Many thanks to Petr for answering the questions, he is a dedicated film music collector and I have to say has a varied and impeccable taste, he is always the first to alert us all about what is going on when it comes to new soundtrack releases and I have been very grateful when he has alerted me to soundtracks that I would have probably by passed. He is a modest man, but has a great knowledge of movie music.
Firstly: why film music? And when did first become aware of music in movies?
I first became aware of film music probably in early 90s I remember noticing the music in ALIENS we watched at a friend‘s home on X-th generation VHS copy with muffled sound and voiceover translation. Anyone who has never seen one of those is missing much. And why? Wish I knew… film music covers all genres and can also be very innovative and switch between genres within a single album. I like it’s variability and although I am not that fond of some musical genres – eg I would probably never listen to some jazz records on their own, Christopher Young’s RUM DIARY is a favourite of mine.
What was your first record purchase. If it was not a soundtrack what was the first film music you went out and paid for?
My first soundtrack was JURASSIC PARK in early 1994, I went to see the movie many times mainly just to listen to the music. I used to have a cassette I got for my birthday, which I played a ton of times. My first actual CD was the old E.T. I got in Summer 1995 followed by STAR WARS TRILOGY around Christmas and THE OMEN, THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE and ALIENS in early 1996. I didn’t have a CD player back then so I kept asking my schoolmates to record CDs to cassettes for me.
Before the arrival of compact discs how many soundtracks did you have in your collection on vinyl?
I started collecting when CDs were norm. Actually few or my earliest purchases were cassettes of things like, HOOK, CHAPLIN and ALADDIN (horrible version with Czech version of the songs).
What was your most expensive soundtrack purchase?
Probably original releases of LINK and RAGGEDY MAN.
Do you still buy LP.s and which do you prefer: LP, CD or download?
Definitely CDs. I haven’t really started buying LPs until recently. I am still very picky and generally get only stuff from composers that I am most fond of and I still need to get an LP player.
Is there anything that you are looking for that maybe you have not been able to find?
There are a few rare CDs on my wish list. Probably the most elusive one seems to be Frédéric Talgorn’s library music CD CLASSIC DRAMA DOCUMENTARIES. Some others are not that difficult to find but can get pricey: Maurice Jarre’s 3CD collection of Theatre Music or many early releases of Alexandre Desplat, Marco Frisina and Abel Korzeniowski are still missing in my collection.
What composer or Composers would you say dominates your collection?
Easily number one is Jerry Goldsmith. Especially thanks to all the reissues of some of his greatest hits. But there is many others that I am always eager to get even without hearing a single note of their (new) music.
What is your opinion of song scores?
I don’t particularly listen to them or look for them when it comes to my purchases. Some movies can of course benefit from this approach if done well – e.g. Tarantino films or one of my favourite movies from last year I, TONYA, which doesn’t include a single second of original score during its first half. It works amazingly well and some scenes are just unforgettable with the songs (Goodbye Stranger by Super-tramp, Gloria by Laura Branigan, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart by Chris Stills or The Passenger by Siouxie and the Banshees). I still can’t imagine any score that would work in these scenes just as well…
What is your opinion of the state of film music in recent years. compared to the 40.s 50.s 60.s and 70s?
I would say it’s rather a generational thing. People tend to remember masterpieces long after they were released and forget about the rest, which perhaps wasn’t all that great. And of course with composer such as Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin or Bronislau Kaper those were the days film music became an art form and many of the best scores belong to their generation. Great scores are still being written every year, but those are rarely done for big budget studio films but rather for Spanish, Skandinavian, French films or smaller independent films or TV projects and might get a bit more difficult to find with so many new scores released every month.
How do you store your cds?
I used to have part of my collection arranged based on the series of releases they belong to (ISC, ISE, FSM, VCL grouped together). Since they could no longer fit on their shelves I switched to grouping them by composers.
If you were asked by a soundtrack label to choose ten soundtracks to be released for first time or re released in a complete version what would be on your list?
Hmmm… this is a very difficult questions. If it was supposed to be more recent scores I could chose I would start with Marco Beltrami’s MATILDA – quite amazing score featuring one of his most beautiful themes. Dario Marianelli’s PANDAEMONIUM and more recent ALI AND NINO are two scores I would love to hear. I was very disappointed when Alex Heffes‘ ROOTS didn’t get released although initially announced, so that one would be another candidate. Fernando Velázquez’s OUT OF THE DARK as well as any of his many unreleased works. Guy Farley’s I KNOW YOU KNOW, IL BENE E IL MALE or L’AMORE E LA GUERRA are three very beautiful scores as well. Theodore Shapiro’s MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH or ARTHUR are two very good scores as well. THE ORVILLE would also make a great set, which will hopefully happen sooner or later. It would be also nice to see more ALIAS music released as well as UNDERCOVERS by Michael Giacchino and Chris Tilton or finally David Arnold’s pilot score for THE VISITOR.
Another option would be some of the scores that were released digitally: Daniel Pemberton’s Ivor Novello winning score for DESPERATE ROMANTICS is simply brilliant as well as UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS (SEASON 1), Marco Beltrami’s DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK and THE EYE, Theodore Shapiro’s ZOOLANDER NO. 2 and CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS. Gaute Storaas‘ A MAN CALLED OVE was a very pleasant surprise, which is sadly available as download only.
Speaking of expansions CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY, IRON WILL, SCREAM 3, BLADE 2, TERMINATOR 3, SPHERE, ATONEMENT, ERAGON or STARDUST come to mind first and would be certainly very interesting. With older scores two at the top of my list were both composed by late great Luboš Fišer – NA KOMETĚ („On the Comet“ directed by Karel Zeman) and DOTEK MOTÝLA („Touch of a Butterfly“ directed by Juraj Herz). Perhaps there will be a chance to see them happen in not too distant future. When it comes to more well-known titles I would be certainly very interested in something like complete versions of DRACULA (the one by John Williams), STORY OF A WOMAN, SPIRIT OF ST. LUIS, THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS, TENDRE POULET, YOUNG DOCTORS IN LOVE, ONE OF OUR DINOSAURS IS MISSING, YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES and many more.
And there is also a couple of rejected works that would be certainly very interesting to hear – although would need to be recorded first: Dario Marianelli’s PAN, Jerry Goldsmith’s BABE (the pig movie), Marco Betrami’s TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, John Debney’s HACKSAW RIDGE and of course James Horner’s ROMEO AND JULIET.
I am sure I forgot many very interesting scores and I severely exceeded your 10 scores limit but some of these would be a great way to start.