Ten Tracks Today – 17th December 2011

01 – “Deer Hunting” – I Am LegendJames Newton Howard

There’s nothing much to the start of this cue – a tinkling piano motif – but pounding rhythms begin to intrude into the track as the peril of the deer becomes apparent. It’s not an over-orchestrated piece this, and it highlights well Howard’s grasp of the phrase “less is more”.

02 – “The Rain” – KikujiroJoe Hisaishi

This is such a beautiful track with it’s string solo together with piano accompaniment. A very lyrical piece that somehow has a sense of the bittersweet about it. I remember hearing this score as a clip in a “mystery clip” competition and immediately being attracted to this score. The end of the track moves onto what I would consider the “main theme” – another gem of a theme.

03 – “Corriendo al Ensayo de Teatro” – Hidalgo: La Historia Jamás ContadaAlejandro Giacomán

Swirling strings introduce a sense of urgency to the track. Also, the low strings add a repeating rhythm that is sustained throughout the track that propels it forward. Brass additions give the track a bit more depth and it all makes for an interesting piece. A bit of a disappointing score overall though.

04 – “Ascension” – Battle ForgeTillman Sillescu

From a 2004 video game, the music is a good example of how accomplished game music can be. Being “Ascension” there’s the obligatory swelling strings (as well as brass) as the track progresses. The cue comes to a satisfying, though understated, conclusion (with a hint of choir).

05 – “Theme” – The Poseidon AdventureJohn Williams

This version is Geoff Love and his orchestra’s “pop” arrangement of the song, “The Morning After”, taken from his album “Big Terror Movie Themes”. This was a well-worn album from when I was just getting into film music (mid-70s) and the whole album was a great introduction to the joys of film music.

06 – “Halloween Theme” – HalloweenJohn Carpenter

This is one of the great themes for film ever composed. And with all the great themes it is (or at least to me seems to be) a very simple one. It seems to be just two or three repeating ideas that are knitted together to form a grand whole.

07 – “The Count Returns Wounded” – ErmessendaArnau Bataller

From an historical drama TV mini-series from Spain, this track has some delicate choral music that adds a religious slant to the dramatic orchestral music. It is a track that focuses more on ominous atmosphere (though not formless soundscapes) than overt drama, using various vocal techniques to good effect.

08 – “Dark Phoenix’s Tragedy” – X-Men III: The Final StandJohn Powell

Being part of a suite of cues that blend with each other, this track starts and ends suddenly. But this does not detract too much from a track that contains one of Powell’s greatest musical achievements. The theme for Dark Phoenix is grand and the way in which the composer plays with the rhythms cries out to be listened to again and again. Play this one loud.

09 – “Scorpion Attack” – Honey, I Shrunk The KidsJames Horner

I like this score because of the numerous Horner-isms contained in this score. And here in this particular track there’s hints of scores such as Horner’s Star Trek scores and even his score for Aliens. Which is to say, this cue has some great dramatic scoring that emphasises rhythm. Personally, I love the idea of being reacquainted with the “old friends” that are Horner’s musical palette.

10 – “The Baths” – Prince of Persia: The Forgotten SandsPenka Kouneva

Pounding rhythms, blaring brass and grand choir give a bit of a stereotypical feel to this score – this track anyway. But Kouneva does it in such a way that it’s very listenable regardless of the lack of originality.

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