THE GLORIOUS GARDEN. DEBBIE WISEMAN / ALAN TITCHMARSH.

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A new album by Debbie Wiseman is always a welcome arrival A sign of true quality, of good taste, and sheer superb musicianship. In this instance, not a Soundtrack CD per se, but one that any lover of her unmistakably recognisable music will admire right from the very first track.

The first track though that said is not music. We have a tribute if that is the right word to the Garden. it could be here or indeed anywhere. A very canny move for all over the world, there are Garden fanatics and Music lovers. Why not put them together and you have a double triumph.

Alan Titchmarsh as we all know is a Multi talented broadcaster, author, pundit and Gardening Expert. He has written more books that I was aware of so it is obvious that poetry is a natural adjunct on from there. It maybe that I have missed it, but this could be a first specifically designed for Garden admirers. It may have been that Sir John Betjeman and Jim Parker did something similar back in the 70s etc, but I may wrong.

Be that as it may, we have twelve poems, written and read by Alan Titchmarsh, each poem followed by a musical portrait by Debbie Wiseman. Only on the last track, “The Glorious Garden” do music and poem combine together.

I suspect with even more listening my favourites will vary somewhat, but I love the strong and sturdy “Cedar of Lebanon”, the rousing and powerful “Topiary”, the soft and elegant “Snowdrop” but at the moment, my personal favourite is “Water Lily”, soft evocative opening that reminds one in a very positive way of Vaughan Williams. Debbie has written many compositions away from the Film and Television World, I wonder if she has ever contemplated writing a Symphony?. If so, it would be superb, for I think there is nothing she can’t do, for having listening to her music for a number of years now- I was privileged to write the CD notes for WILDE – I am so impressed that the standard she has kept up in a very fast moving world where deadlines are all important and the music has to be finished by a certain date. Still maybe it’s like Sir Andre Previn once said, you have to have that deadline to focus the mind and indeed finish the matter in hand.

 

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I should also add wonderful playing by the National Symphony Orchestra led by Perry Montague – Mason with great solos by Violinist Jack Liebeck on “Myrtle” and “Snowdrop”, Gavin McNaughton (Bassoon ) on “Peony”, Andy Crowley (Trumpet) on “Marigold” and Debbie herself playing the piano on “Witch Hazel”

One can tell that Debbie was truly inspired by Alan’s poetry to compose such fine music. As I write, it is Number One in the Classic FM Charts and long may it reign

You can listen to either the poems, both , or just the music, and think of it perhaps as a score for Garden Documentary , but what ever way you listen to it, you will be rewarded with many hours of enjoyment, and how many albums can you say that about these days!

Of late Debbie has also been working on a movie entitled EDIE with Sheila Hancock , directed by Simon Hunter which will be released to the Cinemas on May 25th and the CD of the score will also released on that date by Silva Screen Records. Plus – good news all round – series 7 of FATHER BROWN which is just a delight, and I would love to see a commercial recording of the music ,for Debbie must have written hours of music for this entertaining series

To sum up, a most enjoyable album, to be enjoyed on many levels , A very worthy successor to last years MUSICAL ZODIAC. I love that album, and it helps when you like the music for your month of birth!.

We are indeed lucky to have talents as Alan Titchmarsh and Debbie Wiseman to provide us with so much enjoyment, via the written page and music. Let’s look forward to their next collaboration

JOHN WILLIAMS.

AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER, SERGIO MOURE de OTEYZA.

 

 

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There has been a double album FILM MUSIC WORKS released recently, did you select the cues that went onto this compilation?

Yes, I made a meticulous selection of the most representative themes of each soundtrack that is included in the compilation, as well as including Documentary themes that until now had not been edited.

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Your music for me personally is always so melodic and has a great appeal and attraction, at what age would you say that you became interested in music of any kind and do you come from a family background that is musical at all?

I recognized that I was interested in music for as long as I can remember,, my parents were very much music lovers and also movie goers, they loved music by great composers and the movies of famous directors. I am the first musician in my family and I have always been clear about my vocation.

 

Was writing music for the cinema a career that you were always focused upon doing?

 

 

Yes, I was always clear that I wanted to compose and specifically write film soundtracks. The worlds of music and image fascinate me and being able to bring them together in one discipline was my great aspiration.

 

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Where did you study music and what areas did you study or concentrate upon?

I studied at Aula de Música Moderna y Jazz in Barcelona, which belonged to the centres that Berklee College of Music of Boston has all over the world. I studied composition and I became interested very early in Film Scoring.

How did you get your first scoring assignment?

 

My first assignment was received from the director Joaquín Oristrell for the film UNCONSCIOUS a comedy set at the beginning of the 20th century in Barcelona. Joaquin presented me only the first lines of the script of the film and I went wildly to compose musical ideas, he liked them and made the film. I have a great memory of that first experience.

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When scoring a movie, how many times do you like to see it before you began to put together any ideas about the style of music or where music should be placed to best serve the picture?
I like to work a lot on the script, it is at that moment reading it where I start to raise the type of orchestration and where I also usually write a musical theme of about 8 or 10 minutes in which I put the first ideas that this story suggests to me.

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LOBOS DE ARGA was a movie that became very popular and your score too is renowned. how did you become involved on the movie, and what size orchestra did you utilize for the score?
LOBOS DE ARGA was my second project after A GOOD MAN with a director with whom I like to work, Juan Martínez Moreno, the approach was a lot of fun, with an aesthetic similar to the Kramer films of the fifties. I used a large format symphony orchestra and the recording took place for a week at the Radio Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 

Are, there any composer contemporary or classical that you would say influenced you or inspired you?

 

I am a great lover of the music of Mahler, Beethoven or Bach, and I suppose that at a subconscious or emotional level they have to influence me. Among the contemporaries I adore among others the music of Krzysztof Penderecki.

 

 

 

You have collaborated with director, Miguel Angel Vivas on a few projects, does he have any involvement in what style of music that is employed on his movies?
Miguel is a very creative director who gives great importance to the music in his films, he leaves me a lot of freedom when it comes to work, and he likes that the music that I compose is emotionally involved with what he is telling through the script or the images, it is very demanding and I think that demand makes it very exciting.

 

 

Do you conduct and orchestrate all your film scores, or are there occasions when this is not possible because of schedules etc?
I always rely on the help of the conductor Alfons Reverté in my recordings, I think it is important for a professional director to direct my scores since I like to be directing the recording from the control booth with extended scores and viewing the images of the movie.

 

 

Do you like to work in a set routine on a movie, by this I mean do you start at the opening titles and work through to the end credits?
Yes, the truth is that I like to follow the order of the script and of the montage, I believe that in this way the music coherently follows the emotional arc that marks the film.

 

 

EL CUERPO contains a wonderfully vibrant and richly dark and melodious score, how much time were you given to compose the music for he movie, and how many players did you have performing it?
Thanks, I wrote the score over three months and it was also like in LOBOS DE ARGA a large-format orchestra, there were almost 90 performers and it was also recorded at the Sofia Radio Studios.

You have scored motion pictures and worked on shorts and tv series, is it more difficult to write for a short as opposed to a full-length movie?
No, I think it is more complex to compose the soundtrack of a feature film, Although I am very meticulous when working on short films and I dedicate the necessary time to them so that I am satisfied with the end result.

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What would you say are the main differences between scoring TV and Motion pictures?
Today there is very little difference, they are making really good productions for television and the only difference you find with the cinema is that they are divided into chapters. In the case of Spain, formerly there was little budget to work with orchestra in the productions for television, but this has now changed and now the producers appreciate the great difference a soundtrack can make to a project with the necessary means.
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Have you encountered the TEMP TRACK on any of your scoring assignments, if so do you find this helpful or distracting?
I find it useful to know what are the musical preferences of the director, although I think it is usually harmful because during the whole montage of the film the director lived with this music applied to their images and then it can demand a great effort from the film maker when he has to get used to the new musical themes composed specifically for the movie.

 

 

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SEIS HERMANAS, is a TV series and I think I am correct when I say that you have scored over 250 episodes since 2015, for a series as long running as this do you ever re-use cues from previous episodes and what is the working schedule like for a long running series?
Yes, I know that 250 episodes are marked in IMDB, but they were really 465 episodes. for this series as it was broadcast daily,. It really does not give time to compose and synchronize all the music with the image, I composed a kind of musical file of about four Hours of duration that I was editing and applying to the different scenes, were two years of intense but very exciting work.

 

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What do you think is the job of music in film?
Music in the cinema has to provide clarity, emphasize, sublimate, be an element more than the director has to tell the film, always has to be at the service of the script and the story that is being told, so that its presence in the sequences in which it must be justified and reasoned, emerge from the context.

LA JAURIA, is a film you have been asked to score, when do you think we will be able to see this and will there be a soundtrack release?


LA JAURIA is a feature film directed by Carlos Martín Ferrera, with whom I worked for years on a TV-Movie called CODE 60. It is a genre film with a really original premise, I hope it will be released at the end of the year. I’m also working at the moment in another thriller directed by Pedro C. Alonso entitled “FEEDBACK”, which is produced by the same producers of “EXTINCTION”, Jaume Collet Serra and the Spanish company Vaca Films, has an international casting, Paul Anderson (Peaky Blinders), Eddie Marsan, Alexis Rodney and Ivana Baquero. I also hope that it will be released at the end of this year and that its soundtrack will be released.

When working out your musical ideas, what do you use, ie piano, pencil and manuscript or a more technical method?
When making the music of the movies I use piano, also stringed instruments like guitars, bass, mandolins, and I have scores and movie sequences open on my computer.

 

Have you ever given a concert of your film and TV music, if not would this be something that you would be interested in doing?

Yes, on many occasions, the most recent at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where the Orchestra of Euskadi, interpreted the suite of the soundtrack of LOBOS DE ARGA, also recently, the Orquesta de la Televisión Española RTVE, performed a suite of EL CUERPO in the Monumental Theatre of Madrid.

 

My thanks to the composer for his time and also for his patience.

TOMB RAIDER (2018).

 

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Ok I think you all know I am not great fan of the soundscape approach to scoring movies, or for that matter the use of the DROOOOONE sound within scores, I think it is more annoying than anything, and ok yes it underlines scenes, but is it really classed as music? When I heard that JUNKIE XL was going to provide the music for the new TOMB RAIDER movie I was not that over enthusiastic but saying that I would not dismiss the score without even listening to it. So here we go then, from the start of the score the music and yes it is music, sounded ok, it was string led and also had a richness to it and a leaning towards a hint of a theme, the composer adding little nuances performed by piano, and also introducing a more upbeat if not subdued background, the string section fading in and out of the proceedings acting more like a punctuation to the synthetic sounds that gradually built beneath them. RETURN TO CROFT MANOR is a sombre and fragile sounding piece, which I have to say was something of a surprise to me, the cue however does alter towards the end of the track, with more upbeat electronics coming into the equation, but these are supported and augmented by the strings which seem to maintain a more melodic approach and keeping the synthetics at bay. I know that electronics, samples etc are here to stay in contemporary film music, and I suppose how the composer uses these tools is more important than what he utilises to create the sounds he thinks are correct for the movie. Recently composer Ludwig Gorasson scored BLACK PANTHER, and I was intrigued at the way in which he combined both synthetic with symphonic, I have to say that JUNKIE XL, right that’s it! His name is Tom Holkenborg, has fashioned a score for TOMB RAIDER in a similar style, by this I mean he has utilised both conventional instrumentation and bolstered this with synthetic elements which fit in wonderfully with the more symphonic parts of the work. The symphonic leads at certain points and is supported by electronic sounds and stabs which underline the symphonic statements, but then at other key points within the score, the symphonic becomes the supporter of the electronic, both complimenting and acting as support for each other. The composer creates some powerful moments in the soundtrack, his use of brass and strings combined with the electronica is well thought out and effective. This is not a soulless or toneless work filled with jagged and harsh sounds, it is a soundtrack that is very entertaining and also commanding in its overall sound and style. Of course, one can hear the influences of Hans Zimmer, but its not a bad thing on this occasion.

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Holkenborg must be congratulated for fashioning a score that has drive and contains touches of fragility and melancholy, although there are a couple of cues that are highly percussive and can grate a little upon the listener, but it supports the movie, so I guess that it is doing what is supposed to. There are several lengthy cues on the soundtrack release, the composers unrelenting and assertive style shining through, enhanced by proud sounding brass and strings that give the work an anthem like feel, as in track number,7 and number 13, FIGURE IN THE NIGHT and BECOMING THE TOMB RAIDER, respectively. This is one to savour, one to listen to over a couple of times, I am confident it will grow on you.

JOHN CAMERON.

John Cameron’s composing and arranging covers an amazing array of music genres, from rock, soul, jazz and folk music, through electronic, world, orchestral and choral music, working in film, television, theatre of all kinds, and recording. His career in music started in earnest at Cambridge University where he was Vice-President of the Footlights and busy in many forms of music, most notably the local jazz scene. On coming down, he was soon writing arrangements for artists such as Donovan (within 6 months he had his first no.1 hit in the US with Donovan’s Sunshine Superman that he arranged with Spike Heatley). John became Donovan’s music director, touring with him, and arranging hit singles Jennifer Juniper, & Epistle to Dippy, & the Sunshine Superman & Mellow Yellow albums, and subsequently arranging Donovan’s music for Ken Loach’s Poor Cow.
John went on to work extensively in Television, as music director and arranger for three series of Once More With Felix (with folk-singer Julie Felix), The Bobbie Gentry Show and numerous shows in Stanley Dorfman’s In Concert series, featuring artists such as James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. (taken from the composers web-site).

 

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JOHN CAMERON.

A Personal appreciation by John Williams.

The Sixties still seem to have that magic and effective pulling power on what we say, hear and watch. Coming out of the more austere fifties, time the Beatles and the Mersey sound kicked in around 1963, British Movies and Music slowly dragged themselves into the new decade with renewed vigour and optimism. Books 10 years earlier would never see the light of day were published, and movies, with subjects that wouldn’t have got past the censor on the oppressive fifties got the green light. It wasn’t all kitchen sink dramas either, a lot of so – called Swinging Sixties Movies. were light, frothy and sometimes downright daft! I don’t think they were called Swinging Sixties then, or were they? Film music moved forward too, shall we say, from the respectable Symphonic sounds, to reflect the notable changes happening in the music world. Many leading Composers of the period came from Pop, some were instrumentalists in their own right and some in fact had no musical backgrounds at all. They were just in the right place at the right time. Composers like Basil Kirchin, Stanley Myers, John Scott , Johnny Harris, Barry Gray and they brought a welcome input of fresh ideas and thoughts

One of the most talented, and innovative composers to burst on the scene during those exciting times was John Cameron. Now a much-respected orchestrator of leading West End Musicals, most notably LES MISERABLES for which he has won many awards, after working on the Original French Concept album in the 1980s. No one who has heard the Symphonic recordings of the score will fail to realise how a first-class orchestrator. / arranger at the top of his game can make a superb difference to the whole sound of a show

 

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I had always thought that John’s first score was KES – Indeed many records show it as thus, but John put me right. “The first film score I handled was POOR COW, also directed by Ken Loach. Donovan had been hired to write the score, and we were in the studio recording “Be Not Too Hard” a setting of Christopher Logue poem, for the soundtrack, when Teddy Joseph the line producer said to Don “Who’s actually going to score the music for the picture?” Pointing to me Don said, “He is”. “Can you have it ready for the dub next Wednesday?” (8 Days’ time) “Yes” (the foolhardiness of youth!) Quick phone call to Elisabeth Lutyens, doyenne of the Hammer Horror genre, who I had met, a ten-minute run-down of how to do it, spotted the movie Thursday, timings Friday, played Rugby Saturday, wrote it Sunday, copied it Monday, recorded Tuesday, straight to mono, ready for the dub on Wednesday. After that Ken asked me to write the score for KES. I don’t remember having any budget restrictions. The way it had been shot meant the score needed to have a small, personal, chamber quality to it, using a combination of woodwind sounds and terse string movements. It was recorded at Olympic Studios with all my favourite musicians, Harold McNair, Danny Thompson, Ron Ross, Tony Car et, and Vic Smith as sound engineer, once again mono, straight to optical. It was only because we’d had a 1/4″ safety tape running that we were able to produce a CD all those years later.”

Who then could ever forget the wam- bam title song from EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE ONE belted out by Millicent Martin, in some way overshadowing what was going to follow, How about “Jack’s Theme” from the Peter O’Toole movie THE RULING CLASS – Heavenly choir, jazzy piano and infectious percussion – Irresistible!! The unusual almost quirky Main title for NASTY HABITS, a re-encampment of the Watergate Saga to a Convent!!

 

 

 

I asked John how from his first assignment did the next one follow, word of mouth? ” I had an agent, David Wilkinson who still looks after me, although he’s semi- retired now, but most of the movies then did seem to come one after the other. There was a lot of production in the UK, especially of mid-budget movies”

A cult movie in more ways than one is PSYCHOMANIA, a movie I have yet to see. As John put it “So what’s wrong with Zombie Biker movies? Every CV should have one! It was one of those movies you do to buy shoes for the children. But now it seems to have turned into a cult movie! The main thing about the score was how we got all kinds of weird electronic stuff pre- synthesisers by putting vibes through phase pedals, playing inside the piano etc…..”

Around this time there was a Movie with the sadly departed Keith Michell and Angharad Rees entitled MOMENTS. BBC showed the Movie, I think during a season of lost movies towards the end of seventies. This was when the BBC really cared about the films they showed, not like now when the have virtually given up and handed to the Specialist channels. I admit I can’t recall the score, but at the time, both film and music made a deep impact on me, but to my knowledge, it has never been re-shown on TV or available on any form of video or DVD. I asked John if he recalled much about it. ” Not too much, as you say it seems to have fallen off the radar” It may be that this is truly a lost film , somewhere in a Wardour Street vault, but when so many inferior Movies are dusted off and now re mastered to Blu Ray, I would be interested if anyone out there has any more information that they could pass on.

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John also worked in Television during this time, SPECTRE, 1990, and dare I say, infamous THE PROTECTORS with Nyreen Dawn Porter and Robert Vaughan. A true time capsule of Seventies style, clothes, and indeed Music. As John recalled, “I scored as much as I had budget for, with John Richards at CTS, we worked very fast, and I think we actually scored most of the episodes. Very early 70s – heavy on the Electric Harpsichord! And loads of good musos involved – mainly my jazz funk team plus Pat Halling’s string section”

 

Also, around this time, the BBC was heavily involved in high quality versions of Classic Novels, or the Sunday afternoon serial which had been going for a long time. Many good composers worked on these, Carl Davis, Patrick Gowers, Paul Reade, Dudley Simpson, Wilfred Josephs, and that is just a few of the fine talented composers involved. John scored SHE FELL AMONGST THIEVES based on the Dornford Yates early 20th Century novel. It was shown as part of BBC 2 Play of The Week, and one of an unofficial trilogy of similar filmed novels, all directed by Clive Donner (The remaining two were ROGUE MALE and THE THREE HOSTAGES, both scored by Christopher Gunning). I think ROGUE MALE has had a limited DVD release, but the remaining two, sadly not. Good atmospheric film, aided right from the beginning credits by John’s fine score. “Clive was very good to work with and I enjoyed scoring this one – excellent performance by Eileen Atkins as I recall”

 

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In 1973 he scored A TOUCH OF CLASS when he was nominated for a well – deserved Oscar. This was just one film he scored for George Barrie – Head of Brut. I WILL, I WILL FOR NOW, LOST AND FOUND and NIGHT WATCH with Elizabeth Taylor. I found a very rare Single on eBay last year called THE NIGHT HAS MANY EYES by Lee Vanderbilt, coupled with a version(?) by the John Cameron Orchestra from the latter film. It was an amazing price though I think the price does vary considerably. It does appear on you tube though. Here again, always curious about such things I asked John about this as well. “I had forgotten about that recording! George Barrie, head of Brut (the after- shave people) like to write a song or two with Sammy Cahn (good bloke, very funny) for his movies. It’s listed on Discogs, so it must have had some kind of release”

A terrific song that John had more to do with was AND I WILL LOVE YOU from SCALAWAG. In the film it was sung by the fetching Lesley Anne –Down, and suitably covered by Frankie Valli. Lovely song, and I wondered as Kirk Douglas was part director / writer etc, if he had input to the song? “Yes, Kirk was very hand – on as a director. Lionel Bart and I had been struggling with the title song (it was during one of Lionel’s more insure periods, we’d work on the song one day, and he would want to scrap it the next). One morning there was a knock on my apartment door in London. I opened it and there was Kirk’s steel blue eyes cutting a hole right through me: “I thought you guys were professional!” I was terrified! But we finished the song, and everything went well after that. One great thing that came from it was that when working in the cut in LA , the editor needed helping sync-ing the song into the action and called on his friend, the music editor Ken Johnson. Ken and I went on to work on a whole raft of movies after that and stayed firm friends until he died. We’re still in touch with his son Dan, who handled the music editing on the two mini- series I scored in LA in the 2000s, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and PATH TO 9 – 11 for which I got an Emmy nomination”

I came back to Lionel Bart for as composer, I have always had undying admiration for his talent, when you think of the songs he accomplished, classics that will live forever, and someone who could not read music as such, it is just amazing. ” I was always fond of Lionel. He could be difficult to work with, but it was always worthwhile. A lovely geezer!”

John also scored THE MIRROR CRACK ‘D with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Highlight was the Mini Film within a Film that the Village inhabitants were watching in the Village Hall. Filmed in Black and White, MURDER AT MIDNIGHT with stars of the fifties, Dinah Sheridan, Nigel Stock, Anthony Steel, and scored in a very 50s British noirish way, a great way to start the film proper. Good score, and many years ago, 23 years ago to be precise, I interviewed Guy Hamilton for Music from The Movies. and he had this to say,” It seems to me that music for an Agatha Christie movie is always tricky by the fact that every three minutes a clue is dropped, a revelation thuds out and the temptation is to underline. In THE MIRROR CRACK’D we opened the film with a satire of all ‘ B’ movie picture ‘whodunits’ and John Cameron pastiched splendidly. After that we settled down and I think he did an excellent job in avoiding the pitfalls”. * As a reviewer says on IMDB, “The music is stunning too.” I wondered if there was ever any thought of a commercial recording. “Don’t recall plans for a soundtrack album. Wasn’t the norm then”

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THE MIRROR CRACK’D has just come out in Blu Ray in the UK, New interviews with Dame Angela Lansbury, writer Barry Sandler, Producer Richard Goodwin. Why no interview with John? It would make people not familiar with is music, listen out for it more, and for us with a specific interest, even more keen to pick up the Blu Ray. It is not just this film though; Blu Ray firms seems very loath to make the music part of the film watching experience.

 

 

It seems that John records the music here and USA. ” Some here, some there: I scored MARLOWE PRIVATE EYE (with Powers Booth) here, all to picture. I hate tracking and I figured one reason the US TV shows sold well was that they were all scored to picture – the Musicians Union in LA wouldn’t allow tracking. We had a hand – picked bunch of jazz musicians and most of the cues were done in one take. I also scored JACK THE RIPPER and JEKYLL AND HYDE (both Michael Caine) here, and the Patrick Bergin FRANKENSTEIN, all with David Wickes directing.”

I have always noticed that on John’s albums etc, there is no additional orchestrator credit. ” I always do my own orchestrations, even on TO END ALL WARS, when I had 10 days to write the score for the LSO to get it ready for Cannes. Always conducted.”

Which brings us to the tricky question if you have ever replaced another composer. “There have been times, not of my own volition when I have found out that I have replaced another composer. As they were people I have / had respect for, I’d rather not list them. Don’t recall being replaced…”

 

With all these wonderful scores, it’s a shame not many are out there in the market place ” It would be good to see more out there, and I was happy when Jonny Trunk got KES out there. Usually it flounders on the cost of clearing musicians fees.”

And with all these wonderful scores, is there one you are particularly fond of? “I wrote a Cantata “Missa Celtica” for the English Chamber Orchestra and the Choir of New College Oxford some years back. It used the Mass as a framework for Celtic poems and songs charted the journeys of 6/7th Century Celtic Saints through Europe. It was on Errato and well received but sadly had bad luck in public performances. Film score wise, one of my favourites outside KES, A TOUCH OF CLASS etc was TO END ALL WARS. It was enormous buzz working with the LSO, and with Maire Brenna writing Celtic songs”.

 

I should also mention that John has been very active in the World of Production music or as it used to be called Library Music. I personally feel that a lot of the music for these various specialist labels far exceeds the quality of writing for the media as we know it. Certainly, the World of Music for Television in the UK at least has deteriorated. I am working on long term project on Production Music which will of course, include many of John’s outstanding contributions to many libraries. In the meantime, I asked him a little about it. ” In the early days, one tended to go to Robin Philips with an idea, often allied to a film or recording project I had worked with. If he liked it, whoosh, you were in the Studio. Now Production Music set-ups tend to plan more, research the market. The old way was more fun, but the new is probably more cost effective.”

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Lastly, I can’t leave this brief overview of John ‘s career, without mentioning RUN THE LENGTH OF YOUR WILDNESS by Kathe Green. There is a filmic link here for Kathe’s father was the legendary head of MGM Music Department John Green. This is always the album I would mention, if I wanted to highlight what a gifted arranger can do with songs, however good or mediocre. I should say none fall into the latter category here, but obviously some songs are stronger than others. The title song, may echo Jimmy Webb’s MACARTHUR PARK, but that is no handicap. John also wrote the evocative, IF I EVER THOUGH YOU’D CHANGE YOUR MIND, a hit for Cilla Black, and later covered by Agnetha Faltskog. of Abba fame. Bernard Herrmann once said that” Orchestration is the colour of the music”, and John brings many orchestral colours to this wonderful album which even after how long? – don’t answer that! – I can still listen to with that first initial excitement. Don’t forget John also worked with David Essex on the Musical, MUTINY, Scored SILVER DREAM RACER and arranged many albums, including CENTRE STAGE for K-Tel, full of excellently arranged Show songs.

 

 

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To me, a true genius in the film music world, is someone who does all the composing, conducting, orchestrating himself. Gets it done on time. It aids the film, sounds good in and out of the movie theatre, Music you remember long after you have caught the last bus home. Music you remember days or weeks after and pause and say to yourself. “You know, that music was pretty good wasn’t it?”

 

 

And that my friends is John Cameron. A true genius in writing for film and TV.

 

*quote from Music from The Movies (C) 1995

 

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH, GUIDO AND MAURIZIO DE ANGELIS.

Composing duo, Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, wrote numerous scores for various genres of movies that were produced in Italy and Europe during the 1970’s through to the 1980’s. Their distinct and innovative sound has graced many a western, comedy and thriller over the years, their score for THEY STILL CALL ME TRINITY is held in high esteem by many collectors and it was a joy to have the score finally released onto compact disc recently.  I would like to thank both Guido and Maurizio for answering my many questions and also a special thank you to Michela who was so helpful in liaising between MMI and the composers.

 

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I notice that according to certain listings on the internet that your first film score credit was in 1962, for VUELVE SAN VALENTIN, was this your first time scoring a movie, or what was your involvement on this movie?

That’s not correct, actually. In 1962 we were too young to take up the role of compositors. Our activity in that field started in 1971 with Per grazia ricevuta.

 

 

I think I am correct saying you began as performers and producers for RCA, how did you become involved with the scoring of films?

It’s true. We were members of the orchestra in RCA as session men, playing guitar [Maurizio] and flute [Guido]. At that time, RCA made our orchestra play in all the most successful albums they produced. After a long period, they gave us the opportunity to be not only performers, but also arrangers of their productions. The first proposal came from Vincenzo Micocci, one of the greatest music producers of that time. The album we were asked to work on was Tanto pe’ canta’, sung by Nino Manfredi, a famous Italian actor. This album had a huge success and Nino asked us if we’d like to write the music for his first film as director: Per grazia ricevuta. We said yes, obviously. That’s how our career as composers started. That’s also how our career took off, because that film and its soundtrack had a great success. Some of those songs were also used as opening themes in very popular radio shows such as Alto gradimento by Renzo Arbore and Gianni Boncompagni company.

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THEY STILL CALL ME TRINITY, is considered as a landmark score for you, and one of my own personal favourites, how much time did you have to score the movie, and where was the music recorded?

About 3 months to do the entire work. The music was recorded at RCA, B studio.

 

 

 

You are well known for your originality where music is concerned and for your effective use of songs in movies, when you are working on a project do you begin with a vocal theme and build the score around this or maybe you begin with the instrumental themes and then work on the song?

At that time, the best course of action was to start from the main theme. In most cases, also at the request of the director, this was a vocal theme. The next step was to work on the instrumental versions of the main theme. The real score was composed at a later stage, once the film was edited, for optimization reasons.

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KEOMA was a big score for you, the vocal performances are very unique, when you write a theme, or a song do you have a particular artist in mind when you are writing or before you begin work on it?

Not exactly and not always. Sometimes we realize we need a pop, rock or country performer, only if agreed with the director. Then we look for the right artist with the help of the record label that has interests in the score.

 

 

What is your opinion at the state of film music today, compared with film music from the 60’s 70’s and 80, s?

It’s a magic world where all expression possibilities can have a place. We need to find a way to strike a balance between the needs of the director, the producer and the record label. Up until recently, film music revolved around the idea of “main theme”: it was necessary to have a recognizable theme to identify and boost the plot of the movie. On the contrary, nowadays directors prefer “neutral” music, often based on sound design. The suggestive power of this music lies in sound and timbre, not in recognizable melodies. Music is effective and strengthens the feeling of each movie scene, but – without a real theme, a melody – can’t exist out of the scene, autonomously. I don’t know what the future holds, but new technologies will surely lead to new sounds and atmospheres. Even without a real theme, these can be very convincing; it depends on the kind of film and on the story, you want to tell.

 

 

 

DOGTANIAN was an animated series you worked on, how did you become involved on this?

The producer of that series, Claudio Biern of BRB Madrid, hired us.

You have worked on TV series as well as movies, is there in your opinion a great difference between scoring a feature film and scoring a series of many episodes for TV?

No, there’s no difference. Both for TV series and movies, music has to express common elements: passion, adventure, epic, suspense, intimacy, feelings, danger, action… Same ingredients, same proceedings.

What composers or artists would you say influenced or inspired you in the way you scored a film or wrote music?

What we admire the most in composers is compositional brilliance and orchestration technique. Among non-Italians, we can mention John Williams, Thomas Newman, Hans Zimmer, James Newton, Howard, James Horner… For Italy, Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota.

Many your soundtracks have been issued onto CD and recently scores such as THEY STILL CALL ME TRINITY, VALDEZ HORSE’S and AFYON OPPIO have been released, do you have any involvement in what music will be going onto any of the releases, and is there a score of yours that has not been released that you would like to see available on a recording?

No, we have no influence on the choices editors and producers made for these soundtracks. We composed music for different publishers and different record labels, and these subjects act however they like. Most of our soundtracks issued on LP, except for a few that were not long enough like, for example, L’allenatore nel Pallone. In some cases, the label released only the main theme of a soundtrack, on 45, but composers have no part in these choices.

When you scored THEY STILL CALL ME TRNITY were you given any specific instructions by the director as to what style of sound that he wanted?

The director wanted a vocal theme for the opening credits, so we figured a song with a country atmosphere. We were very happy we could use the acoustic style we liked so much.

 

 

Do you think it is important for a film or a TV series to have a catchy theme or song?

It depends on the director and/or the producer. Personally, we think that a recognizable theme, at least during the opening credits, should and could be in a film. It gives the series or the movie an identity that remains even outside the screening room. The tendency is now to reduce catchy themes, believing that they would distract the audience from what’s happening in the scene. But this debate has no simple conclusion: there will always be advocates of both views.

 

How many times did you normally have to see a movie before you began to get any fixed ideas about where music should be placed or what style of music was required?

Sometimes we need to see it several times. We have to understand the right mood we need to recreate in each situation. Then we have to watch it again with the director, to have his opinion on where to place the music. Obviously, at this point we can fairly say what we would do and convince the director that it would be better to place music in one scene rather than in another. We also discuss the style of the music for each single scene.

I know you are both accomplished performers, so did you perform a lot of the work yourselves on your film scores?

Yes. For instance [Maurizio’s speaking], I usually play guitar main parts myself. Along with the orchestra, or in separate tracks before adding the rest of the instruments.

 

Using the TV series SANDOKAN as an example, when working on a series for television, do you score episodes in the order that they will be aired, or do you score more than one episode at a time, and do you on a long running series re-use any themes from early episodes in later ones?

We generally work on one episode at a time. In some cases, in order to optimize, we reuse one or more tracks, edited accordingly.


What method do you use to work out your musical ideas, keyboard, guitar or piano?

It depends on the genre. For orchestral and symphonic scores, for example, the initial idea comes to light at the piano. For more country or pop styles, the guitar is a perfect starting point.

What would you define as the purpose of music in film?

It has to increase the feelings and the emotions the footing shows, to put flesh on their bones. Or add new feelings and emotions if, for some reasons, there’s too few.

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You are doing a comeback tour, where will you be performing?

We made a concert in Budapest, recently, and it was a great success. In the wake of that event, we’ve been proposed to do other live shows. Now a production is planning a tour for 2018/2019 on which, of course, we will have our say. We’ll communicate news and dates shortly.

The lyrics to some of your songs were written by Susan Duncan, how did you begin your collaboration with her?

She was a staff member of the Foreign Office at RCA at the time of our first film scores. When we had the need, we asked her and her partner Cesare De Natale to write some lyrics for our songs as Oliver Onions. Since then, we worked together for a very long time.

 

Will we be hearing any new film scores from you soon?

Yes. Something’s up, but it is too soon to realize what style the director wants, if epic or minimalist. This makes a big difference in choosing the main theme and the score. We’ll see!

 

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