succession, so as you can imagine I am over the moon that at last a number of this Maestro, s scores are being issued on CD. A release from Digitmovies has been this double soundtrack CD which has on it the score from the western SEI IELLATO AMICO HAI INCONTRATO SACRAMENTO and a thriller I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA. Now I would have been pleased with just SACRAMENTO but the second score is a bonus and a pretty amazing one too. The first score SACRAMENTO was originally issued on a promotional LP way back in 1972, which has proved to be very elusive, although some CDR LP transfers were made available a few years back via collectors. In many ways SACRAMENTO is similar to TRINITY, although personally I think it is a better structured and far better orchestrated work. Micalizzi utilizes again piano, electric and Spanish guitar and solo trumpet passages combined with soft almost romantic sounding strings, and punctuates the main themes with jaws harp and choir to add that certain Spaghetti western sound which he does to great effect. The score gives off the persona of being written for a comedy western at times, but also there are other cues which undoubtedly create the atmosphere of a serious and more urgent nature, the composer uses to wonderful effect the marvelous vocal talents of Edda dell Orso, and the distinct sound of IL CANTORI MODERNI both of which add depth and power to the work. This is an entertaining score that has the ability to stand on its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and will be a sheer delight to all fans of Italian film music. The second score on this CD is as equally rare as the first; it too was originally issued on a promo LP back in the 1970,s and has been just as elusive as SACRAMENTO for collectors. I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (THE TWO FACES OF EVIL) contains a score that is very much in the style of Morricone, strings, harpsichord, piano, percussion and female vocal combine to create a haunting yet easy going sounding theme, which as I have said could easily be mistaken for the work of Morricone, the remainder of the score is very much in the same vein, easy on the ear themes fill the soundtrack light and airy tone poems that are orchestrated and arranged with much skill and precision. Alongside these there are just a few tracks that can be described as dissonant and suspense filled but even these few examples of atonal writing are in their own way melodic. It is however the cues that contain what I label as the classic Italian sound of the more romantic and easy listening cues that are the attraction of this score, flawless and at times soaring female vocals, beat/shake compositions with an injection of a pop infused Hammond organ and romantically slanted tracks are all included here, this compact disc is probably one of the most entertaining and enriching listening experiences within the digit movies catalogue thus far, I say thus far because we can only hope that scores such as THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING, THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and the excellent WHITE HORSES OF SUMMER all by Micalizzi will one day see a CD release on this label. Let’s hope it’s not too far off. It’s one of those CD,s that you buy for the first score, then end up loving the second score as well, which is always a delight as it is unexpected. As always art work and presentation are second to none and sound quality is exceptional. I cannot recommend this CD enough, just go and get it now!!!!!!!!!!!


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