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IL GRANDE FAUSTO.

 

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Movies about sport or sporting personalities more often than not contain a musical score that is inspiring, romantic, highly thematic and above all emotional. Just cast your mind back to ROCKY, HOOSIERS, RUDY, and their like. IL GRANDE FAUSTO (1995) is no exception to the rule. The screenplay for this movie is based upon the life of Fausto Coppi, born in 1919, Coppi went on to be a champion class cyclist and took part in over 600 races all over the world out of this number he won 118. He competed in tours of France and Italy, and won these in the years 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953.Composer Franco Piersanti fashioned an excellent score for the movie, the work being packed with some truly haunting and emotive tone poems as well as the numerous action led cues. The music for me evoked memories of Ennio Morricone, the way in which Piersanti orchestrates and builds themes is very similar to that of Maestro Morricone. This style or approach is evident more prominently within track number 8, GRANDE VITTORIA-GIRO D,ITALIA 1949. Urgent and racing strings open the track but these soon melt away and segue into a softer and far more gentle piece which is performed by solo piano and then solo whistler, these are then supported by use of subdued choir and underlying strings which add poignancy and fragility. The composer utilises solo piano a great deal within the score which for me personally makes the work more appealing and entertaining. It is rich with vibrant and highly emotive themes and awash with romantic undertones, where the composer fuses both piano strings and choir to evoke the richness and lushness of vintage scores from Hollywood. Tracks such as STORY OF A SECRET LOVE are simply stunning, this is a score that could easily be overlooked as I do not think the movie was released outside of Italy, the compact disc which was issued on CAM back in 1995, is one that I would recommend.

 

 
https://www.amazon.com/Grande-Fausto-Piersanti-Soundtrack-Audio/dp/B0000AIT08

PALLA DI NEVE.

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Carlo Siliotto is a composer whose name has made regular appearances on many film and TV credits since he began to write for the cinema in 1984 with his debut score CHI MI AIUTA? It was probably his score for FLIGHT OF THE INNOCENTS that threw him into the collecting fraternity’s and since then the composer has attained quite a following. Going back a few years now well more than a few to 1995, to an intimate and rather pleasing work for a comedy entitled PALLA DI NEVE or SNOWBALL as it was titled outside of Italy. The film focuses upon an entertainer who works on board a cruise ship and his relationship with a young boy and a rather cute Beluga whale. This is as one can imagine a tale filled with many emotional and heartrending scenarios and situations plus there are also as many comic and madcap occurrences as the story unfolds. Siliotto provided the movie with a varied and vibrant soundtrack, his score elevating and underling each moment. It is a score that is filled with melodic and poignant pieces which stand alongside and combine with as many lighter and more comedic thematic material. Throughout the work the composer attaining just the correct balance of each. The compact disc opens with THE MAIN TITLE THEME which begins with Whale song, or the sound of the Beluga, this is fleeting and short live with the composer bringing into play an introduction on solo piano, this is soon joined by the string section which take on the central theme and develop it into a rich and romantic sounding piece that eventually is performed by full orchestra, wind and brass sections melt away and give the stage to the string section as it performs a waltz like arrangement of the scores main theme. The cue then slows in tempo and strings gradually make way for lilting woods which bring the piece to its conclusion. The composer makes effective and positive use of solo piano throughout the score and it is this instrument that features in track number two with a particularly pleasant rendition of Siliotto’s core theme, it is a motif that is repeated throughout but is indeed kept fresh by the composer’s inventive orchestrations and arrangements. There is also a secondary theme heard at times, again performed in the main on piano, which is mirrored by a chiming effect giving the music an almost childlike sound. I am not going to say that this is the greatest score ever, but it is however an entertaining and highly melodic one. The composer acquitted himself admirably on this assignment and incorporated many styles into his score, which include, Jazz, and a scattering of dramatic and action cues. Released originally on the CAM label this is a score that will be a nice addition to any collection.

VICTORIA.

 

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Right from episode one of VICTORIA which was screened last year (2016) on the ITV network in the UK, I was immediately struck by the musical score. At first I was not aware of the whom the composer was, but was not surprised the music was so good after I saw the credits for Ruth Barret and Martin Phipps, both have written some wonderful music both for TV and movies and have also diversified and reached out into other musical genres. I first became aware of Martin Phipps via his score for the movie BRIGHTON ROCK and it was earlier in 2016 that we experienced his music on the little screen for the BBC production of WAR AND PEACE. He has also provided the music for projects such as PEAKY BLINDERS, WALLANDER, WOMAN IN GOLD and worked with Ruth Barrett on a handful of assignments. Ruth Barrett too has been involved with several successful movies and TV programmes, HARRY BROWN, for example the 2009 Michael Caine movie on which she collaborated with Martin Phipps and the WHITECHAPEL series as well as more recently the delightful soundtrack to THE DURRELS. VICTORIA being a historical biopic about one of England’s most well-known Monarchs obviously called for music that was regal, epic and had to it special a appeal within its make-up. Phipps and Barrett I am glad to say succeeded in creating a score that superbly supported and underlined all the scenarios that unfolded in the first series and I am hopeful that the composers will return for the second series when it hits our screens later this year. I must admit that I wrote to Ruth Barrett enquiring if there would be a soundtrack release, to which she replied “hopefully” well it’s taken a while but it is now available as a digital release only, whether there are plans to release a compact disc or even a vinyl edition I am not sure, but the digital release age is upon us I suppose even though we are told that the old vinyl record is making a comeback, VICTORIA is available on Amazon, I Tunes and Spotify, and I for one do not mind putting up with listening to the score this way, it is a work that is imposing and certainly haunting thanks mainly to the composers use of the excellent voices that are THE MEDIAEVAL BAEBES, which are an all-Female musical ensemble which were formed in 1990 by Dorothy Carter and Katherine Blake. The sound achieved by this talented group is stunning and well suited to the drama of VICTORIA. The soundtrack opens with VICTORIA-THE SUITE, which is a full working of the central theme for the series that features he Mediaeval Baebes who are supported by strings, horns and other brass which are present but never in any way overpower the beautiful vocals which become increasingly prominent as the composition progresses.

 

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Track number two, THE KING IS DEAD is a more urgent and slightly more dramatic sounding piece which relies upon the use of driving strings that receive support and punctuation from the brass section, the strings creating a sense of urgency as they increase in volume but then fade away as swiftly they manifested themselves bringing the cue to its conclusion. Track three, CORONATION, is reversed as it begins slowly with a melancholy sounding piano solo, that performs a variation of the scores central theme, this lilting, and emotive opening ushers in a combination of voices and a mournful sounding cello that is itself accompanied by the string section and given support from organ as the wonderful voices of THE MEDIAEVEL BAEBES begin to add their weight to the proceedings. Track number four, LORD M. is a quieter and more subdued sounding piece, solo piano again which builds by way of a four-note motif that is gradually underlined by strings and then is joined by cello and as the composition builds in momentum more strings are added and timpani which creates an atmosphere that is slightly apprehensive. One of the many highlights of the score is track number five, LOCOMOTIVES, strings, woodwind, voices, and brass all combine to create a delightfully exhilarating and enjoyable piece. The score for VICTORIA is a delight to listen to it is a soundtrack that is filled with beautiful melodies, marvellous and unique sounding vocalising and it will be one that you will return to many times. Recommended.

 

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Track listing
1 Victoria The Suite – Martin Phipps, Benji Merrison & Mediaeval Baebes
2 The King Is Dead – Martin Phipps
3 Coronation – Martin Phipps & Mediaeval Baebes
4 Lord M – Martin Phipps
5 Locomotives – Ruth Barrett
6 Mirrors – Martin Phipps
7 The Wedding – Martin Phipps, Ruth Barrett & Mediaeval Baebes
8 The Royal Birth – Ruth Barrett
9 Privy Council – Martin Phipps
10 A Royal Affair – Ruth Barrett
11 Victoria Titles Martin Phipps and The Mediaeval Baebes.

LUZ DE SOLEDAD.

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Composer Oscar Martin Leanizbaruttia, is a newcomer to film music and a very welcome newcomer he is as well. His music is filled with a freshness and a highly emotive aura that is not only poignant and haunting but it not only does its job, which is to support and enhance the movies it ingratiates, but also stands alone as an entertaining and enriching experience when one savours it just as music without the images. LUZ DE SOLEDAD, was released in 2016 and is a biographical drama. It focuses upon Olga who is an only daughter and when her Father needs care after becoming ill it falls to her to carry out these duties as well as working all day in a law firm. She becomes exhausted and turns to the Church for help and in particular to a nun Sister Ines, who is a servant of Mary, much to the annoyance of her Father. The film tells of the beginnings of the order of the servants of Mary which is a religious order that was established in Madrid in 1851 by Father Miguel Martinez, and one which was guided, developed, and further established by Soledad Torres Acosta until her death in 1887. We see the persecution that the order has suffered during its formative years and the hardship that the servants of Mary had to endure, via wars, epidemics, and ignorance. The musical score as one can imagine given the films storyline has within it a deep and profound religious atmosphere, which the composer creates via the utilisation of subdued woodwinds, that are woven into the lilting and potently poignant strings, which together bring forth a rich and affecting spiritual mood. The score in places reminded me somewhat of the works of Italian composer Marco Frisina and at times lean towards the style and sound achieved by another Spanish composer Oscar Navarro (LA MULA), the composer purveying a fragility and an earthiness within his simple but powerfully emotive motifs. Solo violin is featured throughout as is a beautiful solo Female soprano, which adds so much depth and emotion to the score and becomes a mesmerising and vital component of the work. It is in the main a symphonic work but I think although I cannot be 100 percent sure that there are maybe a few synthetic aids used along the way, these however fuse and unite with the fully orchestral sound that is achieved. I must say that this is a rather lovely score, brimming with a richness and an abundance of themes which are varied and hauntingly beautiful, certainly an unexpected and wonderfully entertaining treat.

TRACK LISTING.
1.
Titulo
1:04
2.
Chamberí
4:39
3.
Quiero Ser Monja
2:04
4.
Una Nueva Fundación
1:42
5.
Los Votos
3:34
6.
Adelita
1:26
7.
Josefa
2:49
8.
En el Hospital
1:58
9.
Ciudad Rodrigo
2:24
10.
Madrid en Llamas
5:09
11.
Negativa en Palacio
1:22
12.
Despedida
2:17
13.
Dificultades
4:36
14.
Don Arturo
1:17
15.
En la Lechería
1:03
16.
El Sueño de Gabino
1:21
17.
Adelita No Responde
2:44
18.
Cólera
2:00
19.
Cuarentena
3:22
20.
Hasta el Final
2:24
21.
Hermana Soledad
1:02
22.
“Adelante!”
3:19
23.
Créditos Finales

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, SWORD OF DESTINY.

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In cinema’s very soon is the Netflix, Weinstein company joint production, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, SWORD OF DESTINY. A sequel of the original 2000 movie CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON that was directed by Ang Lee. This is probably not as thoughtful or indeed haunting as its predecessor, but it is however an exciting and action filled adventure which contains fast paced and at times what seems to be relentless fight scenes. Directed by Woo-Ping Yuen, the screenplay is based upon the final book of the Crane-Iron series, and focuses upon a band of warriors that are committed to finding and protecting a 400-year-old legendary sword, so powerful is the sword that whoever possess it will rule the land. Actress Michelle Yeoh is again heading the cast and reprising her role from the original picture in the role of Yu Shu Lien. Music is by acclaimed Japanese Maestro, Shigeru Umebayashi, who has been involved with many successful Japanese motion pictures which has wowed audiences outside of their country of origin. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, FUTARIKKO, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, THE GRANDMASTER and FEARLESS amongst them. Born in Japan in 1951, Umebayashi, is a gifted and talented composer, who works not only on Japanese movies and projects, his music is at times obviously linked to the culture and traditions of his homeland, but on other occasions one would think that this is the work of a seasoned Hollywood composer. Umebayashi, utilises thundering and diverse percussive elements within his score for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, SWORD OF DESTINY, on which he builds the remainder of his score. Brass and strings feature large within the work, giving it a powerful and commanding persona throughout, however there are also a handful of more intimate and subtle interludes, which are created by the use of both woodwind and strings, the woodwind purveying a mood of mystery and also of solitude at times, with strings adding a more romantic atmosphere and also giving support to the fragile sounding woods, which at times evoke memories of the composers score for CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER (2006), light and emotive solo piano is at times woven into the proceedings adding depth and also a more poignant side by supporting and enhancing the woodwind and strings which bring forth a lavishly and absorbing sound. There are also at times gentle nods to the Italian western score, with one or two notes being performed on electric guitar or cymbalom, in a similar way to what Morricone utilised in the Dollar movies for example when a central character was on screen or entered the shot. This is an epic score, it is filled with a powerful musical presence that is highly charged, at times action led, at times proud and noble and in certain instances filled with a mystical air and a romanticism that is enriching and rewarding. The violin solos too are hauntingly beautiful, and get right to one’s core, One for the collection, most definitely.

TRACK LISTING.

1.
The Edge of the Empire Lies the Martial World
2:31
2.
Snow Vase Attacks Hades Dai
2:03
3.
Silent Wolf Theme
1:51
4.
Back to Beijing
1:39
5.
Wild Bunch Theme
1:36
6.
Tea House Fight
2:51
7.
West Lotus Soldiers in Lingao Village
1:49
8.
Fue – Snow Vase
1:14
9.
This is Our Story – Your Mother is My Teacher
3:47
10.
Taiko – Wei Fang
1:31
11.
Silent Wolf and Yu Fend Off
1:42
12.
Snow Vase Attacks Mantis
1:11
13.
Deja Vu Moment
1:01
14.
Lying in the Cage
1:18
15.
Snow Vase Theme
1:46
16.
Plum Wine
1:31
17.
Banter Waltz
1:29
18.
Silent Wolf Maid His Way to Wudang Mountain
2:18
19.
Protect the Sword with Your Life
2:23
20.
Paper Lantern
0:52
21.
Yu Shu Line’s Theme
1:23
22.
Yu and Snow
1:41
23.
Yu Still Watching Silent Wolf
1:20
24.
The Last of the Mourner
2:42
25.
Silver Dart Dies
2:10
26.
Wei Fang Stole the Green Destiny
2:03
27.
Frozen Lake
1:23
28.
It’s Over – The Sword Wins
2:18
29.
A Swordsman of Honor
1:48
30.
Theme for Sword of Destiny
3:06
31.
Eternal Breath – English Version
4:17
32.
Eternal Breath – Chinese Version
4:17
33.
Theme for Sword of Destiny – Revised
3:25

Total Album Time:
68:16