Tag Archives: TADLOW MUSIC

DRACULA/THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

 

 

I thought before writing the review for the new recording of DRACULA and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN by Tadlow records, I would have a look at Horror scores or at least soundtracks from them. When you think about it, music from horror films has come a long way. By this I mean the actual release of the musical score from a horror movie has come on leaps and bounds. Music in horror movies is in most cases an important and integral part of the film making process, the music tells the audience that something unspeakable could be about to happen and it also underlines the something when it does happen. Cast your mind back if you will to the late 1950’s, the decade was coming to an end and a bright new decade was about to dawn. Ah yes the 1960’s, but let us not forget the 1950’s because if it were not for studios such as Universal in Hollywood producing a plethora of what we now call B monster movies then the horror movie as we know it probably would not have come into being or evolved in the way that it has. So, the 1950’s was a fruitful time for movie makers, as they enticed audiences into theatres with tales of both horror and sci-fi. Many now classic films were released during that decade and in the following years movie makers and writers dipped into this rich heritage of mad scientists, creatures from black lagoons and giant ants on the rampage to create even more terrifying abominations. However, the music for these productions and many that followed although being very good and working as a wonderful background and support to the monster/horror flicks was largely overlooked and albeit ignored. A few soundtrack collectors had noticed the scores for these movies but alas were to be denied hearing them unless they went to the cinema or maybe caught a movie late on TV.

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There was an LP record released on Coral records in 1959 by Dick Jacobs and his orchestra, which at the time was welcomed by fans of horror film music, this was a compilation with a handful of themes and pieces of music from various movies, one being THE HORROR OF DRACULA by James Bernard. Hammer films in the UK had been making movies for several years before they decided to turn their attention to the Gothic Horror market, and what better way to begin in this genre than with a classic tale FRANKENSTEIN. The studio based their THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN loosely on the writings of Mary Shelley, and wanted to make the picture something that was removed stylistically and appearance wise from the Universal Boris Karloff films of the 1930’s. It was not only a ground-breaking move by Hammer but also a brave one. Hammer decided to place the film in the more than capable hands of film maker Terence Fisher, who brought to fruition a tale of terror and fear and in full colour too.

Released on May 2nd, 1957, the films screenplay was fashioned by Jimmy Sangster and starred Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein with a powerful performance by a heavily made up Christopher Lee as the Monster. NO ONE WHO SAW IT LIVED TO DESCRIBE IT, was one of the films taglines, IT WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER being the other.
This first foray into the realms of horror needed a strong musical score, and Hammer’s musical director John Hollingsworth turned to composer James Bernard to create a score that matched the horror and the fearsome action. Bernard had worked on two films previously for Hammer THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (1955) and X THE UNKNOWN (1957). Which he recalled when I spoke to him in the late 1980’s after he had returned to England because Silva Screen were planning a recording of Hammer film music, the majority of which would be his. “It was through conductor John Hollingsworth that I received my first film scoring assignment, John had conducted a number of my works for radio, he was also at this time musical director and supervisor for Hammer films. The film company had just produced a picture called THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, a composer had already been signed, but unfortunately John Hotchkiss had been taken ill and was unable to provide the score. John Hollingsworth played a tape of my music from The Duchess of Malfi to the director of QUATERMASS, Anthony Hinds, and he agreed to let me write the score. This was my first project for Hammer and more importantly I think my first film score”. For the first three projects that Bernard worked on for Hammer, the composer was only given the use of the percussion and string sections of the orchestra. “I think that John Hollingsworth had decided to see how I got along with just strings and percussion, before letting me loose with a full orchestra.” recalled Bernard. It was not until THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) that the composer progressed to using more than just those two sections of orchestra. Hammer scores always gave the impression of being large scale, and being performed by a huge symphony orchestra, this was in fact not the case. The orchestras assembled for a Hammer film score often numbered a mere 34 musicians, the music budgets on these movies were quite low and did not allow for an orchestra any larger, but the orchestra was often made up of some of the best musicians around at the time, James Bernard said. “I was really rather spoilt, because of the very talented people that the orchestra was made up of – these were highly respected and very distinguished musicians, and some of the most talented at their particular trade, and I was very fortunate to have them perform my music. Hugh Bean was usually leader, and then there was Jack Brymer on first clarinet with Leon Goossens on first oboe.
This was the standard of the musicians throughout the orchestra that had been assembled; all of them were first class performers. “

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But even with the movie being popular and attracting much attention at the box office the music was largely ignored and not released on a recording. Was the composer suprised an LP was not issued?
“No, not at all. At the time of the film’s release, not many people were aware that there was such a thing as film music. Even some of the producers and directors were not that interested, the sight of a soundtrack album was very rare. The only soundtracks that one did see were of the Hollywood musicals, and big films such as BEN-HUR. Back in the fifties I doubt very much if anyone in England thought about soundtrack albums.”
Less than a year later James returned to the Hammer recording stage to score the studios version of DRACULA or THE HORROR OF DRACULA as it was titled in the United States. Released in June 1958, the movie was again helmed by director Terrance Fisher, and re-united actors Lee and Cushing, this colourful and terrifying movie was soon packing audiences into the theatres and was a re-sounding success for the studio and the British film industry. James Bernard is without a doubt the composer who is mostly associated with Hammer, with his absorbing and vibrant music for the DRACULA cycle being most prominent. Actor Christopher Lee made many an entrance as the Prince of darkness accompanied and heralded by James Bernard’s vibrantly chilling chords. The Dracula theme as it is now widely known is a simple three chord phrase that musically actually spells out DRA-CU-LA. The three chords conjure up perfectly the atmosphere of dark foreboding, and a tense and urgent sense of impending doom. The music composed by Bernard is fearful, and the theme is as familiar to collectors of film music and cinema goers as Rosza’s ‘Paranoia’ from SPELLBOUND and almost as famous as Bernard Herrmann’s shrieking and manic strings from PSYCHO. I can recall when first discovering the DRACULA story as retold by Hammer being far more anxious by the music playing on the soundtrack, as opposed to the film itself. The sight of Christopher Lee as the infamous and evil Count standing at the top of a flight of stairs with piercing, blood-shot eyes and bloody lips was frightening on its own, but with the music of James Bernard punctuating and enhancing the scene it reached another level, that literally scared the life out of you. James Bernard was to Hammer what John Barry was to James Bond and what Ennio Morricone was to the movies of Sergio Leone. The DRA-CU-LA three-note motif is a genius way to introduce the dark and gaunt figure standing in the shadows wearing the black cloak and it works in a similar way to the John Williams JAWS theme. As soon as you hear the beginnings of it, you know instinctively something is not quite right and that something sinister is going to happen.

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I am pleased that at last both the scores for these two Hammer classics will now be heard in their full glory, and Tadlow music should be congratulated for persevering on this project to breathe life back into the chilling and virulent music for the infamous Vampire Count and the lumbering and tormented creature created by Baron Frankenstein. It was announced sometime ago, but then things went a little quiet because the label were busy with other re-recordings. However, let us not forget the sterling work that was done by Silva Screen when they re-constructed at least part of the DRACULA score for their MUSIC FROM THE HAMMER FILMS collection, which was first released on a beautifully done gatefold LP then also onto compact disc. If it were not for Silva Screen, fans would not have heard the striking tones of James Bernard without having to watch the movie.

Originally released back in 1989 by Silva, MUSIC FROM THE HAMMER FILMS was indeed a ground breaking release, the compilation which was firstly released on long playing record in a gatefold cover later received a compact disc issue and has remained an iconic and popular release amongst collectors of fine movie music. Remember this was in the days before any of Hammers film music had been released in full soundtrack editions by GDI/BSX records and I think I am correct when I say that the only music that had been released was in the form of background music to story version from Hammer movies such as THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES and The HAMMER presents DRACULA album on EMI, which did have four tracks on its flip side that were promoted as THE FOUR FACES OF EVIL, these being the romantic and haunting SHE by James Bernard, the sensual and malevolent sounding THE VAMPIRE LOVERS by Harry Robinson, the gloriously dramatic and romantic DR JECKLE AND SISTER HYDE by David Whittaker and the jagged and chilling FEAR IN THE NIGHT by John McCabe all of which were conducted by Philip Martell. The compact disc opens with THE DRACULA SUITE, which is such a fitting way to start any compilation of Hammer film music, James Bernard’s foreboding, dark and evil sounding DRA-CU-LA three-note motif setting the scene for the Prince of chaos. The compact disc opens with THE DRACULA SUITE, which is such a fitting way to start any compilation of Hammer film music, James Bernard’s foreboding, dark and evil sounding DRA-CU-LA three-note motif setting the scene for the Prince of chaos.

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The suite which is in five sections is made up from music that is taken from the original 1958 DRACULA and also DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS from 1966, the opening is instantly recognisable and still strikes a little terror into the hearts of anyone who hears it, Bernard’s simple but highly effective musical motif. After the familiar and dramatic opening the suite segues into the music that Bernard used to accompany Jonathan Harker on his investigation of the lofty hallway of castle Dracula, where he encounters a young woman, unbeknown to him she is one of the undead and attempts to turn Harker into one of her kind, this is interrupted by the appearance of Count Dracula who ferociously attacks the girl and also lashes out at Harker.
Part three of the suite THE KISS OF THE LIVING DEATH is a piece of masterful scoring by Bernard his music acting as a hypnotic and alluring background to Dracula’s attempt to seduce his victims. Part four of the suite is FUNERAL IN CARPATHIA, which is a slow but menacing piece for strings woodwind and subdued brass that are all punctuated by a slow and deliberate sounding drumbeat. Part five is the finale sequence music from DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, which takes place on a frozen river, where the infamous Count is dispatched by Father Shandor (Andrew Keir) with a single gun-shot into the ice that releases pure running water, the vampire lord falls into the icy depths and is destroyed, but I think we all realise at this point that he will return. Bernard’s music is dramatic and feverish in places, supporting and underlining wonderfully the confrontation between good and evil and the Counts demise. So yes, we have been treated to the Counts music before, but not in a complete form, there have also been excerpts released on GDI when they released a number of scores and compilations of music from the Hammer studio, again It’s a mystery why the original DRACULA score was not on their list. Maybe the tapes were damaged, or there was some copyright problem at the time, who knows?

 

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TADLOW RELEASE.
The Tadlow re-recordings conducted by Nic Raine and performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra are probably the most anticipated and talked about by film music collectors, and finally we have them.(well I do). I am of the opinion that James Bernard would have been very pleased with the performance on this recording, to be honest it is a fairly faithful re-creation of the glory days of Hammer film music, and once again I am experiencing chills down my spine as I hear that formidable DRA-CU-LA theme, however, is it really a faithful recreation of the music?

 

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Well I will let you judge for yourself, maybe prior to listening to the recording you might want to sit and watch the movie, and then compare it to the re-recording. It would be unfair of me to say that this re-recording is marvellous or wonderful, yes it is great to hear the Dracula theme again and in stereo with a crisp sound to it, but is it the ultimate re-recording, again I leave that up to you my friends, as a reviewer it is obviously my own personal opinion that I am giving to you here, so please go ahead and listen for yourself. In recent years we have been given so many new recordings and releases of scores that maybe have never seen the light of day, some I think probably were better off staying in the dusty archives in which they were stored. Re-recordings we have had a few and maybe then again too few good ones to mention, so when one is announced the hype is obviously heightened by each collector who hears about it,(Chinese whispers) the consequence is often that when said re-recording finally arrives everyone is so hyped with it that when they actually listen to it, it is somewhat disappointing, maybe that’s my problem I expect too much, or I anticipate too much? Well again, I have to say take a listen and arrive at your own decision. There is I suppose the argument or opinion that if you are a James Bernard fan you will love anything that is released which was written by him, but and there is always a but isn’t there, if you are not that keen on James Bernard then this is probably going to be another mediocre score that maybe should not have been re-recorded. I like the music of Bernard, there is just an atmosphere and a sound and style to it that resonates with me personally, it always has. I can remember hearing his music for the first time on an 8mm film of the end sequence to DRACULA where Van Helsing and Dracula fight to the bitter end, with the Vampire being dispatched via sunlight and a pair of candlesticks making the sign of the cross. The print I had was in black and white, and I used to show it on a hand cranked projector onto the white door of my bedroom, the music and sound effects were on a floppy single record and it was very difficult to get the music and sounds lined up in sequence with the images, it was at times like a badly dubbed foreign movie, or a film that had gone horribly wrong, but the music I was hearing was urgent, and racing, exciting and powerful and I was attracted to it straight away, it had an enticing aura to it. I never knew this was James Bernard, and in those early days I did not realise that our paths would cross and we would become friends. So, my connection with James went back a long way, I think this was in around 1967 when I was 12 years of age. My obsession with his music and the music of Hammer films grew from there and has endured many years as I am still in awe of it now.

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So to the Tadlow release, how do you review a classic, if you pick up on anything or think you hear something out of place you will be damned by fans who will not have anything negative said, and if you don’t mention any imperfections then you again will be damned by those who have noticed them.

Therefore, I am on a sticky wicket from all sides I suppose. Is the tempo slower, is it too fast, was that really in the score when I saw the movie, is that an oboe? These are all questions that one asks oneself when listening to any re-recording and at times finds oneself re-visiting the original film to try and listen to that specific musical passage. But then invariably I start to become engrossed in the film and forget to listen out for the music. The album is titled DRACULA/THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN but it is music from the latter title that appears first on the compact disc, in many way I personally do prefer the score for THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, I always felt that the music was more aggressive when it needed to be and maybe slightly more developed and in places definitely more melodic. Bernard’s fearsome sounding opening theme is a combination of percussion, brass and strings, the opening of the track is announced by a crash from a gong and a single percussive beat played in unison with sombre and dark sounding piano being added for effect. This is an atmospheric and instantly harrowing sounding statement, and I think it is the opening few notes that set the scene perfectly for what is to follow, it is a visceral and edgy sounding piece, in which the composer was allowed to utilise more than just the strings he had made such good use of in his first two assignments for Hammer and it certainly sounds as if he is making up for lost time in this cue. Track number two, A BRILLIANT INTELLECT/ITS ALIVE, is a more down beat piece and takes the form of a lilting composition that sounds in my opinion very English and a little Regal, strings perform the piece which is pleasantly soothing in its style, but alters towards the end of the cue with the strings becoming more agitated and sinister, but remaining strangely melodious. In track number three THE GIBBET we begin to hear the more sinister side of Bernard and his trademark style starts to shine through, a style which would further establish itself in his scores for DRACULA, PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES and KISS OF THE VAMPIRE to list but a few. The strings create a sound that is filled with anguish and foreboding, they are threatening, tense and virulent and are enhanced via brass and percussion to elevate the more unsettling aspects of Bernard’s score. THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is without a doubt the more romantic sounding work on the compact disc, or at least it has a calming and lighter musical persona within it.

 

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But, of course it also has to it its fair share of shocking and startling moments, that at times just jump out of nowhere, or gradually build with tantalising strings that lead to jagged crescendos and harsh sounding stabs which when listening to them bring to mind fragments of the DRACULA theme. I think the attraction of James Bernard’s music for film, is that it is for the most part exciting and dark, but then we are treated to a gorgeous sounding melody or a subtle and mesmeric musical passage that is affecting and haunting, which the composer integrated into the proceedings with a consummate ease.

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The composer told me he always wanted to write something that was romantic, which he did in SHE and in later Dracula movies such as TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA in his Romance; THE YOUNG LOVERS composition and THE LOVE THEME from THE SCARS OF DRACULA, but also let us not forget the achingly beautiful central theme for FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN which acted as the theme for Christina the central character. In fact, one can draw comparisons between FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, in its quieter moments, although obviously not identical but I would say there are certain similarities, which makes one ask the question did Bernard base his FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN on certain themes he utilised for THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Which brings us to the music for DRACULA, this is an iconic score, a landmark work for both the composer and Hammer films, foreboding, fearsome, frightening and threatening, this is evil purveyed and personified in music. It is surprising that the quite simple three note motif that spells out DRA-CU-LA has endured for so long and has also become a part of cinema and film music history. I go back to the FINAL BATTLE between good and evil, Van Helsing and Dracula, which takes place at the end of the movie, this is thrilling and powerful scoring, swirling strings underlined with percussion and rattling timpani which is further supported by rasping brass, it is a relentless onslaught of sounds and musical textures and colours, and also a desperate and pulsating composition, which underlines punctuates and gives greater impact to the now famous sequence. A sequence that ends with good being triumphant, and evil being defeated and the body of Dracula decomposing in front of our eyes whilst Bernard scores his destruction with music that is tinged with a religious persona. Again, I say, it is now up to you to listen, to savour and to appreciate, or to listen and be unimpressed, James Bernard fans will be in raptures, others will I suspect be unaffected and indifferent. His music was after all often ignored and overlooked.

FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES.

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LAST SEPTEMBER WAS THE FIRST GATHERING OF FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES.

 

 

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This was the brainchild of Mr Tim Smith. Tim along with the help of film music connoisseur, producer, and all round nice guy Mr James Fitzpatrick of TADLOW MUSIC, put their heads together and came up with a fantastic day at ANGEL studios in London, where collectors got to meet and speak to composers, TREVOR JONES, DANIEL PEMBERTON, DEBBIE WISEMAN, CHRISTOPHER GUNNING and MARK THOMAS. The day was a wonderful success and left everyone wanting more, well your requests have been answered, THE SECOND GATHERING OF FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES is scheduled to take place on September 9th, 2017 at The ANGEL STUDIOS in London. Details are as follows. Please support this great gathering, you will thoroughly enjoy the day and the experience.

 

 

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THE GUESTS SO FAR..

 

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THERE ARE SOME GREAT THINGS TO BE WON ON THE DAY.

 

THESE INCLUDE SOUNDTRACK COMPACT DISCS, PLUS THIS AMAZING DAY IN PRAGUE.

 

 

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AND THERE IS ALSO THE NOW MUCH SOUGHT AFTER FANS OF FILM MUSIC MUGS.

 

 

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THIS WILL BE ANOTHER FANTASTIC DAY, SO REMEMBER.

 

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http://info-aec.wixsite.com/fans-music-movies/book-tickets

SEE YOU THERE  , OH AND BECAUSE THE FIRST GATHERING WAS SUCH A SUCCESS.

 

 

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FOR INFO SEE THE WEBSITE.

http://info-aec.wixsite.com/fans-music-movies.

 

 

MORE GUEST COMPOSERS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON.

 

 

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AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES FITZPATRICK.

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You have quite rightly so received a number of awards for your work in the production of reconstructed and re-recorded film scores, was setting up Tadlow music something that you had thought long and hard about before initiating it.

When I started Silva Screen Records 30 years ago with Reynold DaSilva I always wanted to try and work towards making new recordings of classic scores. I was first able to achieve this with THE BIG COUNTRY and then LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, but we soon found out how expensive it was to record in London and that you did not totally own each master recording. So I looked around Europe to find an orchestra who could perform classic film scores of Hollywood in the same style as 1940 and 1950 orchestras and came across, after the recommendation of Carl Davis, the Prague musicians.

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So, my first venture into recording in Prague was on Feb 6th 1989 with an album of Music from the Fellini Films by Nino Rota. It was such a joyful experience that I kept going to Prague to do more collections and some complete scores like THE LION IN WINTER, ROBIN AND MARIAN, RAISE THE TITANIC etc.… Silva Screen then decided to concentrate more on recording individual themes for collections rather than complete scores. So, that is when I decided to leave Silva Screen, about 14 years ago, and set up Tadlow Music Ltd. The initial aim was not to have a record label at all, but just produce and contract orchestras for recordings for other labels and for original film, TV and video game soundtracks. But after 2 years of success I did what I vowed not to do, I set up my own new label, Tadlow Music, devoted to making new, complete recordings of some of my favourite scores.

 

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After initially doing THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, TRUE GRIT, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOMES, my dear friend Luc Van de Ven of Prometheus Records wanted to get involved in the same kind of projects. So, for his label I started with titles like THE ALAMO, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE etc.… Luc is fantastic to work for…I give him a budget for each album, he green lights it and just lets me get on with the recording, of which I have total charge, and just awaits the final master. He has never even been to one of my Prague sessions…although he has listened over the internet to sessions.

We first met a number of years ago when you were behind the counter at the much missed 58 DEAN STREET RECORDS where you guided me to buying some wonderful soundtracks on LP, was moving into the business of actually releasing soundtracks even at that time something you were thinking of?

I had always contemplated starting my own record label but never had the funds… but teaming up with Reynold da Silva solved this. So, that by the time I started Tadlow Music I had some finance but more importantly a long list of clients, composers, producers who wanted to work with me on recordings.

 

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I understand that your original career choice was law, so how did you end up being the prolific producer that you are?

I maybe should have gone to University to read law, as my father was a solicitor (famous for having The Moors Murderers as clients!) and my sister is a solicitor. But, after A levels I took a year off exams to work in a record store in Stockport, Cheshire….I enjoyed it so much I moved to a larger record shop in Manchester; Rare Records Ltd of John Dalton Street….and then was “poached” by Derek Braeger of 58 Dean Street Records to run this shop as he knew of my passion for film music.

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You started at Silva screen releasing re-recordings of classic scores such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE BIG COUNTRY etc., these were all recorded in London I think by the Philharmonia, what made you look outside of the UK for an orchestra?
As answered above: initially mainly cost and the London recordings not be a 100% total buyout…it is essential for any record label to own their own masters so that they can be easily licensed for commercials, film trailers etc.… As CD sales alone do not cover recording costs. But after a few years of building up a great pool of musicians with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra I realised that for many forms of music these musicians are world class and now I would not want to record with anyone else.

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SILVA were I think very brave to release the Hammer compilation and the other horror film music collections such as HORROR and THE JAMES BERNARD compilation, would these be scores that you might revisit and re-record on TADLOW or are they probably not so popular as say EL CID, CONAN etc.?

I do not believe I would ever re-visit scores I have ever recorded with the exception of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA whose London sessions did not go well, and maybe THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN as I was urged by others at Silva to record with the amateur orchestra The Westminster Philharmonic and I still regret this decision as while being a good amateur orchestra they cannot compete with the quality of a fully professional unit. In fact some of the Hammer scores that David Wishart recorded with them had to be re-done or completed by me with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

You said recently that composer Maurice Jarre once said when asked if he ever composed any “SERIOUS” music as in concert music he replied that all of his music was serious music, do you think that in many ways film music is the new classical music or at least will be looked upon in this way in years to come?

You only have to look at the amount of film music concerts there are now to realise that, yes, film music is the popular orchestral music for the public and the best of those scores will be long remembered after the more avant-garde and contemporary compositions of our generation. There is no doubt in my mind that if Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert were alive today, they would all be making a healthy living by composing film scores!

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How do you decide on which score you will re-record, there are so many real classic works that are crying out for a fresh lease of life, is it personal preference to a certain extent?

For Tadlow Music I only ever record scores that I like personally … after all it is my own money I am spending, so choices are my own favourite scores. Commercially it is madness to do a new recording of IS PARIS BURNING? But I love that music….and no one else is going to do it. For Prometheus Records and Luc it is slightly different. I give him a list of various ideas and he chooses titles he either likes or thinks might sell. Before recording for Luc I was not a huge fan of Dimitri Tiomkin….but Luc wanted to record THE ALAMO, FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE and DUEL IN THE SUN. Having worked on all of those and always being 100% committed to ever recording project even if not so keen on the music, I have grown to love and adore Tiomkin’s music even though it is by far the most difficult type of score to record and perform. I did manage to persuade Luc to do QBVII, as another favourite score, and then he added onto those sessions HOUR OF THE GUN and THE SALAMANDER….so recording anything by Goldsmith is both a challenge but very rewarding even though they would not have been my own choices. Luc also wanted to record some are John Barry, so we did MISTER MOSES and THE BETSY, the music being the opposite of Tiomkin, much easier to record and perform but still needing the full commitment of the musicians and Nic Raine to perform with elegance and grace of the scores. We have often spoken about doing Antheil’s THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION, as we both love that score, but it might be financial suicide….so that is on the back burner, unless funding can be found?

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Did Maurice Jarre ever express an interest in recording a complete soundtrack for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA?

After the London debacle of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA we did talk a few times of recording it as how we both wanted it…especially as I had all the original Gerard Schurmann orchestrations. I was just waiting for a time when I had a finances for such a venture… unfortunately Maurice did not live to hear the final results but I am sure he would have been please as he approved other recording I had done of his music.(I was approached at one time by Robert Townson of Vareae about letting him have the original score for a possible recording in Scotland….but I declined his request as I knew from the first time around how difficult LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was to get right and much more session time would be needed than for the average film score! And I did want another shot at it myself as it is the score that ignited my passion for film music.

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EL CID is a wonderful recording on TADLOW was it hard to obtain the funding to bring this project and indeed any of the projects you have undertaken to fruition?

EL CID was a very expensive project. I never get any outside funding, all Tadlow Music CDs are totally funded by me from profits made on the contracting and producing side. As it was such a long score we did have to divide recording sessions over 2 different weeks in a 6 month period (as I had to do with Taras Bulba). It would be lovely to have funding … but no one has ever stepped forward with this. It does really annoy me how after fans will say “Why don’t you record such and such…why did you bother with THE BLUE MAX” etc… My stock answer now is,” I will send you my bank account details if you want to make a £50,000 deposit…I will record any score you want”. So far no one has ever taken me up on this!

After LAWRENCE OF ARABIA I told my long-suffering wife, Janet, “that’s it…no more recordings and using up any spare cash we might have! Let’s go into retirement with something in the bank”. But after a few months I got the bug again to spend money we didn’t really have and do OBSESSION, THE BLUE MAX, VILLA RIDES and others.

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You utilise the talents of Nic Raine as a conductor but you also conduct yourself. Is it sometimes better for you not to take to the podium because you are better placed monitoring the recording?

I am not really a musician and certainly would rather not conduct…I leave that to the experts like Nic and Paul Bateman as well as my Czech conductor friends like Adam Klemens, Richard Hein and Miriam Nemcova. You have much, much more control over the performance of the orchestra, the balance of an orchestra, the recorded sound etc. by producing from the booth rather than waving your arms around with headphones on and the annoyance of the click track. Conducting is a separate art, and even though most fans do not believe me, very, very few film composers were and are particularly good at conducting unless they had a world class American or British session orchestra to help them and the tempo guide of a click track. Of all the composers I have worked with Elmer Bernstein was probably the most naturally gifted and technically correct of conductors. I just do not understand why some of the younger composers I work with want to put themselves through the hell of standing before 70 plus hardened, professional musicians unless they have the right technique and know how to “train” and rehearse an orchestra section. Leave it to the professional conductors…you can have far more fun in the control room … plus you can also interact with the director of the film or the producer and know what their feelings are as the music is being recorded. (This might save a few scores being “rejected” after all the hard work).

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IS PARIS BURNING is one of your recent releases, which is a stunning recording, how long does it take to complete a project such as this, from beginning to end?

IS PARIS BURNING? compared to some other projects was relatively easy to do as Paramount Pictures had kept in storage all of Maurice’s original handwritten scores. So once I got copies of these scores I passed them onto one of my Prague music copyists, Tony Mikulka, to input all the music onto the Sibelius music software programme to produce computer-generated new scores and parts. I received the scores from Paramount in February 2015 and told Tony to start work on the music even though I had not any recording date planned. I was just waiting for a time when I might have the funds. Tony probably took about 3 months to get the music ready….as I told him “no hurry”. Other projects can take an awful lot longer especially if only a few scores survive, or if only sketches, or if nothing exists at all and my orchestrators (someone like Leigh Phillips or Aaron Purvis) must do a “take down” by either listening to the original audio release or the film DVD. This happened with SODOM AND GOMORRAH, so I think I gave Leigh about 7 to 8 months of music prep, and when we knew he was in the final stages I would then set the recording date. For IS PARIS BURNING? I did not expect to record it until late 2016 or 2017 … but dates with the orchestra became available in December 2015 as DUEL IN THE SUN had to be postponed because the music prep on that was taking forever….

FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES held its first gathering in London on September 24th (2016). What was your involvement in this and hopefully there will be more?

Tim Smith approached me with the idea. I instantly agreed to sponsor (pay for) the event without realising how expensive it might become as we all got a bit too ambitious! But the first one worked out well, so the second already planned and 5 fantastic composer friends have already agreed to take part.

Are there any scores that have been particularly difficult to re-record and for what reasons?

Tiomkin, Tiomkin, Tiomkin and Tiomkin !

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Do you prefer to concentrate on full scores when re-recording or do you like to produce compilations with various composers involved

Mostly full scores but I loved doing the NOTRE DAME DE PARIS: MAURICE JARRE double CD so that I could record some of my favourite Jarre themes that would never need a full score.

At the FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES q and a session, you asked the composers present if they thought film music was an art or a craft, what are your views on this?

As most of them said, a bit of both. If you are a craftsman with the right training the “Art” will then come…. But when it doesn’t there is still the craft to fall back on.

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You have completed the score from THE THIEF OF BAGDAD by Miklos Rozsa, when do you think this will be released and can you give us an insight of what might be to follow on TADLOW? Is there any one score that you would like to record but have not been able too?

THIEF will be released in November. Then DUEL IN THE SUN in Spring 2017. About to record on November 10th and 11th a Jerry Goldsmith CD. With, hopefully!!!, BEN-HUR recording sessions in Spring or Summer next year. After that I have no more projects to hand…so maybe I can finally retire disgracefully, as will be 61 later in December

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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.

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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.

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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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IS PARIS BURNING?

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Many years ago when I was a lot younger and soundtracks were not so readily available or at least limited in what was issued, it was shall we say acceptable to buy a cover version of a score, this was at times down to the original not being available or if it was it was an import and had been deleted very quickly. Even at times when soundtracks were available, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for example many people who were not actual film music collectors would opt for the cheaper cover version, nowadays I pleased to say that cover versions or re-recordings of scores from films are a lot better than they were in the days of MFP (although I am not knocking that label in anyway) and even HALLMARK released some pretty good covers and originals THE BIG COUNTRY for example. The re-recordings of today are in most cases excellent as attention is paid to reconstructing scores that have parts missing or sections that have never been previously released, in fact the only way to hear the entire score is to sit and watch the movie that it comes from. Re-recordings I think stepped up a gear when Silva Screen stepped into the re-recording market and also let us not forget the wonderful series of classic film score as recorded by Charles Gerhardt and the RCA label. But for me it was Silva screen and the Hammer soundtracks that had never seen the light of day became available as re-recordings, yes ok this was a compilation of themes and principal cues from a handful of Hammer movies such as DRACULA, VAMPIRE LOVERS, VAMPIRE CIRCUS, HANDS OF THE RIPPER etc. But they were very authentic and left us the collector wanting more, in fact it was the re-recordings by Silva that inspired the GDI label to seek out the original scores from these Hammer horrors and we all know what an excellent series that turned out to be. But, it’s the re-recording that I am focusing upon. Maurice Jarre has always been a favourite of mine and I am proud and privileged to say I met him many times both at concerts, premieres and privately and after a while became friends with him. His music has been a big part of my life as a collector of movie music in fact it was LAWRENCE OF ARABIA that started my (for want of a better word) addiction to film music. The composer had the knack of not only creating dramatic and supportive scores for movies but he also was able to produce a theme that invariably became popular away from the film it was intended to enhance. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO being a prime example in the form of SOMEWHERE MY LOVE Lara’s theme.

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The latest re-recording to hit the news is the TADLOW release of Jarre’s IS PARIS BURNING? Now although I have always been aware of the theme I have to state that the score was not a favourite of mine, the original LP record is still in the collection and in new condition, which shows how many times I actually played it.

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But after a lot of buzz about this re-recording conducted by Nic Raine and performed by THE CITY OF PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA I decided to get myself a copy, and yes I am so glad I did. As always the attention to accuracy and detail that is displayed in other TADLOW recordings is also present here but even more so in my opinion. I suppose that because I did not actually listen to the score that often when it was issued all those years ago I can in effect listen to it with fresh ears and an open mind, what I am hearing is a wonderfully atmospheric and thematic soundtrack, which is performed to perfection by what has to be one of the globes leading film music orchestras. The compact disc opens with THE OVERTURE, which itself opens with a fairly typical Jarre sound and style, piano and percussion building with aggressive sounding brass whilst the composer introduces a variant of the familiar central theme from the score, this segues nicely into a more martial sounding piece with strings and flutes working together to bring to the fore a march theme and then on accordion we hear for the first time the haunting and highly melodic theme for the movie, this is bolstered and given weight by timpani and strings that transform it from martial into a flamboyant and almost joyous waltz type composition which brings the track to a shimmering and uplifting conclusion. This re-recording boasts a lot of previously unreleased cues 22 in all if I counted correctly. So definitely a complete edition of this soundtrack and one that will fit in very nicely with the rest of Jarre’s moving and highly attractive film soundtrack releases on the TADLOW label, we have James Fitzpatrick to thank for all these wonderful releases but I am sure he will say NOT JUST ME, and when you look back on film music history with re-recordings or even soundtrack releases we can invariably get a glimpse of his name on other releases, i.e. Silva Screen with their Hammer series etc. His contributions to film music as a producer have been many and also as a conductor too.

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But I digress, back to IS PARIS BURNING, let it be sufficient to say just go buy it, you certainly will have PAS DE REGRETS (sorry could not resist). As for me not being struck with the original soundtrack by Jarre maybe I was having an off day or I went deaf for a while because this is a glorious score, superbly written and filled to overflowing with so much patriotism and power, you must have it in your collection. The double CD also contains a handful of other Maurice Jarre scores or suites from them. There are concert suites from THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS, THE TRAIN, WEEKEND AT DUNKIRK and also IS PARIS BURNING plus we are treated to the opening titles from THE DAMNED and two bonus tracks which are vocals from IS PARIS BURNING. PARIS EN COLERE sung by Melinda Million and also a choral version of the same piece. Exhaustively extensive sleeve notes by Frank D Wald which are just so informative plus numerous stills and art work from the movie and pictures of Jarre and a front cover that cannot fail to attract anyone’s attention. So in a word FANTASTIQUE and UNE LIBERATION IMPORTANTE.

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