After hearing the samples of this score on the Movie score Media web page, I just knew that it was a work to be reckoned with, and also a score that would cause a little bit of a ripple amongst soundtrack collectors world wide. This is like a breath of fresh air in 21st Century film scoring, and the composer James Peterson should be congratulated on re-kindling the flame of hope within the film music arena, at a time when most new works for film fail to inspire or even raise an eyebrow let alone a comment. The brief but hard hitting opening cue, ‘Out Of The Darkness’ is in itself enough to warrant buying this compact disc, it has in its first 40 seconds or so many references to the work of composers now sadly not with us, such as Rozsa, Waxman, Herrmann, Newman etc, it evokes for me the atmosphere the sound the dramatic and hard hitting thematic quality of the golden age of film music and also has a sound to it that could be almost avant-garde in an Alex North kind of way. Petersons almost rasping brass flourishes becoming fanfares of sorts that introduce a driving and commanding opening piece that any of the greats would have been proud of. Personally I am of the opinion that the composer has not copied any particular style or sound here, or at least he has not set out to. It was something that just happened as the scoring process progressed and the end result is a well crafted and potent score That gives more than a gentle nod to the music from film noir, and also does lean slightly towards the composing style of Miklos Rozsa, which I am sure you will agree is no bad thing. RED CANVAS is a fast paced score at times which is heavy on the use of brass and strings, these at times combine and also at other moments play against each other to create a score of epic proportions, and soundtrack that I am sure will go down in film music history as being a groundbreaking one and also a landmark work for its creator James Peterson. Given the films subject matter Peterson has scored the images on screen intelligently and thoughtfully, and by doing this has also fashioned a work that is an exhilarating, thrilling and enjoyable listen away from the film it was intended for. There are a number of stand out cues within the score, in fact probably too many to analyse individually, I will say however track 9, ‘Grease Monkey Brawl’ is a highly dramatic listen and the ‘Ballet For Brawlers’ (track 18) is superb. This is a full on no holds barred bare knuckle slog it out musical fight.
The strings taking on the brass and vice versa with some fancy footwork from the woods. This is a rewarding and enriching listen, that has for me in any case restored my faith in the future of film music, because in the hands of the likes of James Peterson, film music does in fact have a future. Also on the compact disc are 8 additional bonus tracks in the form of ‘The Moving Images Suite’ these range from a short introductory fanfare, to cues entitled ‘The Sorcerer’, ‘Americana A Quirky Machine’ and ‘Transylvania 1955’, these are pieces of music written by the composer and shaped and arranged into a suite, which are a real added bonus and delight for the listener, these also give us an idea of how versatile the composer can be, I look forward to hearing much more from James Peterson, and may his next assignment not be too far off. Recommended.