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Symphonic Swede

By Randall Larson     December 21, 2006

© N/A


MovieScore Media has released its fifteenth soundtrack of the year – like the others, exclusively online and available through iTunes or the label’s web site.  Frostbite (aka Frostbitten) is the first vampire film in Swedish film history – a vamp comedy that won the Best Film award at the Fantasporto Festival and several awards at the biggest horror film festival in the USA: Screamfest in Los Angeles. Among the artists honored by the jury was Danish composer Anthony Lledo, whose gothic orchestral score pays homage to the genre in the most intelligent and stylish way. Conducted by industry veteran Allan Wilson, the score is filled with exciting action music, dark suspense music and rich thematic material.  Lledo’s Frostbite score is a rich orchestral tapestry very much in the vein of the classic horror scores of Universal and Hammer.  Gothic melodies, compelling arpeggios, and surging symphonic attacks abound, crafted in an elegant grace.  “War” and “Ukraine, 1944” open the film with a stately, Old World reverence, very rhythmic and melodic, until the proceedings grow more mysterious with the discovery of an “Abandoned Cabin,” – a brusque intrusion of woodwinds and ghostly choir, broken by a dynamic furiousness of driving percussion and violin and winds.  When “The Vampire” appears, all pretense is off, his reverent violin music making way for an offensive of surging horns and gongs.  Lledo plays it straight throughout the score to support the film’s underlying humor, while emphasizing the power of its storyline and concept. 

“There You Are…” is a wonderful example of the score’s vibrant potency, a resonant suspense-cum-assault track that takes us through discovery, threat, attack, and aftermath with vivid musical clarity. “Beckert’s Story” is a furious orchestral montage, ranging from doleful bells over a sonority of violins, to a relentless rage of symphonic confrontation utilizing the resources of the entire orchestra. The climactic moments of “Annika Stabs Beckert” are as strong as any Hammer score. Faint female voicings in “Hit The Lights” return to add a luminous glow to the dark musical sentiments.  Lledo’s score proceeds very nicely along the ground trodden by Hammer’s James Bernard, providing a score that swells with rhythm and melody, yet exudes a personification of power and diabolical elegance all its own.  Most tracks run into one another making for one large continuous symphonic listening experience throughout the “album’s” 32-minutes of playing time.  Lledo’s trailer music from the film is also included on the recording – an instantly vigorous driving mix of synths and sampled choir that really propels its 60-second longevity.  All in all this is a terrific, extremely muscular horror score tinged with romantic elements that makes for a rousing and compelling listen. 

MovieScore earlier released another Swedish film score, Francis Shaw’s score for the psychological drama, Evil.  Other notable recent genre releases include Scott Glasgow’s score for Chasing Ghosts, Edmund Butt’s score for the compelling English ghost film, The Dark, and Canadian composer Ryan Shore’s stylish score for Headspace, Andrew van den Houten’s 2005 film about a young man overcome with homicidal influences of his forgotten past.   

Kudos to MovieScore Media’s executive producer Mikael Carlsson (who is also a noted film music journalist responsible for much of the industry news that’s appeared on Music from the Movies and Film Score Radio web sites) for his efforts in preserving these otherwise little-known scores and for embracing modern digital consumer technology to make them available at reasonable cost. 


2001 Space Odyssey

In January, Intrada will release the world premiere of the original performance of Alex North unused score to Stanley Kubrick sci-fi masterpiece, 2001 A Space Odyssey.  Judiciously assembled from the recently discovered sole surviving mono mixdown safety master made by engineer Eric Tomlinson during the original recording sessions, this release is as close to the “original soundtrack recording” of the rejected score as we can get. The North score was first heard in 1993, when Varese Sarabande released a re-recorded of the legendary original score, conducted by Jerry Goldsmith from a reconstruction of North’s written score.  Intrada’s release will be the first time that North’s actual recording has been heard since the 1968 scoring sessions, recorded by composer under the baton of Henry Brant. Intrada’s Special Collection release, limited to 3000 copies, is presented through combined efforts of Stanley Kubrick estate, Alex North family, restoration authority Nick Redman, and other persons related to project. 

Composer Gustavo Santaolalla, last year’s Academy Award winner for Brokeback Mountain, has won the Golden Satellite Award for his score for the thriller, Babel. The award was handed out by the International Press Academy. David Arnold and Chris Cornell won the ”Best Song” award for the James Bond title song ”You Know My Name” from Casino Royale. – via 

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has given their Music award to Alexandre Desplat for The Painted Veil and The Queen, with Thomas Newman as runner-up for The Good German and Little Children. 

The latest Signature Edition release from Intrada is Mark McKenzie's score to Blizzard, a LeVar Burton-directed children's fantasy featuring Brenda Blethyn, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Pollak, and the voice of Whoopi Goldberg. This release is limited to 1000 discs. 

On January 30th, Varese Sarabande will release two brand new scores: George S. Clinton's Code Name: The Cleaner, an action comedy starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu, and Brian Tyler's Partition, a romantic drama set in post-WWII India, with Jimi Mistry, Kristin Kreuk, and Neve Campbell. – via 

The December releases of DigitMovies continue the Italian label’s trend of reissuing restored and expanded editions of notable Italian thriller, fantasy, Western, and adventure scores. The first one is the macabre thriller, Spasmo, directed in 1974 by Umberto Lenzi. Ennio Morricone created a score full of tension based on dissonant music of contemporary art, mixing the orchestra with electronic sounds to describe all the macabre and disquiet side of the plot. This terror atmosphere is broken by two recurrent main themes. Accompanying is the first ever release of the complete original motion picture score by Stelvio Cipriani for the 1971 Giallo L’Iguana Dalla Lingua Di Fuoco (The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire). This CD was made possible with the help of C.A.M., in whose archives the original stereo master tapes have been stored until today and with the help of Stelvio Cipriani who approved the musical selection. The film is a rather typical serial killer shocker directed by Riccardo Freda (The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock, Caltiki the Immortal Monster).  Cipriani’s score is based on a romantic main theme introduced in the Main Titles with a beat arrangement for orchestra featuring the fabulous voice of Nora Orlandi.  And on December 20th the label will release a very rare Bruno Nicolai score, from the 1966 Christmas comedy, The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, which starred Rossano Brazzi and was presented in America by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 

Word has it that composer Marco Beltrami has been replaced on the upcoming computer-animated film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Reportedly taking over the project is composer Klaus Badelt. 

Carter Burwell reunites with the Coen brothers, scoring their new film No Country for Old Men. This is their twelfth film together and their over two decades of collaboration is indeed one of the most enduring filmmaker/composer relationships in modern cinema. No Country for Old Men is scheduled for release on June 7, and Burwell is currently writing the score to be recorded in January. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, James and Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Kelly MacDonald and Stephen Root, and tells the story of a hunter who stumbles across $2 million in cash, a stash of heroin and some dead bodies near the Rio Grande. Carter Burwell, who recently scored Fur and Lasse Hallström’s new film, The Hoax, is also working on the music for a documentary by Patrice Regnier, Moving Gracefully Towards the Exit, about the last years of geophysicist Michel Goullioud. – via 

Bill Stromberg, Anna Bonn and John Morgan have announced the formation of a new record label, Tribute Film Classics, which will specialize in re-recordings of classic film scores. They are currently planning complete new recordings of Bernard Herrmann's Mysterious Island and Fahrenheit 451. They also have several upcoming projects to be released on Naxos, including Erich Wolfgang Korngold's The Sea Hawk and Deception, Max Steiner's She, and Herrmann's The Kentuckian, to be paired with his documentary score Williamsburg: The Story Of A Patriot. – via 

Mobile Suit Gundam

In Japan, Star Child has released a pricey, limited CD box set release of the complete reissued sound recordings from First Gundam, the initial Mobile Suit Gundam anime series. The set Includes music collections, drama CDs, compilation albums, never-before-released BGM tracks, and more, all in the cardboard sleeve format based off of the original LP designs. All tracks feature digital remastering from the original master tapes. Also includes a deluxe 36-page The Art Of Gundam Album booklet featuring the complete original jackets and posters (subject to change), and bonus CD-ROM. 

Recommended Soundtrack sources: (Japan) (Italy)


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