Jim's Blog - 2011:

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December 29th - Treemonisha: a new recording of Scott Joplin's opera

Scott Joplin: Treemonisha by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra - Box Set cover (2 CDs) Fitting very nicely with our ragtime theme this week, is this new recording of Treemonisha. The opera is a unique picture, both culturally and spiritually, of Black Africans in America in the 19th century. Scott Joplin completed the work in 1911, and invested so much of himself (emotionally and artistically) in its creation. There are very few complete recordings of the opera, but the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra have set out to create a definitive recording using Joplin's original orchestration. The boxset comes on 2 CDs with an illustrated 116-page book. More information and samples at the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra website and the recording is also available at Amazon.co.uk (expected in January 2012) and at Amazon.com.

December 20th - Music by Sangjin Bae

This video showcases the music of Sangjin Bae who is a 17 year old composer from Korea, in a work called "Poem of a Thousand Years". The singing in this music has been created using the SeeU Vocaloid voicebank which uses sampled vocals specialising in Korean and Japanese syllables and intonation. "Poem of a Thousand Years" is based on some Korean folklore where a fox with 9 tails waits for a thousand years to become human, and the music lasts 1000 seconds. More music by Sangjin Bae can be downloaded from our Original MP3 page.

December 15th - Igor Stravinsky conducts The Firebird

Here is Igor Stravinsky himself in a rare video conducting the end of his Firebird Suite at the age of 82. The Russian born composer was most famous for his ballet scores commissioned by Diaghilev: including "The Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring". The Rite of Spring became instantly famous (or infamous) when its Paris premiere caused a riot, since it was so far removed from the normal expectations of classical ballet. The music was a key milestone for 20th century innovations including complex polyrhythms and polytonality.

December 9th - Jazz on Film Noir: Boxset

Jazz on Film ...Film Noir - Box Set cover (5 CDs) This new boxset fits perfectly into our jazz theme this month - and just in time for Christmas! The remastered boxset has 5 CDs and features the most celebrated jazz film noir scores of the 1950s. There are 7 complete scores in the collection including Duke Ellington's Anatomy of a Murder, Henry Mancini's A Touch of Evil, Alex North's A Streetcar Named Desire, Leith Stevens' Private Hell 36, John Lewis' Odds Against Tomorrow, and Elmer Bernstein's The Man with the Golden Arm and Sweet Smell of Success. The pack comes with a 52 page booklet and is available at Amazon.co.uk and (as an MP3 download) at Amazon.com.

December 6th - An unual version of Brahms' Clarinet Quintet!

We came across this unusual version of the Clarinet Quintet by Johannes Brahms. Accompanied by some hypnotic graphics, Brahms' music has some unusual instrumentation and periodically bursts out into Gypsy style interludes. The music is played by ZRI who are a "new ensemble who are re-imagining classical music for new audiences to fall in love with." On this occasion they "have re-scored the great Brahms Clarinet Quintet to reflect Brahms's passion for the tavern dwelling gypsy musicians." More of their music can be found on the ZRI music website.

November 28th - Two excellent Sheet Music books for Piano

Nigel Hess: Silent Nights - Sheet Music Book cover Debbie Wiseman: Piano Stories - Sheet Music Book cover Here are two excellent examples of sheet music books released to tie in with music albums. First up is Nigel Hess' "Silent Nights" which ties in with the "Silent Nights" album released last year. The 14 Christmas Carol arrangements are for piano Grades 4 to 6, and more information about this book is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Next up is Debbie Wiseman's "Piano Stories". The sheet music lets you play the same 22 tracks played by the composer on her latest "Piano Stories" album. More information about the sheet music (also Grades 4 to 6) can be found at Musicroom.com.

November 22nd - Christmas Gifts

Here's some Christmas gift suggestions for the music-lover:

November 18th - Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Boxset

It is 25 years since "Phantom of the Opera" first hit the stage. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical has been a huge success in London's West End, New York's Broadway and in many other theatres across the world. The 25th Anniversary Boxset celebrates this success on 4 CDs and 1 DVD, with the original recordings of the show and its 2010 sequel "Love Never Dies" and a 160-page hardback book. Each Box Set is numbered and with an exclusive medallion and a replica of the opening night programme, available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

November 14th - El Cid the definitive recording of Miklos Rozsa's score

Among his outstanding film scores, El Cid stands as Miklos Rozsa's masterpiece. The music propels the story while effortlessly evoking the period and the locations. Tadlow Music's definitive recording of this score has an exquisite attention to detail, and comes as a Special Limited Collectors Edition in a 3 CD box-set. The 3rd CD contains bonus tracks and videos showing a selection of the recording sessions, and the video alongside shows a small selection from these recording sessions. The box-set is rare but it can still be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

November 7th - George Fenton's Music for Documentaries

Documentary series not only inform and amaze audiences with stunning photography, they also showcase some excellent music. While George Fenton's music can currently be heard on the small screen with "Frozen Planet", "Planet Earth Live" which has already toured the US will now receive its UK premiere at London's Barbican on 19th November. Meanwhile Nitin Sawhney's music will accompany Human Planet Live next year. Debbie Wiseman has also done a number of series this year with "Fry's Planet Word" and "Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey" being the most recent.

October 27th - Another John Williams score: War Horse

John Williams: War Horse soundtrack CD cover Only a few weeks ago we mentioned "TinTin" saying that it seems like years since we've had a Steven Spielberg & John Williams movie. Well just like buses two have arrived in a short space of time, because "War Horse" is on its way and here is the movie trailer. It's about a young man whose horse is sent to the trenches of World War I France. The movie is getting a Christmas release in the US and elsewhere, though the UK and most of Europe won't see it in cinemas until the New Year. The soundtrack will be available from these links amazon.com (21st November) and amazon.co.uk (16th January).

October 21st - John Carpenter's Halloween

It's getting very close to Halloween now, and what better way to celebrate the event than to look at the music written by the director John Carpenter for his own Horror films including his long series of Halloween movies. In the video at the left, John Carpenter is interviewed about his musical influences and talks about the origin of the "Halloween" Theme Music and "Assault on Precinct 13". Carpenter's partner for realising his music scores was Alan Howarth, and here is Alan Howarth playing a hypnotic version of the Halloween Theme live on synthesisers with Zombie Zombie in Paris.

October 11th - Lang Lang: Liszt - My Piano Hero

Lang Lang - Liszt: My Piano Hero album CD cover October 22nd is the 200th anniversary of Liszt's birth. Franz Liszt's major achievement was to take the piano in new directions and pianist Lang Lang champions the composer's work with a concert tour and album. The concert tour includes Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 and additional works for solo piano. The highlight of the tour is a live broadcast scheduled for Liszt's birthday. On Saturday 22nd October Lang Lang will perform Liszt's music with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, and the performance will be broadcast live in high definition to hundreds of movie theaters across the US, with a re-broadcast taking place on Monday 24th. The accompanying album "My Piano Hero" is available in 2 editions: CD at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, and CD plus DVD version at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com. And what got Lang Lang hooked on the music of Liszt? - the Tom & Jerry cartoon called the "Cat Concerto" which he watched as a boy.

October 6th - John Willams - The Adventures of Tintin

John Williams - The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn soundtrack CD cover It's a long time since the last John Williams film score, but "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" is out in late October in much of Europe, and nearer Christmas in the US. Steven Spielberg worked with Peter Jackson on the movie, and yet again Andy Serkis gets involved in motion capture to create the character of Captain Haddock. The story involves Tintin and his friends finding directions to a sunken ship which was commanded by one of Haddock's ancestors, so they go off on a treasure hunt. The soundtrack CD can be pre-ordered at amazon.co.uk (24th October) and amazon.com (1st November). Short samples of each track are on the German website www.cinemamusica.de and the movie trailer is at www.tintin.com.

October 3rd - Four Chords as used in 36 songs!

This video by an Australian Comedy Group "Axis of Awesome" quotes 36 well-known songs, all using the same chord sequence: E, B, C#m, A. What does this tell us? In the key of E (popular with guitar players) these chords are all closely related, and appear often in any songs in this key. And if you put the chords together, then this sequence makes sense musically, so it is not too surprising to find these chords played in this order. Here is our sheet music for Waltzing Matilda (one of the 36) though the arrangement is in D (with the chord sequence D, A, Bm, G).

September 29th - Segovia plays Albéniz's Asturias/Leyenda

Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) deserves credit for popularising guitar music, and introducing classical guitar to audiences across the world. He played guitar works by established composers from Spain and elsewhere. He performed many guitar concertos and solo works written for him by contemporary composers, and he also transcribed other classical pieces (e.g. by Bach) for guitar. Here Segovia plays Albeniz's Asturias (or Leyenda), one of his most famous transcriptions. See our Guitar Sheet Music and Albeniz's original Leyenda/Asturias for piano.

September 26th - The Matrix Live in Concert

The Matrix brought new dimensions to Sci-FI movies, and its music by composer Don Davis is a vital ingredient in its success and revolutionary in its own right. "The Matrix Live" comes to London's Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 23rd October. Watch the film on the big screen and hear the music performed live by the Hanover's NDR Pops Orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel. The music is notoriously difficult to play, but to play it live while synchronised to the film takes a lot of practice! More details and tickets from the Royal Albert Hall website.

September 20th - Jane Eyre by Dario Marianelli

Dario Marianelli - Jane Eyre soundtrack CD cover "Jane Eyre" is now on release in the UK. Though the story of romance and tragedy is familiar, the filmmakers have aimed for a new perspective on the source novel. The story is told in flashback, featuring an accurate historical look with natural period lighting and sound effects captured on location. An equal part of the distinctive feel is the film score by Dario Marianelli, himself no stranger to costume dramas, who has created an evocative sound featuring the solo violin of Jack Liebeck. The soundtrack CD is available at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Though not included on the CD, Marianelli has continued his classical associations on the film soundtrack, performing piano sontatas by Beethoven and Mozart.

September 15th - Murray Gold talks about his music for Doctor Who

In this interview for Silva Screen Records, resident Doctor Who composer Murray Gold talks about his music for the programme. The interview covers how his work for the show has evolved, including the use of character themes, the Doctor Who Prom concerts, working with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the challenges of working remotely from New York, and his favourite pieces of music from the show. Among the composers who have influenced him, Gold mentions in particular Ennio Morricone and Danny Elfman.

September 13th - Philip Glass: 1000 Airplanes on the Roof

"1000 Airplanes on the Roof" a one-act melodrama by Philip Glass will be performed on 18th September as part of the Lammermuir Festival. Appropriately the event will take place in the Concorde Hangar at the National Museum of Flight (more details and booking information at the Festival website). In other local music news (near the mfiles home on the East of Scotland) the East Neuk Festival held in Crail this summer featured an impressive Sand Sculpure of Beethoven (photos of the sand sculpture can be seen on this Sand Scupture website).

September 2nd - Nightingale String Quartet play Shostakovich

In this video the Nightingale String Quartet expertly play the 4th movement "Adagio" from Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 3 in F "In Memory of the Dead". What makes this moving performance unusual is the video itself, an idea borrowed from the world of Popular Music, but very much sympathetic to the classical material being played. The images are more thought-provoking than disturbing or intrusive - musically and visually a great interpretation.

August 30th - Hayley Westenra sings Ennio Morricone

Paradiso - Hayley Westenra sings Ennio Morricone album cover Just released in the UK (and on October 4th in the US) is Paradiso, a unique collaboration between Hayley Westenra and the composer Ennio Morricone. This is 23-year-old Hayley's 5th album and Morricone is almost 60 years her senior. Morricone has arranged some of his best known film songs for the young soprano, conducting and producing each track, from Gabriel's Oboe and Deborah's Theme to Malena, La Califfa and 2 tracks from Cinema Paradiso. Details of the album can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. And there is still 3 days left to view Morricone's music played at the proms by the Spaghetti Western Orchestra, a quintet from Australia.

August 24th - Conan the Barbarian, Basil Poledouris' complete score

Basil Poledouris - Conan the Barbarian (the complete score) soundtrack double-CD cover If you like Basil Poledouris' music for the original Conan the Barbarian then Tadlow's double-CD pack is the release you've been waiting for. This World Premiere Recording of the Complete Score is performed by Nic Raine conducting The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. The new recording includes a wealth of previously unrecorded tracks, additional bonus material and a suite from "Conan the Destroyer". The sleeve notes are introduced by the composer's youngest daughter Alexis while her older sister Zoe contributed a theme which Basil incorporated into the score. The family release can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Meanwhile Tyler Bates has scored this year's Conan remake.

August 15th - Music to be Murdered By, celebrating Herrmann in Glasgow

Bernard Herrmann - photo The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra celebrate the composer Bernard Herrmann on 17th and 18th September. On Saturday 17th John Wilson conducts the orchestra live during a full screening of the movie Psycho - including the piercing strings during that infamous shower scene at the Bates Motel. On Sunday 18th Wilson again conducts the orchestra for a concert of music by Herrmann and related composers. The concert details can be found on the Concert Diary and here is the conductor John Wilson talking about the concerts.

August 9th - George Kallis' score for Screwed on iTunes

George Kallis - Screwed soundtrack album cover "Screwed" is the latest soundtrack release by composer George Kallis, available now on iTunes. Kallis is a London-based composer who has scored a number of movies including "Highlander: The Source" and "Joy Division". As a prison drama based on the experiences of a former prison guard, the music for Screwed is dark and gritty but with occasional rays of sunshine. The film is already on general release in the UK and stars James D'Arcy (Master and Commander) and Noel Clarke (Kidulthood). The DVD will be available in the UK on 17th October with details and pre-ordering info on Amazon.co.uk.

August 7th - LSO perform concert of Dimitri Tiomkin's music

Dimitri Tiomkin - photo The LSO will perform the music of Dimitri Tiomkin at a concert in London's Barbican Centre on Thurs 27th October. The Orchesra will be conducted by Richard Kaufman, and joined by singers Whitney Claire Kaufman, Andrew Playfoot and the London Voices. The concert includes Tiomkin's music from High Noon, Rawhide, The Alamo, The Old Man and the Sea, Wild is the Wind, Dial M for Murder, Strangers on a Train, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Guns of Navarone, The High and The Mighty and Giant. To tie in with the concert, the Barbican also presents the 2 Hitchcock films scored by Tiomkin: "Strangers on a Train" on 23rd Oct and "Dial M for Murder" on 30th Oct.

July 29th - Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black CD album cover The sudden death of Amy Winehouse was tragic, particular with some reports suggesting that the singer was winning the addiction battle. The news has obviously stirred people into re-evaluating her music and the effect on music sales has been convincing if not entirely unexpected. Today our UK download charts for the "Top 50 singles" features 3 tracks with the singer and the "Top 50 albums" features no less than 5 of Amy's Albums including the No.1 position. Compare prices for any of the following download albums "Back to Black" (11 tracks), "Frank" (13 tracks), "Frank & Back to Black [Explicit]" (50 tracks), or "Back to Black (deluxe edition)" (19 tracks).

July 26th - The Music of James Horner

James Horner - The Music of James Horner soundtrack double-CD cover "The Music of James Horner" celebrates the film music of James Horner. The double album (from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com) covers the composer's career in reverse from "The Karate Kid", "Avatar" and "The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas", through "Troy", "A Beautiful Mind", "Deep Impact", "The Mask Of Zorro", "Titanic", "Ransom", "Apollo 13", "Braveheart", "Legends Of The Fall", "Man Without A Face", "We're Back: A Dinosaur Story", "Patriot Games", "The Rocketeer", "Glory", "Willow", "The Land Before Time" and "Aliens" to early successes "Cocoon", "The Search For Spock", "The Wrath Of Khan" and "Battle Beyond The Stars" from 1980. More...

July 22nd - Tan Dun: The Martial Arts Trilogy

Tan Dun - The Martial Arts Trilogy soundtrack CD cover The Martial Arts Trilogy is released this week, with highlights from the three martial arts scores by composer Tan Dun - Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Banquet and Hero. The compilation also features 3 of today's the most famous soloists: Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Lang Lang (piano) and Itzhak Perlman (violin). The album can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, and it ties in with Dun's "Martial Arts Trilogy Tour" which started this week in San Diego. The Tour will visit several cities in the US and in Europe, before heading to Asia where there will be performances in 8 major cities in China, followed by Tokyo and finally the Singapore Festival in December. More...

July 15th - Alf Clausen receives 30th Emmy Nomination

Composer Alf Clausen, famous for his work on The Simpsons, hits the record books with his 30th Emmy Nomination - more info at the Film Music Society. Other nominations include Carter Burwell (2 noms for Mildred Pierce), David Arnold and Michael Price (Sherlock), Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna (Camelot).

Here are 2 women playing Bach´s Toccata & Fugue on a giant foot piano (like in the movie "Big") - looks like a good workout routine! Here are our downloads for Bach's famous Toccata & Fugue in Dm including Sheet Music, Midi and MP3 files.

July 14th - 2 Cellos or 4 Cellos: the rise of the cello bands

2Cellos: Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser - album CD cover 2CELLOS is a cello duo discovered on Youtube, consisting of Croatian music students Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. They became an internet sensation with their cover version of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. Now they have made the big time and are touring with Elton John. Their debut album has also been released and can be found at Amazon.co.uk (from 25th July) and Amazon.com. Among other cello bands on Youtube you can also find the Estonian group C-JAM, here playing Misirlou, a Greek song made popular by its use in "Pulp Fiction", and the German group quattrocelli here playing the Mission Impossible theme by Lalo Schifrin.

July 7th - Celebrating the Classic Film Music of Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann - North by Northwest soundtrack CD cover This year marks the Centenary of Bernard Herrmann's birth. Often cited as one of the most influential of all film composers, Herrmann is most associated with the films of director Alfred Hitchcock with whom he had a famously stormy relationship, though he also worked with many other filmmakers including Orson Welles (Citizen Kane), Francois Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451), Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver), Brian de Palma (Obsession) and Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts). Here is an interesting documentary on youtube called Music from the Movies: Bernard Herrmann (Part 1 of 8) which gives some highlights of the composer's career.

June 29th - Howard Blake's music for The Avengers - now available

Cult TV show "The Avengers" started out with music by the great Johnny Dankworth, then Laurie Johnson scored the programme for years and wrote its iconic theme tune. Howard Blake took over from Johnson in the final series, when the show's main composer was busy on another project. Remarkably Blake's music is very similar in style yet he gives it his own unique spin and this is now fully celebrated on CD. "Silva Screen" have released a double-album with a total of 50 tracks and a 16-page booklet. You can pre-order the CD at www.amazon.co.uk (for 8th August) but you can order it now at www.avengersmusic.com.

June 24th - Fred Steiner (1923-2011) - Composer for Film and Television

Fred Steiner - photo Fred Steiner died yesterday at the age of 88 following a stroke. As a composer he wrote for radio and film, though he is best known for his many contributions to television - The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Hogan's Heroes and Dynasty. His most successful music for TV was the Perry Mason Theme (called "Park Avenue Beat") which was used throughout the series and the later "made for TV" movies. He was also one of a handful of composers along with Alexander Courage who created the music for the original Star Trek Series. "The Color Purple" was nominated for a Best Original Score oscar in 1985. Although the lead composer for the film was Quincy Jones, Steiner was one of a team of composers jointly nominated for the award. Here are some youtube examples of Fred Steiner's music:

June 17th - Free Bernard Herrmann tracks on Facebook

Milan Records - Bernard Herrmann album Milan Records (www.milanrecords.com) are a label with a large catalogue of film and television soundtracks. Their Band Page on Facebook currently features an album of music by Bernard Herrmann. The album is called "Bernard Herrman Film Scores: From Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver" and two of its tracks are available for free download "Citizen Kane - Suite" and "Bernard Herrmann on Film Music". Other tracks on the album include music from "Taxi Driver", "Psycho", "Farenheit 451", "North by Northwest", "Vertigo", and "The Man Who Knew Too Much".

June 15th - Simon Rattle and Tom Tykwer on "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer"

The film "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" was released in 2006 and gathered several awards for director Tom Tykwer. It was also the first soundtrack for conductor Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. On this video Sir Simon talks about his role in the film and bringing the score to life. The music was composed by director Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, and the film stars Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman. Check out the soundtrack album at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com (where you can preview this haunting music).

June 10th - New Releases from Music Box Records

Georges Delerue - Le Bon Plaisir soundtrack CD cover Music Box Records the new Record Label launched earlier this year has announced new releases for June. Their 2nd Georges Delerue score is "Le Bon Plaisir". The film was directed by Francis Girod based on a novel by Françoise Giroud, where a French President is affected by revelations about his past private life. Delerue's music is multi-dimensional reflecting the different facets of the story, and the CD includes previously unreleased music and is free from the dialogue mixing on an earlier release on LP. Also announced is an album of film music by François de Roubaix from the films "Comment les séduire" (1001 Ways to Love), "Les Strip-teaseuses" and "Les Combinards". More details at www.musicbox-records.com.

June 7th - Mark Kermode presents Film Music with the BBC Philharmonic

Mark Kermode - photo Mark Kermode presents 2 Film Music shows on Friday 10th June. First with Simon Mayo at 2:00pm he co-presents "Film Review" on BBC Radio 5 Live with extracts of film scores. Then later at 7:30pm he presents a film music concert on Radio 3 Live. The programme includes music by John Williams, Erich Korngold, Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman, Nino Rota and Angelo Badalamenti. The Concert itself is sold out at Salford Quays, but you can hear both shows on the Radio, performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. More details on the BBC concert diary.

June 6th - Jack Nitzsche's Starman on TV adverts

The current series of television adverts for Virgin Media have expertly mixed some of our favourite music together. For this particular advert, we hear Jack Nitzsche's uplifting music from the film "Starman" where Jeff Bridges is a misunderstood alien in human form. The lyrics of course come from the Madness song "Our House". There is much more Madness madness on the band's website/blog blog.madness.co.uk with news, gigs, photos and lots more videos.

June 1st - Eric Whitacre's Sleep sung by Virtual Choir 2.0

Eric Whitacre's works have been a sensation on YouTube with each project receiving millions of hits. For "Virtual Choir 2.0" he invited people to submit videos singing the parts of his choral work "Sleep". A total of 2052 videos from 58 countries were then assembled into a single video, and the voices professionally mixed. In the video at the right he performs the work at the "Classic FM Awards" with a live choir, while the Virtual Choir version can be seen here on youtube. The composer's official website is at www.EricWhitacre.com.

May 30th - James Galway plays Flute Concertos

James Galway plays Flute Concertos - box set 12-CD cover Sony Classical have released another major box-set. To celebrate Sir James Galway's 70th birthday this set brings together all his recordings of flute concertos, including works by JS Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Carl Stamitz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Baldassare Galuppi, Romano Antonio Piacentino, Giuseppe Tartini, Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Joachim Quantz, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Domenico Cimarosa, Franz Danzi, Saverio Mercadante, Carl Reinecke, Joaquin Rodrigo, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Jacques Ibert, Carl Nielsen and John Mayer. More information about the 12-CD release can be found at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

May 20th - New Soundtrack-related CDs from Vocalion

Ron Goodwin and his Orchestra - Rhythm and Romance plus Gypsy Fire Super Heroes and Big Terror Movie Themes - Geoff Love and his Orchestra The Vocalion label specialises in re-releasing older recordings on CD, thanks to the expert re-mastering skills of Michael J. Dutton. Two new releases are soundtrack-related. Firstly there is a double-CD of music played by Ron Goodwin (633 Squadron, Battle of Britain) and his orchestra, and secondly another double album by Geoff Love and his Orchestra with "Super Heroes" and "Big Terror" Movie Themes.

May 17th - Lang Lang receives honorary doctorate at the Royal College of Music

Prince Charles presents Lang Lang with honorary doctorate at the Royal College of Music On 12th May HRH the Prince of Wales presented Lang Lang with an Honorary Doctorate from London's Royal College of Music in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a performer and philanthropist supporting the next generation of musicians. At 28 years, Lang Lang is the youngest person to receive this distinguished honour. Also receiving Honorary Doctorates were composer James MacMillan and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. As International Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund and as founder of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, the pianist does much to support and nurture young talent. Here is a brief interview with Lang Lang filmed after the ceremony.

May 5th - Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides by Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer - Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides UK soundtrack CD cover Hans Zimmer - Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides US soundtrack CD cover Hans Zimmer worked with the amazing Guitar Duo Rodrigo y Gabriela on the score to the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean film "On Stranger Tides". The soundtrack album can be pre-ordered at: Amazon.co.uk (May 16th) and Amazon.com (May 17th). While the existing themes are re-used, the guitar music gives the score a new and exciting dimension. Listen here to the track Angelica and here you can preview All the Tracks.

April 29th - James Newton Howard: Water for Elephants

James Newton Howard - Water for Elephants soundtrack CD cover James Newton Howard's score for "Water for Elephants" is a sumptuous affair, and we think a possible condender when it comes to the oscar nominations. The story is based on the novel by Sara Gruen and is set in a circus during the great depression. The plot concerns a love affair between a married woman and the vet who treats the circus animals, and the music is appropriately dreamy for the romantic liaison yet memorable and engaging. However things do not stay peaceful and Howard brings out the powerful tensions and passions as the story unfolds. The CD is available from these links at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (from May 2nd).

April 26th - Yo-yo Ma and Lil Buck plus beat-boxing cellist K.O.

Here's a couple of unusual but captivating videos. On the left is the street dancer Lil Buck dancing beautifully to Yo-yo Ma playing "The Swan" from Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals". The video on the right shows Kevin (K.O.) Olusola who plays the Cello and Beat-Boxes at the same time!

April 21st - Carl Davis: Heroines in Music

Carl Davis - Heroines in Music CD cover The latest CD in the "Carl Davis Collection" (Carl Davis' own record label) is called "Heroines in Music" and contains a selection of music from the composer's scores for films and television. The album has a number of tracks from the movies "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Pride and Prejudice", and the BBC television series "Cranford". There is also a Nocturne (for piano and alto sax) which is based on themes from "Hotel du Lac", a "Screen Two" drama from 1986. As with previous releases the composer himself conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra and the album is available from these links at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

April 19th - Video: You've never heard Bach played like this!

Having a ball with Bach - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring Here is a link to a youtube video which I'm sure you will enjoy. It's only an advert, but some TV adverts are more entertaining than the programmes! I like the way the ball slows down and accelerates on its journey. The music is Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" from one of his cantatas, but often played as an arrangement for piano or organ.

April 13th - The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Here is a fun video with some classical film music tracks. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain recorded at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival playing "Pinball Wizard", Morricone's theme from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and Eric Coates' "Dambusters March".

Everyone seems to be playing the Ukulele these days - I walked into a music store in Inverness and the staff were playing Ukuleles, though they only seemed to know 3 chords!

April 6th - The Game Music Initiative announce the composers for its "OneBigAlbum"

The Game Music Initiative have announced the "OneBigAlbum" project to support Save The Children and the Starlight Children's Foundation. A total of 17 highly experienced Games Composers will each compose a new track for the album: Michiel van den Bos, Allister Brimble, Marc Canham, Andrew Curnock, Jason Graves, James Hannigan, Akari Kaida, Frank Klepacki, Masaya Matsuura, Peter McConnell, Chris Rickwood, Mike Reagan, Bart Roijmans, Christopher Tin, Cris Velasco, Jonathan vd Wijngaarden and Inon Zur.

April 4th - Gabriel Yared's rejected score for Troy

Gabriel Yared - Troy complete rejected score Among the most infamous examples of rejected film scores are Bernard Herrmann's score for "Torn Curtain" being rejected by Alfred Hitchcock and Alex North's score for "2001: A Space Odyssey" being substituted with classical music by Stanley Kubrick. Both scores have since been recorded and released, often to great critical acclaim. More recently Gabriel Yared's score for "Troy" was also replaced, after he had worked on the project for a year. We have not yet found a store stocking the CD, but this score has also apparently been recorded since it has appeared on Youtube. Click this playlist and start from track 1.

March 31st - A Radiophonic Weekend at the Cube Microplex Cinema in Bristol

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop This weekend (2nd/3rd April), the Cube Microplex Cinema in Bristol UK will host a special event celebrating the pioneering work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Using tape loops and early synthesisers the workshop were at the forefront in the creation of electronic sound and music. Among the events taking place on the two evenings are screenings and performances, with special guests David Cain and Dick Mills who spent many years creating weird and wonderful sounds at the workshop. More information about the events and tickets can be found here on the Cube Cinema website.

March 29th - Suite from Space Battleship YAMATO by Naoki Sato

This video is a suite of music by Naoki Sato from a television series known originally as "Space Battleship YAMATO" in Japan, but renamed as "Star Blazers" for distribution in other parts of the world. Confusingly some of the individual series for this long-running animated show had their own titles. In this suite the composer gives his music the full orchestral treatment including chorus. There are moves to create a live-action movie (or movies) based on the series, but as yet few details have been released about the new movie.

March 15th - A Toyota Robot plays "Land of Hope and Glory" on the violin!

This might not be the best performance in the world, but considering it's being played by a robot, it is pretty good! Machines are getting better at doing things which humans can do, though I don't expect to see many robots in the concert hall just yet. The tune it is playing is Edward Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" which is now available to view and download from mfiles: view Land of Hope and Glory, download PDF Piano Sheet Music, MIDI file or MP3 file.

March 11th - Derek Paravicini a blind musical savant

Derek Paravicini - still image from TV show Sometimes you come across amazing inspiring things on YouTube, and this is one of those times. Derek Paravicini is blind and disabled, but extremely gifted musically. Through music he has been able to reach out and interact socially with people. Here is a short TV Programme about Derek shown on a US TV show. It includes footage of Derek performing on the piano as a boy, and as a young man taking requests from the audience, in any key and any style. He performs Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and improvises on random notes called out by his audience.

March 7th - Gramophone Magazine: April is the Film Music Issue

Gramophone Magazine: April 2011 cover The April issue of Gramophone Magazine is available now and is a special Film Music Issue. The magazine devotes 25 pages to this months Special Topic, including an article about the Art of Film Music, a Tribute to the composer John Barry, a profile of Ennio Morricone written by Hans Zimmer, a look at some of the major composers who transitioned during their careers from the Concert Hall to the Big Screen (and back again) including Shostakovich, Korngold and Copland. The Special also looks at some of the key French composers who contributed to the Cinema, and other articles about Film Music: Does Film Music have the power to draw new audiences into the Concert Hall?

March 6th - Jascha Heifetz: The Complete Album Collection

Jascha Heifetz: The Complete Album Collection - image Hot on the heels of their Leonard Bernstein Symphony Edition, Sony now release an even bigger set with 103 CDs of albums recorded by violin legend Jascha Heifetz. The set has 3 hours of previously unreleased recordings, a DVD and a 260-page hardcover book. The music spans 55 years of Heifetz's incredible career, from his first recording session in 1917 to his last public recital in October 1972. The vast repertoire ranges from intimate solo and chamber works to concertos, with world premiere recordings of concertos by Sibelius, Prokofiev, Korngold, Walton, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Gruenberg, and Rózsa. Included are many of his own acclaimed transcriptions, including selections from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The set is already available in the UK at Amazon.co.uk and in the US on 22nd March at Amazon.com.

February 28th - Awards Round-up - Oscars and more BAFTAs

The winners of the music oscars were Trent Reznor (of Nine-Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross for their original score to "The Social Network", and Randy Newman for the Song "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3. Coming soon are the BAFTA Video Games awards on 16th March, for which the Original Music nominees are:

February 25th - Hans Zimmer plus Rodrigo y Gabriela on Pirates of the Caribbean 4

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" will open later this year, with Hans Zimmer providing the music. The first three movies shared a common sound and main theme, but for number 4 the composer is looking to create a completely new sound. He is collaborating with the fantastic Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Here is "Tamacun", one of many of their tracks which you can find on YouTube. The Duo toured Europe last year with some performances in the UK. More information about Pirates 4 and further tour dates on their website at www.rodgab.com.

February 23rd - Music from Richard Greer's "The Heart of Govan"

Heart of Govan poster We recently posted details of a free concert called "The Heart of Govan" held in Govan Old Parish Church. This is one of a number of community projects organised by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The highlight of the concert was a new commission by composer Richard Greer called "The Heart of Govan". You can hear his music for "The Heart of Govan" in this Blog entry by the orchestra's Samantha McShane. The composer describes how he wanted the music to beat like a big heart, slowly and powerfully.

February 14th - Christopher Tin wins 2 Grammys for Baba Yetu and Calling All Dawns

Congratulations to Christopher Tin whose track "Baba Yetu" has won the Grammy award for "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)". The track is included on Tin's album "Calling All Dawns" which itself won a Grammy for the "Best Classical Crossover Album". The track was written for the game Civilization IV, and has frequently been performed at the "Video Games Live" shows. The "Calling All Dawns" album is available at Amazon.com and the first "Video Games Live" album is available at Amazon.co.uk. More info at www.ChristopherTin.com and www.Grammy.com.

February 11th - Celebrating Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) would have been 82 yesterday. I was privileged to attend one of his concerts in 1999 to mark his 70th birthday. He was the first film composer I had seen in concert and it had a profound effect on me, and when I got home I wrote up notes of everything I could remember from the concert. The next year in 2000 I started the mfiles website, and those notes became the site's first concert review. Alongside is a video with audio taken from a Jerry Goldsmith concert in the Royal Albert Hall in 2001. The composer jokes that he only has time for one encore and let's the audience choose between Star Trek & Supergirl, but plays them both anyway.

Jerry Goldsmith - Christus Apollo album cover To celebrate Jerry Goldsmith's great achievements in film music, this video features music from The Wind and the Lion, Patton, Papillon, Gremlins, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Basic Instinct, Alien, The Omen, The Mummy and Rambo: First Blood. Finally here's a concert piece called Music for Orchestra by Goldsmith using 12-tone techniques, commissioned following his atonal film music for the Planet of the Apes. This and other concert pieces by the composer are available on a CD called "Christus Apollo" from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Many thanks to my Facebook friends for posting these videos.

February 2nd - Mark Isham's The Mechanic

Mark Isham - The Mechanic Assassin's Edition album cover Mark Isham - The Mechanic Complete Collector's Edition album cover "The Mechanic" is a remake of the 1972 film which starred Charles Bronson as an Assassin. Mark Isham's film score mixes old and new. The old is a melodic fragment on electric guitar for the assassin, played by Jason Statham in the remake. The new comes in the shape of Isham's atmopheric synths and driving Drum'n'Bass beat. Unusually the soundtrack can be downloaded in two versions: "The Assassin's Edition" is 51 minutes and "The Complete Collector's Edition" is 71 minutes. A 3rd option is the "The Double Barrel Limited Edition" CD pack which will combine both and include special features. More...

January 27th - Music Box Records - a new Soundtrack Record Label

Georges Delerue - L'Incorrigible soundtrack CD cover A New Record Label has been launched - Music Box Records - specialising in Film Soundtracks. The New Label has been created by Cyril Durand-Roger and Laurent Lafarge who previously contributed to "Music Box : pellicule sur écoute", a french magazine devoted to film soundtracks. The label kicks off on February 21st with the world premiere of two complete soundtracks by Georges Delerue: "L’Incorrigible" (The Incorrigible) from 1975 directed by Philippe de Broca, and "Va Voir Maman, Papa Travaille" (Your Turn, My Turn) from 1978 directed by François Leterrier. The label's web-site is at www.musicbox-records.com (in English or French) and their first limited-edition release is priced at €16 euros.

January 17th - Bach & More Friends

Bach & Friends - DVD cover Bach & More Friends - in pre-production "Bach & Friends" has had an amazing reception. The film featured a wide range of talented musicians enjoying Bach, some playing the composer's music on unusual instruments, and we reviewed Bach & Friends here on mfiles. The overwelming reaction to his film has persuaded filmmaker Michael Lawrence to start work on a sequel called "Bach & More Friends". There is so much excellent Bach music which couldn't be included in the first film due to limited funds, but now "Bach & More Friends" is in pre-production. Find out more at the official Bach & More Friends web-page, and you can donate to the project at San Francisco Classical Voice, the official non-profit sponsor.

January 7th - News from the Golden Globes and Oscars

oscar statue picture Film awards can be hit-or-miss affairs, but we like to follow news on the film music awards. The Golden Globes have announced the 5 nominations for Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat for "The King's Speech", Danny Elfman for "Alice in Wonderland", A. R. Rahman for "127 Hours", Hans Zimmer for "Inception", with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross winning for "The Social Network" (confirmed 16th Jan). Meanwhile news at the Academy Awards is more concerned with films which are can't be nominated - "Black Swan" by Clint Mansell is ineligible by being based on music by Tchaikovsky as is "True Grit" by Carter Burwell due to its use of hymns. "The Fighter" and "The Kids Are All Right" are ineligible due to their soundtracks being mostly song-based, while for "Toy Story 3" and "Tangled" Disney have chosen to enter Songs rather than the Score.

January 3rd - Music by Giles Swayne at the Young Artists Series

The St James Wind Quintet Two works by Giles Swayne will be performed in London this month as part of the Park Lane Group's Young Artists Series. On Wed 12th, the St James Wind Quintet play "The Murder of Gonzaga" a musical version of The Mousetrap, the play-within-the play from Hamlet. The composer says the work "brims over with wickedness and Mills-and-Boon absurdity. Evil, of course, triumphs." On Thu 13th Huw Morgan (trumpet) and Timothy End (piano) play "Sangre viva" a jazz-influenced piece in two movements drawing on the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. "The first movement is the main meat, and owes something to free-form jazz; the second is a short & simple melody, subtitled Sueño - which... refers to a particularly beautiful poem by Lorca." More details at www.southbankcentre.co.uk.

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