Category Archives: REVIEWS IN BRIEF.


Apologies for the brief soundtrack supplement, but due to recovering from covid things have been difficult these past three nearly four weeks. But here is a handful of releases I thought you might be interested in.






(Joywave as “Yubnib Zekk and the Main Characters” The Hu as “The Agasar” TATRAN as “NAAARTAAAT” Altın Gün as “Altin Lazer Blaster” Kaelin Ellis as “Mister Mockwell”).

Both albums which are released by Walt Disney records are available now on digital platforms and are the audio companions to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a third person galaxy-spanning action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. The story of Cal Kestis continues. This narratively-driven, single player title picks up five years after the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and follows Cal’s increasingly desperate fight as the galaxy descends further into darkness. 

Commenting on their score, composers Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab said, “It is our absolute honour to creatively reunite with each other, as well as with our friends at Respawn, EA, Lucasfilm and Disney, to bring you the music for the second instalment of the “Star Wars Jedi” series. This music is the culmination of our shared passion for musical experimentation and growth, combined with a mutual love for one of the greatest stories ever told; Star Wars! It represents the extraordinarily hard work of an incredible team of more than one hundred London orchestral musicians at Abbey Road and Air Studios, fifty singers, a world-class recording crew, and the best production team in the business. Together, we have composed and recorded over eight hours of brand-new, unique music for the “Star Wars Jedi” series, almost four of which are featured on the original score soundtrack album. Alongside this album, we are also thrilled to present a carefully curated Cantina album; really the first of its kind, adding the diverse talents of some amazing bands to the Star Wars universe. We sincerely hope you enjoy this epic new musical chapter in the story of Cal Kestis, BD-1, Merrin, Greez, and Cere.

Steve Schnur, Electronic Arts’ President of Music said, “Because it’s perhaps the most iconic entertainment franchise of our time, crafting music for a new Star Wars title can be one of the greatest challenges in any composer’s career.  With Jedi Survivor, Gordy Haab and Stephen Barton have now created an epic score that takes the adventure and grandeur of the Star Wars galaxy to extraordinary new realms. Sounds from the Galactic Skylanes is not only the first-ever album of original songs from a Star Wars title but one of our most exciting projects to date. These 15 songs have been exclusively written and recorded by a select group of breakthrough artists for an album of music that is decidedly Mos Eisley Cantina by way of Coachella. Both projects stand proudly on their own within the classic canon of Star Wars music.” Go take a listen, the score is a driving and relentless homage to past Star Wars soundtracks, and one that deserves a place in your collection.  

Not film music in the true sense but library tracks that were used for film and TV, and certainly worthy of a mention is the news that Four Flies records in Italy have resurrected one of the most avant-garde and surprising albums ever in the history of Italian Library music! Electronic Designs by Gianni Safred, originally released in 1977 as a collection of pieces for TV and radio, it is a thrilling, and truly experimental trip across some of the most bizarre and psyched-out synths of the time (Minimoog, Polymoog, Arp Odissey, Arp Omni, Fender piano, Sequencer Roland, Space Echo Roland), the recording evokes beautiful yet dramatic visions and is out now on black vinyl LP record.  

Newly-recorded world premieres of Bernard Herrmann masterpieces!  are released on Intrada which is the third-in-a-row successful Kickstarter film score recording project to yield two dynamic, powerful yet diverse 1950’s Bernard Herrmann scores, presented in their entirety! They include Herrmann’s never-before-released score from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 suspense thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much. James Stewart, Doris Day headline famed director’s own remake of his 1934 assassination tale, scripted by John Michael Hayes, filmed by Robert Burks in VistaVision and Technicolor.  A married couple visiting Morocco with their young son in tow find intrigue, then witness murder followed by the kidnapping of their son in an elaborate assassination plot that climaxes in a Royal Albert Hall symphony concert, with Herrmann on screen as conductor.

Nathan Van Cleave’s rousing “VistaVision Logo” leads directly into Herrmann’s massive “Prelude”, played by 3 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 4 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 8 French horns, 6 trumpets, 6 trombones, 2 tubas, 46 strings, piano, harp plus expanded percussion section including tympani, bass drum, suspended cymbals, tam tam, 2 vibraphones, 2 snare drums, 2 tenor drums, piatti, crash cymbals, glockenspiel, and xylophone.  

Four quasi-source cues follow, featuring violin, clarinet, and harp with signature Herrmann colours. Much of the score offers Herrmann’s highly unique woodwind writing. Several cues written for but not used in the finished film add contrast.

A brief but terrific highlight is the rousing, never-used “Finale” with coda drawn from famous Doris Day signature song that ends with fortissimo bravado! Also included here is the film version which instead reprises final bars of the “Prelude”.  Also included is Herrmann’s riveting score for Nicholas Ray’s 1951 snow-bound film noir, On Dangerous Ground, starring Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond. Opening with one of the composer’s most exciting “Prelude” sequences, the cue is marked Allegro Feroce and features full orchestra with spine-chilling steel plate hammering within the percussion section. Subsequent cues offer incredibly varied displays of Herrmann gems.

The striking “Hunt Scherzo” is a major highlight, with powerful brass writing presaging the tour-de-force triplets of “The Death Hunt” itself, highlighted by 9 ferocious French horns yelping and yowling like hunting dogs pursuing a killer in the climactic chase up snowy peaks. In complete contrast are haunting cues for Ida Lupino’s blind girl, featuring the rare viola d’amore, a difficult-to-play baroque instrument that suggests her solitude and loneliness, living with her brother in the middle of the snow country. Both melodically and harmonically, these are Herrmann at his most sensitive, emotive, and beautiful. Both scores were recorded in January 2023 with William T. Stromberg on the podium, Mike Ross-Trevor in the booth and the renowned Royal Scottish National Orchestra bringing all to a vivid and shimmering life. Anna Stromberg reconstructed the music from Herrmann’s manuscripts.

Quartet Records, in collaboration with Beat Records and Liuto Edizioni Musicali, presents the world premiere release of the catchy, infectious score by Piero Umiliani for the successful Spanish-Italian comedy NO DESEARÁS AL VECINO DEL 5º (aka DUE RAGAZZI DA MARCIPIEDE), directed by Ramón Fernández in 1969, and starring Alfredo Landa, Jean Sorel and Ira von Fürstenberg. The film is about Dr. Andréu, who runs a gynaecological practice in a provincial town without any success because he’s too handsome for the husbands of his patients.

Meanwhile, his neighbour Antón, a dressmaker who pretends to be gay, succeeds because the parents and husbands of his customers do not object to him seeing them in their underwear. The doctor goes to Madrid to attend a conference and his colleagues take him to a cabaret. There he is amazed to see how Antón displays his hidden Celtiberian masculinity. The dressmaker confesses: he pretends to be what he is not in order to outwit the backwards society in which they live. In this environment, the two men’s friendship is misinterpreted as a sexual relationship, creating a confusing situation for which the doctor’s girlfriend and the dressmaker’s wife appear to find a solution. Piero Umiliani provided a memorable comedy and jaunty score, with a theme typical of the style of the esteemed composer (Oh Che Bella Festa!) which appears throughout the work in various arrangements, touching on bossa nova beats, swing, soft jazz and infectious sounding samba. Both the climate of extreme sensuality and the conflicts generated by the various misunderstandings of the film found a good ally in Umiliani’s score. Four cues were released on an EP in 1970 by Umiliani’s own label, Omicron. The release of this gem has been made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Umiliani family who found the original tapes—mislabelled with in the archive.

Also on Quartet is Ugo Tognazzi’s Italian romantic-comedy vehicle UNA MOGLIE AMERICANA (aka RUN FOR YOUR WIFE), directed by Pier Luigi Polidoro in 1965. The film is about Riccardo (Tognazzi), an unhappy employee of a shoe factory who decides to use his next business trip for a more personal reason. Based on the positive experiences of one of his colleagues, he sets out to find an American wife and marry her in order to get a Green Card that allows him a move to the New World. His enterprising friend reminds him that he doesn’t have much time, so until his tourist visa expires, Riccardo must race through the United States in search of a wife…

The Mancini-esque sounding score is the work of composer Nino Oliviero, famous for having co-written with Riz Ortolani the music for MONDO CANE, which was a worldwide hit, and whose song ”More” reached number 1 in the charts. For RUN FOR YOUR WIFE, Oliviero was expected to deliver a theme song along the lines of ”More” from Mondo Cane—and just like that with that picture, the vocal version of ”All” had no prominent placement in the film. The theme itself however is almost omnipresent in the score, from the orchestral splendor of ”Titoli,” to the sultry saxophone of ”Tutto per Carol” and the various lounge arrangements for party sequences heard in the film. Oliviero’s approach to the different women also has a distinct quality to it with musical parodies describing each new conquest in brilliant set pieces.

Although the film was more successful in Italy than in the U.S., the LP prepared by Nino Oliviero appeared solely in the American market on the RCA label, where the song ”All” was performed by Frankie Randall and promoted as ”the new song from the composer of ‘More.”’ This new Quartet CD includes not only the original album, but the complete score and many unused cues and alternates, the majority of which are in stereo.

Composer Robby Poitevin was an important composer in the world of Italian film music, his style was very much akin to that of composers such as Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones and Hugo Montenegro. As well as being known for his arrangements and acting as orchestrator for numerous composers he was an original and talented composer in his own right scoring many different genres of film. His score for the film Tecnica di un Omicidio (aka- The Hired Killer) is a fusion of lounge/easy listening styles that are combined with jazz and dramatic action cues that are given a boost via upbeat interludes. The composer was well versed in composing for the Police/criminal/thriller genre as we remember in films such as ”Assassination”, ”L’uomo del colpo perfetto”, ”Quella carogna dell’ispettore Sterling”, and ”A.D.3 Operazione squalo bianco”. In 1966 RCA published an LP for the promo series SP (SP 8017), which had nine selections from The Hired Killer on it having a total running time of almost twenty minutes. In 2009 GDM Music released the soundtrack, for the very first time on compact Disc (GDM 4018), with this edition including three extra tracks, the label paired the score with ‘Quella carogna dell’ispettore Sterling. By combining the original recording sessions and elements taken from the mono masters Digit Movies have been able to compile what is an almost complete score using all of what was previously recorded, plus adding eleven unpublished tracks, which brings the running time up to almost fifty minutes. The expanded edition of the score is released now.

Also, on Digit Movies in early May is I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale by composing duo Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. The soundtrack was due to be released originally back in 1973 when a twenty-six-minute-long stereo LP was prepared for RCA’s promo SP series, but sadly the release was cancelled as was the 45-rpm single release. However, in 1999 BMG released a compact disc (OST 145) after finding the tapes in  RCA’s archives and paired it with a selection of tracks from Bruno Nicolai’s score to Gatti Rossi in un Labirinto di Vetro.

Back in 2008, the full thirty-three track CD version was issued by digit movies but they announced it as a stereo version when in fact it was a mono recording, the same can be said for the Dagored release which was a double LP with all the tracks being in mono. This new revised version on compact disc has a healthy running time of an hour and ten minutes, the first eleven cues are in full stereo, with the following twenty-two in mono.

It is without a doubt one of Guido & Maurizio De Angelis’s most atmospheric sounding scores, the composers providing the movie with a score that was perfect for the storyline and one which r the suspense and added a sense of the otherworldly to the movie, creating dark and uneasy interludes via the use of unsettling voices and spidery and sinister sounding backgrounds.  

That’s it for now, will be back with more in a little while…


Another hyped so-called blockbuster has hit the screens this weekend, Dungeons and Dragons-Honour Among thieves, is yet another piece of cinema that many of us wont say but think is an unnecessary movie that we could all probably do without. The score is by Lorne Balfe, do I really need to go any further? I do Well, ok then. Once again the composer has put together a half hearted un-original score that fails to impressive within the movie and away from it, it’s a listening experience that once over is instantly forgotten, there are no memorable pieces that I can really think of and in fact I have largely forgot what it even sounds like, my initial thoughts were oh well is that it?  No, I mean is that really it? The music just does not develop somehow,  it is half-hearted and lacking power and consistency, with Gaelic sounds and styles being incorporated at certain stages alongside dark and ominous sounding male voices, the composer does however manage to create  melancholy via the use of solo violin, with the string section acquitting themselves better than the remainder of the instrumentation, but even these romantic notions the composer employs fail to achieve or generate that much emotion and fall short of the mark. I suppose we must be thankful that is partly symphonic at least, but its still nothing special.  Why this composer continues to receive so many assignments I do not know, there is nothing faintly innovative in his work and this latest outing is no exception, the symphonic flourishes are lack lustre and the synthetic sounds that are incorporated within the score seem to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb, as they sound out of place and disjointed. The composer weaves these electronic sections into the work not graciously or flawlessly but it seems like they are slotted in added or just layered over the music without any real cohesion.  It’s like there are three styles of music battling each other in each cue, but none are the winner which is not music but confusion and chaos. But don’t forget this is just my opinion, its on digital platforms, so check it out it runs for over an hour so plenty to listen to ….see what you think.


La Linea Imaginaria, is a short film about Samuel a ten year old Boy who has to come to terms with the fact that his dear fisherman father Mateo will soon pass away. Mateo, who is on his dying bed with Leukaemia, hands Samuel a seashell necklace Mateo asks the boy to return this to the ocean as his last wish.

Samuel then has to decide whether to follow his Father’s dying request or should he challenge the laws of mother nature and the natural order of life. The impressive and emotive short film intercuts images of Mateo on his death bed with a series of flashback sequences of him when he was well, virile, and healthy giving Samuel lessons on life while fishing. The short film has a surprise ending with the Ocean as its natural backdrop.


The wonderfully affecting musical score is by Marcel Barsotti, who has fashioned a delicate sounding score that Is filled with fragility and has to it a lilting and subdued atmosphere. The score which is realised electronically transcends supporting the images and storyline, as the music has a life of its own away from these. The composer effectively creating music that is also entertaining and satisfying. Available now on digital platforms. Recommended.


Hotel Portofino began its run this week on ITV 1 the series has already been shown on Britbox and has attracted a following so I am told. . The opening episode of Hotel Portofino was I thought very good, and the music was superb, the score is a vibrant and thematic one, with the composer Stefano Cabrera providing the imagery on screen with some of the most luxurious sounding compositions I have heard in a long while for a TV series. In fact there is only one series on TV at the moment that I think makes an impression that is similar and that is Call the Midwife.

 Hotel Portofino, has a beguiling and at times richly opulent sounding score, the composer utilizing the string section to maximum effect, and adding woods, a scattering of percussive elements and even more strings, harp, and delightful piano performances, the music is romantic, comedic, light, joyous and dramatic.

Stefano Cabrera.

The composer also serves us a selection of easy listening cues that are written in a 1920’s and 30’s style having to them a mild jazz influence, but always remaining melodious and affecting. I wont, be telling you a lie when I say that every track on the soundtrack release is a charming and entertaining piece, there are no tracks or compositions that I would say I had to skip for whatever reason.

I enjoyed the entire release from start to finish, so much so that I returned to the beginning as soon as it had finished. This is not in any way a complicated score, but nor is a simple one, it is just a soundtrack that is a sheer delight, filled to overflowing with wonderfully haunting and melodious musical content. Recommended and available now on digital platforms.

Stefano Cabrera.


The first in a series of reviews and news old and new about music from Italian movies.

After so many years fans of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, will be in raptures as BEAT records in Rome finally release the score for Banana Joe.

It’s been four decades since the movie first appeared in cinema’s and is a much-requested soundtrack amongst the fans of the composers and devotees of Italian film music. It has been something of a mystery as to why this score has never seen the light of day until now that is, and a title that is long overdue taking its place in the composer’s discography alongside so many other cherished works for TV and Cinema from the 1970’s and in this case the 1980’s. Thanks to locating  the original master tapes in Cabum archives, the label of the siblings it has been possible to prepare this deluxe CD with a 16 pages coloured booklet. It is a perfect gift for the festive season, and once heard is a score that will be returned to again and again.

This is however a ltd edition with BEAT releasing both LP (DDJLP15DLX), and CD (DDJ28DLX), with numbers restricted to seven hundred copies, so hurry and order it now. The booklet boasts liner notes by Daniele De Gemini of BEAT and is remastered by Enrico his brother. The artwork used is the original work of the great artist Renato Casaro. If you love Italian movie scores and are a follower of the sometimes-quirky style of De Angelis, and catchy vocals this is an essential purchase.

Staying with BEAT and the label have released for the first time onto compact disc the music from Commissariato Di Notturna, a 1973 comedy directed by Guido Leoni and starring Gastone Moschin, Rosanna Schiaffino, Maurice Ronet, Luciano Salce, Carlo Giuffré, Giorgio Ardisson, Antonio Casagrande, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Furia, and Gisela Hahn.  Plus, La Supplente a movie that successfully mixed both comedy and sex which was released two years later in 1975.  The film was directed by Guido Leoni and starred Carmen Villani, Eligio Zamara, Carlo Giuffré, Dayle Haddon, Alvaro Brunetti, Gisela Hahn, Gastone Pescucci, Giusi Raspani Dandolo, Giacomo Furia. For Commissariato di notturna  composer Renato Rascel wrote a score based on a central theme that he repeated throughout the movie in various arrangements and was performed by a variety of instrumentation, the theme which was pop orientated and upbeat at times  was performed by the choir of Nora Orlandi Coro 4+4, as well as being given a tango treatment and then delivered by a moog synth.

The score also contains an affecting and haunting love theme entitled Addio Sera, which is performed by solo guitar that is underlined by piano and supported by strings, and in one variation is performed with solo female voice. La Supplente, is a little different although just as rewarding and entertaining with the composer employing Latin rhythms that weave in and out of the proceedings purveying romantic interludes and joyous passages. The score too has its fair share of drama which is conveyed perfectly via the utilization of orchestral textures and colours that are enhanced by choral performances.

Another release from BEAT that will be available soon is the full score for The Tiffany Memorandum, which is the work of Riz Ortolani, the film is essentially a homage to the worlds of James Bond, Matt Helm and the Our Man Flint movies. This time around BEAT have included extra cues and improved sound quality, again another worthy addition to your Italian film music collection.   

Fellow Italian soundtrack label Digit-Movies have re-released Maestro Bruno Nicolai’s The case of the scorpion’s tail (Italian title; ‘La coda dello scorpione’), The case of the bloody iris (Italian title; Perché Quelle Strane Gocce di Sangue sul Corpo di Jennifer?), All the colours of the dark (Italian title; Tutti i Colori del Buio) and Your vice is a locked room and only I have the key (Italian Title; Il Tuo Vizio è Una Stanza Chiusa e Solo io ne ho la Chiave) on compact disc but this time in a very desirable box set.

The four thrilling and arguable most well-known soundtracks composed by the Maestro for Giallo movies are once again brought to life in this deluxe edition, many thought that these impressive works for the genre would never resurface but at last more collectors can now savour the enticing work of Nicolai. Who is a composer that was at times ignored and underrated.

The set comes with new artwork on the outer box that houses the four discs and new notes within a booklet of thirty-two pages. The set is also available as a four CD and two LP set with different artwork, the LP edition contains, double marbled yellow vinyl with a selection of the best themes of the four soundtracks, one for each side of the records.

Four CD’s containing the full scores, a thirty-two-page booklet and a poster. Certainly, a feast for fans well worth looking at if you did not get these releases first time around.

A box set of vinyl seven-inch singles that has been released by Four Flies Records in Italy is Alessandroni Proibito-Music from Red Light Films 1977 to 1980. The collection contains fourteen tracks from composer Alessandro Alessandroni, which are spread over five discs and show a very different side to the composer, because they display a more experimental and pop orientated style that maybe many have not heard from him in the past. We associate him with Morricone more than any other film composer, but Alessandroni was essentially the sound of the Italian western score, as a whistler, guitarist and choral director and performer for many other composer’s as well as Morricone, often he was overlooked and he himself once told me that he was “A Performer Not A Star”. Today his persistent presence and important role within Italian film music from the early 1960’s through to the 1990’s has been finally recognized by music professionals and enthusiasts alike, and quite rightly so he is also now considered the true father of Italian library music – a genre whose sound he shaped and was responsible for developing since 1968. Looking at the Four Flies website there is a treasure trove of Italian quality movie music there plus albums by composers who worked in both film and in the composition of library tracks and easy/lounge music.  Check it out I am sure you will find something.

This box set contains music from the four soft-core erotic films that included hard-core sequences and, therefore, fell somewhere in-between normal commercial distribution and the underground scene of adult movie theatres. Many being screened in what was referred to as specialty cinemas or art house picture houses. The films are Lulu La Sposa Erotica, La Parte Piu Appetitosa Del Maschio, Incontri Molto Ravvicinati…Del Quarto Tipo and Emanuelle a Thaiti. It’s an interesting collection, that contains compositions that are jazz influenced and purvey that steamy sound associated with many Italian movies of the 1970’s and 1980’s. But also at times resemble The William Tell Overture and even bare some resemblance to Hotel California by the Eagles without the vocals. It is a must have for fans of Italian movie scores and is also available on the likes of Spotify. The vinyl edition is wonderfully packaged and presented, and the music is something that you will return to and treasure forever.