ZWINGLI.

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New for 2019 is the film ZWINGLI which is a movie directed by Stefan Haupt that tells the life story of Church reformer Ulrich Zwingli. Who in the 14th Century preached ideas on the reform of the Catholic Church, he was also one of the main critics of the Swiss mercenary system, he studied at the Universities of Basel and Vienna the former being a centre of Renaissance Humanism. He became the Pastor of Glarus and in later years continued in this role at Einsiedein and whilst holding this position continued his studies and became influenced by the writings of the Dutch Christian Humanist, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. In the late1500’s Zwingli became the Pastor of Grossmunster in Zurich and it there he began to preach his ideas on reform more, denouncing the practise of fasting at Lent .

The movie tells his at times turbulent and interesting life story in detail. The musical score is by a trio of composers who are from the same family. Diego, Nora and Lionel Baldenweg go under the name of GREAT GARBO, which is a music production company that was established in 2004. Diego, Nora, and Lionel are an award-winning composer team that have written and produced scores for numerous movies and television productions. The Australian/Swiss siblings have also worked extensively on over 300 advertisements worldwide which include music for Master-card, Sony and Carlsberg. Their better known film credits include THE LITTLE WITCH, and HEAD FULL OF HONEY. They have also collaborated with acclaimed orchestras and renowned musical artists. The music that they have penned for ZWINGLI is filled with rich and vibrant compositions, these include, choral passages and the use of solo female voice that at times are supported by symphonic instrumentation but for the most part are performed accapella with stunning and mesmerising effect. The orchestration for the score is thoughtfully done and the delicate and at times fragile sounding solo violin performances purvey a melancholy yet imposing atmosphere that transfixes and haunts the listener. The score is a fusion of the dramatic, the dark the passionate and the romantic, it enthrals and entertains away from the movie and is ever more engrossing as it progresses and develops, there is a serene and mystical persona present throughout but it is the composers effective use of the string section that stands out and shines with solo voice being added on occasion to create an even more appealing and attractive sound. I suppose the best way for you to make up your own mind about the music for ZWINGLI is to go buy it, all I will say is if you do add this to your collection you will not regret it, the richness and the tantalising themes will delight, enthral and enchant you, and too will make you want to search for more by this composing trio. Highly recommended….

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ANGEL ILLARRAMENDI.

 

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Film music can be many things, it can be romantic, it can make you cry it can also help to make you laugh, at times it is scary at times it makes you hid your eyes or even hide behind the sofa before anything has happened because one can hear that something will be happening because of the style, sound and atmosphere it is creating you become aware that this something is not going to be particularly pleasant. Movie music can also be inspiring, uplifting and totally hypnotic and if utilised correctly can make a good movie a great one.

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There are many composers that are Masters at their craft and know instinctively just how much music should be applied and also what sounds or hints of melodies will enhance underline and support what ever is going on up on the screen. There are also moments in movies that are not scored with any music and it is I think the sign of a great composer when they know that not every scene needs music, with certain scenes becoming more impacting because the soundtrack is devoid of music or musical sounds. As I say there are many such composers, but I do adore the way in which Spanish composer Angel Illarramendi creates so many beguiling and mesmerising moments via his subtle, lyrical and lusciously rich melodic interludes. His music infiltrates the mind and the soul of any listener, invading and haunting their subconscious and washing over them in waves of vibrant, delicate and dramatic musical poems that are woven together with care and meticulous perfection to create some of the most attractive musical compositions for the world of cinema.

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Even when the composer writes for action scenes he still manages to create beautiful themes and nuances which shine through the action and the drama and entice the watching audience deeper into the storyline that is being acted out. He has a distinct and easily recognisable style, his music being classically grounded and symphonic, in many ways he has a style of writing that can be likened to that of the late French composer Georges Delerue, who also was able to fashion leitmotifs and musical passages that oozed fragility and romanticism. In fact at times Illarramendi has been refered to as the Spanish Delerue. Illarramendi combines the classical styles of great romantic Masters such as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov with his own inventive and original style creating contemporary sounding compositions that are laced with tenderness and an abundance of melodious passages.

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Thus creating a sound and a style that is appealing and wholly mesmeric. Illarramendi comes from Northern Spain and was born in Zarautz in the April of 1958. He began to become involved in music from a very early age and aged six was already singing at various festivals which were staged in and around the Basque Countryside. At eleven years of age he started to compose his own music and also began to teach himself how to play guitar. It was about the same time that he began his musical studies, where he also undertook lessons on piano with Maria Barbara Aranguren. Five years later he started to study Counterpoint, fugue and composition, with Francisco Escudero and the music conservatory of San Sebastein. His first recording was released in 1978, this was a singer song writer album but also contained a number of instrumental compositions. The recording was successful and it was then that the composer embarked on a tour of the North of Spain. In 1981 he completed his musical studies and initially worked on various compositions for the Basque theatre school, ANTZERTI. He also began to teach and it whilst doing this that he began to write scores for films.
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As the 1990,s began the composer decided to cease teaching and concentrate more upon his own musical compositions, dedicating his time to the creation of soundtracks and music for concert hall performance. His film music career has been an illustrious one and Illarramendi has worked with many esteemed film makers including, the noted producer Elias Querejeta.

 

 

 

The composers style in my opinion can be likened to that of Delerue but also contains an almost Baroque style. Illarramendi is a gifted composer who delights and amazes with every composition, his heartfelt strings are powerful and at the same time melancholy, his music easily affects, enhances and elevates any movie or TV project it adorns. His musical flourishes are like soft brush strokes on a blank canvas, bringing Colour, life, character and meaning to everything they contact.

TALKING TO THE COLLECTOR.

JAMES ANTHONY PHILLIPS.

James is a good friend and also a person who can identify a soundtrack that is particularly original and interesting. His knowledge of films and film music is great,  and he has an eclectic palette when it comes to both. He is a Scholar and a teacher and has written numerous articles  on the subject of both films and film music.

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1 Why film music, what is it about music for the movies that attracts you and excites you?

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I was really aware of music in films since childhood. In 1966, Hitchcock’s VERTIGO was first shown on network television in New York and I had a clear view of the family television from my bedroom. At that time, we only had a black & white set with the rabbit ear antenna, so you had to get up and adjust it to get a decent picture. Once the credits came on and I saw the eye with the music haunted me for years. Finally, the restored version came out in colour, and I was shocked because I thought it was filmed in black & white. Television scores such as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, and MANNIX along with BATMAN, STAR TREK, and Warner Bros cartoons. Walt Disney animated films and then my life changed when the James Bond craze hit. I nagged my father into taking us to see YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE because of all of the subway posters throughout the system and I’ve been hooked on John Barry ever since.
Film music took me to a new time and place and feed my imagination.

 

 

2 What was your first soundtrack and at what age did you buy this? I picked up Herrmann’s score to TAXI DRIVER and OBSESSION right after graduating high school, I had a friend who had the entire album collection of Elmer Bernstein’s Film Music Collection for sale at $5 each, so I bought them. My favourites were Herrmann’s THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR, TORN CURTAIN, Rozsa’s MADAME BOVARY, and the Alex North score VIVA ZAPATA.

 


This was around 1978. In 1979, my aunt gave me Jerry Goldsmith’s STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE album for Christmas and that cemented my collection mania of all things Goldsmith to this day.

 

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3. What’s your opinion of contemporary film music as opposed to film music from the 1960s through to the late 1980s?

 

 

I prefer the orchestral scores of the 1960s, with Goldsmith being the leader and the occasionally Herrmann, but it was really the 1970s that changed the style of films and film scores.

 

John Williams, Steven Spielberg

 

However, it was John Williams who without a doubt created the return of the grand orchestral sound with STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and SUPERMAN, which to me is the greatest march in film history, even beating out the Alfred Newman from THE CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE. It was the love of these films that led me to the 1930s of the Viennese school composers such as Max Steiner, Korngold, and Franz Waxman. KING KONG, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN can beat out any score from today and Williams fans out there know it.

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4 What soundtrack would you release if a record company said to you ok James you can do whatever you want?

This could be a touchy situation because I had written to several label producers about composers and certain scores, but if I had the rights from Universal, I would do the Gil Melle score to FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY, a two-part television film. The film is very haunting, very different from previous Frankenstein scores and composed in the Romantic classical style.
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5. Let’s have a desert island scenario, it is just you on an island, but you are allowed 10 soundtracks, what would you choose to take? This is one of the toughest questions I will have to answer since I love everything that is orchestral and jazz within many genres, so here goes:

1. ALEXANDER NEVSKY – Prokofiev
2. BEN-HUR – Rozsa
3. THE WILD BUNCH – Fielding
4. A TOUCH OF EVIL – Mancini
5. THE WIND AND THE LION – Goldsmith
6. THE OMEGA MAN – Grainer
7. THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR – Herrmann (Dorothy Herrmann, one of his daughters, once told me that her father considered this to be his favourite).
8. THE MISSION – Morricone
9. FIELD OF DREAMS – Horner
10. EL CID – Rozsa
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6 before the arrival of CD’S how many soundtracks did you have on LP record? I had about 800, but lost many of them in a basement flood back in 1996.
7 Do you still play records as well as CDs, and do you do digital at all via music sites such as Spotify and I tunes?

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I enjoy listening to records and CDs, as well as ones I have on cassette tapes while I am at home. When I am on the go, it’s Spotify. Great service and very easy. I don’t have Apple products so I no I-Tunes for me.

8 Have you been searching for a score that has remained elusive? It seems that the labels have been releasing my Grails and I have been a happy camper.

The most recent example is COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, Michel Colombier’s CITIZEN KANE.

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9 what composer or composers would you say dominate your collection?

 

Without a doubt: Jerry Goldsmith in vinyl and CDs. Next would be Herrmann, Williams, and Schifrin. I also have a lot of James Horner. I want to praise the late Michael Kamen, with whom I had an email correspondence and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions and he also sent me an autographed photo that I have framed on the wall in my bedroom.

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10.whats the most that you have paid for a soundtrack and which one was it?

 

I bought the hexagonal ANDROMEDA STRAIN album at the old Footlight Records shop in Manhattan for $125. Gil Melle designed the cover and vinyl. When he and his wife Denise came to New York in 2003, was kind enough to inscribe it and now I also have it framed and hanging on my wall.

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11 Do you lament the fading out of the main theme or main title music in films nowadays?

YES! One good thing about the Marvel superhero films is that special clip at the end of the credits and you get to hear the full sweep of the score the way the composer intended. I also enjoy the opening fanfares from 20th Century Fox, Universal, and others.

 

 

TALKING TO JAVIER ARNANZ.

 
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Where and when were you born?

I was born on the 2nd of April 1965 in Talavera de la Reina in Spain.

Do you come from a family background that is musical or creative?

Indeed, in my family there is a lot of musical and creative tradition. We are ten brothers, of whom five know how to play some instrument and we are very connected to the music. When we meet we form an orchestra. three Violins, two Violoncellos and a piano. The Orchestra of St. Nicholas, in honour of my Father, may he rest in peace. Interestingly my father was the only one in the family who did not know how to play any instrument.
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What studies did you undertake for music?

I play the piano, the cello, the guitar and the mandolin.
As a child I went to music and piano lessons, then guitar and currently continue with cello classes in my city’s Music school.
I studied computer science at the university, this made my love of composition finally be liberated, as a dream fulfilled, thanks to computers, with the current sound libraries it is not necessary to have an orchestra to compose soundtracks. Since the year 2000 I have been composing music for orchestra, soundtracks and also electronic music.

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I reviewed recently your wonderful score for BARBACANA which a very emotive and lyrical sounding work for a documentary, how much music did you compose for the project, and how much time were you given to complete the work?
In BARBACANA I composed almost forty tracks in total for the documentary, of which only thirty two were used in the soundtrack. Some were ruled out because they were unable to convey the idea that the producer had. I was composing for two years several sketches and teasers, but most of the music for the documentary I wrote in the last two months. There is a theme “The Flight of the Cranes ” that corresponded to the soundtrack of another documentary, but the director liked it so much for a scene that we decided to incorporate it.

 

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THE GENET’S TALE is also a score that you wrote for a documentary a few years ago, which is superb, how did you become involved on this film?

The director and producer of this documentary contacted me to do the teaser, I did and he was very satisfied with my work. Then he proposed to put the music to all the documentary. Although I had little experience, this was my second documentary, and few media at my fingertips, I finally managed to develop the entire soundtrack in my home studio, with very satisfactory results. The compositions are very emotional and full of sensitivity. Even some very epic and dramatic scenes, which was a style in which I had not had much experience.

 

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What size orchestra did you use for BARBACANA and what percentage of the line up was electronic?
BARBACANA is a work all at 100% of study, composed and arranged in Reaper, in which I have usadosobre all EAST WEST bookstores like Hollywood Strings and Storm Drums II and III. Almost all the instruments of the string, wind, metal and percussion sections are from Hollywood Strings. The percentage I’ve used to create the electronic and orchestral part can be an electronic 20 percent and an orchestral 80%.

 

 


Do you think that BARBACANA will have a compact disc release or will it remain as a digital release?

It all depends on the interest of the listeners, the number of listeners and downloads on the digital platforms. It all depends on the acceptance you have in your digital version.
What would you say are your musical influences, and what composers or artists would you say have inspired you?

 


The soundtrack in general has an epic air because it was what I was charged, but in fact it is noticeable when listening to the various songs that besides Hans Zimmer there are many composers who I have been an inspiration to me, such as John Williams in the track (Joseph and Mary) on BARBACANA and then there is John Barry, James Newton Howard, James Horner, Ennio Morricone and even Beethoven…

 

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You as far as I can see have scored three documentaries, GENET’S TALE, BARBACANA and STORIES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN FOREST, when you are asked to score a documentary do you sit with the director or producer and spot the film in the same way as a feature film, or is the process different when working on documentaries?
Yes, the process of scoring a documentary is just like in a movie. First I detail the scenes and times they want with music and then explain to me what kind of music and want to transmit with the music. Animal scenes are like people, they can be epic, tense, tender or even funny scenes…. You just have to be careful to respect certain natural sound environment, because in a documentary of this type is very important to be heard.

 

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Documentaries I think need more music than a feature film, as there are no breaks for long dialogue scenes etc, but I suppose you do have to be aware of narration, if there is any, is the narration already on the soundtrack when you see the film pre scoring?
Yes, although what I am taught, is not always the definitive narrator of the documentary. The most important thing is to know what the announcer says in that scene. Music must collaborate to finally get the same as the voice.

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How do you bring your musical ideas to fruition, do you use keyboard, straight to manuscript or do you employ more contemporary methods?

It usually takes less time with the keyboard, and that’s what I usually use. Then rectify with the mouse the errors. Depending on the type of song and the style the elaboration process will vary. With Epic Music I work first the rhythm and the percussion that will carry the song: In more emotional music I usually play the piano, and on the piano I start to draw the various instruments. Finally if necessary I remove that piano.

 


Did you select the cues that were released on BARBACANA and GANET’S TALE, and do the releases contain the full scores or are they just representative of both?
In BARBACANA I removed some of the short cues, but for GENET’S TALE the release contains the full soundtrack. In BARBACANA I have added a cue that had been discarded, and I felt this was unfair, sometimes the likes and the dislikes of the composer and the editor are not always the same. And since it could not appear in the film, I made the decision that it should be released on the recording of the soundtrack.

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What have you lined up for the future?
I have two documentaries in sight which are very close to each other, one will be on the migration of birds and the other has not been made clear to me as yet. I continue studying, and I’m learning to play the Violocello which I play very often. The idea is to play in the orchestra of the School of Music as a hobby, even some day play along with this orchestra for one of my compositions.

 

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STARDUST.(2007).

 

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I have for a long time been meaning to write about the music for the movie STARDUST which was composed by Ilan Eshkeri, this large scale fully symphonic work is a soundtrack that I have returned to numerous times over the years and also have sat and watched the movie over and over and found it entertaining each time. Its an enjoyable fantasy swashbuckler and the score is as magical and exciting as the story line and the adventure that is unfolding on screen, The composer fashioned a beautifully melodic and dramatic soundtrack for the movie and it is in my very humble opinion a contemporary score but posses that sound that atmosphere and that rich and lush musical persona that we associate with days gone by in film music history, it is grand and powerful, wistful and romantic but above all it is an inspired and affective soundtrack that one will never tire of. Released in 2007 the movie and the score are still as attractive and fresh as they were when I first heard them, it is an accomplished and also a polished and wonderfully inventive score, the composer employing dark and driving strings which at times are accompanied and supported by pounding percussion and mysterious sounding themes that entice, engulf and fully engross the listener. The composer said of the film and the score.
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“Stardust was my second film with director Matthew Vaughn. He gave me the script before the film went into production and the first piece of music I wrote was to one of Charles Vess’ illustrations in the original graphic novel. The illustration is called flying ship and the music is called flying vessel. I was writing on the set of the film which was really unusual and fun. I found it really inspiring to walk onto the set which was magnificent and awe inspiring. I wrote many themes for the movie but many of these didn’t make the final score. I worked closely with the band Take That on the song for the film RULE THE WORLD. The final minute of the film’s score is an intro to the song based on Gary Barlow’s chords. There are also elements of the song which relate to the score. ‘Take That’ were amazing to work with”.

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The small English village of Wall conceals a mysterious secret, because through a gap in a wall that surrounds the village is the entrance to the Kingdom of Stormhold, which is realm filled with magic and what many think are fantastical creatures such as Unicorns. The Kingdom is filled with Witches and spells, it is a realm that is as beguiling and fascinating to mere Mortals as it is dangerous and evil. Tristan Thorn is a young inhabitant of the village and to impress his young lady vows to cross over into Stronghold to recover a falling star for her and if he returns She in turn promises to marry him. To the Young man’s surprise the falling star is more than that but is a celestial Princess who’s name is Yvaine. She is a fiesty individual and soon makes it quite clear that she is not beat pleased at being knocked out of the sky and brought down to earth and subsequently kidnapped. After a while Tristan and Yvaine realise that it is not only Tristan that wants to have the falling star as many others join in the hunt for it. Soon the unlikely couple find them selves pursued by Sky Pirates with their cross dressing Captain (Robert De Niro-in a tutu), warring heirs to the throne of the Kingdom and a trio of evil witches who plan to capture Yvaine and cut out her heart so they may eat it and rejuvenate their bodies and looks, giving them eternal youth and life.

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Tristan has to fight on all sides and battle against swords, deception and sorcery in this exciting and exhilarating adventure romp.

 

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The composers score lends much to the action scenes and also gives much support and enhancement to the romantic scenarios and adds greater depth and atmosphere to the movie as a whole, the thundering percussion and blaring horns in cues such as LAMIA’S LAIR for example is stunningly commanding and fearsome. The composer also gives us a fearful and foreboding piece in the cue LAMIA’S INN, which at first begins in a somewhat light mood, but soon develops into something a lot more sinister as the cue progress’s where we are treated to a slowly building ominous motif that slowly and deliberately increases in both tempo and volume into a booming and unstoppable tour de force for strings, low woodwind and percussive punctuation. I cannot recommend the score and the movie enough, with its impressive cast and fantastical settings and storyline, it is now I think a classic.

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