THE IRISH VAMPIRE GOES WEST

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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.

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HOWLIN WOLF RECORDS.

 

http://www.howlinwolfrecords.com/index.html

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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 GREATEST FILM SCORES OF DIMITRI TIOMKIN.

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What happens when you combine the music of one of the worlds most respected film music composers and have the worlds leading symphony orchestra perform it. Well you get a superb collection of marvellous and magical music played to perfection.
Dimitri Tiomkin was one of Hollywood’s most revered and respected composers of film scores and he was responsible for creating lush and lavish music for some of the best known movies to come out of tinsel town, the composer had a talent for creating so many scores for movies that not only worked perfectly in conjunction with the movie but also these vibrant and tuneful works had a life all of their own away from the images that they were originally intended to enhance.  Tiomkin began his career in the period that many refer to as the Golden age of film music. It was a time when cinema screens were dominated by rip roaring swashbucklers, intense and risqué romances, dastardly villains, cleaner than clean heroes and heroines and good old weepy’s, many of which contained storylines that were not exactly water tight or historically correct but none the less were good old fashion entertainment, that were uncomplicated and provided escapism for the watching audiences. Everything during this period was pretty much black and white within the area of the plots or storylines, good was good and bad was at times downright evil. It was during this period that Tiomkin along with Alfred Newman, Erich Korngold, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Hugo Friedhofer, Bernard Herrmann and their like, penned sumptuous and thrilling scores that are now regarded as classics and these often majestic, emotive and stirring works were to become the blue prints for many a modern day film score, acting as inspiration for the film composers that followed. Tiomkin’s connection with music for film began back in his native Russia, the composers professional debut was in the picture houses of St. Petersburg, where he would accompany Russian and French silent films. He also provided accompaniment for the ballerina Thamar Karsavina on piano when she performed on army post tours and improvised again on the piano during performances by the comedian Max Linder. 
 
 
These experiences and the skills that he collected whilst working within this environment were to stand him in good stead for what was to follow when he re-located to the United States and the hills of Hollywood to pursue a career as a movie music composer. Tiomkin began to score movies as early as 1929, one such example was MGM’s  DEVIL MAY CARE, which was a historical musical that included an Albertina Rasch ballet sequence filmed in Technicolor, which had music by Tiomkin.  The composer worked prolifically throughout the 1930,s through the war years of the 1940,s, where he was responsible for writing the music to a number of documentary/news films for the United States war department such as BATTLE OF BRITAIN and BATTLE OF RUSSIA both in 1943 and THE NEGRO SOLDIER and TUNISIAN VICTORY in 1944. After the war Tiomkin began to work on numerous Hollywood productions, such as IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, DUEL IN THE SUN, RED RIVER etc, working with directors such as Howard Hawks, Frank Capra,  King Vidor, Anatole Litvak  and  Richard Fleischer, to name but a handful. The 1950,s were to prove to be a fruitful time for the composer as he scored numerous films that are now looked upon as classic examples of American cinema, HIGH NOON, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY, LAND OF THE PHARAOHS, THE THING, GIANT, FRIENDLY PERSUASION, GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL, WILD IS THE WIND, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, RIO BRAVO, LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL ,THE MEN which introduced Marlon Brando to cinema audiences and his highly acclaimed music for RHAPSODY OF STEEL and many more including the now famous theme for the television series RAWHIDE, which starred a fresh faced Clint Eastwood before he became a household name via his role in the westerns of Italian director Sergio Leone. The 1960,s too were good for fans of the enigmatic Tiomkin, he worked on some of that decades biggest blockbusters and enhanced and supported movies such as, THE ALAMO, 55 DAYS AT PEKING, THE UNFORGIVEN,THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, THE SUNDOWNERS, THE WAR WAGON and CIRCUS WORLD with his unmistakable and original sounding musical fingerprint. Also at this time  Tiomkin began to produce movies and we saw his name appear on the credits of films such as MACKENNAS GOLD as co-producer. 
 
 
 
 thumbs_DT102LThis excellent recording features a number of the titles I have already mentioned, it begins with THE OVERTURE from the 1950 production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC which starred Jose Ferrer, I must admit this is always a movie I forget as being scored by Tiomkin, but score it he did and provided the movie with a jaunty, exuberant and positively charged soundtrack which lent much to the films overall persona and impact.  This is a short lived cue but certainly makes it’s mark and sets the scene for the music which is to follow. Track number 2, is a suite from the score that is probably Tiomkin’s most famous scoring assignment,  THE ALAMO, which has a running time of nearly thirteen minutes, this suite encompasses the central themes that the composer wrote for this epic western/war film. It begins with the Overture. This opens with a sorrowful faraway sounding horn that evokes an atmosphere of loneliness but also conveys a sense of pride and patriotism. The horn plaintively performs the opening bars of the films title music, the theme is enlarged upon by the addition of more brass and strings the theme builds in a subdued fashion until it segues into an instrumental rendition of the now famous,  THE GREEN LEAVES OF SUMMER, which Tiomkin co-wrote with lyricist Paul Francis Webster the Overture also includes the haunting TENNESSEE BABE (Sweet Lisa), heard here as an instrumental arrangement, the Alamo theme then returns and acts as an introduction to the slightly darker sound of the Deguello theme performed on solo trumpet which is short lived but so effective. The music once again mellows and returns to a vocal performance of THE GREEN LEAVES OF SUMMER by the London Voices which closes the Overture in rousing fashion. Section two of the suite is the theme  that the composer penned to accompany John Wayne’s character Davy Crockett and his band of followers from Tennessee. This is a jaunty at times comedic sounding piece written for brass, woods and also strings that combine to create a contagious and entertaining piece.  We are then treated to Tiomkin’s imposing and powerful music for THE BATTLE in section three of the suite, the orchestra perform the themes for both the Mexican army of Santa Anna and also the massively outnumbered defending Americans, effectively creating a musical battle as it were, this is a rousing piece, filled with excitement and also it exudes a sense and atmosphere of desperation and hopelessness that is felt by the defenders who are fighting against overwhelming odds . The epilogue is section four within the suite and this builds to become  a beautifully performed version of the GREEN LEAVES OF SUMMER for orchestra and choir, which brings the suite to its thundering conclusion.   
 
 
 
 
 
The compilation continues with The theme, Cubana and Finale from THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, which was released in 1958 and starred Spencer Tracy who gave a compelling and convincing performance as Santiago the fisherman under the direction of John Sturges. The score garnered Tiomkin his fourth Academy Award. 
The music reflected perfectly the variable mood of the sea and also underlined the courage and determination of the old man, the three cues performed here are I think a perfect representation of the score and are executed by the LSO to such a high standard that it is hard to differentiate between these and the actual original score cues. Track number four is The Overture from the 1952 release THE FOUR POSTER, this is a fairly light and energetic sounding piece, strings, brass and percussion combine to create a lush and luxurious sound that has a romantic framework with an underlying current which is somewhat chaotic and humorous. Track five, is a suite from the composers 1956 score for George Stevens GIANT, Tiomkin’s score is expansive and filled to overflowing with the sound of Americana. Lush strings, choir and proud sounding brass flourishes are the order of the day as the composers opening theme literally bursts forth quickly establishing itself and setting the scene wonderfully for this classic movie. Tiomkin also wrote a haunting love theme for the film which was heard in various guises throughout the score and accompanied the volatile, amorous and emotional love triangle that develops between Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. The reoccurring theme was also heard as a vocal with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster which was entitled “There’ll never be anyone else but you”. Tiomkin was nominated for an Academy Award but lost out to Victor Young’s music for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, Giant was actually nominated for nine Academy Awards but only managed to win one which was given to George Stevens for best direction. Tiomkin however is rumoured to have received a record fee for his work on the movie.
 
Track number six, is from the score for THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, which was directed by Anthony Mann in 1964. Representing Tiomkin’s powerful and emotive soundtrack we have here the love theme THE FALL OF LOVE. Although variations of the theme were utilized within the film, Tiomkin insisted that he record a version of the love theme specifically for the soundtrack album. This arrangement is a particularly poignant and emotive variation of the theme. With woods introducing the piece then segueing into solo violin before the string section perform a full working of the haunting and rich sounding composition punctuated delicately by harp and further embellished by subdued brass. For me this is one of the highlights of this compilation as it is performed with so much emotion and passion which clearly shines through. 
 
Track number seven, needs no introduction, as it is an iconic and classic song from cinema history. DO NOT FORSAKE ME, from the 1952 western HIGH NOON. The opening lines, DO NOT FORSAKE ME OH MY DARLING, ON THIS OUR WEDDING DAY are probably instantly recognizable to the majority of people. The song which was performed by Tex Ritter on the soundtrack and also Tiomkin’s instrumental variations of the theme played an integral and important part within the movie and not only heightened the tension and created an anxious atmosphere but also acted like a bridge between the movies scenes, augmenting and  highlighting the hands of the town clock approaching noon and heralding the arrival of a band of murdering outlaws on the midday train. The composer received an Academy award for his score and also for the song which had lyrics by Ned Washington.  The version for this compilation is performed marvellously by Andrew Playfoot, who vocalises with enthusiasm and energy, evoking the atmosphere of the original but also bringing new dimensions and nuances to the song via his performance. For Track number eight, we stay out west but move to the small screen as opposed to the silver screen of the cinema, RAWHIDE was a popular television series that found favour not only in the United States but also in the UK and beyond. Tiomkin composed a stirring and robust theme for this sagebrush saga which ran for three years and introduced the television generation to a young actor Clint Eastwood.  Lyricist Ned Washington provided the words for the now famous title song, Frankie Laine sung the song originally and it became become a worldwide hit.  Again as soon as one hears the opening of the song you know exactly what it is, this is an iconic and evergreen composition that combines Tiomkin’s thundering theme with aggressive and powerful lyrics which together create a glorious piece of television music history. The sound and style that was achieved here has since been parodied and mimicked by composers such as John Morris in BLAZING SADDLES and was also a great source of inspiration for Maestro Francesco De Masi and other Italian composers during the late 1960,s and early 1970,s in many scores for Italian made westerns, where they attempted to give title songs at least, an American or Hollywood sound. Performed on this compilation by Andrew Playfoot, who again, steps up to the mark and,(forgive the pun) takes the bull by the horns and makes the song his own, ably supported by the London Voices and underlined and punctuated by an energetic performance from the LSO. Track number nine, is from the 1954 production, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY which starred John Wayne who also produced the movie. Based on the novel by Ernest K Gann and directed by William Wellman this was in a way the first film of its kind in a long line of aeroplane calamity movies that were to follow. 
 
 
Tiomkin’s sweeping and exuberant sounding theme dominates the score and soars dramatically and luxuriously, enhancing the action and the emotion that is unfolding on screen. The composer received his third Academy Award for his sterling efforts on the soundtrack. The performance here by the London symphony Orchestra is magical and evokes perfectly a rich and full sound is Hollywood. 
The remainder of the compilation is a joy to listen to, it continues with THE HITCHCOCK SUITE, which includes music from DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951),Which were two of the four movies that Tiomkin scored for the famed director. There is also the alluring theme from WILD IS THE WIND (1957), performed on this recording by the excellent vocalist Whitney Claire Kaufman, THE SUNDOWNERS from 1960, the vibrant march from CIRCUS WORLD aka THE MAGNIFCENT SHOWMAN (1964),the mysterious and captivating LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955) and two selections from FRIENDLY PERSUASION (1956) which includes a charming and haunting version of the vocal THEE I LOVE performed by Whitney Claire Kaufman and Andrew Playfoot. This is magnificent collection of film music which is at times hard to believe all comes from one composer. The variation of style and high quality of music is stunning and also the performance by the London symphony is second to none, at times when listening I found myself doubting if this was indeed a re-recording as many of the performances were in my opinion so faithful to the originals. This compact disc is the first in what is advertised as an occasional series of live LSO performances that will concentrate on the greatest film music composers of all time. I look forward to the next release with great anticipation as I know that it will be as special and monumental as this one. Maybe a Dimitri Tiomkin volume 2, or some Korngold, Steiner, Newman etc etc the list is after all endless. The LSO and conductor Richard Kaufman must be applauded for bringing us this outstanding recording.  Presented very well, with notes on the composer and all the artists that are involved on the recording, including arrangers etc. Plus a brief history of the LSO and their connections with film scores and a track by track description and information on each film. This is an essential purchase. 

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

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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…

FIN DE SIÈCLE MEDIA: TALKING SOUNDTRACKS

A Conversation with Magnus Sundstrom of Fin de Siecle Media.

(This interview took place in 2007. )

L-150-9380-1096374684John 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!

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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.

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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.
L2hvbWUvcnVubW92aWUvcHVibGljX2h0bWwvdGVtcC9pbWFnZXMvc3Rvcmllcy9Tb3VuZHRyYWNrL1Bvc3Rlci9maW5fZGVfc2ljbGVfbWVkaWEuanBnJohn 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.