SERGIO MOURE de OTEYZA, FILM MUSIC WORKS 2005-2017.

 

SERGIO

Sergio Moure de Oteyza has been writing music for TV and film since the mid-1990, s. During this time the composer has built up a reputation for creating melodic and haunting scores that support and enhance the images on screen. Recently the composer has compiled a double compact disc of his Film Music Works-2005-2017, this is in my opinion a highly entertaining and rewarding listen, it is not only filled to overflowing with some of the most luscious and mesmerising themes, but it also contains some beautifully dark and dramatic musical moments, which although at times are foreboding and slightly sinister still hold the listeners attention via the vibrant thematic qualities that they possess. The compilation comprises of selections from ten scores all of which are varied and attractive. The collection opens with four selections from LOBOS SUCUIOS (THE DIRTY WOLVES).

DIRTY

 

This gripping drama was released in 2015, directed by Simon Cassal, the story is set in Spain in 1944, Nazi military who are working closely with Franco’s forces have taken control of a wolfram mine, their aim is to manufacture weapons. The mine is worked by political captives and labourers from the are in which the mine is located. The prisoners hatch a plan to seize the wolfram and send it to the allied forces so that they can use it on the Nazi’s. However, they know that they cannot do this alone, so they enlist the aid of a local miner and a single Mother, Manuela. She is given the job of getting information from the German Commander, who has become fond of her. The composers score underlines and punctuates the tense and apprehensive atmosphere of the storyline, heightening the uncertainty of what the prisoners intend to do, but it also works well as an enhancement to the beautiful forest scenery in which the movie is set, and also the theme for MANUELA, which is a delicate and tender piano solo. The music for the movies more quieter moments is poignant and emotive, at times becoming lush sounding with strings accompanying solo piano that purveys a fragile but at the same time dark aura. There are also some interesting percussive moments within the score, these can be heard in track number three on the compilation, THE PLOT, with the composer combining both percussion with sinister strings that are embellished by a rather threatening sounding guitar.

EX

 

The next selection of themes are taken from the 2015, horror/Sc-fi movie EXTINCTION, the music here is for the most part of a dark and virulent sounding variety, but the composer again still infuses touches of melodious passages, adding little nuances that are attractively inviting and a welcome respite within a score that is predominately action orientated, the orchestration on this work is interesting, the composer utilizing the string section to great effect on occasion. THE SEIGE is a fast-paced piece from the offset with swirling strings driving forward aided by percussion and timpani, with underlying brass making its presence felt via its ominous sounding support. I think the highlight cue from this score must be track number eight on the compilation, A NEW HOME is an almost celestial sounding piece with voices and strings, setting the scene for a highly emotional composition, which can be likened to an adagio that has operatic leanings. The next two tracks are taken from the 2013 movie SOMOS GENTA HONRADA (HERES THE DEAL), a comedy starring Miguel Angel Blanca and Juan Cruz, it was directed by filmmaker, Alejandro Marzoa, being a comedy the music here is more light and of an easy going nature, at times the lilting guitar, and the use of female solo voice evoked memories of the music of composers such as De Angelis and Morricone, except it has a more contemporary style within it.

DEAL

TESIS SOBRE UN HOMICIDIO (2013) is represented next with three cues, the composer fusing both symphonic with synthetic  sounds and colours to achieve a knife edge atmospheric score, which compliments and supports the movies plot throughout, it is a richly dark and somewhat disturbing sound that we experience with this score, Directed by Herman Goldfrid, it focuses upon Roberto Bermudez who is a specialist in criminal law, he is convinced that one of his students is responsible for a brutal homicide, which he thinks warrants an investigation, but it is an investigation that Bermudez becomes obsessed with. The composer creates a musical accompaniment for the central character and underpins the action with a soundtrack that is for the most downbeat and understated a style that works wonderfully.

THESIS

 

Music from the 2012 mystery/thriller EL CUERPO (THE BODY) is next and in my humble opinion I think that this is one of the composers finest scores, its mysterious musical elements mix with a style that is romantic and darkly vibrant, this for me just says masterful scoring, it is up there with scores such as BASIC INSTINCT and BODYHEAT, it oozes charism and class and has a mesmeric quality. FINAL is a cue that brings together many of the thematic parts of the score, an overture of sorts I suppose, it is just gloriously sophisticated and attractive. THE GAZE OF THE STONES is the final selection from EL CUERPO, a vocal which too is filled with sophistication and refinement, the female vocalist Paula Sendim Santiro, being superbly supported by a down beat accompaniment which comprises of strings and laid-back percussion. One word to describe this, SUPERB.

BOD

 

 

The remainder of the first disc comprises of selections from the 2012 Spanish drama, TODO ES SILENCIO and the 2012 thriller RETORNOS, both scores are filled to overflowing with shadowy musical passages, that are affective as well as being affecting, but again the composer creates some beautiful moments along the way, in TODO ES SILENCIO particularly, there is a Barry-esque style present at times. But both works include nice piano work and utilization of the string and wood sections.

 

The second disc opens with LOBOS DE ARGA (GAME OF WEREWOLVES). This is my absolute favourite score by Sergio Moure, it is just crammed full of everything a good horror/comedy/thriller score should have. Dark pounding piano, horns that rasp and growl, choir, female wordless voice, percussion that booms out and strings that are sinewy and strident, driving timpani and just about everything else. So, it’s good, well I certainly think so. One thing wrong with the selections from this movie, there are not enough of them on the compilation, so that’s why I brought the whole soundtrack, which is also available. The remainder of this compilation is excellent, it is a film music fans dream come true, each section from the respective movies are outstanding, it is a compilation that I know once purchased will be returned to so many times, I urge you to buy this because your collection will poorer without it. The other movies represented are SECUESTRADOS, UN BUEN HOMBRE, INCONSCIENTES, MAYON VOLCANO, TIME ROJAK, RAILWAY TO HEAVEN, LA BATALLA DESCONOCIDA, IGUANA HUNTER and ABSENT. Just go buy it, A.S.A.P.

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M.M.I. RECOGNITION OF THE BEST OF 2017/2018.

Its awards season, and here at MMI we also like to acknowledge composers for their talent and creativity, this is not a lavish ceremony or even an awards ceremony where we hand over an Statue or Certificate, we simply acknowledge what we think are the best works of the past year.

The awards for 2017/18 are as follows.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE.

THE PHANTOM THREAD.
MUSIC BY JONNY GREENWOOD.

BEST SCORE FOR A COMEDY.
THE DEATH OF STALIN.
MUSIC COMPOSED BY CHRISTOPHER WILLIS.

 

BEST SCORE FOR A SCI-FI /FANTASY.
THE SHAPE OF WATER.
MUSIC COMPOSED BY ALEXANDRE DESPLAT.

 

 

BEST SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE.

THE LAST WARRIOR.
MUSIC COMPOSED BY GEORGE KALLIS.

 

 

BEST RE-RECORDING OF A FILM SCORE.
BEN HUR. TADLOW MUSIC.

 

 

BEST RE-ISSUE OF A SOUNDTRACK.
ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES. MUSIC BY MICHAEL KAMEN.
2 CD SET, INTRADA RECORDS (USA).

 

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LABEL OF THE YEAR.

CALDERA RECORDS.

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BEST SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY.
EARTH -ONE AMAZING DAY.
MUSIC COMPOSED BY ALEX HEFFES.

BEST SCORE FOR A TV SERIES.
GAME OF THRONES. MUSIC COMPOSED BY RAMIN DJAWADI.

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BEST SCORE FOR A HORROR MOVIE.
IT. BENJAMIN WALLFISCH.

 

 

BEST SCORE FOR ANIMATED FEATURE.
FERDINAND. MUSIC COMPOSED BY JOHN POWELL.

 

 

BREAKOUT COMPOSER OF THE YEAR.
GEORGE KALLIS.

 

KALLI

 

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR.

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT.

 

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M. M. I.
AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO FILM MUSIC.

JOHN WILLIAMS.

 

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AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER MARK KORVEN.

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What are your earliest memories of any music?

My mother singing old showtunes while vacuuming the living room floor. The thing that changed my life though, was the first time I heard The Beatles.

 

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Was writing music for film, something you set out to do, or did you become involved in it as your musical career progressed?

It was completely accidental. I was working on a pop music album, and the producer handed the bed tracks to a director making her first film. That was my start.
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One of your most recent assignments has been, OUR HOUSE. How did you become involved on this?

Most of the films these days have come to me through my rep as The Witch composer.

 

 

THE VVITCH is a very atmospheric score, it adds so much to the storyline and images, what size orchestra did you use for the score?

It was mostly performed by myself. We did add a couple of musicians: Ben Grossman on hurdy gurdy and Jouhikko (an ancient Finnish bowed instrument) and Katherine Hill on Viola de Gamba, Nyckelharpa and voice. We also used The Element Choir (12 singers) for the choir stuff. Most of the score was myself playing Swedish Nyckelharpa and cello.

 

 

Do you perform on any of your film scores?

Usually, yes. It’s more programming, like most composers these days. Occasionally I’ll pull out an acoustic instrument to add to the score. On bigger budget projects, I’ll bring in more players. The add so much to the overall quality.

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When you were working on THE WITCH did the director have any input into what style was needed or where music should be employed?

Very much so. He had a very clear idea of what he wanted musically and is mostly responsible for the overall tone of the score.

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How much time were you given to score THE VVITCH and how many times did you see the movie before getting any fixed ideas about where music should be placed?

Just a couple of times before I started to work on it. I spent about 2 months on it, but kept coming back to it for months after, because Rob Eggers (director) is a real tweaker.

What musical education did you receive?

Two years studying jazz and orchestration.

 

 

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What is your preferred method of working out your musical ideas, do you use a keyboard, or a more technical approach?

Keyboard, as it is with almost every film composer out there. Although, I was originally a guitarist and keyboard did not come easy!

 

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Using THE VVITCH as an example, what percentage of the music was performed by synthesiser or electronic instrumentation?

It was all acoustic instruments. Most were samples that I made though, because I needed a lot of flexibility with the director.

 

Did you have any involvement with the selection of cues that went onto the soundtrack release of THE VVITCH?

Yes, I made those decisions.

When you score a movie do you retain ownership of the music or does it become the property of the film company?

Usually, copyright to the music is relinquished to the producer. Often, I can retain at least 50% of the publishing. But the producer will have the control.

 

What would you say is the purpose or the job of music in film?

To express the internal world of the characters through music.

You have worked on shorts, documentaries, TV series and motion pictures, what would you identify as the differences between scoring a movie and a TV series?

There’s more time with feature. No time with a series. You have to bang it off very quickly then immediately move on to the next episode.

How much of an impact does the budget or lack of it have upon a score for a movie?

It’s whether or not you can have live players, or a live orchestra. That can have an enormous impact on the expressiveness of the music.


When you are writing for a movie, do you like to start with a central theme and then build the remainder of the score around this, or do you write smaller cues and then set about creating a theme or core sound from these?

Usually I don’t start with a theme – though I should! I just write and write and eventually I find the theme. So, I guess it’s the latter.

When scoring a TV series, are the episodes scored in the order that they will be aired, and do you repeat any of the music, for example would you re-use a cue from episode 3 in episode 9?

Yes, absolutely. Although often I will have to alter it to fit.

 

 

JOHN HOLLINGSWORTH ; UNSUNG HERO OF THE SILVER SCREEN.

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The name of John Hollingsworth is synonyms with Hammer films, why? Because Hollingsworth was the studios musical director, he was responsible for scoring, conducting and supervising the music department at Hammer, it was Hollingsworth that gave composers such as James Bernard, Richard Rodney Bennet, Malcom Williamson, Don Banks and Gary Hughes. Hollingsworth began his duties at Hammer in 1954, his first assignment being THE STRANGER CAME HOME. Hollingsworth had worked for Hammer previously in 1951, when he acted as musical director on NEVER LOOK BACK. But, it was when he took over from Ivor Slaney full time in 1954, that Hollingsworth began to make his mark upon the high quality of the scores that were utilised by the studio. Hollingsworth had conducted for James Bernard before Hammer, and they collaborated on the music for two radio plays, THE DEATH OF HECTOR and THE DUCHESS OF MALFI, and it was the latter score that made Hollingsworth think of Bernard when it came to assigning a composer on THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT, the score had originally been given to John Hotchkiss, but because the composer fell ill during writing the score, Hammer needed a composer quickly, Hollingsworth asked Bernard who accepted and the rest they say is History as far as Bernard is concerned.

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Hollingsworth was born in Enfield Middlesex on March 20th, 1916, he was educated at Bradfield college and then went onto to study music at the Guildhall School of Music. As early as 1937, Hollingsworth had become an accomplished conductor, and found himself conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. During the second world war, he joined the RAF, and in 1943, became the first RAF sergeant to conduct The National Symphony Orchestra, he toured with the NSO and gave concerts in both the UK and the USA. He conducted concerts in front of many dignitaries and world leaders, which included, Stalin, Truman and Churchill. After the war Hollingsworth became much in demand and became assistant to Muir Matheson and worked on films such as BRIEF ENCOUNTER. After three years Hollingsworth became musical director at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. This was an association that would endure some ten years, he also became principal conductor for The Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra during this time and was assistant conductor to Sir Malcolm Sargent at the Proms.

 

 

Hollingsworth, stayed at Hammer until 1963, his last scoring assignment being THE DEVIL SHIP PIRATES, he was working on THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN which was composed by Don Banks when he passed away at his home in London. He died of T.B. on December 29th, 1969.

PHANTOM THREAD.

 

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Set in the glamour world of 1950s London when the country was still recovering from the ravages of the second world war. PHANTOM THREAD, focuses upon the life of the renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock, wonderfully portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, and his sister Cyril played by the equally polished Lesley Manville, the pair become the focus of the British fashion fraternity, together they dress royalty, stars of the silver screen, socialites, and debutants with a style that they have made all their own, which has a flair and originality that can only be designed at The House of Woodcock. Women drift in and out of Woodcocks life giving the designer comfort, inspiration and friendship. come and go through Woodcock’s life, he has resigned himself to the fact that he will remain a confirmed Batchelor until, he meets a young woman who has a certain stubbornness which he is attracted to, Alma, played by Vicky Kelps, becomes a permanent part of the designers life and world, She is his lover and his motivation, Woodcock soon becomes obsessed by the young woman, and his once ordered and mapped out life is thrown into disarray and disorder as he falls hopelessly in love with her. The music for  PHANTOM THREAD, is by ex-Radiohead band member Jonny Greenwood, Greenwood is a multi-instrumentalist and has written the music to several movies, THE MASTER, NORWEGIAN WOOD and possibly one of his most memorable being, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, which also starred Daniel Day Lewis, amongst these. PHANTOM THREAD, I have to say is in my opinion the best score by Greenwood thus far in his career, and with this work we hear a more delicate and melodious approach from the composer, there is a richness of sound achieved here, and at last real themes within this score, themes that are hauntingly beautiful, dramatically statemented and above all wonderfully attractive. I would not be at all surprised if Greenwood does not lift the coveted Oscar for his efforts on this score, it is a superbly written work, that is not only lush and quite opulent sounding in parts, but one that has a fragility and intimacy to it at the same time.

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Each cue is tailored (forgive the pun) meticulously to each individual scene or sequence and fits like the proverbial glove, underlining, punctuating and ingratiating. Greenwood, paints a musical picture, using many colours and employing an array of textures, his music adding depth, and emotion to the movie, solo piano features throughout the work, its light and almost dream like sound, mesmerising and hypnotising on each outing. The composer combines cascading and shimmering strings with the delicate and subtle piano to evoke a sound that is synonymous with that of the popular instrumental pieces that were heard during the 1950’s, and without being disparaging or critical I was at times reminded of the sound achieved by Mantovani and other such orchestra’s that entertained during the 1950, s and 1960, s. It has that aura to it, it is gentle calming and easy on the ear but also has just the right amount of drama and darkness to make this a score that is sublime, maybe it is time to re-visit the works of Mr Greenwood, whilst we await more. Highly recommended.

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