Enola Holmes returns to Netflix this month in Enola Holmes 2, (what else) also returning is composer Daniel Pemberton with yet another soundtrack that is bursting with variety and oozing with entertaining and infectious themes. Pemberton does amaze me because he always seems to come back with something that is even more appealing and more inventive than the previous work for either TV or cinema, Enola Holmes 2 is the kind of score that you just feel comfortable and engaged with whilst listening.
The composer employs choral sections and symphonic passages throughout and although this is a jaunty and action-led work there are also so many wonderfully melodic moments that weave in and out of the proceedings and enough mischievous interludes to keep everyone happy. Well worth a listen, available on digital platforms.
The Fabelmans is a new movie directed by master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the story is loosely based on Spielberg’s own childhood and growing up in post-World War II era Arizona. From the age of seven to eighteen, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of movies help us see the truth about each other and ourselves. Music is by long-time collaborator and friend of Spielberg’s, John Williams (who else). And once again this giant music-smith has created a score that is abundant in themes and haunting compositions.
This is an emotive and poignant work, the composer purveying a sense of wonder, love, intimacy, and discovery with his music. It is a delicate and affecting sound that the composer purveys, fashioning fragile pieces that tug at the heartstrings. Another triumph for Mr. Williams but there again when did he ever let us down? Available now on digital outlets, and certainly well worth investigating.
Composer Anne Nikitin has scored the Starz series Dangerous Liaisons, and has provided season one of the show with a striking soundtrack, performed mainly by the string section supported by percussive elements it is a work that deserves a listen,
I found it to be forthright and impressive throughout it just over an hour running time, the composer introducing beautiful melodies and sweeping themes that linger long in one’s mind after you have heard them, this is a luxurious and seductive sounding work, and I know it is a score that you will adore. Available on Spotify and other platforms now. It’s been four years now since Marvel brought The Black Panther to the big screen, the waiting is now over for its sequel Black Panther Wakanda Forever, is in cinemas now, and the atmospheric score by Ludwig Goransson is also available for you to savour.
Goransson’s score for the original movie was I think one of the most original penned in many a year, he repeats some of this originality in the score for the sequel, but it does not it seems have the same impact as his original themes and compositions. However, I am not saying that this is a bad score on the contrary I am confident that many fans will enjoy it immensely as I did. The composers use of voices and percussive elements is stunning and inventive, he combines these with up tempo backgrounds and underlines and supports them with strings and brass flourishes, creating powerful and at the same time innovative sounds.
The composer collaborates with various vocal artists on the score delivering effective songs that are seamlessly integrated into the score. It’s a yes from me on this one.
Mike Fallon, aka The Accident Man, is back and this time he must be better than the top assassins in the world, his job is to protect the ungrateful son of a mafia boss, save the life of his only friend and rekindle his relationship with his maniacal father figure. Does he succeed well you will just have to see the movie to find out. The score is by John Koutselinis, who you may remember from his stunning work on films such as Hostile Territory and The Great Alaskan Race, for which he wrote epic sounding soundtracks. The Accident Man-Hitman’s Holiday has to it a totally different style, and borders on a Mission Impossible meets James Bond sound.
Its upbeat and fast paced for much of its duration, treating us to full throttle action cues, but action cues that are still thematic. In many ways I was reminded of both Lalo Shcifrin and Jerry Goldsmith whilst listening to the score. Its relentlessly commanding and totally absorbing as in one does not want it to come to an end. The composer employing percussion, brass, strings. Rock influenced passages, and a plethora of electronic instrumentation along the way. Entertaining it sure is.
Scott Glasgow is a composer I admire greatly, no matter what kind of movie he works on and more importantly no matter what the budget, he always produces a score that is worthy of the production in fact more than worthy at times. One of his recent soundtracks Shadow Master is no exception, it is a work made up from conventional musical sounds and synthetic instrumentation, the composer creating an exciting and at times unsettling score.
The soundtrack is available on digital platforms and is a work that I recommend you take a listen to, it shows off the composer’s great talent and his ability to invent and fashion sounds that work well in the film and away from it, an atmospheric work.
The musical drama The Land of Dreams tells the story of a young immigrant named Eva living in New York during the 1920s who dreams of becoming a singer and falls for a pianist with an active imagination. It’s unusual for me to include a musical in the reviews section but after listening I thought I had to mention it, for me the songs are as enjoyable as both Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman, they have that hook and that kind of appeal which I associate with the likes of Alan Menken.
But it’s not just the lyrics and vocal performances that are outstanding the music too is enticing and haunting, being lush and melodic, composer Fabrizio Mancinelli has not only provided the lyrics for the movie but has also written an alluring and highly entertaining soundtrack that I am certain will be savoured and appreciated by many. The composer’s delicate musical poems are a delight to hear and are also a glittering and entertaining experience, the sweeping and romantic sounding compositions elevating and supporting throughout.
Released on digital platforms via Plaza Mayor Publishing. Highly recommended. In the 2021 movie Adopting Audrey an adult woman puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the cynical patriarch of her adoptive family. It’s a film that doesn’t attempt to be great or brilliant, but it achieves this by introducing the unique characters within the storyline. Its plot is a simple one:
Audrey is in her mid to late thirties and is finding it difficult to find something to fill a gap in her life. After much searching she eventually discovers Otto and his diverse family, Otto himself discovers he has been missing something in his life and that something turns out to be Audrey. The movie I will say might not be for everyone, but I do think it manifests a unique and affecting persona that no one should miss out on. The score is by David Robbins, who has provided the film with a low key but effective score that is intimate and lingering. The composer utilizes piano, accordion, guitar, and subtle percussion to fashion beautiful melodies that are delicately placed. Released by Movie Score Media and available on digital outlets.
Now as we always try to in Soundtrack Supplement, we move onto a handful of scores that you may have missed for whatever reason. Maurice Jarre was one of the world’s most sought-after composers of film music, his collaboration with filmmaker David Lean being regarded by many as one of the most fruitful in the history of cinema. But Jarre scored many other movies and worked with so many gifted and renowned directors, Jarre also scored a scattering of westerns, which contained the composer’s own unique musical fingerprint. We all know that many Italian composers created inventive and innovative scores for the spaghetti westerns, but Jarre in my opinion fashioned his own distinct style when it came to scoring these oaters, a style that was in many ways just as original as say Morricone’s western sound.
The Professionals is without a doubt one of Jarre’s best western scores swiftly followed by El Condor and Villa Rides, with The Red Sun bringing up a very close fourth, the latter being a score that was far superior to the film itself. In fact you could also say the same of El Condor if you are being picky. The Professionals was originally released on an RCA LP and then later onto compact disc by Silva America, in recent years it has been added to the ever-growing numbers of soundtracks on digital platforms. The film was like a western version of Mission Impossible with the four main protagonists being sent on a mission to retrieve the kidnapped wife, but when they reach their goal, they soon realize that all is not in order or indeed what they have been led to believe is not the case. Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster and Woody Strode are the professionals with Claudia Cardinale providing the eye candy and Jack Palance playing the supposed villain, but the real villain being portrayed by Ralph Bellamy. Released in 1966 it was written and directed by Richard Brooks, and still stands as an entertaining addition to the western genre. In some ways it was a pre cursor to the action westerns that followed such as The Wild Bunch, with the main characters emerging from the old west into the 20th century with pump action rifles being the order of the day.
The movie is greatly aided by Jarre’s energetic and inventive soundtrack, the composer providing powerful action led cues that alongside soft Mexican melodies and raucous Mexican dances create a perfect accompaniment to the exciting and absorbing storyline. It’s a must have soundtrack for any film music fans young and old. Check it out on Spotify. And the movie is streaming on Netflix too.
The composer’s scores for El Condor and Villa Rides were released onto Compact Disc by Universal France as part of the Ecoutez Le Cinema series of soundtrack releases. The Red Sun was issued on LP at the time of the films release and then onto compact disc within the same Universal France series, both are still available on Amazon etc. Jarre’s score for The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean was released in 1972 on the CBS label to little interest from collectors but it received the attention it so rightly deserved then in 2006 when it was re-issued on compact disc by Film Score Monthly. The composer’s work for westerns was limited but he certainly left his indelible mark upon the genre.
As did Waldo De Los Rios, with his scores for Savage Pampas and A Town Called Hell-or Bastard depending what country you were in. Both scores thankfully have been issued onto compact disc by Quartet records in a 2 CD set. I am sure I am right when I say the set is now deleted but being Quartet it should soon receive a re-issue. They never made it to digital platforms but his score for Who Could Kill a Child is available on many of them as is his hit album Sinfonias which includes his arrangement of Mozart’s 40th which made number one in the UK charts back in 1970.
Back to more recent releases now with Armegeddon Time which is the latest movie to be helmed by filmmaker James Gray, it is a deeply personal coming-of-age story about the strength of family and the generational pursuit to grasp the American Dream. This is Gray’s first digitally shot film. According to Gray (who’s open about his preference for 35mm film), he and cinematographer Darius Khondji wanted to shoot on film but couldn’t due to a variety of reasons, one of which is likely problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which temporarily shut production down and or a limited budget. However, Khondji managed to secure lenses from the 1970s, which Gray used in the film.
Music is by Christopher Spelman (The lost City of Z.) the composer has written a sensitive and subtle work for the movie, which is solo guitar led throughout, the composer occasionally supporting the solo performance with sliding or underlying strings that have degrees of emotion and uneasiness depending on the scenarios on screen. The majority of the composers touching, and alluring themes contain a fragility and a melancholy that is a delight to hear. Available now on digital platforms. Take a listen. The Movie is released on November 18th.
Composer Nathan Johnson has made a name for himself scoring murder mysteries such as the highly entertaining Knives Out for example and more recently the wonderful Nightmare Alley. His most recent assignment is Glass Onion – A Knives Out Mystery which follows famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who travels to Greece for his latest case. The theme from Johnson’s score has been released onto the likes of Spotify, the cheeky yet mischievous theme begins with harpsichord and has to it a Miss Marple/Ron Goodwin sound, right from the opening notes I was hooked, and I cannot wait for the entire score to be released. Which will be very soon we are informed. The theme is sadly too short but only because it is so attractive and attention grabbing that one just wants more. Which can only be a good thing, watch out for the score coming soon to a digital outlet near you.
Also streaming now on digital platforms is the stunningly beautiful soundtrack from the movie Las Ninas De Cristal, which has music courtesy of composer Ivan Palomares.
This is an elegant and gracious sounding work, with piano and violin solos that mesmerize and beguile. The composer has penned a wonderfully thematic score which is classically inspired and overflowing with ingratiating and affecting pieces. The fragile yet effective tone poems weave in and out of the film’s storyline giving support and adding depth and atmospherics at key points, it is a score I recommend you take a listen to.
Season five of The Crown is now available, with composer Martin Phipps fashioning a superbly supportive score for this ever-popular series. It is a series that in recent weeks has come in for a great deal of criticism but musically I would say that this is probably one of the most interesting and entertaining series on TV now.
Not in the same league but still entertaining is Falling for Christmas which is a Netflix movie and like all companies at this time of year Netflix have begun to gear up for the festive season. The score which runs for over an hour is by Nathan Lanier, and as Christmas movie scores go its not that bad, yes, it is overloaded with Christmas melancholy and sparkling interludes, jingling bells and syrupy melodies that purvey that cheeky and wholesome mood that we all associate with Christmas, plus there are a handful of songs included, but we can always skip those. Sweeping in places at times cliched and predictable but hey enjoy its Christmas, well nearly. It’s on digital platforms.
Composer J Peter Robinson is a composer I have always enjoyed, his scores for films such as The Believers which I must say is totally underrated. Robinson is probably not the busiest composer in town, but all I know is whenever I hear something by him it is always outstanding, which can be said for one of his recent assignments R.I.P.D.2 Rise of the Damned. Set in the American West of 1876, this is the sequel to 2013’s ‘R.I.P.D.’ Sheriff Roy Pulsipher isn’t too thrilled about finding himself dead after a shoot-out with a notorious outlaw gang, but he does get a second chance to return to earth after being recruited by the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department.).
But avenging his own murder may have to take a back seat to saving the world when a gateway to hell is opened in the old mining town of Red Creek threatening not only the locals… but all of humanity itself. The score is an integral part of the movie, the composer supporting and enhancing superbly throughout with blistering and pulsating compositions, because of the timeline it is set in Robinson also provides a more traditional sounding western score, with harmonica, becoming an important instrument within the score at times being the foundation of many of the cues.
Add to this rasping brass driving strings and urgent percussive elements and what we have here is an all-action relentless and commanding soundtrack that has the listener on the edge of their seat. At times I was reminded of the style employed by composer Patrick Williams on Butch and Sundance the early years and the style that Basil Poledouris utilized in movies such as Quigley Down Under and The Lonesome Dove. Highly recommended.