Tag Archives: Roy Budd

WILD GEESE 2.

 

At last WILD GEESE 2, has been issued on to compact disc, not only is this a fantastic action score, but it is issued on a label that I have much admiration for, CALDERA. It is presented so well with in depth notes courtesy of the informed writer Gergely Hubai, art work by Luis Miguel Rojas and some great pics to, it also includes pictures of excerpts from the handwritten score and a detailed biography of the composer, the CD has a lovely audio clip with Sylvia Budd talking as-well, plus a nice picture of the composer on the front cover sitting at the piano as always smiling in a way that only he could. The productions values on the release are amazing, the sound is so clear and full, so crisp and fresh, another big pat on the back for CALDERA and another thank you for bringing us this wonderful score. WILD GEESE 2 was a sequel of sorts to WILD GEESE which had been released in 1978. The original movie which starred Richard Burton and Richard Harris along with Roger Moore and a cast of familiar actors also giving support was a success at cinemas so the second movie was planned and was written with actor Burton returning as the Faulkner character he had portrayed in the previous picture, but sadly he passed away before filming started and sections of the screenplay had to be re-written.

 

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Poster when Richard Burton was destined to star in the film.

 

Directed by Peter Hunt, the storyline of the movie focuses upon and around top-level Nazi Rudolph Hess portrayed by Laurence Olivier who has important information on prominent political figures. Ruthless TV executives Michael and Kathy Lukas played by John Terry and Barbara Carrera, want to get him out of his prison cell to appear on a live television broadcast. Faulkner played by Edward Fox declines their offer to lead a mission to break Hess free, but recommends Lebanese/American turned mercenary Haddad (Scott Glenn) as a substitute who takes on the mission, which very quickly turns into a nightmare for everyone involved. The film also featured performances by Stratford Johns, Ingrid Pitt and Patrick Stewart

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As soon as the opening track on the soundtrack begins it is so obvious that this is the music of Roy Budd, his unmistakable rousing style for pictures such as this shining through straight away, and establishing immediately a tense but stalwart sounding atmosphere. The composer even includes a little snippet of the original WILD GEESE theme, to further grab our attention, and although this is just literally a micro second it is instantly recognisable. WILD GEESE 2, is in my opinion one of the composers most accomplished action scores, it is brimming with highly dramatic music and has about it a rousing and patriotic sound which every so often raises its head. There is an anthem like central theme that is the foundation on which the composer builds the remainder of the score, it is a relentless and full on work that is performed magnificently by The London Symphony orchestra, conducted by Roy.

 

WILD GEESE, was and still is a Roy Budd signature work, along with other scores such as SOLDIER BLUE and GET CARTER, simply because it is a score that has so many themes and brilliantly fashioned musical passages, WILD GEESE 2, is more of a contemporary sounding work which not only is memorable for its use of tense and exciting cues, but also for its more up-beat and funky sounding tracks that are cleverly woven into the fabric of the fully orchestral score.

I think if I was asked to describe the sound achieved by the composer on WILD GEESE 2, I would probably liken it to his score for WILD GEESE plus it has attributes and quirks of orchestration that can be heard within WHO DARES WINS or THE FINAL OPTION as it was entitled in certain territories. Plus, there are nods of acknowledgement to composers such as John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Jerry Fielding, who Roy admired and respected. With that funky sound the composer employed in some of his other film scores, such as FOXBAT, THE CAREY TREATMENT etc, becoming a driving force within the work. The composer keeps up the musical momentum throughout never taking his eye off the ball and creates a score that is just exhilaratingly uplifting and enthralling. The composers use of a funky but apprehensive sound is more evident in track number 4, MOVING ROUND SPANDAU, which has a somewhat easy-going background to begin with, performed on percussion with electric bass punctuating proceedings, this soon develops into something much grander and continues to build and gain momentum, with some truly wonderful brass flourishes acting as musical stabs or mini fanfares of sorts giving the cue greater effect both within the movie and away from it.

 

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Like all Roy Budd soundtracks WILD GEESE 2, has a life of its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and I must say it is a truly invigorating and rewarding listen. This is a score that is grandiose in the main, but also has some beautifully written quieter moments as in track number, 6, THE ROMANCE BEGINS, which is a delightfully haunting piece that begins with solo piano, which I am guessing must be Roy, this is then joined by light and airy strings which take on the 7, note melody that was initiated by the piano.

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Budd was a gifted pianist as well as a composer as we all are aware, and he was a master at creating what some would call sugary sounding love themes, but I like to refer to these as melodic and memorable tone poems. There is also a vocal version of this cue which Caldera have included at the end of the album, performed by German singer Peter Hoffman, it is too an enjoyable listen. The soundtrack was originally released on a CBS long playing record back in 1985 (CBS 26462), and CALDERA RECORDS compact disc release is the same track line up. The reason for this being that CALDERA wanted to use the composers own master tapes but sadly these had been damaged in a flood and were un-useable, so they contacted Sony music to see if they had any tapes available of the score, fortunately they did but only the LP masters, so it means that the complete score won’t be issued, unless of course someone has copies of the masters safe and sound somewhere, so this means that the music released both on the LP and now the CD is approximately 10 minutes short of being the complete score, but with music of this high quality I am sure we as collectors will not mind at all, as any Roy Budd release is always welcome.

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WILD GEESE 2, is probably one of the composers most infectious soundtracks from the 1980, s, as I for one have not stopped listening to it, and every time I take a listen I find more and more inventive writing, more original musicality and even more ingenious orchestration and arranging skills plus a masterful use of a handful of synthetic instrumentation that is skilfully fused with the conventional line up of the LSO. I don’t think any other composer at the time or indeed in recent years has been able to fuse so many styles and sounds together as Roy Budd has and make them work so well. It has a sumptuous and opulent sound to it, as well as a dramatic and intense style, it is filled with musical colours and textures that evoke memories of an age that is long gone within the area of scoring films, it has wonderful themes, it has emotion and it has that funky groove which keeps things moving along at pace and it has the unmistakable musical fingerprint of Roy Budd all over it. This is CALDERA RECORDS 22nd release, and is an important one because it fills a gap within Roy Budd’s discography, and is a fitting tribute to this kind, friendly man who just happened to be able to write some of the best film music ever. One to add to your collection ASAP.

 

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1. Main Title (4:35)
2. Cat and Mouse in Berlin (3:35)
3. Solitary Confinement (3:46)
4. Moving Around Spandau (3:16)
5. The Wall (1:50)
6. The Romance Begins (2:36)
7. Plot and Deceit (2:22)
8. Attempt to Free Hess (8:31)
9. Escape (1:37)
10. End Titles (2:46)
11. Say You’ll Be Mine (4:45)
Performed by Peter Hoffmann
Bonus:
12. Audio Commentary by Sylvia Budd

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FIELD OF HONOUR.

 

 

A somewhat neglected example of the music of Roy Budd in a war movie is FIELD OF HONOUR, the movie which was set in the dark days of the Korean war was released in 1987. The film enjoyed mild success in Europe mainly, but the musical score penned by Roy Budd is one of the movies more prominent and ingratiating attributes. Budd employed an oriental sound throughout the soundtrack and combined this with a more western sounding grandiose and dramatic style, the composer enlisting brass, strings and percussion to underline and support many of the action scenes, but then utilising plaintiff woods and rich and full strings in a highly melodic fashion to depict the Eastern aspects of the movies storyline. Like Jerry Goldsmith, Budd seemed to be at home writing this style of Oriental music, and the themes that he fashioned for this movie are indeed haunting and beguilingly magical. The score is one of the composers least mentioned works, and I think I am right when I say that not that many collectors were aware of its existence. The compact disc was released on SILVA SCREEN records (SIL1502-2), and is paired with the music from THE SECRET OF THE ICE CAVE by Robert M.Esty ll. But it is FIELD OF HOUNOUR that I will review and bring to your attention, as it is the more prominent and dare I say important work on the disc. The MAIN TITLES, open with a quite pretty wood wind motif, that is supported by Chinese harp and these two instruments supported by martial sounding timpani, soon establish themselves and the theme for the movie, the composer continues to employ the theme but adds to it more percussive elements that are in no way harsh or overbearing, instead these act as a background to some beautiful strings, that in turn are augmented and given depth by the introduction of brass and continued percussive support. Track 2, HOLE IN YOUR HEAD, is a typical Roy Budd action cue, with horns heralding the opening and kind of calling the percussion and brass to join them, dark sounding piano is also brought into the equation, again given support and elevated by the use of thundering percussion, and Chinese sounding instrumentation that punctuates the proceedings, the track is a sort of stop start action piece, by this I mean it erupts into rhythmic upbeat action mode from time to time, but also melts into a more romantic and calming mood, with the composer introducing his central theme in the lulls of the cue. To say that FIELD OF HONOUR is a good score, is certainly an understatement, it is a great score, but it is sadly one that is often forgotten, probably because the film was not a massive box office success. It is also a score that echoes many of the works of Jerry Goldsmith, it has pace, depth and solid thematic properties which even in the fast-paced action cues, manage to shine through. Roy Budd never wrote a bad score in my opinion and much of his film music is remembered where, as many of the films it was written for are long lost in the mists of time. Another Roy Budd to look out for, highly recommended.

1.
Main Titles (03:29)
2.
Hole in Your Head (04:04)
3.
Have a Look (02:07)
4.
Rats/Moonlight/Attack From Behind (03:27)
5.
On His Way (02:08)
6.
Chinese Attack (02:27)
7.
Rape Death (02:04)
8.
Sire Scouts Chinese (02:36)
9.
War Outside/Dynamite Raid (03:48)
10.
End Titles (03:13)

 

FEAR IS THE KEY.

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Roy Budd was one of the world’s leading jazz pianists, but of course is also known for his alluring and well-crafted film scores. With the first live performance of Mr Budd’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA score scheduled to take place on October 8th, 2017 at London’s Coliseum, I thought maybe it’s the right time to post reviews of his soundtracks that were made available on the Cinephile label 18 years ago in 1999. First up is FEAR IS THE KEY, a fast-paced movie based on the story by Alistair McClean. For this project Roy fused the symphonic styles of orchestra with that of jazz influences and the end result was something that sounded like a mix of groovy jazz vibes and full on dramatic orchestral flourishes, it is a testament to the skill of Mr Budd that these two quite differing styles gelled in his hands and not only underpinned, punctuated and supported the full on action on screen, but stood up as a listening experience away from the movie and still remained exciting and a compulsive listen. The style and sound created and achieved by Budd on FEAR IS THE KEY is meeting of so many musical colours and textures, it evokes some of the work done by Jerry Goldsmith and also briefly gives a gentle nod to Ennio Morricone, plus then there are the ingenious and polished jazz influences that glide along with ease and are a delightful and delicious encounter for the listener. It was described as sounding like a fusion of Led Zeppelin and the SHAFT soundtrack, but when you think about it, It, is simply Budd, through and through. I think I am correct when I say Roy was just 25 when he penned this score and already had soundtracks such as GET CARTER, SOLDIER BLUE etc to his credit, FEAR IS THE KEY displays the professionalism and expertise that this then young man had.

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The score also includes some outstanding performances by jazz icons such as, Kenny Ball, Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes all of whom played their hearts out and jammed all the way through. As well as the dramatic action cues and the flawless jazz performances the score contained one of the composers most haunting themes in the form of IN SEARCH OF THE KEY which although having jazz influences contained a flowing and attractive theme performed by the string section, which as we all know are Roy Budd trademarks, the theme being reprised a few times within the film and an alternate arrangement being performed on the compact disc in track number 10, FROM SEA BED TO SURFACE. FEAR IS THE KEY is a soundtrack that should be in your collection, and if it is not then you should take steps to remedy that, NOW ….

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and ROY BUDD.

                                    A personal appreciation by John Williams.

(Many thanks to John for sharing his thoughts with us, MMI)

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This Autumn, October 8 to be precise, a very special Musical event will be held in London. The Capital has never been short of special occasions, many great musical premieres have been presented to an eager public within the short space that qualifies as West End and surrounding Concert Halls. The Proms themselves have been responsible for many fine new renderings, but none quite this one to be held in the very special ambience of London Coliseum. Well over twenty years after it was first written. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will be premiered with music by Roy Budd.

 

This was Roy’s last work, one that was close to his heart, and indeed one he spent a great deal of time on, prior to his tragic and untimely death in 1993. It was indeed due to be performed at the Barbican only five weeks after he passed away. Now thanks to the efforts of Mishka Productions, those notes written on score sheets all those years ago will finally burst to life with full Symphony Orchestra bringing Roy’s music to life, and how apt, not in the overly big and impersonal RAH, but in The London Coliseum, not a million miles away from the original setting on Paris Opera House.

 

 

 

 

For those more used to the somewhat modern, and jazzy tones of GET CARTER, and the wild jazz cum big band sounds of Michael Winner’s THE STONE KILLER (now for readers in the U.K. available on Blu Ray with Roy’s score isolated – free from all the dialogue – I know you miss a lot of nuances sans dialogue, but isn’t this the most brilliant way to listen to film scores? ) anyway, I digress, PHANTOM is a large Symphonic work, not quite heard before in Roy’s outstanding oeuvre, but listening to it, there are indeed, signs of the great man, the way he used the horns, and the way he combines themes, without reverting to Hollywood 30s style of music for every individual. Sure, the themes are there, but the way they are orchestrated, the seams just blend into each other with apparent ease. One can see how Roy was proud of this work, and we are indeed that he did record it for us to hear at home.

 

 

Obviously considering the Films location, it opens with solo organ, which segues into the Main Credits, now we here the PHANTOM theme in all its glory, and I wonder if I am not the only one, to think this is miles away from traditional music for, I suppose it could be called a horror story. It is without doubt, a love story with very tragic overtones. and I think Roy felt that the music for the Phantom should be imbued with humanity. It is indeed a theme that stays with you. Following the Main Credits, we see the Paris Opera House in a distant shot, Roy’s produces another them, a fanfare no less, worthy of Rozsa. Again, the orchestration is clear and transparent, (Did Hugo Friedhofer once say he like to hear the music breathe?) As the Curtain parts, a ballet troupe dance their number before the main event, Here Roy lightens the score for a delightful almost playful cue as the film progresses.

 

This is not a cue by cue description, just to show what a master work it is, yet, sorry, I must mention around 50 minutes into the film a love scene between Raoul and Christine by the Seine, a lovely exquisite theme that is sensitively done, in fact, my wife, hearing this remarked how lovely it was. Sadly, it doesn’t last long, for the phantom is viewing them from one of the bridges and not to put to finer point on it, is not pleased. What Roy does is always informs us via his masterly score that was well as being a tragedy, it is a love story and he walks the fine line of never over balancing, so we as the cinema audience are kept informed without being telegraphed what is going to happen, the bane of many a poor score.

Roy Conducting

 

I said at the beginning this was a personal appreciation of Roy. Much has been written on his music, by me as well over the years, and it makes no sense to go over his great scores. We all have our favourites, and I am sure yours’s will be different to mind. I rate PAPER TIGER very highly indeed, but maybe that’s because I have a weakness for scores with an Oriental flavour. Here Roy masterly merges full Orchestra – National Philharmonic no less- with instrumentalists to convey the locale. If it brings to mind Jerry Goldsmith, that is no handicap. It might remind one of Goldsmith, but it is Roy Budd 100%.

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Good song as well sung by the Ray Conniff Singers. Whilst THE WILD GEESE has got it’s admirers, me as well I hasten to say, I have a fondness for WILD GEESE 2. Not so symphonic, more if this is the right word, off the wall, and certainly a terrific listening experience away from the film. Lastly many would have come out of the Cinema after watching WHO DARES WINS, with Roy’s pulsating theme in their head. Here his music moves the film where dialogue or sound effects would not have worked. Brilliant!!

I think I first spoke to Roy when I was organising a Seminar for the Goldsmith Society. One composer, Stanley Myers had to drop out virtually on the day to go to the States, in desperation I rung Roy, and he at a moment’s notice turned up – NFT I think, but it’s a long time ago – and was, with due deference to the other composers’ present, the hit of the afternoon, informative, witty, always courteous. I was deeply impressed I spoke to him quite a few times over the phone -once I think for a special on Michael Winner – and he was always friendly and never rushed me off. I find that that many of the true talents, with their feet on the ground, you could speak to straight away, without going through secretaries or PR’S. Stanley Myers and Michael Kamen also come to mind.

 

The last time I saw him was at a Film Music magazine function in London. Again, he was enormously friendly, and what I liked, would always put you at ease. I can’t say for sure, but I think it was only a few weeks before he passed away

I like to think he was a friend, I liked him tremendously and whilst over the years I met many composers, and some I still know now, Roy was special, and I still miss him. Just to ring him up and ask something, there always, seemed to be a smile in his voice, and that is truly something special

His music is always with us, CDS, Blu Ray’s and frequently on Television. But PHANTOM is different. This isn’t going to come up very often, so I urge anyone with an interest in the genius of Roy Budd and who can be in London this October, to book your ticket now. No, I am not on the pay of the Coliseum, I just want the Hall to be full of enthusiasts who appreciate what Roy did with his last work, and so you can say later, I was there!!!

 

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SOLDIER BLUE, CATLOW, ZEPPELIN.

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Composer Roy Budd was probably one of the most talented and resourceful musicians to come out of England in decades, he was not only an accomplished composer of film music and jazz but also was a more than competent pianist. His first foray into film music came in 1969 when he was hired to score SOLDIER BLUE, the soundtrack is now an iconic one as well as being an important one for the composer. The actual soundtrack for the movie has never been released, which is a great pity because there is a great deal of wonderful music contained within the film. Instead a re-recording of the score with principal themes arranged and also performed by Budd was released on the PYE Records label on vinyl in 1970, the A side featuring the music from SOLDIER BLUE and the B side containing various film themes that had been given the Budd treatment. Many years later a compact disc was issued in Japan on the SCL label, this was a straight re-issue of the PYE album.

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Then in 1999 CINEPHILE which is a label in the Castle communications stable released the music from the A side of the original album along with the music from another Roy Budd western score CATLOW, with the release also containing two cues from ZEPPELIN. It contained informative liner notes and colourful art work, but it still was not the actual SOLDIER BLUE score which many hoped it would be, although it did include a vocal version of FIELDS OF GREEN AND SKIES OF BLUE which had not been released previously. Nevertheless it was still an interesting and entertaining release, showing three varying styles of a talented composer and his ability to adapt to any situation when scoring movies, so it is this edition of the soundtrack or soundtracks that this review is based upon. Budd’s versatility is evident within this compilation as we are presented with two western scores, each one being quite removed and different from one another, with different styles and musical colours being utilised by the composer making each individual and in my opinion unique. Budd creating a more light hearted musical persona for Catlow which went hand in hand with the attitude of the films central character played by Yul Brynner, combining “ho down” type music with light and romantic sounding flourishes, plus there were also a few moments which had at their core a darker and more threatening sound as in INDIAN AMBUSH and to a degree GET THE GOLD both of which echoed the style of Jerry Goldsmith when he scored westerns, such as HOUR OF THE GUN, RIO CONCHOS and 100 RIFLES, brass, strings and an array of percussive elements combined with banjo and strummed guitar to create an exciting and tense atmosphere and even had the odd musical nod to Jerry Fielding along the way, with little nuances and quirks of orchestration that vaguely resemble Quincy Jones‘s McKENNAS GOLD soundtrack.

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Again though this is a re-recording there being far more music within the movie and most of this being darker in its style and atmosphere.
For me personally however the main score included on the disc has to be SOLDIER BLUE, it was an affecting movie and also a controversial one. One of it’s taglines being,

“THE STORY THEY WERE AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT,BECOMES THE MOVIE THEY CANT STOP TALKING ABOUT”.

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Budd’s score aided the movies progression and storyline wonderfully. The music contained, emotion, sadness, martial themes and also a certain amount of comic content which although present was not overpowering. Budd’s score underlined perfectly the developing relationship between Cresta (Candice Bergen) and US cavalry trooper Honus Gent (Peter Strauss) who are thrown together after a patrol escorting an army payroll and also Cresta are ambushed and mercilessly wiped out by Cheyenne Indians who were attempting to take back Cresta who had been abducted by them and lived with them for two years. Honus and Cresta embark on a perilous trek attempting to reach what the young trooper see’s as civilisation. The trooper thinks of himself as his travelling companions protector but it is in fact Cresta who is the worldly wise of the two. Little by little the two fall in love and this is enhanced by Budd’s touching theme for Cresta which is fragile and and innocent sounding. Budd’s score is a theme laden affair which is thick with haunting and uplifting musical passages, these manifest themselves in cues such as the exciting and exhilarating KIOWA COUNTRY, the beautiful and emotive CRESTA’S SONG, the martial influenced RIDE ON, the haunting FIELDS OF GREEN AND SKIES OF BLUE and the uplifting and up-tempo HOW WONDERFUL LIFE IS. The recording features an instrumental version of the poignant and powerful title song, which is performed over the main titles of the movie by Buffy Saint Marie who also wrote it, this version is arranged and performed by Budd on piano with strings and percussion adding their weight to the proceedings. My only hope is that one day someone will discover the original score somewhere, don’t get me wrong this is an entertaining release and one I for one would not be without, but the original score would be so much better, after all it is an important movie and also a milestone work for Roy Budd. Also included are two cues from the World War One drama ZEPPELIN, a very different style was employed by the composer for this assignment, released in 1971, the movie starred Michael York and Elke Sommer, Budd employing an explosive and dramatic style to underline the action.

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The stirring opening theme complete with sound effects from the movie and also a Mike Samme-esque vocal, ALL YOU WANT ME TO BE which had lyrics by Jack Fishman are included on this compilation. The sound quality on this release at least on SOLDIER BLUE is far better than the Japanese disc, and as mentioned previously it is filled with info and art work which is attention-grabbing and vibrant, well worth investing in.