WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCE. ROY BUDD’S THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

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Back in the early part of the summer in 1993, I was fortunate enough to at last meet one of the worlds most talented composers of film music. Roy Budd had always been a favourite of mine, right from hearing his score for SOLDIER BLUE I was as they say hooked. I had written to Mr Budd many times asking if he would be interested in an interview, he replied saying he thought it was a great idea and we must arrange it as soon as it was possible, but he was working on something very big and would let me know when he was free. One evening my phone rang and it was Roy Budd, he explained he had been working on a project that was so dear to him, and the project was finished and he would be recording it soon. The work he spoke of was THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the 1925 silent movie starring Lon Chaney, a few weeks later I was at a reception at the Bonnington hotel in London for Silent’s to Satellites, which was a publication helmed by John Williams, I had written a few things for John and he asked me to go along to meet a few composers and to announce the winners of the awards he gave out annually. During talking to various composers and collectors, John came and said to me Roy Budd is here. I was a bit surprised I had no questions with me but I had already compiled them so they were fresh in my mind, anyhow maybe he did not want to do the interview, maybe he was there for just a day out? I introduced myself and we chatted, he then went around talking to fans etc, to my surprise he came up to me and said, “OK then are we going to do this interview”? Yes of course I replied, trying not to look to phased or on the spot, but I think he realised he had caught me totally on the hop, so off we went into a corner in the hotel lobby, to be honest Roy made me feel so relaxed and cracked so many jokes I think it was around 30 mins or so before I asked my first question. He spoke of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and explained to me how it had come about, and his passion for film in particular horror movies. But first he told me about his involvement on SOLDIER BLUE, “The director of SOLDIER BLUE wanted a British composer. You see there had been a lot of ugly murders in the States around about the time of the film being made. Americans had killed Americans and because of the film’s ending and a bit of Hollywood logic I suppose the director thought, I know let’s hire a Brit. to do the score then if there is any come back he is the one who won’t work anymore. Any way I went to see the director; I must admit I was nervous. I took along a tape of some of my music. I played it on piano and recorded it but what I did not tell the director was that some of the music was not mine. I had pinched it from the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, Jerry Fielding, John Barry, Dimitri Tiomkin, Max Steiner, in fact just about everyone; the tape sounded like Great Movie Music Volume 1, 2 and 3 (laughs).
Of course, I did not include the main themes or anything that might be recognized, just tracks from soundtracks I had listened to on record and then performed myself on the piano for the tape. I told the director that all the music he was hearing was mine and he was very impressed – well he would have been. Just think, if he had turned me down, he would have been turning down half of the film composers in the world. The rest is history – I got the job”. This is probably something that nowadays no composer would be able to do as many directors and producers are a little more aware of what’s going on as far as music is concerned.

We chatted for a while about nonmusical things, then I asked the composer about the tapes for SOLDIER BLUE and why had the original score never been issued on a recording?
“Well, the aim of the record company is to obviously sell records, and as many as they can. So, some record company executive at the time, decided that the original score would not appeal to people and, because of my jazz connections it was decided that the score should be arranged and I should play piano on it – and that is the version of the score that was issued on Phillips, no sorry PYE records. I did not really mind at the time, after all I was new to all of it. I also recorded a lot of other tracks to be featured on the B side of the LP. These were all film themes and a medley from WEST SIDE STORY.” But did the tapes from SOLDIER BLUE exist anymore, I enquired. “I don’t know. They did – but where they are now? Your guess is as good as mine”. Eventually we got around to THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, “I have just finished working on the 1920’s silent movie THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. It’s been restored to its former glory and looks incredible, in fact I have restored it, as it is one of the movies I have always been fond of. I have already recorded the score and I am waiting to hear if there will be a compact disc of it released. I have written 82 minutes of music for the picture and this is continuous. It was a totally different experience for me – I am used to all the explosions and dialogue on a movie, so when I had none of this to deal with it was a dream. Writing nearly 90 minutes of music was a little daunting, and tiring, but the film has always inspired me and I just seemed to be able to get on with it easily. The film and the score will be premiered at the Barbican on September 21st this year (1993) all proceeds from the night will go to the children’s charity U.N.I.C.E.F. I will conduct the score whilst the movie is being screened. Hopefully the film and the music will finish at the same time (laughs). I am very proud of this score John and I am pleased to say I will be scoring another silent movie very soon”.
I remember thinking how happy and kind Roy was and he was genuinely so passionate about THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, we spent around two hours or so chatting, As Roy left he was his normal jovial self. He turned to me with a wide beaming grin on his face, shook my hand and said, “Thanks John, keep taking the tablets”. It was about two weeks later that the composer died, and his loss is still felt today. I remember thinking at the time how sad it was that we would probably never get to hear his music for THE PHANTOM, but then nearly 22 years later the score was released on to CD as was the DVD of the movie with Roy’s score accompanying it.

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Then on October the 8th 2017, thanks to the efforts of Roy’s wife Sylvia and Nick Hocart, Roy’s dreams of having his score performed live were realized, and what a performance it was. It took place at THE COLISEUM in London, which was rather fitting because Roy Budd made his debut at that very same theatre, back in 1953, he was just six years of age.

 

 

 

The venue was also perfect for the viewing of the movie, as it could maybe have its own Phantom walking the passages and stairways, it had that kind of aura about it, a stunningly beautiful building, and a venue that has so much history. The score was performed by THE DOCKLANDS SINFONIA, which comprised of over 70 players, under the direction of Spencer Down, their performance, in a word FLAWLESS, but why stop at one word, perfect, beguiling, mesmerizing, alluring and highly emotive are just some of the things I was thinking whilst listening to the orchestra perform. Roy’s music is superbly lush and lavish and for me personally evokes memories of the vintage Hollywood scores of yester year, there is also present an underlying presence of a style that can be likened to the music employed in Hammer gothic horrors such as Dracula, by James Bernard,  Budd, conjures up a powerful and commanding musical force that drives the Phantom on and underlines his insane plans, then we have the romantic and melancholy atmospheres created for Christine, which also serve as a mournful but beautiful underscore for The Phantom, as he begins to realise that Christine will never love him as he loves her.  Then there is a robust and firm persona that the composer employs which for me evoked the crashing and vibrant music of Bernard Herrmann. With this work Roy made the transition from film music composer and jazz pianist to Movie Maestro extraordinaire, producing a score that outshines anything that has been written for a silent movie, the movie is a classic and Roy’s music too must be given that title.

 

At times because the performance was so good I forgot I was listening to the work live, the co-ordination between film and music was wonderful and the performance by the orchestra in my opinion outshone the recording of the score which is available on compact disc. Roy’s dramatic, romantic and at times comedic soundtrack, filled the air and the hearts of the watching audience. I looked around and could not help but think, maybe Roy is sitting up in one of the boxes, watching, listening and smiling that infectious smile, I like to think he was. The evening was a great success, as I was leaving I spoke to many of the audience, all of which were thrilled and so pleased that they had been privileged enough to be there to witness this magnificent and brilliant work. Roy Budd died far too early, and we miss him so much, his wit, his kind manner and of course his music, he would have been 70 years old this year, just think what he might have achieved and what beautiful, poignant, dramatic and thrilling scores we might have heard if he had lived.

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I truly hope that THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will go on tour, so that more and more people can savor the delights of Roy Budd. I am proud to say that I was there on the night and look forward to maybe more nights where we can hear the music of Roy Budd performed live.

“Mine and Roy’s professional relationship was at times rough and sour but we always wound up celebrating the final results, and privately, we were abiding friends, as close as two brothers. Knowing what immense mental and physical effort Roy put into his work, it is for me understandable that some catastrophe might inevitably interrupt his life. Knowing also that his almost certain greatest work, the scoring of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, drained his body resources to the limit, it was such a dreadful price to pay to give the world a score to remember for all time”.
Euan Lloyd.

 

 

DOCK 3

 

Docklands Sinfonia is the only high quality symphony orchestra based in the heart of East London’s Docklands. The orchestra was founded by conductor Spencer Down, the grandson of a docker, whose love of music was born listening to his grandfather play trumpet in working men’s clubs in the East End.
Over the years, Spencer watched the Docklands develop from a wasteland into one of the biggest financial centres of the world. But while the glitzy tower blocks have sprung up at a dizzying rate, the area remains a wasteland for cultural provision.  With one in every two children (49%) living below the poverty line in Tower Hamlets – London’s most deprived borough – few young people in the area have, or will ever, experience the joy of listening to a live symphony orchestra.
Grounded in our home of St Anne’s Limehouse, Docklands Sinfonia is on a mission to change this. Our youthful and pioneering orchestra has become a major cultural force in the Docklands – bringing high quality music to the area, staging ground-breaking concerts and creating a lasting legacy by inspiring generations of young people.
The orchestra aims to reflect the old and new spirit of the Docklands. Our concert programming is respectful of the past while innovating for the future.
Docklands Sinfonia nurtures young talent at every level – whether providing playing opportunities and work for our musicians, providing a platform for young composers and emerging soloists or through expanding our educational work with schools in the area.
We aim to challenge the norm by seeking out innovative collaborations to reach new audiences. In 2014, Docklands Sinfonia became the first British symphony orchestra to perform an entire programme of Iranian symphonic music and launched a new composition competition in Iran to wide acclaim. In 2016, we will be recording a CD dedicated to Iranian orchestral music performed by Iranian soloists.
To underline our commitment to supporting new talent, we have commissioned and programmed more than 20 new compositions since our formation in 2009. Looking to the future, we have a firm commitment to perform at least one new work at all our community concerts held at St Anne’s Limehouse.
Since its formation in January 2009, the orchestra has enjoyed incredible success with performances at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and at the Royal Albert Hall and the House of Lords.
In November 2010, Docklands Sinfonia performed the world premiere of Grammy award winner Imogen Heap’s ‘Love The Earth’ to a sell-out audience at the Royal Albert Hall. The event was live-streamed over the internet to over 400,000 people worldwide.
In May 2011, the orchestra was honoured to perform a special concert for the Queen to celebrate youth in the arts in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace in front of a 500-strong celebrity packed audience. Docklands Sinfonia played alongside artists from the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House and National Youth Theatre as well as pop stars Joe McElderry, Rumer, DJ Ironik and Sara-Jane Skeete.
Docklands Sinfonia has enjoyed numerous collaborations with the record producer and song-writer Mike Batt. In 2013, Docklands Sinfonia recorded Katie Melua’s new album Ketevan which was produced and written by Batt. Her single ‘I will be there’ has been viewed by nearly two million people throughout the world on YouTube since its release in 2013.The following year, the orchestra recorded Voice UK singer Bob Blakeley’s new album.
Just weeks after its first rehearsal in 2009, it was asked to perform on the BBC1 series ‘Clash’ and it has performed a number of sell-out concerts featuring major classical artist including renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom, cello virtuoso Leonard Elschenbroich, baroque soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, trumpeter Rex Richardson, saxophonist Christian Forshaw, the Raven string quartet and LSO principal trumpet Philip Cobb.

 

 

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UN SAC DE BILLES.

 

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Based upon the novel A BAG OF MARBLES by Joseph Joffo, UN SAC DE BILLES was directed by Christian Duguay. It is the second film version of the novel the first being released in 1975. The music for this version of the story is the work of the brilliantly talented Armand Amar, he is for me personally a composer who has never disappointed and has always been able to experiment and re-invent himself and his musical styles on every project he is involved with. UN SAC DE BILLES is set in the dark and dangerous days of World War 2, in France and focuses upon two young Brothers, Joseph and Maurice, who are Jewish and are sent to the free zone by their parents. This is a story of both courage and determination and shows how the two siblings escape the occupying Nazi’s and attempt to re-unite their family. The musical score is a delight and contains so many delicately coloured musical themes and textures that it is something I for one listened to three times before sitting down writing this review. I believe composer Armand Aman is a breath of fresh air in film music, and thankfully is one of the very few composers that is working in film today that still creates themes and motifs in an abundance that it is astonishing to think that one person composed all of them. As I have said he is a composer that is not afraid of experimentation, not afraid of using instruments that maybe might seem out of place, because each time he gets the desired effect and results. His music is varied, vibrant and above all innovative. Born in Jerusalem in 1953 he spent his childhood in Morocco, and it is here that he became immersed in the what must have seemed to be the exotic and ethnic sounds of the Country. He taught himself how to play various instruments including the Tablas, Congas and Zarbe, at the same time he familiarized himself with other instruments, many of which the composer has put to effect use within his scores for both television and film. He also studied more traditional music and was classically trained under the guidance of various masters and tutors. In the 1970, s the composer became involved in writing music for dance and felt that he could fully express himself musically via this medium, later when teaching at the Higher National Music School, he began to become focused upon the relationship between music and dance. Since those early days the composer has worked with numerous choreographers who are well known and respected in contemporary dance circles. He began to write music for TV and film during the 1990’s and considering his late arrival onto the film music stage it is truly amazing to see the impressive list of projects he worked upon. Thus far into his career the composer has been involved in the scoring numerous acclaimed documentaries.

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His highly addictive, emotive and haunting compositions have become the beautiful and dramatic background to motion pictures of all genres and not just a background, because his scores are an essential and vitally important component of the film making process. His music essentially becoming another character within a storyline, or being a part of a scene in a documentary or motion picture. The music that he composed for UN SAC DE BILLES is probably a more conventional approach for the composer, by this I mean it is symphonic, and there is not a great deal of ethnic or unusual instrumentation included, this is more of a piano, strings and cello work, and one that is simply spellbinding. The composer has crafted a soundtrack that overflows with highly emotive themes, and is laden with fragile and delicate sounding musical phrases and passages, it underlines and supports the storyline fully, and has all the attributes and rich thematic qualities to enable it to be a heart-warming and enriching listening experience away from the images which it was intended to enhance. Take a listen to track number,19, PARIS EST LIBERE as an example,  this is an uplifting composition for building strings that swell and ooze emotion and are filled with so much joy and relief they sound as if they are fit to burst.  This is a soundtrack that you MUST add to your collection, if you do not then you will so much poorer emotionally without it, and while you are looking for this score, why not take a look at the rest of this composers works, his output is verging on the unbelievable and his talent is boundless.

 

 

PAST LIFE.

 

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The name of composer Cyrille Aufort, has for a few years been popping up here and there, and every time I have experienced his music I have always found it to be rewarding and uplifting. The composers gift for creating melodies and lilting tone poems is quite extraordinary, he has a varied style and approach towards fashioning scores for movies, but in the main takes the classical sounding route as in fully orchestral and symphonic. I would have to say that his style and the sound that he achieves on many of his soundtracks is somewhat similar to Armand Amar, but it is not in any way un-original or mimicking this composers music, Aufort like Amar is in my opinion highly innovative and in many cases employs a brooding or underlying musical persona, which is present throughout or is utilised as a starting point and continues to act as a background or a foundation to the nuances and motifs that the composer creates and basically weaves into it, the effect is at times quite stunning, and on occasion takes one by surprise but it is a nice surprise as more often than not one is not expecting it. I first became acquainted with this style in his score for, L’EMPERUER and again in his work on LA GLACE ET LA CIEL, however, in these two examples the composer did employ a grand sounding thematic content and develop the central themes to a greater level, his music being an essential component of both productions. With L’EMPERUER , being laden with rich themes. Of course, Aufort is more than capable of producing dramatic and even tense and dissonant musical landscapes, and I know that this sounds like a cliché, but the composer is chameleon like when producing music for movies, take SPLICE for example, which was quite a dark work, matching the subject matter. One of his latest soundtracks is for PAST LIFE, this is a perfect example of the versatility and originality of this composer, the score is for most of its duration, somewhat light and melodic, but these melodic passages are not in any way overblown or even grand sounding, in fact they are more like hints of melodies, or small wisps of themes that do not fully develop but still manage to become familiar with the listener. The composer relies predominantly upon, low key strings and woods with fragile sounding piano, harp and female voice to purvey an atmosphere and mood that is emotive, poignant and hauntingly beautiful. The opening theme is a tender and subtle piece with piano delicately performing the opening bars, supported by strings, with a light and melancholy sounding horn, strings develop and swell as the piano expands upon the opening phrases. Track number three, KATOWISE, is slightly more up-tempo, with driving strings of sorts, laying down a foundation for the composer to build on, employing woods and more strings which at times begin to take on a more sinister persona. The composers low-key approach on this score has certainly paid dividends as he has fashioned a work that is not only alluring, but is one that I am sure listeners will return to on many occasions.

 

There are also a handful of cues performed by THE THLEMA YELLIN ALUMNI CHOIR, which are also compelling pieces and are also an important component of the films storyline which is set in 1977. It begins with an Israeli choir performing in Berlin, and we see an older woman looking through the program for the concert, she is drawn to the name of a young woman who is performing solo soprano, and is familiar with it. Later at a gathering after the performance, the older woman in the audience Agnieszka played by Katarzyna Gniewkowska decides that She must speak with the Soprano singer, who’s, name is Sephi and portrayed by actress Joy Rieger. The conversation that entails is a difficult and tense encounter as Sephi speaks no German and the Older woman speaks no Hebrew, but Agnieszka still manages to get over to Sephi that she knew her Father and that he was a murderer. What follows is a storyline that is like a thread being unraveled as Sephi, confides in her sister and together they discover that maybe their Father is not the man they know and love. A tangled web of deceit, dark secrets and heartache unfolds, all of which is matched and punctuated wonderfully by Aufort’s score. The work also contains additional music by, Avner Dorman and Ella Milch-Sheriff.  Recommended.

TRACK LISTING
1 Past Life Theme 2:51
2 Hishki Hizki (composed by Abraham Caseres) 3:33
3 Katowice 1:37
4 Baruch’s Diary Part 1 2:58
5 Photoshoot 2:18
6 Dance Teacher 1:31
7 Warsaw 3:19
8 The Concert (composed by Avner Dorman) 3:07
9 Baruch’s Diary Part 2 2:05
10 Archives 4:35
11 Zielinski 2:31
12 Sefi’s Letter 1:48
13 Berlin 2:43
14 The Time Will Come (composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff) 3:56
15 Baruch and Agnieszka 2:03
16 Past Life End Credits 2:50
17 Cantique de Jean Racine (composed by Gabriel Fauré) 5:29

 

WILD GEESE 2.

 

At last WILD GEESE 2, has been issued on to compact disc, not only is this a fantastic action score, but it is issued on a label that I have much admiration for, CALDERA. It is presented so well with in depth notes courtesy of the informed writer Gergely Hubai, art work by Luis Miguel Rojas and some great pics to, it also includes pictures of excerpts from the handwritten score and a detailed biography of the composer, the CD has a lovely audio clip with Sylvia Budd talking as-well, plus a nice picture of the composer on the front cover sitting at the piano as always smiling in a way that only he could. The productions values on the release are amazing, the sound is so clear and full, so crisp and fresh, another big pat on the back for CALDERA and another thank you for bringing us this wonderful score. WILD GEESE 2 was a sequel of sorts to WILD GEESE which had been released in 1978. The original movie which starred Richard Burton and Richard Harris along with Roger Moore and a cast of familiar actors also giving support was a success at cinemas so the second movie was planned and was written with actor Burton returning as the Faulkner character he had portrayed in the previous picture, but sadly he passed away before filming started and sections of the screenplay had to be re-written.

 

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Poster when Richard Burton was destined to star in the film.

 

Directed by Peter Hunt, the storyline of the movie focuses upon and around top-level Nazi Rudolph Hess portrayed by Laurence Olivier who has important information on prominent political figures. Ruthless TV executives Michael and Kathy Lukas played by John Terry and Barbara Carrera, want to get him out of his prison cell to appear on a live television broadcast. Faulkner played by Edward Fox declines their offer to lead a mission to break Hess free, but recommends Lebanese/American turned mercenary Haddad (Scott Glenn) as a substitute who takes on the mission, which very quickly turns into a nightmare for everyone involved. The film also featured performances by Stratford Johns, Ingrid Pitt and Patrick Stewart

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As soon as the opening track on the soundtrack begins it is so obvious that this is the music of Roy Budd, his unmistakable rousing style for pictures such as this shining through straight away, and establishing immediately a tense but stalwart sounding atmosphere. The composer even includes a little snippet of the original WILD GEESE theme, to further grab our attention, and although this is just literally a micro second it is instantly recognisable. WILD GEESE 2, is in my opinion one of the composers most accomplished action scores, it is brimming with highly dramatic music and has about it a rousing and patriotic sound which every so often raises its head. There is an anthem like central theme that is the foundation on which the composer builds the remainder of the score, it is a relentless and full on work that is performed magnificently by The London Symphony orchestra, conducted by Roy.

 

WILD GEESE, was and still is a Roy Budd signature work, along with other scores such as SOLDIER BLUE and GET CARTER, simply because it is a score that has so many themes and brilliantly fashioned musical passages, WILD GEESE 2, is more of a contemporary sounding work which not only is memorable for its use of tense and exciting cues, but also for its more up-beat and funky sounding tracks that are cleverly woven into the fabric of the fully orchestral score.

I think if I was asked to describe the sound achieved by the composer on WILD GEESE 2, I would probably liken it to his score for WILD GEESE plus it has attributes and quirks of orchestration that can be heard within WHO DARES WINS or THE FINAL OPTION as it was entitled in certain territories. Plus, there are nods of acknowledgement to composers such as John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Jerry Fielding, who Roy admired and respected. With that funky sound the composer employed in some of his other film scores, such as FOXBAT, THE CAREY TREATMENT etc, becoming a driving force within the work. The composer keeps up the musical momentum throughout never taking his eye off the ball and creates a score that is just exhilaratingly uplifting and enthralling. The composers use of a funky but apprehensive sound is more evident in track number 4, MOVING ROUND SPANDAU, which has a somewhat easy-going background to begin with, performed on percussion with electric bass punctuating proceedings, this soon develops into something much grander and continues to build and gain momentum, with some truly wonderful brass flourishes acting as musical stabs or mini fanfares of sorts giving the cue greater effect both within the movie and away from it.

 

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Like all Roy Budd soundtracks WILD GEESE 2, has a life of its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and I must say it is a truly invigorating and rewarding listen. This is a score that is grandiose in the main, but also has some beautifully written quieter moments as in track number, 6, THE ROMANCE BEGINS, which is a delightfully haunting piece that begins with solo piano, which I am guessing must be Roy, this is then joined by light and airy strings which take on the 7, note melody that was initiated by the piano.

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Budd was a gifted pianist as well as a composer as we all are aware, and he was a master at creating what some would call sugary sounding love themes, but I like to refer to these as melodic and memorable tone poems. There is also a vocal version of this cue which Caldera have included at the end of the album, performed by German singer Peter Hoffman, it is too an enjoyable listen. The soundtrack was originally released on a CBS long playing record back in 1985 (CBS 26462), and CALDERA RECORDS compact disc release is the same track line up. The reason for this being that CALDERA wanted to use the composers own master tapes but sadly these had been damaged in a flood and were un-useable, so they contacted Sony music to see if they had any tapes available of the score, fortunately they did but only the LP masters, so it means that the complete score won’t be issued, unless of course someone has copies of the masters safe and sound somewhere, so this means that the music released both on the LP and now the CD is approximately 10 minutes short of being the complete score, but with music of this high quality I am sure we as collectors will not mind at all, as any Roy Budd release is always welcome.

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WILD GEESE 2, is probably one of the composers most infectious soundtracks from the 1980, s, as I for one have not stopped listening to it, and every time I take a listen I find more and more inventive writing, more original musicality and even more ingenious orchestration and arranging skills plus a masterful use of a handful of synthetic instrumentation that is skilfully fused with the conventional line up of the LSO. I don’t think any other composer at the time or indeed in recent years has been able to fuse so many styles and sounds together as Roy Budd has and make them work so well. It has a sumptuous and opulent sound to it, as well as a dramatic and intense style, it is filled with musical colours and textures that evoke memories of an age that is long gone within the area of scoring films, it has wonderful themes, it has emotion and it has that funky groove which keeps things moving along at pace and it has the unmistakable musical fingerprint of Roy Budd all over it. This is CALDERA RECORDS 22nd release, and is an important one because it fills a gap within Roy Budd’s discography, and is a fitting tribute to this kind, friendly man who just happened to be able to write some of the best film music ever. One to add to your collection ASAP.

 

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1. Main Title (4:35)
2. Cat and Mouse in Berlin (3:35)
3. Solitary Confinement (3:46)
4. Moving Around Spandau (3:16)
5. The Wall (1:50)
6. The Romance Begins (2:36)
7. Plot and Deceit (2:22)
8. Attempt to Free Hess (8:31)
9. Escape (1:37)
10. End Titles (2:46)
11. Say You’ll Be Mine (4:45)
Performed by Peter Hoffmann
Bonus:
12. Audio Commentary by Sylvia Budd

FIELD OF HONOUR.

 

 

A somewhat neglected example of the music of Roy Budd in a war movie is FIELD OF HONOUR, the movie which was set in the dark days of the Korean war was released in 1987. The film enjoyed mild success in Europe mainly, but the musical score penned by Roy Budd is one of the movies more prominent and ingratiating attributes. Budd employed an oriental sound throughout the soundtrack and combined this with a more western sounding grandiose and dramatic style, the composer enlisting brass, strings and percussion to underline and support many of the action scenes, but then utilising plaintiff woods and rich and full strings in a highly melodic fashion to depict the Eastern aspects of the movies storyline. Like Jerry Goldsmith, Budd seemed to be at home writing this style of Oriental music, and the themes that he fashioned for this movie are indeed haunting and beguilingly magical. The score is one of the composers least mentioned works, and I think I am right when I say that not that many collectors were aware of its existence. The compact disc was released on SILVA SCREEN records (SIL1502-2), and is paired with the music from THE SECRET OF THE ICE CAVE by Robert M.Esty ll. But it is FIELD OF HOUNOUR that I will review and bring to your attention, as it is the more prominent and dare I say important work on the disc. The MAIN TITLES, open with a quite pretty wood wind motif, that is supported by Chinese harp and these two instruments supported by martial sounding timpani, soon establish themselves and the theme for the movie, the composer continues to employ the theme but adds to it more percussive elements that are in no way harsh or overbearing, instead these act as a background to some beautiful strings, that in turn are augmented and given depth by the introduction of brass and continued percussive support. Track 2, HOLE IN YOUR HEAD, is a typical Roy Budd action cue, with horns heralding the opening and kind of calling the percussion and brass to join them, dark sounding piano is also brought into the equation, again given support and elevated by the use of thundering percussion, and Chinese sounding instrumentation that punctuates the proceedings, the track is a sort of stop start action piece, by this I mean it erupts into rhythmic upbeat action mode from time to time, but also melts into a more romantic and calming mood, with the composer introducing his central theme in the lulls of the cue. To say that FIELD OF HONOUR is a good score, is certainly an understatement, it is a great score, but it is sadly one that is often forgotten, probably because the film was not a massive box office success. It is also a score that echoes many of the works of Jerry Goldsmith, it has pace, depth and solid thematic properties which even in the fast-paced action cues, manage to shine through. Roy Budd never wrote a bad score in my opinion and much of his film music is remembered where, as many of the films it was written for are long lost in the mists of time. Another Roy Budd to look out for, highly recommended.

1.
Main Titles (03:29)
2.
Hole in Your Head (04:04)
3.
Have a Look (02:07)
4.
Rats/Moonlight/Attack From Behind (03:27)
5.
On His Way (02:08)
6.
Chinese Attack (02:27)
7.
Rape Death (02:04)
8.
Sire Scouts Chinese (02:36)
9.
War Outside/Dynamite Raid (03:48)
10.
End Titles (03:13)

 

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