EL LADO OSCURO DE LA LUZ/THE DARK SIDE OF LIGHT is a richly shadowy, ominously powerful and thought provoking psychological thriller which takes its storyline from true events about a serial killer who was sentenced to an electric chair execution but somehow managed to survive it. This criminal justifies his murderers in the belief he is God’s chosen one and that has fulfilled a liberation mission of his victims. Using a symbolic language, this story exposes “Actions that prove killing in God’s name is an excuse to cover atrocious crimes”. Memo is orphaned at the age of 7 and is left in the charge of his cruel tyrant of a grandfather who imposes great emotional violence upon the boy that wounds him profoundly; this treatment and abuse affects him deeply generating within Memo a personality disorder that leads him into severe alcohol addiction. Memo manages to find love and support in Karla, a beautiful young woman with whom he plans to start a new life, however Memo’s alcoholism tears them apart the same day of their wedding, unleashing intrigues and betrayals that detonate Memo’s criminal instinct. A prisoner of his memories and before being executed, Memo describes the origin of his own sadness and the meaning of the liberating mission he has carried out upon each one of his victims, because they like him were tormented and consumed by their own cruel past. Is Memo a chosen one? Can his grandfather confront himself when he discovers the monster he has created? Will Memo’s crimes go unpunished?

254766_10150274774982737_4705207_nThe musical score for this enticingly brooding motion picture is the work of Mexican born composer Gus Reyes, who has constructed a score that is not only haunting in a romantic and melodic fashion but also has a dark and near foreboding ambience to it that underlines and also punctuates the proceedings, these more unsettling elements are ever present throughout the work but never become overbearing or intrusive to the central and more prominent thematic material. Gus is for all intent and purposes a newcomer and almost unknown out side of his native Mexico, but this I am confident will change once collectors have listened to this interesting and totally absorbing score and  realise just how much talent and potential  this young but very capable film music composer has.

The music for EL LADO OSCURO DE LA LUZ can be described like the title, by this I mean it posses darkness and a sense of apprehension but also has shafts of light that  we get glimpses of every so often these create warmer interludes and stunning melodic nuances and moments which are rewarding and highly emotive in their sound and construction, the composer makes effective use of the string section of the orchestra supported by piano and further underlined by understated use of harp to create a rich and romantic resonance, he also utilizes choir and soprano equally as effectively combining voice and instrumentation which together purvey an almost celestial atmosphere. There are a number of occasions within the score where solo violin is employed, this for me personally evoked a sound that I normally associate with Ennio Morricone, a lamenting and heartrending solo that tugs at the listeners emotions and in effect invades their head, this is demonstrated in track number 6, ELLA Y YO  most prominently, solo violin opens the cue, and is enhanced by the use of harp until the string section sweep into the composition with a glorious and emotional rendition of the scores central theme accompanied by choir, the strings rise as if from nowhere to infuse a lushness to the proceedings, track number 18 QUE NO VIERON A DIOS? Also contains solo violin and although this is just a brief performance it is still affecting,  the solo performance introduces the cue underlined by harp, and then melts away giving prominence to fuller sounding strings. Delicate piano solos also are one of the main components of the work these create a calming and soothing mood at times and are a welcome respite to the more atonal passages that are within the score. This warmth tinged with melancholy is demonstrated fully in track number 17  “REQUIEM DEL LADO OSCURO” soprano performing the main part of the composition with choir adding their voices to the proceedings embellishing and complimenting the solo performance, which is also punctuated lightly by harp, strings are then brought into the equation adding more of a substantial support to the vocals and creating a sad but at the same time majestic sound. Track number 2, MI NOMBRE ES, is a more urgent sounding piece, but it is not grandiose or highly dramatic, the composer utilizes harp and strings again but this time to create this sense of urgency, he also brings choir to the composition, that although sweet sounding relays a mood of uneasiness. Track number 3, RECEURDOS, is a slightly atonal in its introduction swirling strings build slowly as choir is added and woodwind are fleetingly called upon to add an almost grotesque tone, but this taught and unsettling ambience fades to give way to a more calming mood created by slow and restrained strings.  Track number 20, is listed as a bonus track SUITE DE CONCIERTO is I suppose an Overture of sorts for the score as it contains many of the principal themes from the work, giving us the chance to hear all of them complimenting and augmenting each other. This is a score I recommend highly, and am pleased that KRONOS records will be releasing this great score in the very near future.




Philipp F. Kölmel was born on September 5, 1973 in Rastatt, Baden, Germany One of his latest scoring assignments RUBINROT is causing more than a ripple of interest and excitement amongst collectors and critics alike, the powerful and imposing music that the composer has penned is released on Sony Music.


You began writing music for film in 1996, when you worked on KREUZ & QUER, how did you become involved on this project?

I was studying to become a recording engineer (Tonmeister) at the conservatoire in Berlin back then. However I was kind of unhappy with seeing the musicians having fun at the recording stage and me as a Tonmeister being more or less uncreative.

Film music was always a passion for me so as a connoisseur I decided to change my subject and began to study film scoring in Munich (Bavaria, Germany). To get my first (unpaid) job as a film music composer I put some notes on the pin board in the film college in Munich. A fresher girl named Yasemin asked me to be her first film composer. She hired me many times after that first collaboration and I then started to make a living from my passion.

What musical education did you receive, and had you always wanted to write music for film?

My passion with music begun with getting piano lessons aged seven. My piano tutors hated me for improvising more than playing and practising the masters on the piano.

Later I learned saxophone and double bass. With the double bass I had the opportunity to play in a lot of youth orchestras. It was a formative time for me.

Back in my teenage years I attended some composition competitions and workshops. Plus I played in some bands for which I wrote songs and jazz tunes. I studied recording engineer in Berlin later but switched to a film scoring programme at the conservatoire in Munich.  As I am interested in the recording studio, computer technique and music I found out that composing for film could match all of these worlds perfectly.
602281_3955732447599_1849371116_nRUBINROT (RUBY RED), is one of your latest scoring assignments, the music is symphonic and highly infectious, what size orchestra did you utilize for the score and where did you record the score?

Thank you. We recorded the 72 piece orchestra Staatskapelle Weimar, which is one of the orchestras with the oldest tradition and history in Germany. I keenly loved their sound which was perfectly surrounded by the reverb of the Volkshaus Jena where we recorded the music within seven sessions. As I am a recording studio technique nerd I added and mixed many tracks of my computer mock ups to the live recording. This blend I would say is the requirement of an up to date cinema sound. Music mixing engineer Peter Fuchs and I worked intensively and we were very particular and precise when it came to the edit and mix of the score.

RUBINROT is the first in a series of movies that centre around a time traveller I understand, are you going to be working on any of the other movies in this series?

The film business is sometimes a bit nervous. So because of this I can’t answer that question fully or finally yet. But I live in hope that I will do the scores for the complete trilogy.


Do you orchestrate all of your own music, or is this something that is not always possible when working on a movie due to scheduling, and do you consider that orchestration is an important part of the composing process?

My computer mock-ups of the score are very precise. Every detail of the final recording was demonstrated in my computer layouts before. That is the basis for an approval of the music by the film director. I would get a complaint if the music would sound too different after the recording process.  But yes, on bigger projects I collaborate with an orchestrator. He helps me to translate my mock-ups to written score in time. In the case of RUBINROT there were constant tasks; while the orchestrator was working I had to arrange different source music which ran in the background of the movie. At the same time I was examining and revising the orchestrations.

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

Film music amplifies the emotions of a movie. A lot of things are impossible to explain with only the eye-minded part of a film. On the other hand the score is kind of an actor. It communicates with the actors on screen.


You worked on a comedy TV series, UN HIMMELS WILLEN, which was popular in Germany, it must be quite a harsh schedule for a composer if the series is aired weekly, did you re-use any music from certain episodes within other episodes of the series?

UM HIMMELS WILLEN is the most popular TV-series in Germany. I am very happy to be involved for the second year now in this prominent and funny show about the quarrels between some nuns and the mayor of a small fictitious town in Germany. The schedule is manageable because they only produce and release 13 episodes each year. There is not too much music in each episode.

You have worked on a wide selection of movies, shorts, TV projects and documentaries, what would you say are the main differences if there are any between scoring these types of projects?

For me there are not too many differences. But there is more time and budget involved in movies for cinema. That is why it is more comfortable to achieve a good sound quality for your score when working for movies. Scoring for shorts is sometimes difficult because due to the short running time it is not easy to establish a main theme. You need some time between a re-run of the main theme. If it repeats itself in a short period the music tends to appear corny.


Do you think that you have been influenced by any composer or group of composers either from the world of classical music, contemporary or film music?

Maybe you won’t recognize it if you are listening to RUBINROT but my first love in music was the German electronic band KRAFTWERK. I have been listening to their music since I was 8 years old. Plus my Father was a big jazz fan. That is why I love the use of more complex harmony. Additionally I was absolutely impressed by the orchestral works of Stravinsky and Bartok. I would say that their way of orchestration taught me the most. I prefer listening to contemporary composers like Ligeti or Penderezky rather than Mozart or Haydn.

How many times do you normally like to look at a movie before you begin to get any firm ideas about what type of music you will write and also where music is best placed to serve the picture?

I would love to compose to a movie while looking at it for the first time. That would keep me in tension with the movie. But reality is that I am watching the movie two to four times in advance, and then of course I end up seeing the movie 500 times because of working on it etc.  In more and more projects nowadays I am allowed to decide where to place music and where not. I rarely go through a spotting session.

2591_1044135779502_3543292_nAt what stage do you like to become involved on a project, is it better to receive a script and maybe start working out your ideas from reading this or do you prefer to come in at the rough cut stage of the proceedings?

I like to read the script but the film is always completely different in my imagination than the final cut of the movie. Actually I love to hear the dialogue, see the costume and the amount of use of light so that I am able to compose the right notes. The movie is the vision of the director so I have to follow and serve his visions. Composing for a script makes no sense for me. But I need a lot of time to fuse with the movie completely. So the earlier I am able to become involved the better.

What is your opinion of the TEMP track, have you had experience of this practise when working on a movie and did you find it helpful or maybe distracting?

Sometimes I am happy to have temp tracks because they save me time in finding the tempo and style the director likes. I force myself to just copy the tempo (BPM) and don’t listen to the temps too much. Somehow I would prefer if the filmmakers would be more interested in what we film composers could offer for their movies. But it is rare that directors work without temp tracks. In RUBINROT I was involved very early so the film editor could implant my music in the movie before he was looking on the temp track shelf.

How do you bring your musical ideas to fruition, by this I mean how do you work out your ideas, piano, keyboard, etc or a more technical approach ?

I improvise and experiment on the digital piano while watching the scenes and listening to the dialogue. If something attracts me from my improvisations I can reactively record it with my MIDI sequencer. Compared to some of my composer colleagues I never switch of the dialogue. After having a piano layout I “colour” it with sampled instruments. It is like a blank canvas being filled with colours hopefully adding more dimension to the project. So basically my work is improvisation plus waiting for some coincidences and magic.

535682_4607668465592_1388716360_nHow much music did you compose for RUBINROT, and how much of the score is represented on the CD release of the score?

I composed 75 minutes of music. Approximately 57 minutes of music is released on the soundtrack release plus 4 songs from Spanish singer songwriter Sofi de la Torre.

535477_4498184728567_1978618051_nWhen a compact disc is to be released are you involved with the release and do you select what music tracks that appear on any release?

Yes, I am very picky in preparing the compact disc. It took me a lot of time to decide and compile the most fitting parts of the score to something like a concept. I also create some title names and like to be present at the mastering process.

 As you have said you do play instruments yourself, but do you perform on any of your film scores at all?

Yes as a pianist and usually as a conductor. In the case of RUBINROT I was afraid of not hearing the little details as a conductor so I decided to sit in the mixing room reading the score and listening to the orchestra.

2591_1045149204837_6837578_nCASCADEUR (1998) was one of your first assignments, what size orchestra did you have for this and how have things changed from then till now regarding studios and technology etc when recording a score?

CASCADEUR was my first full size orchestra project. We recorded a 75 piece orchestra in Prague plus a huge choir. Even in these days I later on added a lot of my sequencer tracks to the natural recording. Of course technology has improved and mock-ups tend to sound better now. But in my view things have not changed too much. Scoring for films is a quite traditional craft.




What do you do musically away from film and television?

I am a pianist in an improvisation theatre where I do nothing different than in my home studio: Improvisations over scenes. Besides I am accompanying some stand up comedian and cabaret artists with the piano or compose their songs. From time to time I compose classical chamber or orchestra music for the stage. I would love to create a larger project playing my own compositions on the piano together with a small orchestra or band.




Originally issued on a CAM LP (sag 9017) back in 1969, this very appealing Stelvio Cipriani soundtrack is one that contains numerous melodies and also one that will haunt the listener for many days after the initial play. Cipriani as we all know is capable of creating some gorgeous melodies and also themes that are less than easy listening in their make up. Within FEMINA RIDENS the composer treats us to themes which are pleasant, attractive, jagged, eerie, romantic and dramatic, this is a score that literally has something for everyone and also a work that must count as one of Cipriani,s best and that is saying something considering the wealth of music this Maestro has produced for the cinema. Edda,s unique vocalising is utilised throughout the score and turns up in slightly comical sounding tracks as in cue number 3, HOT SKIN where her almost laughing vocal is accompanied by harpsichord which can only really be refereed to as  British stiff upper lip sounding  that is underlined and punctuated by strings. Then there is track number 6, SOPHISTICATED SHAKE, Edda this time doing some of those heavy breathes and sighs over a semi pop sounding accompaniment, which is made up of electric bass guitar, organ and percussion. She also returns in track 7 this time backed up by Il Cantori Moderni and an up-tempo composition her vocals themselves acting as a dramatic sounding enhancement to the principal vocals of singer Olympia as she the vocal version of Cipriani,s central theme for the movie. Once again we are treated to Eddas vocals in track number 9, THE SHOWER, which is I suppose waltz type theme that comprises of grand sounding Strauss like strings and brasses in the style of The Blue Danube, harpsichord and also choir which combine to create a grandiose but also clumsy sounding affair. Track 16 also includes some vocal work by Edda, as this is a fired up instrumental version of the central theme, which although very short lived is quite impressive as the Maestro delivers it in an arrangement that is exhilarating and energetic. There are 19 cues on the compact disc, 1 to 11 are taken from the original LP masters the remainder which are previously unreleased are gems of music that have been in storage far too long, FEMINA RIDENS was always a favourite of mine, and now we have this release I have to say it has returned once again to my top ten list of great Italian film scores. Packaged to the normal impeccable standard as we come to expect with Digit Movies, containing informative notes, and some pretty interesting stills from the movie… Highly recommended, a fantastic listen.



As a composer, Peter has a rapidly growing list of feature film credits. Peter’s musical style in his feature film scores varies widely; from the bold symphonic gestures of the animated epic adventure Kaptara (2012), to the contemporary urgency and delicate romanticism of the fast-paced rom-com Syrup (2012).  

As an orchestrator and additional arranger, Peter has had the distinct pleasure of working with a number of other respected film composers, including but not limited to Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, and Christopher Young. Recent film credits include several high profile releases for 2013;  Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Dir. Francis Lawrence),  After Earth (Dir. M Night Shyamalan),  Epic  (Dir. Chris Wedge), and  Fast & Furious 6 (Dir. Justin Lin).  His work with veteran video game composer Garry Schyman has received critical acclaim, most notably on the highly successful  Bioshock  franchise.

Peter has already seen recognition from within the music industry, with scholarships awarded by both ASCAP (Steve Kaplan Scholarship 2010), and BMI (Pete Carpenter Fellowship 2010). Most recently, Peter was nominated in the category ‘Best Young European Composer’ at the 2012 World Soundtrack Awards.



One of your latest projects is the score for an animated movie. How did you become involved on KAPTARA ?




I responded to an ad placed on the Los Angeles Craigslist in late 2010 I think, and did two custom demo tracks for Patrick, the director. We met up during the demo process and hit it off, and seemed to see eye-to-eye on a lot of things conceptually from the very start (and this was while the film was still in the script stage). I then had to wait over a year to see anything on screen! Animation takes a long time.


The score sounds very grand throughout, what size orchestra did you employ for the soundtrack, and what percentage was performed via electronic or synthetic components?


There were three different-sized orchestras, primarily because of budgeting, but the idea was that the score should sound as if it were recorded with a single-sized orchestra. Some cues would segue from one orchestra to another, if the scene didn’t require the larger forces for part of it.  The largest group was around 70 musicians, and had a slightly over-sized brass section with 6 horns and 4 trombones.  The score totals about 72 minutes, and 69 minutes were recorded, which is basically every instrumental cue written for the movie. There are a handful of synth/sound-design cues that had overdubbed ethnic instruments/voice, but I was very conscious about making sure everything had a live element in it. I felt that this was more important than ever, as the film itself is entirely ‘synthesized’; from 2-D background drawings to computer-generated character faces and movements.


You utilize a female voice on the score, who is the soloist and did you have this artist in mind when you were writing the vocal parts, they seem to have an Armenian or maybe Macedonian sound to them? 


The soloist is the Los Angeles-based singer Belinda Ulla Capol, who is originally from Zurich, Switzerland. She has a very versatile voice, and was able to capture a lot of different styles for me that would have taken 2 or 3 different performers to cover. The vocal moments in the score are very scene-specific, rather than artist-specific, so it was great that Belinda could consolidate all these moments with her distinctive musicality.  We also had a menagerie of other overdubbed instruments, including didgeridoo, lots of different ethnic winds, and hand percussion.


How much time were you allowed to write the score and were the films producers or director very hands on when it came to the spotting and scoring of the picture, or were you more or less given a free hand ?


When it comes to workflow, this was definitely a very unique project. I was attached to the production very early on, which allowed for a good amount of dialogue between myself and the director Patrick. I wrote the main theme at the story-board stage, and played it to Patrick on the piano, who left the studio humming it, so I knew I was on the right track. From there, I didn’t start scoring to picture until they had a locked cut of the ‘rough layouts’. This is the stage in animation before any backgrounds or textures are added. There was some initial motion capture done, so at least the character movements were realistic, but some of it was still placeholder ‘puppets’, that would float along the ground a bit like a tardis, and have no bodily movement at all. All the male/female characters looked the same, and no one had any hair, so I really had to use my imagination, and go over with Patrick who-was-who if I wasn’t sure. At the same time though, it was a very liberating experience, as most of the visual drama was still as yet ‘untold’, so it encouraged me to be a lot more depictive in the music. The great thing was when the backgrounds and character textures were added in, everything came together great, and I think the music was probably the better for it.





How much music did you compose for the movie?


Aside from the demos, there is about 72 minutes in the film. Only one cue was left out of the final cut, as we felt the film needed to breathe at that moment (it is still in the soundtrack though, at around 1:35 in track 2)


When scoring a project do you approach it in a set way or do you have a set routine when you are working on a movie, by this I mean do you like to establish a central theme at first and then develop the remainder of the score around this or do you score larger sequences first or leave these till last?


The approach to this score was very methodical. The film’s format is a tried and tested one, and there is a strong story combined with strong characters, so it laid itself out very thematically. All the themes were written first, and then I wrote the score chronologically using them – with one exception; the opening prologue animation was the last piece of the puzzle to get rendered, so the first cue in the movie is actually the last cue I wrote.  It was very satisfying to write the score this way, and it is also how it is presented on the soundtrack. Every cue is exactly in sequence with where it appeared in the movie.


How much research into instrumentation did you carry out before starting work on KAPTARA?


Not much! There is nothing especially challenging instrumentation-wise in the score, and the use of the soloists was scene-specific, so it was really a case of capturing the right sentiment for the scene, rather than getting a very virtuoso performance from the musician.



How does scoring an animated movie differ from working on a live action film, if indeed it does?


Well I think you have to work a lot harder on an animation! In the case of Kaptara, the music was adding an important emotional layer to what are essentially computer-generated acting performances. Motion capture was used for a lot of the body movements, but facial expressions and lip-sync were all completely synthetic, so the music really had to get behind the veil of the CGI and add the emotional depth that a live action performance would already have.  Although the score isn’t a Disney cartoon-like score, it does track a lot of the gestures in the film closely.  The director and animator had the freedom of having any camera movement and angle they liked, which was great for the film, but it also meant that the music really had to match that level of intensity, otherwise the film was in danger of coming across as a sort of ‘video game’ capture, rather than something scripted.


Do you orchestrate all of your scores for film?


If time allows, yes. I work a lot as an orchestrator for other composers, so it’s a step in the process that I appreciate. Kaptara was a little unique in that I wrote every cue on paper, and immediately orchestrated. I then sequenced the score in Digital Performer. This is completely backwards to 99% of how a score is written these days (although I’m not saying it’s the wrong way at all – it’s just a very slow way!)


Do you conduct at all, or do you prefer to monitor proceedings from the recording booth?


I am a trained classical conductor, and I also work as a studio conductor in Los Angeles, but I believe a composer’s place is firmly in the booth when it comes to their own music.


The score for KAPTARA is due to be released soon on compact disc, were you involved in the selection of tracks that are on the CD and how much of your score is on the release?


Yes I did provide the track sequence. The sequence is exactly how it appears in the film, which is something I like very much, and probably won’t be able repeat on other projects. I think it says a lot about the strength of the script writing and directing that the score can be presented in this way and remain cohesive. Aside from a few very small transitional pieces, the entire score is included on the CD release.


What musical education did you receive?


I studied music composition and conducting at the University Of Birmingham, UK, graduating in 2002. In 2007 I moved to Los Angeles to study film music at UCLA, and I have remained here after graduating to continue working.


Did you always want to be involved with writing music for film?


The simple answer is yes! I originally wanted to write for natural history documentaries (even before the Blue Planet series put documentary scores firmly on the map). I haven’t had the chance to do one yet, but I hope to one day.


The score for KAPTARA for me is very much in the mould of what I refer to as Old School film music, by this I mean it has real themes and is powerful and sweeping in its style and sound, what composers would you say have influenced you in any way?



I didn’t really go out of my way to score the film in any particular style – I just went with what I thought fit the imagery well, and what Patrick the director responded to. As far as influence goes, I think every composer rubs off on you one way or another. I’ve been very lucky to have worked as an orchestrator or assistant to a lot of different composers, including Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Bruce Broughton, Christopher Young, Garry Schyman, and many others here in Los Angeles, and I think I’ve taken something away from all of them – consciously or otherwise.



Do you come from a family background that is musical?


Not really! People seem to think I was delivered by storks.


What would say is the purpose of music in film?


That would depend on the film. I’ve had spotting sessions where the first thing the producer or director says is “so we were thinking of music going the whole time”. I’ve also worked on projects where it is a battle to get anything in at all, without it being ‘too much’.  Obviously music can’t be doing the same thing in these two different scenarios. It can be one person’s security blanket, or another person’s editing tool. I did a film where they couldn’t afford all the ADR it needed, so then it became an all-purpose filler to cover up bad background noise. And then occasionally it can just be music, pure and simple.


How do you work out your musical ideas, do you use piano, keyboard or more technical means?


Kaptara was all worked out at the piano and on paper first, which is very unique in this day and age. Mostly I will write straight into Digital Performer.


What is next for you?


I’m wearing my orchestrator’s hat for the next few months on a couple of video game projects that have to remain un-named, and then after that we’ll see!




220px-STALIGRAD_70x100Released in September 2013, STALINGRAD, is the first Russian movie to produced totally in 3D for the Imax cinema. Directed by Fedor Bondachuk the movie was selected to represent Russia in the best foreign language film category at the 86th Academy Awards, but it failed to get a nomination from the Academy. The script for the movie by Ilya Tikin was written using the diaries of actual combatants from the Second World War battle, the writer combining information from these with archival material from museums that included recorded accounts and written material of the bloody conflicts participants. The main plot of the film is a love story which is set against the destructive backdrop of the battle. In 1942 German troops occupied the bank of the Volga river and pushed the Soviet forces back across the river, the Russians attempted to launch a counter offensive but this was unsuccessful, a handful of Russian soldiers manage to hang on to a position on the bank and take refuge in a house, here they find and befriend a girl, the Germans had occupied her home and she was caught between the two armies.  The Russians soon come into contact with the Germans and fighting begins, but the commander of the Germans falls in love with the girl. The music for this sprawling and impressive war epic is the work of American born composer Angelo Badalamenti, who has over the years notched up some impressive credits to his name, his simple but almost dream like theme for TWINS PEAKS still resonates in my head at times and his score for A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT is I would say amongst his best works for cinema, as are his efforts on the lack lustre re-make of THE WICKER MAN, in fact the composers music I would say was that particular movies only saving grace. I also must mention his enchanting and beguiling music for THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, his music caressing and delicately enhancing the movie. STALINGRAD, is in my opinion the composers best score to date, it is an inspired and powerful work, and to be honest if I had not been told that it was Badalamenti before listening to it, I would have probably thought it was the work of one of the up and coming Spanish composers or even by  Morricone. The composer makes effective use of a full symphony orchestra which includes a large string section and dominant sounding brass, that are driven and underlined by booming and thunderous percussion.  The score was recorded in Moscow by an 80 piece orchestra and then mixed in New York. The score although from a war movie also has its fair share of tender moments and these are tinged with melancholy and have about them a fragility and sadness that manifests it self with the cues that underscore the scenes with the girl and also the scenes of destruction and senseless chaos.

Angelo Badalamenti.

Track number 5, KATYA’S THEME is a prime example of this style of scoring, the composer utilizing plaintive and almost cautious sounding woodwind that is supported by subtle strings to create an atmosphere that is filled with sadness and yet does give us a glimmer of hope at times. Track 6, MEN OF FIRE, shows us Badalamenti in martial mode, thundering timpani act as a background to a five note motif performed by brass and underlined by strident sounding strings, conjuring up an atmosphere of determination and heroism. This is an entertaining score a potent and invigorating work that I am certain will be in many a CD player in the coming weeks and months. The opening track on the compact disc is THE STALINGRAD THEME, which features the haunting soprano voice of Anna Netrebko, who is supported by an adagio like composition for strings that underline her operatic and soaring vocalisation. Track number 2, is STALINGRAD OVERTURE (UNIVERSAL THEME), This is performed in the main by a luscious sounding string section, which radiate emotion and simple ooze compassion and romantic melancholy, punctuated briefly by a fleeting piano solo, the strings then rise again and fully explore the composers glorious theme. Track number 3, DESPERATE SEARCH FOR MASHA is a more urgent and forceful sounding composition, strings are laced by rasping and almost growling brass with rumbling percussive elements being added to heighten tension and realise a sense of danger. Track number 4, KAHN’S THEME, is for me one of the best cues on the score, it is almost majestic in its overall sound, the opening being more like a fanfare or a musical announcement, with strings and brass once again combining punctuated by percussion, this soon melts away and a solo trumpet becomes centre stage of proceedings, but this too soon evaporates and urgent brass’s and underlining strings that tremble maintain a mood that is uncertain and at the same time commanding.  Badalamenti has created a powerhouse of a score and also along the way has also written some of the most haunting and gracious tone poems, which are performed beautifuly by woodwind, cello and strings and will live in the listeners mind for a long while. the soundtrack also features a vocal for the end titles performed by Russian pop star Zemfira. this is a sweeping and luxurious sounding work,a classic in the making.  Due for release on Movie score Media/Kronos,  who amaze me with their wonderful catlogue.  Recommended…