I have been very impressed with the music of Vincent Gillioz, for a composer so young, he has written so marvelous music that is full of depth, power and wonderfully melodic to boot. Every work for the cinema I have listened to has been exceptional, and has contained something that is both original and pleasing. I pleased to say that THE IRISH VAMPIRE GOES WEST is certainly not an exception to that rule. I would go as far as to say that this is probably the composers most accomplished, involved and interesting work which has been issued onto CD to date. It’s a tale of mystery, magic, fairies, mad scientists, blood, vampires and love. These ingredients are taken and folded into a mix which contains a helping of Irish folklore. The end result is a worthy and thought provoking little movie. Gillioz has risen to the challenge with a score that is brimming with Irish flavoured thematic properties and of course given the subject matter we have the odd atonal and mysterious sounding cue along the way. But although the composer has created a somewhat menacing and un-easy sounding work at times, he alleviates the somber and foreboding with a mixture of wistful and melodic sounding themes, that are both vibrant and poignant and filled with energy and mischief. The score relies upon the use of solo violin (fiddle), percussion, penny whistle, Celtic Harp, shimmering effects in the background and also a particularly rich and stunning Mezzo Soprano from Mashal Arman. Bagpipes also feature and cimbalom is introduced to the equation which adds an Eastern European atmosphere to the proceedings. The score also contains samples and the composer often combines these with live performances displacing the sound at times to create an eerie atmosphere, which is extremely effective. I love track 7, RUNNING THROUGH THE EMERALD ISLE, it is a composition that builds and builds the composer utilizing violin, in the main and adding pipes, cimbalom, and other instrumentation as the momentum builds and builds, this I thought was very similar to the style employed by Elliot Goldenthal in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, But Gillioz is more subtle, slightly more delicate and certainly a shade more melodic. This is yet another triumph for Vincent Gillioz, and again I can do nothing else but urge you to buy it.
Howlin’ Wolf Records is a record label founded by a long time film score collector and enthusiast. The mission of this label is to release select film scores with collectors in mind. All releases will be limited edition pressed CDs with professionally designed and printed inserts and liner notes. Most importantly, we will always strive to present the best possible audio from source materials available for a film score.
Though a love for underscores from all genre of film is the foundation for the formation of this record label, the initial focus will be on presenting dynamic film scores composed for suspense and horror. From synthesizer to orchestra, music that unnerves, haunts, and sets your heart pounding is our passion. The intent of Howlin’ Wolf Records additionally is to introduce some wonderful and innovative composers that may be less familiar to collectors.
This record label invites all collectors and lovers of film music to partner with us on this venture. We would love to hear from you regarding film scores that excite you and to hear what scores are on the top of your wishlist for release. It is great to be a dreamer and without this important step in the process we may see many great film scores lost or hidden away from our listening pleasure.
THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE was surely one of the last true epics to be produced. Released in 1964 it boasted an all-star cast and was a magnificent and attractive movie, full of action, romance and vibrant, colourful scenarios. The music score was the work of the multi-talented composer Dimitri Tiomkin and is a soundtrack which ingratiates and enhances this truly epic motion picture. This is one of Tiomkin’s best scores – a grand affair, brimming with surging strings, dramatic and robust battle themes, imposing and inspiring marches, poignant and heartfelt themes which are poetic and lush in their construction and sound. Originally released on a long playing album back in 1964 on the CBS recording label and later, on the Varese Sarabande label on CD with a further CD release on Cloud Nine Records some years later of previously unreleased tracks; the latter being an inferior release in the sound quality department. It has always been a popular score amongst film music collectors old and new and this latest release from La La Land Records will attract a lot of interest from collectors who already have the soundtrack as well as creating more than a ripple of attention amongst enthusiasts who have not yet sampled the music.
This is one of those scores which never loses its attraction or appeal and is as fresh today as it was in 1964. The disc begins with a brief but rousing cue “Fanfares and Flourishes”. Although less than a minute in duration, it is an impressive and stirring track which sets the scene perfectly for what follows. Track 2, “Overture” opens with an imposing pipe organ performed in classical style heralding the commencement of proceedings. Tiomkin’s magnificent yet melancholy and sombre theme is played on screen over various frescos which depict the Roman age. As the main title credits roll, the music creates a grand atmosphere but one filled with an air of fragility – at once relaying the mighty power and influence of the Roman Empire and at the same time an underlying sound showing its weaknesses and flaws. Strings take on the theme already established by the organ and carry it forward, developing the almost despairing sound. The strings are supported by organ and joined by brass, combining to create a luxurious and magnificent composition which is lavish and opulent in style but also has tragic undertones that tug at the listener’s emotions. Track 3, “The Fall of Love” did not actually appear in the movie, Tiomkin having recorded this arrangement of the film’s love theme for the soundtrack album release. It is rich, vibrant and brimming with emotive content but again we hear an underlying or secondary sound that purveys a sense of the tragic. Track 4, “Lucilla’s Sorrow”, is heard as Lucilla (Sophia Loren) watches Caesar die after having been poisoned. She is overwhelmed by grief and opens the shutters in Caesar’s room letting in the blowing winds, as a thunderstorm rages. Tiomkin’s music is masterful within this sequence, heartfelt and mysterious; the composer utilizing mandolins to create a shuddering, ghostlike effect. The scene is mostly dialogue free, thus Tiomkin’s music acts as a romantically laced accompaniment to the scene, giving it depth and a powerful impact upon the watching audience.
THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is a classic score and this particular edition of the soundtrack will strengthen its standing and preserve its epic, rousing themes, its sweeping love themes, glorious marches and action cues for many years to come. An essential purchase, adorned with wonderful art work and enlightening and highly informative notes. Sound quality is also very good. Yet another gem of a release from La La Land Records…
A Conversation with Magnus Sundstrom of Fin de Siecle Media.
(This interview took place in 2007. )
John Mansell: Was it out of interest in film music yourself that you decide to begin to issue soundtracks?
Magnus Sundstrom: As long as I can remember I have been interested in film music, but my label was initially created to release my own electronic experimental music. However, I soon realized that putting out my own music wasn’t really a challenge. I begun releasing friend’s music, but I didn’t feel completely satisfied with that either. Having lost my interest in the contemporary experimental music, I started investigating the possibilities to release since long forgotten music which had had a huge impact on me during my youth – and after I successfully managed to license a few such albums I felt that my mission with this particular genre was completed. Since I’m a big fan and collector of European, mainly Italian, cult films I decided to contact a few publishers and try to share my passion with others.
John Mansell: What has been your most popular release to date?
Magnus Sundstrom: So far it’s Franco Micalizzi’s SUPERUOMINI SUPERDONNE SUPERBOTTE, a fantastic score and I was extremely satisfied with finding those previously unreleased tapes in such great shape.
John Mansell: Have there been any scores that you have tried to issue, but have been unable to because of the quality of the tapes?
Magnus Sundstrom: No, the main reasons for not being able to release a score are if I can’t find out who owns the rights, or if the tapes are lost, or if we don’t succeed in convincing a publisher to license it to us.
John Mansell: You recently released THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH; does this mean that we will be seeing more CAM soundtracks on your label?
Magnus Sundstrom: I certainly hope so, but as far as I know it’s very difficult to license anything from them. We will keep trying, though!
John Mansell: Are there any titles that you would like to issue which you have been unable to for any reason?
Magnus Sundstrom: There are a number of scores which haven’t been possible to license because of the reasons mentioned earlier. We have also been offered some scores which we decided not to release because we didn’t like them.
John Mansell: Do you like to try and involve the composer of the score in anyway with the release?
Magnus Sundstrom: We actually haven’t involved any of the composers yet, but if the opportunity comes we’ll of course consider it. We have been in touch with Franco Micalizzi after sending him our releases of his music, and he really appreciates them!
John Mansell: Do you think that liner notes are important for a soundtrack release in particular?
Magnus Sundstrom: I don’t think it’s necessary, but it adds an extra dimension to the experience. I think most soundtrack aficionados would want as much information as possible about the film and its music, and well written liner notes together with original poster artwork and stills from the film are things that we definitely will continue with.
John Mansell: What is next up for release on your label?
Magnus Sundstrom: Next week we’ll receive CORRUZIONE AL PALAZZO DI GIUSTIZIA by Pino Donaggio, and in October we’ll release the very experimental LA MORTE HA FATTO L’UOVO score by Bruno Maderna. We also have some more Giorgio Gaslini and Ennio Morricone stuff up our sleeves, but we won’t reveal any titles before everything has been confirmed.
John Mansell: What is your favourite film score, not just on your label but your favourite score of all time and for what reasons?
Magnus Sundstrom: I can’t choose just one score, there are so many. Some favourites are BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA by Wojciech Kilar, DIABOLIK by Ennio Morricone, CANDYMAN by Philip Glass and THE WICKER MAN by Paul Giovanni.
John Mansell: If a soundtrack has sold particularly well, would you at anytime consider a re-press?
Magnus Sundstrom: Yes, of course. We aim to have all releases available as long as the license agreements allow us.
John Mansell: When you release a score, for example THE ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN, do you then own the rights to the score, or is the music still the property of the original owner?
Magnus Sundstrom: We just license the music for release on CD, but the music belongs to the publisher.
John Mansell: I understand that you are now going to issue some Cinevox soundtracks – would you be able to tell us anything of these forthcoming releases?
Magnus Sundstrom: Before the summer we released RIVELAZIONI DI UN MANIACO SESSUALE AL CAPO DELLA SQUADRA MOBILE, our first collaboration with Cinevox and Claudio Fuiano. They have been very easy to work with and we’ll continue to explore the Cinevox archives. As previously mentioned, we’ll release LA MORTE HA FATTO L’UOVO by Bruno Maderna, which was released on LP by Cinevox in 1968. It has been restored by Claudio and the CD will contain ten previously unreleased tracks. We are working on some more as well but I think it’s too early to mention any further titles.
John Mansell: Many thanks to Magnus for his valuable time.