Some interesting scores around at the moment, some from this year others that maybe were overlooked or got away from a year or two ago. We start soundtrack supplement eight with a score that attracted me straight away on hearing its end credits theme. GLOOMY EYES is a 2020 release, and has a highly original musical score by Cyrille Marchesseau, it is one of those soundtracks or movies that maybe you look at and say, “I will listen to or watch that later I think”. My advice is do not do that, listen to it straight away and if you can take a look at the film too. This is an award-winning VR experience that pairs the virtual reality effect with surreal animation that has to it a dark persona and black humour. The characters are very much presented in the style of the animated movies of director Tim Burton, such as NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The look of the movie is weirdly attractive, and its storyline is also a compelling one. Set in 1983, when the sun decides that it will hide-away. Never to shine it’s light upon the earth or allow it’s warmth to touch the land because of the uncaring ways and the idiocy of humans (sound familiar?). As the darkness envelopes the world zombies start to emerge from their graves and soon a war erupts between the living and the dead. Because the world is devoid of light the walking dead seek out the living with one aim in mind. But a zombie boy called Gloomy and a mortal girl called Nena meet and fall in love against all the odds, their romance blossoming amongst all the confusion and mayhem. Gloomy however does not realise that Nena is the niece of one of the most feared Zombie hunters. The film I guess is a highly irreverent but effective look at the relationships that maybe could take place between Humans and Zombies, if there were such a thing as Zombies that is, it kind of takes the classic story of Romeo and Juliet as its inspiration but puts a whole new twist upon it to great effect. The musical score is in my opinion an accomplished one, the composer combining both symphonic and synthetic elements to fashion a work that is overflowing with themes and teaming with haunting nuances. To say that the soundtrack is inventive I feel would be an understatement, from what I can make out there are three episodes of GLOOMY EYES running for approx 30 mins in length each episode follows on from the other until the trilogy reaches its conclusion. The music that has been released has a running time of 51 mins, o I am assuming this is the music from all three of the short films. Within that time the listener will I know be totally immersed in a musical ocean that is filled to bursting with innovative, emotive, and effecting compositions.


There are a handful of tracks that are narrated by Colin Farrell which set out the story to the listener and also explain the settings and scenarios to te audience, which have been underscored sympathetically with the composer adding depth and atmosphere without being over intrusive. I love the sound that he has created here and also adore the quirky darkness that is purveyed within his music, the synthesised choral effects are mysterious and unsettling and the composer puts this uneasy style and sound to effective use within the score. At times one could I suppose remark that it does have to it an Elman-esque persona, but at other times the score is not comparable with any other composers work because of its stunning originality. Check it out, available on most digital platforms.


AMERICAN BISTRO, is a 2019 release, and tells the story of an accountant who is quite successful, but his world falls apart when he discovers his wife has been having an affair with his boss. To deal with the shock of this discovery and also to help him recover he decides to open a restaurant with a family member who he has not had anything to do with for a long time but convinces him it’s the right thing to do. The music is by Avery Kentis, and I have to say that it is a delightful and a surprisingly good score. I say surprisingly because I really did not have any idea that a movie about an accountant opening a restaurant would inspire a composer to write so eloquently and fashion so many emotive and heart-rending themes. The music is sensitive and also highly expressive, solo piano is the main foundation of the score and the composer builds upon this solid but poignant base and adds textures, colours and humorous little nuances and slightly eccentric thematic material to bring to fruition a classy and also an entertaining work that at times evokes memories of the breathy and romantic style of composer John Barry. The light and subdued sounding interludes are touching and calming, having to them a real sense of warmth and an abundance of melancholy. Lovely score, well worth a listen. Kentis, scored a movie back in 2018 entitled INCONTROL which although totally different stylistically to AMERICAN BISTRO is also worth seeking out.

THE SCOUT was a short film released in 2013, the score by Andrew Morgan Smith, is one that I am glad has now been released, obviously because the film was a short the music also has a brief duration, but what it lacks in running time it more than makes up for in musical quality. A group of scouts set out on a hunt for a creature called the Snipe, but it soon becomes apparent to the scouts and to the watching audience that it is not the Snipe that is being hunted. But the creature is hunting the scouts. The movie I felt was a homage to eighties family movies such as THE MONSTER SQUAD or even THE GOONIES, but also had to it a certain element of horror and had the style of THE LOST BOYS in places. It purveys that sort of vibe, admittedly on a smaller scale, but it is one of the most entertaining shorts I have seen in a little while.

The musical score by Andrew Morgan Smith is too a wonderfully uplifting and fun packed work, the composer creating, comedic and jaunty sections plus, layers of tense and apprehensive interludes that contain a style that one would ordinarily associate with John Williams, Elmer Bernstein or Jerry Goldsmith. It’s a soundtrack that I am certain you will return to many times, vibrant and busy with catchy thematic properties, the composer gives us a score for a film that was produced in the 21st century which has a musical style that we associate with the silver age of film music, brilliant and highly entertaining. Do not forget to also check out his soundtrack releases such as JEEPERS CREEPERS THREE, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER and THE CULLING all of which are available on Spotify and other digital platforms.

So, from score to a short movie to one from a TV series on Netflix, THE WITCHER has been getting some good reaction as has the soundtrack, a double CD has been released and it contains over fifty tracks and runs for some three hours. If nothing else I guess you get your money’s worth here. But seriously this is a good soundtrack, and one which I have to say I enjoyed, I think mainly because of the variation of styles included and the diversity of the musical approaches and sounds that are within it. At times it is harsh and almost rock infused with other tracks containing a near Morricone western Operatic aura. The music is credited to two composers on this edition of the soundtrack, Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli although many of the tracks feature soloists or vocalists and they each receive individual credits, three hours of music is a lot to go through all at once, so I spread this out over a week or so, which I found was better as I was able to digest it and appreciate it a lot more.

I would not say it’s a score that everyone will take a shine too, and for me it works a lot better in the series than it does on its own but remember that’s just a personal opinion, and after all it is film or in this case TV music. It is a fusion of instrumental as in the more conventional sounds of an orchestra and electronic, rock and vocals, its an interesting listen and at times does reach highs in the department of being inventive and innovative. Check it out see what you think.

Now to four high powered and upbeat sounding soundtracks from the pen of composer Anthony Chue. L AND P STORM (thats two movies) and Z AND S STORM (another two movies), all four scores have to them a real commanding and totally high-octane sound. A mix of symphonic and synthetic instrumentation which the composer blends together seamlessly and to maximum effect, in my mind these two soundtracks are every bit as good as say the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE scores as presented by the likes of Elfman, Giacchino, Balfe and Zimmer.



Chue, creates a relentless and fast paced style for both of the movies and amongst all the unrelenting percussion, electronic support, brass and high velocity strings there are also present some really solid themes that at times have a Barry-esque style, these two scores could easily be for a Bond movie, they have that action, bombastic style and it’s a style and overall sound that keeps one interested and also wanting more throughout. Both releases are well worth investigating and are available digitally on most digital platforms via Plaza Mayor music.

Dan Jones is a multi-award winning composer of film and TV music, aswell as writing scores for movies etc, Jones also does sound design and has written music for the theatre as well as being involved with the development of some early items of software. Much of his music is released on his own recording label, WORLD ON FIRE being one of the more recent additions to that.



WORLD ON FIRE was a gripping and interesting series that was screened on the BBC back in 2019. It was met with positive reaction and a second series we are told is in the works at the moment. Dan Jones created a sensitive and emotive soundtrack for the series, which was for the most part rather low key, but it served the series well and on listening to the work just as music remains a touching and rewarding experience, I thought that I would include the score here because I felt it was an accomplished work when I saw the series, and am pleased that the music is now available for collectors to listen to.

It is a lengthy work, running for nearly an hour, but it is one of those soundtracks that whilst listening to it, one is transported back to certain moments within the series, it is affecting and at times mesmeric, the composer using simple but effective thematic ideas that he develops and builds throughout the work, RESISTANCE for example is apprehensive, threatening and also oozes with an atmosphere that can be foreboding. Percussive elements and strings combine alongside brass and synthesised support, to fashion a piece that supports the sequence within the series but also entertains away from that scenario. There are also several lighter less urgent interludes within the score, BROTHER, SISTER for instance, is a much more relaxed composition, but t the same time still manages to hold under the surface a sense of danger. Certainly, a score to check out, again this and a few other soundtracks by Dan Jones are available on digital platforms. THE MINIARTURIST being one of them which is something you should listen to as soon as possible.






Michael J Lewis, is one of those composers who we as film music collectors adore and adulate, why? Because he writes such brilliant music that is why. Music that not only supports the cinematic and television projects it is written for, but also because it is just such great music as a whole and because it stands alone as entertaining and inspiring pieces of thematic and melodious music, that are absorbing, affecting and memorable. I was a little shocked in recent days to discover that there were a lot of collectors that have been fans of film music for years that had never heard this composers music, I made it my mission if you like to remedy this, pointing them in the direction of places such as you tube etc to go and sample it and also showing them where they could get the now quite scarce compact discs that the composer had produced as promos a few years ago.




I still remember his epic sounding score for JULIUS CAESAR (1969) after seeing the movie, a film that I have to say I felt lacked in many areas, the score is a monumental soundtrack, which had to it a sound and style that although was richly epic was also somewhat contemporary for a Shakespearean drama, thus appealing to two very different schools of soundtrack connoisseurs who were lucky enough to experience it. It added much to the movie, lifting it, adding depth and I think making it more enjoyable for some members of the audience. I think I am correct when I say that JULIUS CAESAR is one score that has not received a full soundtrack release, with just three sections from the score being represented on the first compact disc of a two compact disc set entitled FILM MUSIC 1969-1994 which the composer released as a promo, and is probably one of the best ways to become acquainted with the music of Michael J Lewis for anyone who has not had that privilege. But I warn you once you hear this collection you will undoubtedly want more and I promise you it will send you on a quest to find more of the composers works.


The three cues that represent the composers imposing and powerful work for JULIUS CAESAR on the double disc set are. OVERTURE, CAESAR’S TRIUMPH and PORTIA’S THEME. The OVERTURE opens with a brief fanfare on trumpets, in some ways it is a subdued fanfare compared to say the one’s we had experienced from Rosza back in the day, but still it grabs one’s attention and leads into a rich and eloquent theme performed by strings in the main, underlined by subtle use of harp and delicate placing of woods, the strings then begin to stir as the composer hands them the core theme, they build and grow stronger, but do not intensify until approx. One minute and forty-five seconds into the piece, at which point they surge and purvey a sense of passion, romance, pomp and grandeur.

After which the cue returns to its beginnings and becomes more subdued and emotively infused. CAESAR’S TRIUMPH is just that musically a triumph, filled with a fresh and robust air, brass, strings, wood wind and percussion all come together to create a brilliantly vibrant and inspiring piece. PORTIA’S THEME is for me personally one of the scores highpoints, it is a cue that totally consumes and engulfs the listener, the composer fashioning a mesmerizing composition that is exquisitely romantic and a sensitive and poignant tone poem. Melodious and delicate it purveys a sense of fragility but at the same time is filled with a passionate and haunting musical persona.
JULIUS CAESAR was directed by Stuart Burge and starred Jason Robards, Charlton Heston, Sir John Gielgud, Robert Vaughn, Diana Rigg, Richard Chamberlain and Jill Bennett. Despite the all-star cast the movie as I have already hinted at was met with a mixed reaction from critics and audiences alike, I am not sure if it was the abundance of American actors that made it a little harder to swallow, but maybe it is time to re-visit the production to see how it has fared over the years? The only saving grace for the picture I think was Michael J. Lewis’s outstanding musical score and it is a work that so deserves to be released in its entirety. It is a surging and emotive score, that is probably one of the composers best. Lewis returned to Roman history in 1976, when he scored George Bernard Shaw’s CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA which was produced for BBC television, a production that starred Sir Alec Guinness as Caesar who seemed a little akward in the role and a young Geneviève Bujold as Cleopatra. Directed by James Cellan Jones, the composers score was sparse, but supportive of the drama. The music has unfortunately not been released on any form of recording.



Michael John Lewis was born in Aberystwyth in Wales on January 11th, 1939. He received his musical education at the Guild Hall school of Music and Drama, He is mainly known for his work on writing film scores, he first came the notice of cinema audiences and critics alike with his debut score THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT which he wrote for director Bryan Forbes in 1969. The composer winning an Ivor Novello award for best film score for his work on the movie. At the premiere in the Bahamas in the June of 1969, Danny Kaye the actor who played the Ragpicker in the movie stood and shouted that the music was “Sensational” midway through the seven-minute opening sequence of the movie. Which contains the cue AURELIAS THEME, track one on the composer promo compact disc of the score.


The film had a cast of so many well-known actors, including, Yul Brynner, Paul Henreid, Richard Chamberlain, Donald Pleasance and Edith Evans contained screenplay that was based upon the play LA FOLLE DE CHAILLOT by Jean Giraudoux, and cinematography by Burnett Guffey and Claude Renoir who was the Grandson of the acclaimed painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story centres on a plan to drill for oil in the centre of Paris. But Countess Aurelia (Katherine Hepburn) discovers the plans and decides that she will put a stop to them by announcing that she has in fact already discovered oil in Paris enlisting a group of friends to assist her.


The composers music is filled with a delicate and highly melodic air, utilising harpsichord, subtle guitar performances, accordion, solo violin and touches of mandolin in places, add to this a lush and sweeping employment of strings and up-tempo choral performances and we are treated to a vibrant and joyful sounding score that is attractive because it is simple and also because it has to it an alluring aura which is difficult not to become involved with.


In 1970 Lewis composed the score for the psychological thriller THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF, although box office returns were disappointing mainly due the mismanagement of marketing and distribution on the movie it has during the years following its release attained the status of being something of a cult movie. THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF was directed by Basil Dearden and starred Roger Moore and Hidelgarde Neil. With supporting roles from Anton Rogers, Thorley Waters and Freddie Jones, a strong cast and a riveting storyline, which was based upon THE STRANGE CASE OF MR PELHAM by Anthony Armstrong. The films storyline being a contemporary twist on the DR JECKLE AND MR HYDE scenario. The production was one of the first to be given the go ahead by Bryan Forbes when he was the head of EMI films.

Harold Pelham (Moore) is a successful businessman and a director of a marine company, he is normally a creature of habit and has conservative tastes and ways. But Pelham undergoes something of a personality transformation and begins to do lots of things that would normally not be in character, such as driving recklessly, in which he is involved in a high-speed collision on the motorway. Rushed to hospital he undergoes emergency surgery but whilst being operated on dies but is soon revived, and at this point the surgical team notice that there seem to be two heartbeats. He recovers but soon begins to notice that not all is well, friends and colleagues tell him they have seen him in places that Pelham has no re-collection of being in. Thus, starts the tense and somewhat edgy storyline, with Pelham becoming obsessed with having a double. The musical score is an upbeat affair, with the composer creating a modern as in sixties/seventies sound to underline and support the film and it many twists and turns.

The main theme is an impressive one and for me sets the scene perfectly for the storyline and the period in which it is set. The composer utilising upbeat percussion, guitar and strings that are laced with brass and harpsichord flourishes, the opening is one of the most infectious and memorable themes I think from a Lewis score. The composer also provides a more easy listening arrangement of the central theme that is at times used as source music, for example when a record is seen playing in the movie it is Lewis’s pleasant and haunting composition that is heard, the cue entitled THAT RECORD AGAIN on the more recent edition of the score. This itself I think could have been a chart hit at the time of the pictures release, as during the 1970’s the music chart was much more varied than it is now and often included an instrumental or a film theme. The striking and instantly likeable central theme that we are introduced to within the main titles, is heard throughout the movie in varying arrangements and guises but is orchestrated in such a way that it remains fresh and vibrant on each manifestation. THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF is often the score that is thought of straight away when discussing the music of Michael J Lewis, it is after all an inventive work, with percussive elements, that are laced with brass, and semi atonal sounds being used in an innovative way to create maximum affect I also think it comes to mind simply because it was on so many collectors wish list.



THE MEDUSA TOUCH is another film that was not successful as it deserved to be. Directed by Jack Gold the movie was released in 1978, it starred Richard Burton, Lino Ventura and Lee Remick. So an impressive cast. Burton plays a novelist Jack Mortar he has the ability it seems to make deaths and disasters happen just by thinking of them. The film opens with Molar watching the news on TV and seeing that astronauts are trapped in orbit around the moon, suddenly he is attacked from behind being struck viciously with a figurine, we see his blood spattered over the TV screen and are led to believe he is dead. However, when the investigating police inspector Brunel (Ventura) arrives, he discovers that Morlar is still hanging onto life, he is rushed to hospital and placed on life support with one machine monitoring his brain activity. The inspector discovers that Molar has been under analysis by a Doctor Zonfeld (Remick) because from a child he has witnessed so many deaths and disasters that have befell others. Brunel finds Morlar’s diary and begins to read it, and whilst doing so begins to wonder if he is investigating a victim or indeed a murderer.



This is an unsettling yet at the same time a thought-provoking film that has certain affiliations with a Donald Pleasance movie entitled THE MAN WITH THE POWER, although the central character in that movie was more sympathetic even if he was still bringing about the deaths of certain people.
Burton is a cold and calculated character, with a complex personality. The film also included supporting performances from Harry Andrews and Gordon Jackson, which brought an even greater degree of credibility to the production. THE MEDUSA TOUCH has over the years been compared with films such as THE OMEN or other movies that had at their core the subject of demonic occurrences, in my opinion it has a far greater quality and also is a far classier and in depth look at the subject and also again in my opinion is far better structured than the OMEN or indeed it’s sequels. The musical score by Michael J Lewis is again an impressive one, dark and virulent, with a powerful and commanding style that at times is hypnotic as in the cue, GRAZIOSO, which combines low key organ with guitar and subdued strings, but the soundtrack as a whole is more often menacing and chilling and has to it an imposing and fearsome sound. The music plays an important part in the movie at times becoming more of an integral component than a background or musical wallpaper to the action on screen, the composer at times utilising church organ to create affecting and atmospheric moments within the score which is a masterful and effective piece of scoring by the composer at it instils in the watching audience a sense of reverence or maybe has the opposite effect and conjures up a more irreverent direction. Released on a composer promo, with twenty-three cues and a running time of just over fifty-one minutes, this is a superb soundtrack from Michael J Lewis, again no official release yet, but maybe one day?

THEATRE OF BLOOD is possibly my favourite Michael J Lewis score, and a film I enjoy immensely and never seem to tire of. Released in 1973, the movie directed by Douglas Hickcox, starred the brilliant Vincent Price, in a role that was made for him. Price takes on the role of actor Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart, who is a favourite from matinee performances at the theatre and has acted in numerous Shakespearean plays during his career. He is a veteran actor and has been trained in the old ways and is beginning to find it difficult to master newer roles. After he is snubbed by critics and loses out on an award to a young up and coming actor who he is not impressed with, the actor decides that he will have his revenge on the critics who denied him the award and sets about ensuring their demise, but he does this in a very theatrical way, as you will see when you watch the movie. Price was as always marvellous, giving a wonderful and suitably hammy performance which is a joy to watch.


He was supported by an excellent cast of British actors, Diana Rigg who played his loyal daughter plus Ian Hendry, Arthur Lowe, Sir Michael Hordern, Robert Morley and Dennis Price. Essentially a horror movie, with touches of humour scattered throughout, the musical score is superb, the composer opting to score the production with a heartrending and melancholy theme performed in the main by the string section, which I suppose scores away from the horror element in the storyline, thus giving the scenes of murder etc more impact because the audience are taken by surprise and are not expecting it because the music is so full of romanticism and rich in melody. There are action cues within the soundtrack as in THE DUEL and DEATH IN THE THEATRE and these too are a brilliant touch by the composer adding excitement and pathos that evokes the music of the golden age of film music at times adding atmosphere and tension to the proceedings. The soundtrack was released initially on a composer promo of twenty-four tracks, but received an official commercial release in 2010 by La La Land records, which contained fifteen cues, but had the same duration as the composer promo, with many of the shorter cues being combined on the commercial release.




The composer also worked on several TV scores including CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA as already mentioned, THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, ROSE AND THE JACKAL, JESSIE, UPON THIS ROCK, SHE STOOD ALONE and KEAN. His score for THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE was released on a composer promo, it included thirty cues and had a running time of forty-eight minutes. The work is filled with a mysterious and magical aura and has touches of comedy, it is a highly thematic work, that is enchanting as well as being majestic. The film was awarded an Emmy for its excellence in animation.




Many of the titles mentioned have selections or cues featured on the double compact disc set, FILM MUSIC 1969 TO 1994, and it is as I have stated probably a good starting point if you have never experienced this composer’s music for the cinema and TV.

It is exceedingly rare that one finds a compilation of film music where every track is good or in this case beyond good. Opening with JULIUS CAESAR (3 tracks) and taking us through THE MEDUSA TOUCH (6 tracks), THEATRE OF BLOOD (5 tracks), THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT (3 tracks). THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1 track), NAKED FACE (1 track), THE PASSAGE (4 tracks), 92 IN THE SHADE (1 track), SPHINX (2 tracks), THE STICK UP (2 tracks), ROSE AND THE JACKAL (1 track), THE UNSEEN (2 tracks), NORTH SEA HIJACK (1 Track) and ending with 2 selections from UPON THIS ROCK. It is a comprehensive collection of outstanding music penned by Lewis that has a duration of nearly two hours.

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SONHO DE ALINE and other soundtracks by ALFONSO G. AGUILAR.




SONHO DE ALINE is a documentary short film, it tells the story of a Franciscan nun who during world war ll was responsible for rescuing children who had been orphaned and bringing them out of Germany and ensuring that they safely arrived in The United States. This work is still today being carried on, with organisations working effortlessly with deprived children, but this time in Brazil, where they take the children off the streets and offer them a chance of a better and safer life.


But due to the lack of financial backing and dwindling funds they are close to having to stop their work, maybe for good. The documentary shows their work and also hopefully will get across their desperate plight and also the ever diminishing life-lines for the children. The music for this documentary is the work of composer Alfonso G Aguilar, the Spanish born composer who is now based in The United States has written a handful of scores in recent years that have raised more than a ripple of interest within the soundtrack collecting fraternity, a few of which we will touch upon later in this review/article. He has for SONHO DE ALINE created a touching and sensitive score which underlines the fragility of the children and also supports the emotional and heart breaking situation that they and also the people who are trying to help them find themselves in. It is certainly a score that is filled with poignancy and also has to it a real heartfelt and affecting sound, the composer lightly brushing the film with his light and effective musical poems adding texture and colours like an artist adds colour to a blank canvas. It is a short as I have said and therefore it follows that the score too is a brief affair, just over eleven minutes in total, but the composer in this short space of time manages to fashion a soundtrack that is totally consuming and hauntingly beautiful. The work is a fusion of instrumentation, but nothing over the top or over blown, instead the composer writing in a more understated and subtle fashion, which in a way makes the music stand out more if that is at all possible. The effect is a stunning collection of short musical interludes that are dramatic in a subdued way but are also powerful.

In recent years, the music of Spanish composers has become more prominent in films that have received releases outside of Spain, and many of the composers have indeed become as well known as some of the Hollywood composers. Aguilar wrote a wonderfully atmospheric score for the 2018 Argentinian horror NO DORMIRAS or THOU SHALL NOT SPEAK as it was entitled outside of its country of production. I would not say that the movie itself was a great one, as I felt it was rather predictable and also did take a while to actually get moving, The score however I felt was accomplished, the composer using a more melodic approach at times rather than the normal Horror atonal material, although there is certainly also some of that present.


There are a handful of cues that are performed on piano, which has to it a lilting and delicate sound, the charming and haunting melodies gracefully supporting and enhancing the films storyline or accompanying one of the characters in the story. The composer also employs the string section to great effect creating an adagio type of style, at times, which is lush but by the same token can be chilling and unsettling. A music box sound is also included, with a simple childlike melody that grabs the attention of the listener and is something that the listener will recall long after it has ceased to play. The atonal material although being relentless and driving does have within it thematic direction, by this I mean it is not just driving strings layered over percussion and with brass and more strings adding to its tense and dramatic content. NO DORMIRAS is a wonderfully dark score, filled with jolts and jumps and those things that make you uneasy even in the day light. One to look out for.



PERDIDA is a Netflix film from 2018, (not to be confused with the Spanish TV series of the same name from 2020. This is a drama set in Argentina, which was at first glance to be honest looking promising. But and there is always a but, isn’t there. It turned out to be something of a let-down, it’s a mystery drama about a missing girl, who’s case is re-opened by a police officer who was her friend and is approached by the Mother of the missing girl to do so. It’s the same old scenario, she wants to re-open the case but her boss is saying no, but guess what she does it anyway. The musical score in fact adds so much to the drama but even though it is a good soundtrack it still does not have the ability to lift the production out of the doldrums and make it more interesting. The work by Aguilar is a fusion of both conventional instrumentation and electronic sounds and soundscapes, which work fairly well together, combining to create some interesting moments, but like the movie the score at times does tend to lose its way slightly, I think what I will say is if you want to check it out it is on a number of digital platforms, so definitely try before you buy as they say.

In 2019 the composer scored the Netflix animated feature KLAUS, which was a delightful tale and one for kids of all ages. The composers score is attractive and robust, filled with superbly vibrant themes and an abundance of memorable musical moments. I have to say I enjoyed this one immensely, it has to it a sound and a style that maybe could be likened to that of James Horner, chilling and dark in places as well as being welcoming, calming and sentimental. This is one of my favourite scores by this composer, there are numerous fun packed cues as well as the over the top action pieces, its just a rollercoaster ride of rich heroic and grandiose romantic interludes, that are heard alongside mysterious and magical compositions, emotive and melancholy tone poems and sorrowful cello performances. it is a great score and an entertaining listen.




YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE is a film that the composer scored in 2017, at the time I did think that it was quite outstanding, but for some reason never did get round to even mentioning on here, its an up-beat score, literally a no holds barred, knock em down and drag em out soundtrack, it just never lets up, keeping the pressure applied throughout. It I think more akin to the Bond sound than anything else, full throttle and brassy percussive beats being the order of the day with driving strings supporting synths and electronic instrumentation all the way, with the occasional respite, that includes a Yiddish sounding theme, which is so relevant to the films storyline. It’s a bit of fun, but at the same tie this is good film music and a soundtrack that you should really consider adding to your collection asap. Other scores worth mention from the pen of Alfonso G Aguilar include, MONEY, TODOS, 021 and the inventive GURBA.




In the many years that I have been collecting film music I thank heaven for composers like Richard Band, he has I think more than many other composer manages to maintain a high standard of music within films that maybe did not deserve music of such great quality, if you understand what I am saying. With many of the composers scores it is a case of the music actually being far superior than the films they were written for. Take THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM for an example, great pulsating and powerful score, one of his best in my opinion, but the film well, I can take it or leave it, and when I say leave it I mean actually leave it somewhere in the hope that it gets lost.




One of Band’s most recent assignments that gets a release on DRAGONS DOMAIN records is  EXORCISM AT 60.000 FEET, an obvious in flight version of the EXORCIST, with the composer even poking fun at the original films score via the use of a TUBULAR BELLS type motif which at times raises its head throughout the score. But Band, I have to say has written a superb soundtrack, it has a wonderful driving theme that carries the work along at pace, the composer introducing various takes on it throughout the score. With the remainder of the soundtrack being just too good for this movie. It is filled to overflowing with a real sense of the dramatic and also has to it a cheeky and impish style that is comedic and at the dame time quite patronising as in it parodies the sound of the horror movie from the 1950’s through to more contemporary examples including Band’s own work within the genre and the likes of  Danny Elfman on  BEETLEJUICE etc. What I love about Band’s music for film is that it never really takes itself seriously, and I think therefore it works so well and is also so appealing. To be quite honest if I saw this movie was on at the local picture house I don’t think I would even bother, but after hearing Richard Band’s excellent music I may be persuaded to try and sit through it. Richard Band also has a few other releases that are popping up on digital platforms, which although not ideal is quite useful for anyone not familiar with his music for film.


CASTLE FREAK is one such title, no not the 2020 remake but the original from 1995 directed by Stuart Gordon of RE-ANIMATOR fame. It’s a creepy tale of a man who attempts to protect his family against an evil that is resident in a castle that he has inherited. Again Band did a brilliant job for a low budget movie with an evil and spiky sounding violin solo weaving its way through the score, a dark and mischievous sound that is enhanced and supported by equally devilish sounding strings, brass and strategically placed percussion. I always have thought that his music for this production was quite evocative of Jerry Goldsmiths menacing, unsettling and virulent sounding score for the MEPHISTO WALTZ. Plus, I am of the opinion it also has to it elements that resemble Carol Anne’s theme from Goldsmiths POLTERGEIST. Amongst all the atonal and creepy sounding material Band has created a score that aids the movie greatly, but it also one that rewards the listener when heard on its own, it is an inventive work, again one of Richard Bands finest.


THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1982) is yet another gem of a horror score, Band in a lyrical mode for the opening theme, which kind of lulls one into a false sense of security, a mood that I will say does not endure for long, its not too long before the composer begins to introduce icy sounding passages, sinewy sounding strings, tinkling piano that is more menacing than calming and also he utilises female voice in certain cues that purveys a sense of uneasiness and adds a chill to the proceedings, but there is still maybe a semblance of calm and warmth within it, in the same way that Morricone did in films such as BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. Again, a low budget affair, but still Band produces a top-notch soundtrack. After a prank goes terribly wrong a group of sorority Sisters are stalked by a killer and murdered one at a time in the house whilst a party is being held that is to celebrate their graduation. The score is an accomplished one for a low budget horror and contains a few interesting themes and again is something of a homage to the scores of Jerry Goldsmith.


THE RESSURECTED was released in 1991, directed by Dan O Bannon, its one of those movies that you probably begin to watch will a modicum of interest, and by the end of the film you find that you really enjoyed it. Well that’s how it was for me anyway, I also like the score by Richard Band a lot, I think its classy and accomplished, and has about it a style and sound that radiates sophistication, yes I realise it’s a horror and I can’t say its particularly original, but there are many interesting points within it, it is in fact more like a film noir score than a horror, the subtle menacing nuances wash over the listener and also add a chilling and apprehensive dimension to the story being acted out on screen. It is for the most part dark and malevolent, but there are hints of romanticism and a lush almost opulent style that emerges albeit briefly at key moments with the soundtrack, entertaining movie, and score.



MUTANT or NIGHT SHADOWS as it was originally entitled contains a score that outshines the movie it was intended to enhance. I never did like the movie, but just love the score. Directed by John Cardos it focuses upon two Brothers who find out that the residents of a small town in the Southern States are slowly being infected by a Toxic waste, the substance apparently turning them into bloody lusting Zombies. The score is performed by the NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA with some electronic support, it is certainly one of the composers more powerful works, again inventive, and innovative in the way the string section is utilised. There is just something attractive about this score maybe more than any other Richard Band soundtrack, the sound and the style is robust and vibrant, there is more of a commanding feel to this with the composer creating a superbly dark and foreboding set of atmospheres, that delight and chill all at once.


SHRUNKEN HEADS was a comedy horror movie released in 1994, the score had a theme provided by Danny Elfman, but the main score was the work of Richard Band, in many ways this is very similar to Band’s work on TROLL which he scored in 1986, the composer making effective use of choir that he seamlessly fuses with quirky but dramatic musical passages and adding a touch of melancholy here and there for effect . The opening theme by Elfman I think also influenced Band as he seems to take his cue from the offbeat and slightly demented sound created by Elfman. Imaginative orchestration and inspired writing, this is an enjoyable listening experience, and a soundtrack that I think will be returned to many times after the initial listen.





When discussing Ennio Morricone it is very often mentioned that he took instruction in music from Maestro Goffredo Petrassi, who also tutored fellow Italian composer and long-time associate of Morricone’s, Bruno Nicolai who would often conduct for other Italian composers as well as Morricone. It has often been said that this is probably why the two composers at times shared a similar style.  In the early days of Morricone’s career Nicolai was often thought to be an alias that Morricone wrote under. However after searching through the extensive list of students that were taught by Petrassi which included Phillip Glass, I am puzzled as to why Nicolai’s name does not appear on it?


Petrassi was born near Rome in 1904 and was considered by many to be one of the most significant and influential Italian composers of the 20th Century. At the age of fifteen the young Petrassi began to work in a music shop to support his family, and this is probably where his love and interest of music was expanded and cemented. He is however. more associated with music for the concert hall, with his output in this area being prolific. Because of the composer’s commitments to teaching and the world of classical music his forays into scoring movies were few and far between, although when the composer did work on movie score’s he always produced works that were supportive as well as being  thematic. Petrassi began to write for films back in the 1940’s and in total during his career he wrote the music for ten pictures, these included six feature films and four shorts, the shorts are rare sights, MUSICA NEL TEMPO (1941), CREAZIONE DEL MONDO (1947), LEZIONE DI GEOMETRIA (1948) and LA PORTA DI SAN PIETRO DI GIACOMO MANZU (1964).



He was known to refer to his association with the cinema as “AN UNREQUITED LOVE” and regretted not writing more for film. But it is also said that Petrassi discouraged the likes of Morricone from becoming involved in writing music for film.  Which is advice that we as film music fans have to be glad that Morricone ignored.



His music was always received well by audiences and critics alike and it is a great pity that his scores for the features were not released apart from CRONACA FAMILIARE or FAMILY DIARY which was originally issued on the CAM label in 1962, and then re-issued onto compact disc in 1992 as part of the famous 100 disc CAM SOUNDTRACK ENCYCLOPEDIA. (CSE 076). The composers film score credits include, BITTER RICE (1949), UNDER THE OLIVE TREE (1950) and LA PATTUGLIA SPERDUTA (1954).


There are also stories of how Petrassi also acted as a musical advisor on THE BIBLE, for which he received no credit, ironically THE BIBLE was a film that Ennio Morricone had been asked to score, but his score was replaced by a Japanese composer Toshiro Mayuzumi’s work, after the films producers and director John Huston kept Morricone waiting for weeks in Rome for a decision . There is however another version of events which are probably more correct.  Petrassi had been asked to score the movie and had worked long and hard on a score for the picture, however the director asked the composer to make many adjustments to his soundtrack.  Petrassi after being kept waiting in Rome and also being told that his score needed to be re-written in places decided to withdraw his music and took the score back from the production. Enter then Ennio Morricone who was at the time under contract to RCA, he was then asked to provide the score for the movie, he wrote some of his most exquisite music for the film according to Alessandro Alessandroni when I interviewed him. But the films producer wanted to work with Morricone on the score,  the composers contract with RCA however did not allow this, so Morricone too pulled out of the assignment. Many of the themes that Morricone penned for THE BIBLE he re-introduced and worked into his score for the movie THE RED TENT.



CRONACA FAMILIARE, was directed by Valerio Zurlini and was based around the characters and events in the boo by author Vasco Pratolini, the movie starred Italian heartthrob Marcello Mastroianni and lesser known actor Jaques Perrin who portray two Brothers who have been separated and brought up apart. Until that is their Mother dies and the two siblings are reunited because of trouble within the family.

The younger Brother Lorenzo played by Perrin is eight years younger than Enrico (Mastroianni) the reason that the Brothers were separated was because  their Mother passed away whilst giving birth to Lorenzo, at which point he was adopted by the butler of a well to do family, whilst Enrico was left with his Grandmother to be brought up in virtual poverty.  It is an engrossing and emotional drama and one that has been described as one of the very rare male tear-jerker movies in the history of Italian cinema.


The score by Petrassi, is in many ways typical of what we were hearing in Italian movies from this period, fellow composer Nino Rota employed a similar style and achieved a comparative sound when he scored many of the movies of Fellini. The same can be said for composers such as Lavagnino and a number of others that were working in film scoring in the country during this period, Mario Nascimbene as another example.  Petrassi combined dramatic symphonic themes with that of a more intimate and traditional Italian sound and added to this a sense of mystery which he conjured up via the use of subtly placed Organ performances. There are a number of sections which contain  phrases and quirks of orchestration that do make one realise the influence that Petrassi had upon the likes of Morricone and maybe also Nicolai, as we can hear a sound that has since become associated with the pair but it is a style that is more predominantly within some of the early film scores of Morricone and at times within his more thematic music for the concert hall. But if you listen to other composers such as the likes of Carlo Rustichelli, this grandiose and romantic approach and neo classical style was present within his scores also.




There is aa operatic aura and style present throughout the Petrassi score, which conjures up a sense of tragedy and also of loss, but the composer also manages to incorporate a more traditional or folk sounding persona. Although a fairly-short score, CRONACA FAMILIARE is a rewarding listen, and has a number of highly lyrical moments that are a combination of the romantic and dramatic, with a central theme that can be likened to LA STRADA by Rota at certain points in its use and development.  Petrassi lived till he was ninety-eight years of age, but sadly due to failing eyesight he was forced to retire from writing music in 1983, two decades before his death in Rome in 2003. During the last ten years of Petrassi’s life he lost his sight totally.