THE TIGER, AN OLD HUNTERS TALE.

 

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What I love about film music is that it is unlike so many other genres of music, pop music for example at times can be a little throwaway, by this I mean if its not current then its probably not going to be heard for long, so many songs which don’t cut the mustard as it were, and fall by the wayside being swept away by many. Film music however has more of a longevity to it, by this I mean if I should have a day or a half day where I can look through Spotify for example I can normally come across at least one or two scores I did not know of and composers that may have escaped my radar. This weekend I had a few spare minutes and I was actually looking for a track by Pino Donaggio from the HOWLING, this search was fruitless but it did throw up a cue entitled SHOUT HOWLING, so I saw it was from a soundtrack to a movie entitled THE TIGER, AN OLD HUNTERS TALE, I investigated further and found it to be a South Korean movie from 2015, which contained an outstanding score by Yeong-Wook Jo, this is what I suppose can be described as a happy accident, as I would not have looked for the score or the composer, but this accidental search certainly came up trumps for me. The score is a wonderfully themeatic one and contains some interesting and dramatic writing from the composer. The music is for the most part symphonic, but it also contains synthetic support throughout, but I have to say the composer fuses both medias flawlessly, creating action packed cues that sit along side romantic and melancholy pieces, but these never jar or sound out of place as the composer segues from cue to cue altering styles and sounds with ease. I was surprised that the score was credited to THE SOUNDTRACK KINGS on the internet as were a handful of other scores, but after investigating further and checking credits etc I found out who the true composer was. The soundtrack contains some serene sounding choral work along the way and there is a piece that is utilised as the opening theme that I can only describe as an adagio for voices, it is mesmerising and enchanting and radiates an atmosphere that is emotive and haunting. After reading a little about the composer he is noted for emulating the styles of Zimmer and Morricone, to a degree this is true after listening to TIGER, AN OLD HUNTERS TALE the composer building themes by slowly layering the music and adding more colours and depth as the cue develops and evolves. There is also an imaginative use of wood wind and effective deployment of percussion within the work and I have to admit that there are certain nods of acknowledgement to the style of Morricone, but personally I felt that this was an original score where the composer places his own individual musical fingerprint upon the movie. The composers use of horns and other brass is affecting as is his utilisation of strings. Listen to track number sixteen on disc one of the release, A SON this is simply stunning, choir and underlying strings create a special musical moment that invades the listeners mind and envelops their whole being, the composer utilises rich and somewhat sombre sounding cello and strings to fashion a piece that I defy anyone not to be moved by.

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I could compare certain cues to certain composers and liken the sound achieved to others but overall the style and the sound is innovative and also a rewarding and entertaining listening experience. This is a soundtrack that is epic in sound and stature and one that contains a deep romantic sounding emotional core, the composer building his score around this and creating a strong theme laden work. The film too looks an interesting and exciting one and I can’t wait to sit and watch it when the DVD arrives. Seek this out on Spotify first listen, savour and enjoy then buy the compact disc. Recommended.

 

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UNSUNG HERO OF THE SILVER SCREEN, ROBERTO GERHARD.

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Roberto Gerhard is probably not a composer one would consider when talking about film music, however he did score two movies during his career, his first, THE SECRET PEOPLE (1954), which was an early role for Audrey Hepburn is best remembered for its poor performance at the box office and the second THIS SPORTING LIFE (1963) for its unusually modern sounding musical soundtrack and also because of the rather spikey relationship that developed between the composer and the film’s director Lindsay Anderson, whilst they collaborated on the project. Anderson was known for being strong willed and difficult, but Gerhard was equally stubborn and the two very often clashed which resulted in sections of the composer’s music being removed from the final cut of the movie. Which was something of a surprise as Anderson who had written a book entitled MAKING A FILM based upon the failings of the movie THE SECRET PEOPLE had gone out of his way to engage Gerhard on THIS SPORTING LIFE.

 

Gerhard wrote extensively for the concert hall and contributed some interesting scores and themes for TV series such as THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS and WAR IN THE AIR during the 1950’s and 1960’s. His work for the concert hall included Ballet’s, symphonies, chamber music and early experimental electronic music as in THE LAMENT FOR THE BULLFIGHTER-FOR SPEAKER AND TAPE in 1958, the composer was also associated with the BBC radiophonic workshop during its early days from the late 1950’s through to the mid 1960’s.

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Gerhard was born, Robert Gerhard I Ottenwalder on September 25, th 1896, in Vallis Spain, which is in the Catalonian area of the country. The composer studied piano with Granados and was also schooled in the art of composition by Felipe Pedrell, after the death of his teacher Pedrell the composer decided to relocate to Vienna where he continued his studies under Arnold Schoneberg, In the latter part of the 1920’s Gerhard returned to Spain and settled in Barcelona, where he became associated with many prominent figures who were under scrutiny by the Franco government for their republican sympathies. As the civil war in Spain grew imminent the composer was forced to flee the country initially to France but soon moved to England where he settled in Cambridge. Soon after settling in England that composer established himself by producing a handful of works for both orchestra and stage. In 1955 he wrote the score for The Royal Shakespeare Companies production of KING LEAR for which he received high critical acclaim. He died on January 5th, 1970 in Cambridge England.