The partnership between these two labels goes from strength to strength.
A vampire movie, so the score is all crash, bang, thud, atonal stabs. rasping growling brass and big percussion with cymbal clashes, right ? Wrong ! Composer Johan Soderqvist has created not only an atmospherically frightening score, but also at the same time manages to infuse poignancy and gentleness into the proceedings, so with one hand he puts the listener on edge and with the other he soothes and calms that same listener by introducing low key and understated levels of underlying tranquility. This composers gift for melody is abundantly clear in the beautiful composition ELI’S THEME which is track number 3 on the compact disc, the cue begins with harp being underlined by layered and unobtrusive strings, these strings soon swell and bring to the fore a poignant and emotive theme, it is heartrending to the point of bringing tears to the eyes of the listener and creates an aire of what is near to serenity. Yes I admit that there are some pretty atonal sounding passages present within this score, but it still manages to stay musical rather than just a background noise. Examples of this type of scoring are demonstrated in track 6, HIDING THE BODY, where low foreboding strings are supported by from what I can deduce sparse use of synthetic sounds, that when combined create a resonance that is obviously atonal but at the same time has musical substance to it. This can be said of a number of cues on the compact disc, atonal in their make up but musical in their overall effect, the composer creates short but effective themes and leitmotifs, which catch one unawares and within a sea of at times quite disturbing, harrowing and complex compositions there comes from nowhere a piece that just melts the listener as in track number 8, OSCAR STRIKES BACK, this short lived cue is an adagio of sorts, beautiful, calming and emotive. As a fully paid up member of the Hammer Horror fan club, I suppose I have a fixed ideas about what Horror movie scores sound like, or at least what they did sound like, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN , bears no resemblance whatsoever to the frenzied scoring of James Bernard, or the near romantic compositions of David Whitaker, it is a horror score with body a horror score with direction and focus, it combines shadowy orchestral textures and colours with uplifting and beautiful romanticism and these fusions and combinations I for one think work extremely well, it is for me anyway one of the best horror scores I have heard in many years. This may not be everyone’s idea of a great soundtrack, but I do urge you to buy this CD, I think when you hear it you will be hooked by this composers approach and his stylish and emotive compositions .
Born into a Jewish family, Lionel Begletier was the youngest of seven children who were brought up in Stepney in the East End of London, His Father was a tailor. Lionel Bart as he was to become known as received no real formal musical education apart from a few violin lessons, but he soon became disinterested in these and his Mother very quickly literally threw out the violin he was practicing upon. However because of the young Lionel’s interest and aptitude for music his teacher declared that he was a genius and at the age of 16 he won a scholarship to St Martins school of art and began to become involved not just in music but in set decoration painting sets for plays etc. Whilst at the school he saw a notice advertising for song writers and it was this decision to make a career change that altered his life forever, it was during this period that he also decided to change his surname name to Bart, apparently this was inspired by a bus journey that took the young lyricist and composer past ST BARTHOLOMEWS church every day, the Church which was known by locals as St Bart’s attracted Lionel’s attention and he decided to become Lionel Bart. Bart’s first foray into writing a musical came in 1958 when he came up with WALLY PONE OF SOHO, this was not that successful and although it did attract some attention it was not a runaway hit for Bart. It was at this time in his career that he wrote songs for a number of British rock and roll artists of the day, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele among them.
Many of these such as LITTLE WHITE BULL, ROCK WITH THE CAVEMAN, LIVING DOLL etc becoming iconic and enduring favourites worldwide. The latter reaching number one in the hit parade of 1959 and staying there for 6 weeks. His first success in the world of musicals came in 1958/59 with FINGS AI’NT WOT THEY USED TO BE and after this he teamed up with composer Laurie Johnson to bring LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS TO London’s West End.
It was also at this time that Bart began to develop more fully an idea he had for a musical which was based upon a classic tale written by Charles Dickens, OLIVER which Bart decided to set to music after seeing the David Lean film version of the story eventually came to the stage in the June of 1960, this was after numerous promoters and companies turned it down, resulting in Bart financing the production him self. Bart was convinced that the show would be a flop and apparently did not stay in the theatre on the first night instead taking himself off elsewhere with actress Barbara Windsor only to return at the end of the musical to receive no less than 16 curtain calls, and soon the show had advance sales of 30,000 in its first week. Based on the success of OLIVER Bart became much in demand and soon had two other musicals to his name in the form of MAGGIE MAY and BLITZ which although did not have the same appeal as OLIVER were still nonetheless lucrative ventures for the composer. It was also at this time that he wrote the title song for the Bond movie FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE as well as co-writing with and for Anthony Newley, it seemed that Bart was unstoppable and at the age of just 30, he was rumoured to be earning £16.00 an hour which in the 1960’s was more than impressive. Bart’s next musical TWANG (1965) was based on the story of Robin Hood but on this occasion it was not such a rosy tale for him, especially as to finance its production he sold off all the rights to OLIVER. TWANG failed miserably and ran for less than a month, its disastrous opening night saw scenery and sets collapsing and “boos” and shouts of “GET OFF” coming from the audience. Bart estimated that the ill fated TWANG lost him over a million pounds and also lost him the rights to his most successful venture OLIVER.
In 1968, Columbia pictures produced a film version of the musical OLIVER, Directed by Carol Reed and starring the wonderful Ron Moody as Fagin, with Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes and Shani Wallis as Nancy, it also featured young actors Jack Wild as the artful dodger and the angel faced Mark Lester in the title role. The movie was a runaway success being nominated for 11 Academy Awards and winning in 6 categories including best original score, but this must have been a bittersweet success for Bart as he had relinquished all rights to do with the musical. In 1972 he became a bankrupt with debts of over £73.000. Bart had also began to drink heavily which resulted in him contracting diabetes, he did manage to win his battle with alcohol and drug addiction but had done irreparable damage to his liver and his career hit rock bottom, he did however still carry on working and in 1977 penned the musical LIONEL, but compared with his success from previous years it paled in comparison. Bart did however manage to return to the public eye when OLIVER was revitalised for the west end by Cameron Mitchell during the early to mid 1990‘s, Cameron who had secured the rights had written into the deal that some of the royalties would be paid to Bart. The lyricist took on a supervisory role for the comeback production and once again was his old flamboyant and larger than life self. He also penned HAPPY ENDINGS for a commercial that was run by a building society which reached number 65 in the UK charts and wrote numerous other jingle type compositions for advertisements on both radio and television. After OLIVER was revived it gave Bart more drive and he began to work on a number of projects that had for many years been gathering dust, i.e. QUASIMODO, which was based upon THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMME. Lionel Bart died of cancer on April 3rd 1999 at Hammersmith Hospital London aged 68.