John Williams: The Witches of Eastwick

John Williams In our second review for this Halloween, we look at the fabulous music score for The Witches of Eastwick. Though not typical of John Williams' output, it displays the composer's versatility. Like Jack Nicholson, Williams seems to delight in his dark side, and plays things larger than life. More...

Far From Heaven by Elmer Bernstein

Elmer Bernstein Far From Heaven in 2002 was one of Elmer Bernstein's last film scores. With a modern subject matter, the film harks back in style to the 1950s and Bernstein's pitch perfect score marks the end of an outstanding career and the end of an era for film music. More...

Chinatown by Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith When he passed 10 years ago, Jerry Goldsmith left the world with a wonderful legacy of film score masterpieces. Composed in only 10 days, Chinatown is one of the very best, with its haunting yet doomed love theme, and a vivid sense of corruption in 1930s Los Angeles. More...

Maleficent by James Newton Howard

James Newton Howard Maleficent is a welcome return to the fantasy genre for composer James Newton Howard, who has crafted a film score which is orchestrally rich and laced with multi-faceted choral work. The contrasting moods and themes have a hidden depth to be savoured with repeated listening. More...

Felix Mendelssohn: Facility and Mastery

Felix Mendelssohn - portrait In Facility and Mastery regular contributor Jeffrey Dane explores the talents of Felix Mendelssohn. If his position in the history of music is not as astral as that of other composers, he's still a central figure of his era and occupies an important place alongside his predecessors and peers. More...

Basic Instinct by Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith In Basic Instinct Sharon Stone played the teasing temptress. Equally memorable is the sultry music score by Jerry Goldsmith. The soundtrack captures the contradictions in her beautiful yet dangerous character, to create a classic score of the erotic thriller genre. More...

Noah by Clint Mansell

Clint Mansell Former rocker Clint Mansell has scored some highly successful films, but the music for Noah is on an altogether more epic scale. The composer uses ethnic Duduks with guitars and electronics in a score which ranges from melodic to atonal, but serves this strange film well. More...

Only God Forgives by Cliff Martinez

Cliff Martinez Closely mirroring the film's hellish, infernal blend of vengeance, oedipal drama and bizarre fairy tale, composer Cliff Martinez' score for Only God Forgives provides a compelling, diverse soundscape, which moves from dark dissonance to lush romanticism in a heartbeat. More...

Rush by Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer For all its fast cars, Ron Howard's Rush is ultimately a movie about the relationship between two rival drivers. Hans Zimmer does his trademark fusion of electronica (and electric guitars) with orchestral music, but his experience on character dramas finds the movie's human core. More...

Thor: The Dark World by Brian Tyler

Brian Tyler Hot on the heels of "Iron Man 3" composer Brian Tyler returns to the Marvel fold to score Thor: The Dark World. A superhero with a powerful hammer demands an heroic main theme with pounding percussion, but the score is nicely balanced with themes for Loki and Malekith. More...

The Straight Story by Angelo Badalamenti

Angelo Badalamenti David Lynch and his regular composer Angelo Badalamenti are known for their surreal or weird movies, but The Straight Story is an optimistic experience which Badalamenti scores with simple melodies and country or blue-grass instruments. More...

Mimic by Marco Beltrami

Marco Beltrami As we approach halloween, let's take a fresh listen to an early score by a modern master of the horror genre, Marco Beltrami. His music for Mimic easily delivers on the scares while providing an intelligent mix of thematic and rhythmic ideas. More...

John Powell: How to Train Your Dragon 2

John Powell Expectations were high after the success of John Powell's score to "How to Train Your Dragon". It's therefore wonderful to report that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a fine follow-up, building on the original's strengths while introducing a host of new ideas. It all adds up to a rich canvas of music that effortlessly conveys the film's narrative. More...

Joel McNeely: A Million Ways to Die...

Joel McNeely A Million Ways to Die in the West is one of the biggest recent scores by composer Joel McNeely. The composer rises to the challenge with a straight yet fun score in the best traditions of the genre, referencing the great Western composers such as Bernstein and Morricone. More...

Transcendence by Mychael Danna

Mychael Danna The score for Transcendence by composer Mychael Danna should have a much longer shelf-life than the movie. Its rich mixture of electronic and orchestral elements is a textbook example of how to combine the two disciplines with intelligence and subtlety. More...

Godzilla by Alexandre Desplat

Alexandre Desplat While Alexandre Desplat's Godzilla has a human side and is well aware of its heritage, it is literally monstrous. Using a huge orchestra to build ominous tension, it rises in massive crescendos before erupting in monumental musical statements accompanied by spine-tingling choir. More...

The Grand Budapest Hotel by Desplat

Alexandre Desplat As we await the expected blockbuster score for "Godzilla", let's examine Alexandre Desplat's quirkier side with his music for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel. The music is whimsical and nostalgic with East European instrumentation suiting the movie to a tee. More...

Dakota Chronicle

Leonard Bernstein Leonard Bernstein spent the last 16 years of his life staying at an apartment in a New York City building called the Dakota. In Dakota Chronicle Jeffrey Dane recalls a visit to this residence, at an event supported by the composer's son Alexander Bernstein. More...

Patrick Doyle: Hamlet

Patrick Doyle Continuing our look at composer Patrick Doyle's Shakespearean scores for Kenneth Branagh, we turn to the Bard's most famous play. Hamlet is special even by Doyle's standards, and it beautifully expresses the tragic nature and epic scope of Shakespeare's masterpiece. More...

Patrick Doyle: Much Ado About Nothing

Patrick Doyle Patrick Doyle's collaborations with the director Kenneth Branagh have resulted in many excellent film scores. This week we look at their 1993 film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing which is brim full of melodic invention and infectious good humour. Hey Nonny, Nonny! More...

The Composer and God by Jeffrey Dane

Brahms' arrival in Heaven by Otto Böhler The Church has had a huge influence on the development of music. Although classical music became largely secular during the 18th century, composers continued to be inspired by their beliefs. In The Composer and God Jeffrey Dane explores this ongoing relationship. More...

Thomas Newman: Saving Mr. Banks

Thomas Newman - composer Thomas Newman's charmingly nostalgic score for Saving Mr. Banks deftly skips around the Mary Poppins songs, and provides a wonderful counterpoint to the character-driven story which centres around the relationship between Tom Hanks' Walt Disney and Emma Thompson's wonderful portrayal of Poppins author P. L. Travers. More...

Gravity by Steven Price

Steven Price With its emphasis on spectacular 3D visual effects, simple plot and limited cast, Gravity requires an unusual film score, and composer Steven Price delivers this with style: part sound design with avant guarde leanings, the music evolves from stark isolation to an emotional finale. More...

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