This latest release from the industrious Fin De Siecle Media record label and is a gem of a score from Italian composer Luciano Michelini. THE ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN, tells the story of a group of prisoners and guards that are shipwrecked and end up on what they think is a deserted island. In true Jules Verne and H. G. Wells style they soon find out that they are not alone and come across a Captain Nemo type character who is attempting to bring treasures from the lost city of Atlantis to the surface, aided by the islanders some of whom have mutated into amphibians. The glamour in the movie is provided by Barbara Bach, who has her fair share of scenes coming out of the water in a short cut costume. The film was obviously not a massive box office success, but it was a film if not taken too seriously many ended up enjoying, the American release of the movie was screened under the title of SCREAMERS, and was brought over to the States by Roger Corman. Michelini’s score embraces many styles, and is to be honest a delight to listen to. There are dramatic influences in a number of the tracks, but also the composer utilizes romantically laced themes as in track number 13, COSA RESTA DELL’AMORE and an almost disco sounding style on track number 10, which is entitled PALUDE, he also makes use of electronic sounds which are interspersed within the orchestral composition in track number 11. The soundtrack is presented wonderfully by Fin De Siecle, a six page digi pack with great front cover art work, and stills from the movie reproduced inside.
This movie was released back in 1977, but at the time of its releases there was no soundtrack album available, in fact the only music issued at that time was a single performed by a group of session musicians who for the purpose of the recording were dubbed THE YEATIANS. The original score by veteran Italian composer Sante Maria Romitelli, has up until now lain in the vaults of BEAT records, and has been issued onto CD as part of the company’s 40th anniversary celebrations. The soundtrack opens with a cue entitled THE GIANT in which Romitelli very cleverly parodies and utilises phrases from FUGUE IN A MINOR, and combines these with his own musical style to create an impressive and imposing opening for the movie and also the compact disc. The score is a very interesting one, because it includes a number of different musical styles and colours. The first three cues for example are solely orchestral, the opening I have already discussed but the second cue is a lighter and more romantic lush sounding composition, IDYLIC LARGO and was used to underscore the scenes that involved the YETI and the leading lady. The film is a sort of lower budget take on the story of KING KONG, but this time the giant ape being substituted by a giant YETI. Track three MAGIC EPILOGUE is again a dramatic cue, but less grandiose as the opening track, and also contains a more melancholy sound to it mid way through its running time, basically it is a combination of the openings big sound and also the lushness of track number 2. Track 4 is completely different from any of the first 3 tracks, it has a funky upbeat sound to it, that one would normally expect to hear in a score by the De Angelis Brothers, the lyrics go something like this, THE YETIS BIG, THE YETIS TOUGH, BODY SO COOL, HE IS SO BIG THE MAN OF SNOW, BUT HE WONT HARM YOU THE YETI, etc etc etc, and is the first track on the compact disc to be performed by THE YETIANS, ok its not the best thing to come out of Italy during the 1970s but it’s a fun filled composition.
The second track by THE YETIANS is cue number 6, and again its an upbeat funky sounding track, after which we revert back to orchestral sounding cues, which in the main are melodic and romantically slanted compositions complete with a soaring wordless female solo voice which is obviously Edda, although for some reason she receives no credit for her work. Considering the quality of the movie, I think personally Romitelli, created a serviceable and highly original score, and one that will entertain soundtrack collectors for many years to come. The compact disc is packaged imaginatively and contains many stills and photographs and has some interesting notes on the film and the music. Definitely one to add to the collection.
From the CAM vaults here is a classic Italian western soundtrack, originally released back in 1968, this Nico Fidenco score is full to overflowing with catchy and infectious sounding themes and cues, right from the opening vocal BALLATA DI JOHN sung by S. Moriones, this score pleases and to be honest astounds. Its quality is second to none, and in places could easily be mistaken for the work of Ennio Morricone, Fidenco makes excellent use of the vocalising talents of IL CANTORI MODERNI under the direction of Alessandro Alessandroni, along with clever and appealing orchestrations, which are obviously the work of Gianni Dell’Orso. Track 2 IL CARRETTO DELLA SPOSA is a perfect example of the style of this score and also the style that is now associated so readily with the Italian made western. Comical sounding trotting music which is similar to the style that Luis Baclov employed in his SUGAR COLT soundtrack, is the backing track to solo trumpet, light and easy sounding strings, which are in turn embellished with trills, barking, a meaty sounding piano and female voices shrieking. Track 3 is a more subdued and romantic sounding cue, ANTONIA is the love theme for the score, in this cue performed on solo guitar supported by quiet strings. Track number 4 is an orchestral version of the opening track, BALLATA DI JOHN, performed on harpsichord in an up tempo arrangement of Fidenco’s contagious composition. JOHN IL BASTARDO is certainly a landmark score for the composer, and is in my opinion one of his best western scores. Highly recommended. In fact cannot recommend it enough.
I remember going to a concert at Maida Vale Studios in London and Jerry Goldsmith, who was about to conduct a suite from ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, said that the director of the movie (Franklin J. Schaffner) on listening to the score remarked, “Well you finally wrote a tune” meaning, I suppose, that Goldsmith had written a beautiful and haunting piece for the movie. This was a remark which I recalled when listening to FOREVER YOUNG for the first time some years after the concert, thinking about how lush and sweeping Goldsmith’s score was, and now we have the entire, or near damn it, complete score courtesy of those lovely people at La La Land Records. FOREVER YOUNG has always been, and will always remain, one of my favourite Jerry Goldsmith scores from the 1990s and that is saying something as the composer produced a lot of excellent works at this time, RUDY, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, BASIC INSTINCT, MALICE and THE RUSSIA HOUSE. It was during this period of his career that I felt the composer mellowed a little and created some of his most appealing themes and scores; by this I mean he began to score movies that had more emotive storylines and he seemed to excel – if that is at all possible when scoring more intimate and romantic ventures – plus he created charismatic and tempting compositions that were haunting and alluring. The 1990s was the fourth decade that the composer had worked in Hollywood and he had come such a long way since the early days of television back in the late 1950s. His technique had developed over the years and by the early part of the 1990s he was one of, if not the most important film music composer in the world, with a following of thousands.
In FOREVER YOUNG we hear small snatches of the composer’s styles that have been employed in past triumphs such as wistful and soaring atmospheres that are akin to those he created for THE BLUE MAX in the invigorating and gloriously driving but also emotive cue ‘Reunited’ with its surging strings and lush sound. Plus the delicate, intimate and intricate tone poems that were so touching and emotive in A PATCH OF BLUE etc in cues such as ‘Will You Marry Me?’, ‘Never Leave Me’, ‘Time to Leave’ and ‘I Was Wrong’. The composer’s subtle and charming touch not only enhancing the images but becoming an important and integral part of the movie itself. The absorbing ‘Love Theme’ is one of the composers most appealing and the use of alto sax carried along by strings augmented by melancholy sounding horns, enhanced and punctuated by piano is stunning, FOREVER YOUNG is a stand out score in a career and also in a long list of musical magnificence that Goldsmith put together during his long and illustrious career. This edition of the soundtrack contains a staggering 21 previously unreleased cues and is a must have soundtrack, and an essential purchase for any Goldsmith devotee or indeed any discerning fan of movie scores. Packaged wonderfully by La La Land Records with notes by Daniel Schweiger.
To say that Eric Neveux is new to the world of film music is not entirely true. He actually began to take an interest in writing music for film some 15 years ago and has worked on a number of features and been involved with numerous projects which have been connected to film and television. The release of his music for the movie HIDEAWAYS is another example of Swedish based label Movie Score Media ardent commitment to releasing good scores by composers who are not exactly well known to collectors of movie soundtracks. This is a stunning score that is filled with wonderful thematic properties, interesting orchestration and haunting tone poems. It also contains its fair share of dramatic and darker moments but that is the job of music in film, to be varied and also to be dark and light thus matching the images and storyline and creating the correct mood and atmosphere that is required. It is a score that not only serves its subject matter well but has the ability to be an entertaining entity away from the images it was intended to enhance. Track one, ‘The Depth of the Forest (Theme from the Hideaways)’ is a particularly delightful composition – haunting and mesmerizing are two words I would use to describe it. The cue begins with solo piano which picks out a simple, pensive and cautious sounding theme. This is joined by subdued strings which underline the piano solo and also a chime effect that is played in unison with the piano. Woods are added to embellish and support, and the string section take on the piece with piano, then acting as punctuation for them. The strings melt away and the cue reverts to solo piano which relays an atmosphere of calm and solitude or loneliness to the listener. Strings again join the piano and play a more romantic version of the theme; again this is short lived and the cue reaches its conclusion as it began with solo piano. The composer’s light and emotive touch is stunning and beautiful; he interweaves beautiful motifs and utilizes solo instrumentation such as, affecting cello, plaintive flute, delicate almost fragile harp and piano to great effect, producing poignant, sensitive and heartrending compositions that are pleasing and lingering. He demonstrates his gift for melody throughout the work and this talent is displayed more prominently in track four ‘Another Baby’, track six Stronger Than Illness’, track ten ‘Abandoned Souls’, track eleven ‘Mae and James’, track thirteen ‘Waking up with the Birds’, and track sixteen ‘Two Lovers’, all of which are intimate and attractive and awash with melodic and passionate content.
The score also has less melodic interludes where the composer brings into play electric guitar and quirky sounding percussion as in track five, ‘A Boy Like No Other’ and sombre sounding strings combined with percussion on the cue ‘A Shadow in the Woods’ which is full of drama and suspense. So all in all HIDEAWAYS is an extremely good score and one that should be in every discerning film music lover’s collection. Highly Recommended.