Tag Archives: SILVA SCREEN

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.

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Main Titles (03:29)
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Hole in Your Head (04:04)
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Have a Look (02:07)
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Rats/Moonlight/Attack From Behind (03:27)
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On His Way (02:08)
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Chinese Attack (02:27)
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Rape Death (02:04)
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Sire Scouts Chinese (02:36)
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War Outside/Dynamite Raid (03:48)
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End Titles (03:13)

 

FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES. THE FIRST GATHERING,SEPTEMBER 24TH 2016.

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It’s been a long time since I went to a gathering or meeting of any type concerning film music, and it’s been even longer since I enjoyed it so much. Today September 24th 2016 I will remember for a long time, it was the first gathering of FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES organised by Tim Smith and James Fitzpatrick, guest composers in attendance were TREVOR JONES, MARK THOMAS, DEBBIE WISEMAN, CHRISTOPHER GUNNING and DANIEL PEMBERTON. All of whom were in a word wonderful, I loved the way that all of them were so relaxed and also so forthcoming with their thoughts and opinions about film music, scoring films and the art and craft of what they do. The last time I attended such a function must have been way back in the 1990, s when it was organised by either THE GOLDSMITH SOCIETY or John Williams of SILENTS AND SATELITTES and early editions of MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES fame. I Seem to recall a few of these SEMINARS as they were called being held at the BONNIGTON hotel in London, but that is by the way. Today’s event was well organised and it ran so smoothly at least that’s what I witnessed, the only hiccups being Tim Smith’s nerves I think, which is understandable when organising something like this, but he handled it very well and made everyone welcome.

IT,S GOING TO BE FINE TIM.
Mr Smith   Looking a little apprehensive.

 

It was also a time to put faces to Facebook (other social medias are available) conversations which was also really nice and it was something of a reunion for myself with fellow soundtrack collector Jerry Daley being there and of course talking with Trevor Jones and Chris Gunning after a break of more than a few years, Trevor remarked that is was the sessions for HIDEAWAY when we last saw each other in the flesh as it were.

Trevor Jones and Christopher Gunning.
Trevor Jones and Christopher Gunning.

Held at the renowned ANGEL recording studios in Upper Street Islington, this was an afternoon that I know many will be thinking of for a long while. Tim Smith took to the floor at around two o clock, and spoke to the gathered fifty or so attendees, briefly explained the fire drill then went on to introduce the host for the afternoon, the well know record producer and passionate film music fan James Fitzpatrick, many of us in attendance of course remember buying LP records off of James when he was behind the counter and managing the sadly missed 58 DEAN STREET RECORDS, and then he was one of the driving forces behind SILVA SCREEN initiating that labels foray into re-recordings of soundtracks which included the first release of music from Hammer films for example and renditions of themes from movies such as WITCHFINDER GENERAL, NIGHT OF THE DEMON, KISS OF THE VAMPIRE and full score reconstructions and re-recordings of soundtracks such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,THE BIG COUNTRY etc. James is now the boss at TADLOW MUSIC producing so many exquisite re-recordings and releases of excellent film music and providing orchestras for composers on various projects.

 

 James Fitzpatrick.
James Fitzpatrick.

 

His attention to detail and also achieving high quality recordings is second to none, and I believe he is a Master of his particular craft and a person who does not shout about his achievements as in blow his own trumpet (forgive the pun). James made a brief introduction, and also then introduced the guests for the afternoon, it was at this point we were treated to something of a sneak preview from an up and coming release on TADLOW, which is Miklos Rozsa’s classic soundtrack for THE THIEF OF BAHGDAD, which like all of TADLOW’S releases sounded magnificent, it was fantastic to hear the music and also see the orchestra conducted by Nic Raine perform.

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After the cue had concluded James started things off with a question to the guests about if they thought film music composition was an art or a craft. Debbie Wiseman began the responses, followed by Mark Thomas, Trevor Jones and then Christopher Gunning and Daniel Pemberton, all explained their idea of composition being an art or craft very differently, but I thought basically they all more or less agreed that it was part art part craft, which then segued into discussing other topics that were related to being a composer of film music, this spontaneity by the guests who were happy to chat about almost anything without being prompted for me made the afternoon even more interesting and enjoyable. We learnt that Daniel Pemberton is working on another movie by Guy Ritchie which is a KING ARTHUR film, and also that when he feels he has got something right as in writing a particular cue does a little dance around his flat, which as Debbie Wiseman remarked is an image that will linger in her head for a while.

 Daniel Pemberton.
Daniel Pemberton.

 

There were also questions from the audience, which were very interesting enquiries and also the responses from the assembled guest were too as interesting if not more so. It’s surprising that although they all work in the same field they all seem to have different approaches to the actual mechanics of writing the scores, some preferring the more classical and time honoured approach of manuscript and pencil others using the more technical options that are available, which then led to explanations from Trevor Jones about certain software that became available to the composer back in the late 80’s etc, which made it either easier or more of a headache for them to score films. He also spoke of the switch almost overnight from analogue too digital which gave him more than one headache in the studio.

Trevor Jones.
Trevor Jones.

We did have a short break for refreshments and this gave members of the audience a chance to chat amongst themselves and also with the composers, it was at this point the first raffle was held and the winners (not me, I was one away, but I am ok honestly) were given generous goodie bags of compact discs which were given freely by TADLOW, MOVIE SCORE MEDIA, CALDERA and SILVA SCREEN, there were also FANS OF MOVIE MUSIC mugs on sale a snip at £6.95 and then we had a second raffle for a poster advertising the event signed by all the guests.

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More questions and answers followed and it became apparent that Christopher Gunning was shall we say a little tired of scoring films and TV as he had been writing what was is called by some “serious” music as in concertos and symphonies for concert hall performance, Christopher was relieved that he never had a deadline or a director and producer peering over his shoulder all the time, but then he said when writing his symphony at times he had wished he could phone up a particularly difficult director and ask him to come round and stand behind him and give him a hard time so he could actually write some music.

fans-8                                                   Debbie Wiseman and James Fitzpatrick.

 

Debbie Wiseman told us how she got into the business and how after working on a series such as FATHER BROWN that if a different director was brought in it would be them that had to adapt to her music simply because she had written so many established themes for that series and had been there since the offset. So that was a different perspective, as its normally the composer that has to adapt their music for anything that the director might want to do. All of the composers told stories of either directors or producers that were shall we say difficult, Christopher Gunning remembering to be asked to score POIROT but not include the established and award winning theme for the series, (which everyone knows and loves) Gunning told us that he tried to introduce the theme when he could at one point turning the music upside down.

Chris Gunning.
Chris Gunning.

 

Daniel Pemberton recalling the time he scored a documentary about Hiroshima, one of the greatest losses of human life in the 20th Century and when it got to the part in the film where the bomb had been dropped and there was utter desolation and destruction, the executives on the film telling him that his music was to down beat and sombre. Mark Thomas being asked to score a section of film with music like the music in the chariot race scene in BEN HUR, and then realising there is no music in that sequence, “So that was easy” he said. Time unfortunately was running out and we had to stop, but then we were allowed to ask the guests to sign CD covers etc. Which they did and gave their time generously stopping to talk to each and every person about the cover they had selected and their love of movie music, the signings were accompanied by some great music and images of orchestra performing at various TADLOW recording sessions.

Mark Thomas.
Mark Thomas.

Overall it was a great success, there were no awkward silences, no silly questions, it was just a good experience that had an easy going atmosphere with all of the composers being quite laid back and forthcoming with snippets of information and various stories of good, bad and ugly situations that they had encountered in their careers. (Chris Gunning was very open and frank) which was very amusing and interesting. I hope that this is an event that will be repeated and become an annual occurrence, we have to thank TIM SMITH who initiated this and also James Fitzpatrick who helped immensely in it coming to fruition, we also have to say a big thank you to all of the composers for their time and also their interest in the people who buy soundtracks and too all the FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES team for being there making the day go well, plus a big thank you to Phil Watkins for taking all of those great photographs, some of which I have with his permission used in this article. marks out of 10, I give it an 11.

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Just one thing left to say ENCORE,,,,, Looking forward to FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES 2.

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Maurizio Malagnini.

Maurizio Malagnini, is one of the most talented composers working in TV and feature film music at this time. He was recognized as Breakthrough composer by MMI earlier this month and he has just been named as Breakthrough composer of the year by THE INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION. CONGRATULATIONS MAESTRO.

IFMCA

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What would you say is the purpose of music in film ?

I think that music in film is a component of the narrative and it has the purpose to tell the story. I think that music can go beyond what we see in the visuals and beyond what the characters can say with words bringing human warmth and depth to the characters on the screen. I believe that music can help the audience to connect immediately with a story and make a story close to the heart of the audience. I support the idea that a great score can transport the audience effortlessly back in time or in the most remote place of the universe and that music can bridge the gap between the pictures on the screen and the audience.

Are you from a family background that was musical in any way ?

Yes, my father was a professor of Italian and Latin literature and my mother was teaching English. My father had a collection of vinyl’s of recordings conducted by Toscanini and that was my first door to classical music when I was a kid.
Somehow I do think that my father’s passion for literature has translated in my passion for music: I don’t think of film scoring as a form of entertainment but I do think that it is possible to tell a story with music in a subtle way, with delicacy and elegance like you would do in poetry.

Do you have a set way of working or a routine when scoring a motion picture, do you like to begin with the core theme and maybe build the remainder of the score around this, or do you maybe tackle the larger cues first if the movie calls for them ?

I do think it is important to go straight to the “heart of the movie” and understand which is the scene that will define the entire score. I feel that when a composer captures the soul of the movie, and the themes are there than the entire score becomes more consistent because every idea is part of a bigger plan. So I do start from one of the main sequences that often are at the end of the film, and then I write all the longer cues without dialogue and I usually end with the less exposed and shorter cues. If there is a title sequence, like for example in Peter and Wendy I tend to compose this at the end, exactly how Rossini and most Opera composers would do with an Overture.

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What musical education did you receive and did you focus upon one particular instrument whilst studying or a specific area of music?

I studied for 12 years in music Conservatoire in Italy, focusing on Symphonic Composition with 9 years of Piano as a secondary subject. One of the elements that has really shaped my technique has been studying Counterpoint and Fugue for 3 years. I find it quite amusing to tell the story of my final composition exam: as was tradition I was locked by the professors in a room for 36 hours and asked to compose 3 variations for orchestra on a theme that the professors gave me there on the spot. I remember the room was empty, all I had was just the piano, music paper, a pencil, a rubber and a bed. That was the same exam that composers used to do since the beginning of the 19th century in Italian Conservatoires. I know they have stopped doing that exam just a few years after I graduated. I then moved to London to study a Master at the Royal College of Music. That was an important moment of my life because I focused on film music and from that moment I started to work on my style and on my personal sound.

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One of your recent projects was the wonderful score for PETER AND WENDY which was screened on ITV on Boxing day last year, how did you become involved with the project and did the director or producers have any set ideas about what style of music should be utilised?

I had already worked with the director Diarmuid Lawrence a few years ago, on my first British drama, The Body Farm.
When execs heard my music for “Muddle Earth” and for my Symphonic Suite “Running In The Clouds” they decided I was the right composer to help realise their vision. Diarmuid is a fantastic director to work with, he had the idea to have an orchestral score for the film and he created the temp track in collaboration with the super talented editor David Head. I knew David very well because he was on both The Body Farm and The Paradise. The producers Christian Baute and Stewart Mackinnon have also been fantastic creative collaborators.

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How many times do you like to see a movie before you begin to get any firm ideas about what music it requires and where it should be placed to best serve the production ?

This can vary from time to time and level of connection that I have with the film. In the case of The Paradise I have started to write ideas that were quite important for the score several months before I have actually seen the film. This is because in that case I have started working on the script and many of those ideas have made it in the final film. In the case of Peter and Wendy I felt really moved by the film and it was love at first sight: I composed “I Believe in fairies” while watching the film for the first time! It’s a good idea to have a grand Piano next to the television when you are watching a film for the first time!
I think that the ideas become firm only after dialogue with the director, so it is important to start from the bigger themes, like when you are building a house you start from the foundation.
One of the main challenges for the music was to be able to create the sensation of flying that is at the heart of Peter Pan’s story and so the first cue I have played to the Director and Producers was “The Flight To Neverland”. When I played it to Stewart he told me: ”If this is not like flying I don’t know what flying is!”…he loved it!

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THE PARADISE is an episodic series, when working on this and CALL THE MIDWIFE do you score the episodes in the order that they will be aired, also do you score them individually ?

Yes, I score the episodes in order and individually. I see every episode like a film and I write new themes for each episode. I have just completed the music for Call The Midwife 5 and that was a total of 9 hours and 15 minutes of film!
For these shows I have the luxury of recording each single piece of music with the orchestra and I think this is really important for developing the music together with the story and the characters.

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Do you perform on any of your scores ?

Yes, I do play the piano in all of them.

Do you or have you ever been on location for a project that you are scoring ?

I love to go on the set! It is fun and I think that it is a good idea to capture the vibe of the movie before getting a rough cut. I went on location when they were filming the first scenes of The Paradise and that helped me a lot to shape the style I wanted to give to the music. I have been on set also for Call The Midwife and most of the times I play my music to the producer Annie Tricklebank in her office at Longcross Studios where the show is shot.

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Have you any preferences between recording studios and orchestras, and what are the differences between recording here in the UK and in Europe ?

I have had a fantastic experience at Air Studios in London where I recorded The Paradise, Call The Midwife and Peter and Wendy. It is in my opinion the warmest and richest room in the world for recording an orchestra. In addition at Air Studios people is really friendly and you realise that since the first minute you enter the door. I also love a new studio in London called Masterchord Studio, where since a couple of years I am recording the piano and overdubs and doing all of my mixing.

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I have recorded my music in the UK and Los Angeles. I have had an extraordinary experience with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, who premiered my Symphonic Suite “Running In The Clouds” and performed my first BBC score, the music for the series “Muddle Earth” and a fantastic experience also with the BBC Concert Orchestra who has performed my score for “The Paradise”.

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Do you conduct at all, or do you find it is more constructive for you to supervise the scoring process from the recording booth ?

I find that it is more constructive for me to stay in the booth. I would conduct if I had more recording time, but I must be very efficient and I must get a lot done in a very short amount of time. For Peter and Wendy for example I had to record the entire score in only 11 hours and I had the complete Symphonic Orchestra for the biggest cues only for 3 hours.

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Do you orchestrate all of your music for film and TV, and do you think that orchestration is just as important as the composition of the music

My heart is the orchestra but I love experimenting with new sounds and synths! I think that the Orchestration is very important and I do most of my orchestration while composing. I feel that many composers are too concerned about how to create new sounds and they loose contact with the story telling. You don’t need to invent a language to be a poet. You just need to select the right words of an existing language and you need to make it with style, and most importantly, you must have something to say.
I have created a workflow that allows me to be a pencil and paper composer and orchestrate my music but still creating with the computer very detailed demos for producers and directors. So I do orchestrate and arrange all of my music in detail and my orchestrator Jehan Stefan helps me to prepare the final scores: he is a great musician and an incredibly hard worker and in the last 6 years he has worked on my side on over 40 hours of films that I have scored. Furthermore my conductor is Jeff Atmajian and he brings on board the incredible experience he has gained orchestrating for some of the top Hollywood Composers on more than 200 movies.

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Have you a favourite film score of TV soundtrack of your own or by another composer ?

My favourite Film Score is Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso. I remember being deeply moved while watching the last scene and that moment changed my life and made me think I wanted to be a film composer and I wanted to be able to have that same impact on an audience: I felt that last sequence of kisses in Cinema Paradiso was something magical.

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My favourite TV soundtrack is a score by Ennio Morricone for a Mini-Series released in 1988 called “The Secret Of The Sahara”: it is an amazing score for full orchestra and choir. I love how Ennio’s approach to writing for TV is simply to ignore the fact that he is writing for the small screen and not for the cinema. It is exactly what is happening now, almost 30 years later: TV Shows are becoming more filmic and TV scores are becoming more cinematic. These are exciting times for being a composer.

 

 

Do you involve yourself in the compiling of a soundtrack release if there is to be one ?

Yes, I love Soundtrack Albums and I produce my albums personally. What I find magical about a good soundtrack album is that listening to the music the audience can live once again all the emotions of the story in an intimate and personal way.

I would like audiences to leave the theatre with the main theme of the score in their head! For many iconic films of the past we can immediately remember the Main Theme but this is becoming less and less frequent now.

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How much time were you given to work on PETER AND WENDY and what size orchestra did you utilise for the score?

For many reasons, including my commitments with Call the Midwife and my scheduled trip to Los Angeles for the Emmys, I had only 25 days to compose the entire score. I call them “Lion Days”: when you work 20 hours per day and the adrenaline is as high as if you were actually performing live with the orchestra. Following the actual composition I had another week to improve some details of the score after approval and 2 days of recording and 3 days of mixing.
I had 3 different size of orchestras for Peter and Wendy, the largest orchestra was 60 players, the smallest 35. I think we got an amazing sound for what we actually had and the merit is also of the genius of the mix, the recording and mixing engineer Jake Jackson who has mixed the entire score and most of my projects.

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What composers or artist would you say have been influential upon you and your career?

Beethoven, Puccini, Chopin, Stravinsky, Ravel, Morricone, Horner, Williams, Newman.

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You worked on a series called MUDDLE EARTH, this I think had 26 episodes, when working on so many episodes do you ever re-use cues from previous episodes as the series progresses?

I re-use cues from previous episodes on every show and I think this is an important part of writing for a TV Series. I think that the best TV scores are made of cues that can be re-used but at the same time adapted on the scene. In addition I think that it is very interesting how on long running shows some of the ideas can develop together with the characters for several hours of film. In the case of the Paradise for example some themes have gone through 16 hours of variations and it is quite a wonderful journey for a composer.
This aspect of variation and development is in my opinion more interesting in long running Episodic Tv Series than in feature films: it is more difficult in films to have such evolution in just a few hours of storytelling.

The downside of writing for TV are the very short deadlines: sometimes I had to score an entire episode in 5 days, that is 35 minutes of orchestral music. For this reason it is indispensable to be able to re-use cues with style, adapting them when needed.

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How do you like to work out your musical ideas, do you adopt a traditional approach, i.e. piano, manuscript and pencil or do you opt for the more technical methods as in computers etc ?

Most of my music is arranged directly in my computer, but what I don’t like, especially for major themes is to have the idea in front of the screen in my studio. I prefer to have the idea while I am walking, cooking, travelling in a train, relaxing, or in front of a piano. I record my ideas on my phone and then I transcribe them on the piano and arrange them on the computer.
For electronic music I spend more time on the computer but I try to have always an idea before I sit down in front of the machines. For many film scores I can hear that a lot of music is just improvised in front of a computer…and it does sound like that!

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CALL THE MIDWIFE is a popular series, when working on the score are you conscious of the source music or period music that is sometimes used on the series?

I am conscious of the source music, in every episode there are 2 or 3 songs. I don’t want my score to be too influenced by the source music because I think that what I do is strictly connected with the inner feelings of the characters and I need to have my own voice to define the tones of the story and to be part of the narrative.

Have you ever given any concerts of your music for film and TV ? If not would this be something that you might consider in the future ?

Yes I have had performances of my music and I would love to do more in the future. I am very impressed by Ennio Morricone touring at the age of 87 – his energy and passion are really majestic and inspirational.

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What is next for you ?

Producers are starting to talk about Call The Midwife 6 with some very interesting development in the story. I have declined a couple of other offers for films, my goal is to write a score for a film that allows me to go beyond what I have done previously so it has to be a very special project. Fingers Crossed!

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Many thanks to Maestro Maurizio Malagnini for this wonderful interview and for his beautiful music.

DICKENSIAN.

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I have to be truthful and tell you I have not watched each and every episode of DICKENSIAN when it has been aired, in my defence I have been a little busy of late, however I have recorded every episode and as the series reaches its conclusion I am ever more intrigued and sucked in by the very clever storyline. The score by the wonderfully talented British composer Debbie Wiseman is for me one of the many high points of this series, I had no doubt when I discovered that the music was by Debbie that it would be something quite special and I have to say I was not wrong or in any way disappointed. Debbie Wiseman has become one of the most established and popular composers of music for television and film, I for one was devastated when her music for WILDE was not given a special award because it is in a word EXCELLENT. The same too can be said for DICKENSIAN, this is a haunting and entertaining work which contains some deliciously intricate and melodic themes that are supported and accompanied by an equal amount of dramatic and melancholy pieces. The composers use of cimbalom within the score is one of its stand out features and I think it was this that first grabbed my attention whilst watching the first handful of episodes it became an integral and an important component of the series at times it was as if it were another actor on screen, the cimbalom is I think an instrument that in most cases when utilised purveys to any listener a sense of uneasiness, apprehension or even fear, this is the atmosphere that came across in the music for DICKENSIAN on a personal level, but saying this it at the same time brought to the proceedings a mood that was slightly comical and even jaunty and awkward in a unsettling kind of fashion. Not sure if you understand what I am saying but this is the mood that it evoked for me personally, the score contains some lilting and delicate sounding performances on solo piano which is underlined by subtle use of solo violin, harp and fragile sounding woodwind at certain points.

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There is darkness here and clusters of sombre sounding passages which work their way in and out of the score but these are even given a intimate and more human persona because of the way in which they are orchestrated. The music I think you all will agree fitted the series like the proverbial glove but never seemed to intrude or overwhelm the images and the stories being acted out on screen. Wiseman’s beautifully crafted soundtrack will I think be one that is enjoyed by many and returned to numerous times and on each outing the listener will be taken back to the cold snowy streets of London in DICKENSIAN times and remember their own personal favourite characters from the series. Thoroughly recommended.
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PETER AND WENDY.

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Over the Christmas period the ITV television network will be showing PETER AND WENDY, which is another re-telling or re-inventing of the classic J.M Barrie story PETER PAN. This version stars Paloma Faith as Tinkerbell, Laura Frazer as Mrs Darling and Stanley Tucci as the infamous and at times bumbling Captain Hook. The exciting and magical drama runs for two hours but I am sure that ITV might screen it in one hour slots. It is a re-imagining of the classic story, which reinterprets it for the modern world that we live in, scripted by Adrian Hodges who worked on THE MUSKETEERS and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. The drama opens in modern times London at the GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL, where we see Lucy Rose who is portrayed by Hazel Doupe,and also plays Wendy Darling. Lucy is awaiting heart surgery and her Mother Julie played by Laura Fraser who also portrays Mrs Darling is at her wits end that she might loose her child. The surgeon Mr Wylie played by Stanley Tucci who doubles as Captain Hook, assures the distraught mother that he will do all he can to save Lucy. The day before her operation the girl reads PETER PAN to some of the other sick children in the hospital, she then goes to sleep thinking of the adventure and its magical characters and Neverland. Whilst asleep she dreams the version of the story that we are watching, the storyline switches from the modern day trials that Lucy is undergoing to the fantasy life of Neverland.

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The musical score for PETER AND WENDY is by the highly talented Italian Maestro Maurizio Malagnini, like myself you probably first encountered his music in the series THE PARADISE which contained a gorgeous soundtrack and is set to return to our TV screens very soon for a second series. Well if you liked that, then you are in for a treat and I am certain will fall in love with the mystical, fantastical and gloriously sumptuous music that the composer has written to accompany PETER AND WENDY. It is one of those scores where a film music collector is like a kid in a candy shop, because there are so many goodies on offer one is not certain of which way to turn or what to select or in this case listen to first. The quality of this score is undeniable, the composer has certainly pulled out all the stops writing some of the most dramatic, romantic and haunting themes that I have heard in a long while. The score oozes a delicious richness that is lusciously appealing and highly emotive and inspiring.

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As you can probably guess the work is filled to overflowing with themes and motifs that accompany the many characters within the storyline and because of the high quality of this soundtrack I find it impossible to select any one cue or composition as a stand out piece or highlight, because the entire score just shines. We are treated to a handful of mischievous and darker themes which are of course connected to the underhanded antics of Hook and his crew, but there are so many exciting and adventurous themes within the work it is at times hard to believe that all this music is from one movie. At times I found the composers music reminiscent of James Horner with its emotive and haunting romantic interludes, then there is the adventurous and rousing material which I am certain Korngold would have more than liked. There are some delicate and poignant themes included where piano and strings play in unison or piano is supported by the string section, woodwind is also featured along side faraway sounding horns rumbling percussion and choir. This is a soundtrack that should be in every film music collection, released on December 25th, on Silva screen. Totally recommended…