Tag Archives: movie score media

RED JOAN.

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George Fenton has had a varied and illustrious career, scoring many big movies including GHANDI and CRY FREEDOM, plus he has also worked on numerous popular TV series and programmes. Fenton was the favoured choice of film maker Sir Richard Attenborough and worked with director Neil Jordan on movies such as COMPANY OF WOLVES. One of his early themes was for the quiz show Blockbusters, and it was small themes such as this that began to get the composer noticed. He also worked with Sir David Attenborough on various wildlife series mostly for the BBC as well as scoring Hollywood box office hits such as GROUNDHOG DAY and YOU GOT MAIL. For me personally it is his vibrant and energetic score for HIGH SPIRITS that always comes to mind when his name is mentioned, I think it is his music rather than the actual movie that evokes my memories of this. Over the past few years Fenton has shall we say not been as busy as he used to be, and only occasionally would we see his name on the credits of a movie. So I am pleased that in recent months we have seen two of his scores released, the most recent being RED JOAN, the music for this thriller which stars Judy Dench in the title role, is I think quite typical of Fenton’s style there are some beautifully crafted themes present within the work, and also a handful of darker and more apprehensive sounding pieces, but it is the lilting and subtle thematic material that holds the attraction and seems to entice and beckon to the listener. The PRELUDE opens the recording in which the composer serves up a brief but effective piano theme which is supported by underlying and very slight strings, as I say it is a fleeting opener for the score but one that sets the scene perfectly for what is to follow.

 

GEORGEFENTON

The theme which we hear in the opening cue is one that is expanded upon and returned to throughout the soundtrack and Fenton presents it in varying ways, arranging and orchestrating it differently on each occasion, giving it a freshness and added vibrancy. Although RED JOAN is a somewhat downbeat or even at times sombre affair musically, the music remains thematic and melodious the composer utilising sentimental sounding woods which at certain points within the score do seem to transform into a more sinister and shady sounding performance but retaining the melody that they originally purveyed. The same can be said of piano and strings which transform from light and unassuming instruments into dark and foreboding ones. I must admit I do love scores such as this, it’s not grandiose and certainly not high octane in any way, but instead is subdued and intricate, even fragile and slight in its composition and overall performance, there is a certain air of intimacy and reflective quality to the work. Fenton elaborating upon the central theme a few times by way of a lusher but still slight string performance which adds substance and emotion to the proceedings, the composer creating a luxurious sound that although not overly over the top is still powerful and affecting. He also utilises a heartrending solo violin at times and again although fleeting this creates a sense of passion, melancholy and isolation all at the same time.  Fenton gives depth, atmosphere and colour to the movie with his beguiling and haunting music and it is a soundtrack that will be welcomed by any film music connoisseur. Released by Movie Score Media and available now as digital recording and soon on CD from Quartet records.

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AMUNDSEN.

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At last a new score from multi talented composer Johan Soderqvist, I have for many years admired this composers work, his music for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN being the score that blew me away and convinced me to watch out for his future scores. The latest addition to the composers impressive list of credits is the soundtrack for the movie AMUNDSEN. This is an inspiring score for a true and even more inspiring story, it is a historical epic about a hero of Norway Roald Amundsen who is best-remembered for his achievement of reaching the South Pole in 1911. The score is one that is filled with atmospheric sounds and themes, the composer creating some wonderfully haunting and melodic passages that seem to come from nowhere, his style is so original and fresh, he is also a composer who experiments with sounds as well as music, fusing the two to fashion effective and innovative nuances and motifs. For example he will utilise synthetic sounds and over these he will introduce a plaintive and melancholy piano solo then support this with melodious and romantic strings as in track number three on this score entitled TWO BROTHERS. In this fairly brief cue the composer purveys so many emotions and fills the listener with hope, sadness and romanticism all at once. Soderqvist, is a master at the use of unusual sounds within his film scores the usual becomes the innovative and musters the interest of either the watching audience or the film music collector who is listening to the score just as stand alone music. Maybe there is a touch of the drone style of scoring within this particular score where score melds into sound design, but in this case it is warranted and also well executed. The cue THE ICE RAVINE/NAMING THE MOUNTAINS is such a track, mostly consisting of atonal sounds but from time to time there is a glimmer of a melody or at least a hint of it, I thought towards the end of the three minute cue there were certain attributes that could fall into the Morricone style of scoring, being dark but at the same moment containing a lilting theme underneath the atonal elements. AT THE SOUTH POLE is a near anthem like piece and I suppose is the closest that the score comes to being lush or lavish, the theme builds to a crescendo of sorts that is quite emotional, then fades back into a piano led piece underlined by strings. There is also action cues within the score, as in the thundering and urgent sounding ICE BEAR ATTACK, which although short in duration is relentless in its ferociousness. Soderqvist has created a score that conjures up a feeling of desolation and one of loneliness and listening to the music one can imagine just a little how vast an area that Amundsen found himself in. THE CHILDREN is another cue that I was attracted too, piano again with underlying strings augmenting then the piece moves into a poignant theme performed by guitar and piano, delightful This is a score that I think you will enjoy very much, there are so many emotions purveyed throughout its duration that it is hard to fully describe, but I will say it is a score to take a listen to, released by MOVIE SCORE MEDIA  now on digital platforms and soon to be released on CD by Rosetta.

WILDWITCH.

 

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Movie score media is a label that I always look to for unusual and interesting releases, they always seem to be able to come up with a release that is by a composer I have not heard of, and every time I discover more wonderful music on investigating the composer further. One of the labels most recent releases is for a movie entitled WILDWITCH, as you can probably gather from the title it is something of a mysterious and magical film and one which contains a musical score that is not only attractive and inventive but is also a work that is overflowing with themes and has a rich and alluring musical identity. The score is the work of FLEMMING NORDKROG, a young Danish composer. The soundtrack has been released at the same time as the film is in theatres in Denmark and Germany, WILDWITCH is a family movie but it is still filled with a lot of magical hocus pocus which is based upon the book series by author Lene Kaaberbol. The story focuses upon a twelve year old girl who’s name is Clara.

Gerda Langkilde Lie Kaas som Clara. Vildheks.

 

She lives a normal life until one day is scratched by a black cat. Soon after Clara comes to the realisation that she is able to communicate with the feline, and also discovers that she has a family all of whom are wild witches, Clara and her new found family have a strong tie to the world of animals and also to nature in general. Her Auntie Isa becomes her mentor and together with her and her friends Clara has to face what is coming to her in her life. She starts on a perilous journey as she has to save herself and the entire wild world from the clutches of the evil witch called Bavita Bloodyoung. The soundtrack is an interesting one and the composer fashions some really innovative and haunting moments within the score, his use of voices and half heard sounds within the score is stunning and mesmerising. This is no ordinary soundtrack it is an intelligent and outstanding work which has to it a fragility but t the same time succeeds in making one feel slightly uncomfortable.

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There is a finely tuned and subtle style present within the work, mysterious and organic the music seems to caress and envelope rather than punctuate and underline. Female voice accompanies the central character Clara, which is further enhanced by the use of cello, bass and woodwind giving it an ethereal sound that is wonderfully touching and emotive. The use of various sounds within the score is breathtaking, they purvey senses, moods and atmospheres that are magical. I enjoyed the score very much and I returned to it three times listening out for things I maybe had missed. Certainly one to check out.

THE LION WOMAN.

Notes for the Kronos/Movie score media CD release.

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Composer Uno Helmersson, has written a particularly, fixating and captivating soundtrack for THE LION WOMAN, his musical score being, highly melodic and filled with a rich and luscious sound that is haunting and extremely beautiful. The score is overflowing with fragile and delicate tone poems that weave in and out of the proceedings creating emotive and poignant musical moments. The score also contains a handful of cues that are much darker and even at times ominously foreboding, the composer fusing both symphonic colours and synthetic textures together to fashion a shadowy and at times unsettling musical persona. THE LION WOMAN contains one of the most interesting and hypnotic scores that I have heard in a while. The composer relies in the main on piano, strings and cello to create his light and romantically melancholy musical themes, the cello in-particular has a richness to it that oozes emotion and sadness that is the heart of the score in many ways or at least its soul. Most of the work is light and beguiling, with Helmersson, utilising piano solos or piano and woods in unison that are supported by layered strings that seem to caress and accentuate the core musical themes. The musical score plays an important and integral part to the unfolding storyline and gives it greater depth and certainly more emotion, the score is key to the sensitive content of the movie, the composer creating subtle but effective and affecting motifs and musical passages to underline, emphasise, support and punctuate each scene. The central theme is a combination of solo piano and strings which together form a solid opening foundation, on which the composer begins to build his theme, this musical notion is then expanded and embellished with woodwind and additional strings to create an elegant and lingering piece which grows and builds in momentum purveying a romantic yet strident style. The score is enchanting, and magical, and contains an appealing fragility that shines throughout, it is a soundtrack, the style employed I would say was akin to the sound achieved by composers such as Phillipe Rombi, Alexander Desplat, Georges Delerue and has hints of the romantic sounds of Ennio Morricone and maybe too incorporates touches that are of a Barry-esque quality. Uno Helmersson, was born in, Vasterbotten, Sweden, on March 28th, 1977. As a child his parents noticed his aptitude for music and decided to let him take Organ lessons. As he grew up and entered his teenage years, he began to play in various bands, and it was at this time that he realised that it was music he wanted to pursue as a career. He studied music in upper secondary school and continued to study via various preparatory courses before he was finally accepted into The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, in 2002.

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Whilst he was at college he became friends with Johan Soderqvist, who is one of the most prominent composers of music for film in the Nordics, and after graduating from college Uno began to work as Soderqvist’s assistant. And worked on scores for films such as KON TIKI, LIMBO and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Helmersson got his first solo break into composing for film in 2010 when he wrote the score for the Danish documentary ARMADILLO, and has since then been busy writing music for film and television.
THE LION WOMAN, was written and directed by Scandinavian film maker, Vibeke Idsoe, and was released on September 14th, 2017, in Germany, the screenplay was based on the novel by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen, and tells the story of a young girl Eva Arctander who suffers from a very rare genetic disorder, which generates hair growth over large parts of her body. Eva’s Mother dies in child birth and her Father attempts to hide his daughter away from everyone, because he feels ashamed of her appearance. Despite all the odds being stacked against her, Eva, has such a passion for life but because of her experiences with people’s bigotry and disrespect she decides to join a theatre group which includes members that also suffer from rare diseases, the movie is her story and follows her from the age of seven and concentrates on her 14th and 22nd years, and is set between 1912 and 1932. It is a touching and somewhat frustrating tale, but also a film that you cannot stop watching, a compelling storyline, with some wonderful performances by the leading actors.

THE LION WOMAN.

lionwoman

 

Again, we must thank Movie Score Media for bringing to us the music of a composer that ordinarily we might have overlooked, either because the movie was not released in our respective countries or maybe the film had a low budget and was overshadowed by bigger more well financed projects. In this case it is the talented composer Uno Helmersson, who has written a particularly enchanting and melodic soundtrack for THE LION WOMAN, the music is rich in melodious passages and overflowing with an abundance of poignant and emotive tone poems that please the listener and linger long within the subconscious. Saying this, it is not all sweetness light and romantic or melancholy sounding pieces, the score also contains many darker pieces, with the composer turning to a fusion of synthetic and symphonic textures and musical colours, these at times can be menacing or sinister sounding, the composer using them to build the tension and lay down an atmosphere that is foreboding and uncertain. However, most of the work is light and airy sounding, with piano solos or piano and woods in unison that are supported by layered strings that seem to caress and underline the main musical themes. The release from Movie Score Media, coincides with the movie’s release in Germany, which was on September 14th, written and directed by Scandinavian film maker, Vibeke Idsoe, the films storyline was based upon the novel by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen, and tells the story of a young girl Eva Arctander who suffers from a very rare genetic disorder which generates hair growth over large parts of her body. Her Mother dies in child birth and her Father attempts to hide Eva from everyone, because he feels ashamed of his daughter’s appearance. Despite all the odds being stacked against her, Eva, has a passion for life but because of her experiences with people’s bigotry and disrespect she decides to join a theatre group which includes members that also suffer from rare diseases, the movie is her story and follows her from the age of seven and concentrates on her 14th and 22nd years. It is a touching and somewhat frustrating tale, but also a film that you cannot stop watching, a compelling storyline, with some wonderful performances by the leading actors. The musical score plays an important and integral part and is key to the emotional content of the movie.

bigOriginal

 

 

The central theme is a combination of solo piano and strings which create a solid opening foundation, on which the composer begins to build his theme, expanding it with woodwind and additional strings to create an elegant and haunting piece which grows and builds in momentum purveying a romantic yet urgent mood. The score is a delight and one I know will once listened to will be returned to and recommended by many. The style employed I would say was akin to the sound achieved by composers such as Phillipe Rombi, Alexander Desplat, Georges Delerue and has hints of Morricone and maybe touches of a Barry-esque quality, especially present within the writing for woodwind and strings. The sorrowful but attractive Cello solos within the score are particularly alluring, and the composers gift for melody is stunning. It is sad, dark, emotive and dramatic, a combination that we as film music collectors cannot complain about. I found that it was a totally pleasing listening experience, which I recommend highly.

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