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The chamber series Festival Brikcius 2013 has 3 Spring and 3 Autumn concerts. The 2nd Spring concert is on Thursday 16th May in Prague, with a programme of music by Joseph-Hector Fiocco (1703-1741), Zikmund Schul (1916-1944), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and David Popper (1843-1913) with an encore by Czech composer Irena Kosíková. Duo Brikcius will be performing the works. The cello duo consists of brother and sister František Brikcius and Anna Brikciusova. Tickets are available from the Prague Ticket Office and details of the other concerts in the series can be found at the Festival Brikcius website.
Star Trek returns to the big screen this month with "Star Trek Into Darkness" scored by returning composer Michael Giacchino. The soundtrack album will be released on 14th May (on both sides of the Atlantic) and it can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Giacchino also created a completely new score for the Star Trek computer game, which was also voiced by the film cast. With J. J. Abrams also working on Star Wars VII there has been speculation that Giacchino would score that movie too, though JJ has now said that he expects the one and only John Williams to return to the Star Wars universe to score the movie.
We have now expanded our Composer Timelines article to include timeline diagrams for the Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Periods. In total the diagrams now cover from 800 A.D. to the present with all the main composers from each period. In total there are now more than 600 composers, and we provide a complete composer listing, with their dates (where known), links to their biographies (if listed on mfiles), links to examples of their music or articles where the composers are referenced. Interestingly the initial timeline diagrams are short and wide, while later diagrams are tall and thin. It is as though the pace of musical development is accelerating.
The "Finnieston Crane" is a prominent landmark in Glasgow. It sits beside the River Clyde as a monument to the city's engineering heritage, and was built to lift heavy machinery on and off ships. Sound artist Bill Fontana has now transformed the iconic structure into a giant musical instrument. For Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art he has fitted very sensitive microphones onto the crane, from where live sounds are transmitted via satellite. As the environment and the weather act on the crane it sets off vibrations in the structure, which are picked up and amplified by the microphones. You can hear the sound live on the Silent Echoes website until 3rd May.
In 1946 Jean Cocteau released "Beauty and the Beast", an acclaimed adaptation of the traditional fairy tale with a wonderful fantasy score by Georges Auric. In 1994 Philip Glass famously replaced the whole soundtrack (music and dialogue) to create his opera "La Belle et la Bête". This video cheekily goes one step further replacing the visuals with lego characters in an abridged version of the opera! Here's part 1 and part 2. Auric's original film score is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, and you can hear Philip Glass' opera at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.
Our new article called Composer Timelines showcases graphic images which map out the main composers in each Classical Music Period. There are currently images for the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Periods. They can be viewed on screen but are in sufficient detail that they can be printed out and pinned on a wall, either on A4/Letter or A3/Ledger paper. The Classical Period highlights some key features: e.g. Haydn lived well in to his 70s but Mozart died in his 30s; Bach's sons spanned the Baroque and Classical Periods and inspired composers of the Classical Period; likewise composers such as Beethoven, Schubert and John Field lived towards the end of the Classical Period and helped to introduce Romanticism.
Continuing the Doctor Who 50th anniversary soundtrack series after "The Caves of Androzani" was released this week, we move back from the 80s to the 60s for "The Krotons" by Brian Hodgson and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Brian Hodgson worked on the show from the very beginning creating many of its signature sounds, with perhaps the most famous being the Tardis dematerialisation sound which he created by first dragging a key down the bass strings of a piano and then electronically processing the recording. The new album is available from 13th May in the UK and it can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.co.uk and later at Amazon.com.
Following a YouTube driven rise to fame and an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall last summer, Valentina Lisitsa has now released a double album entitled "Rachmaninov" consisting of the composer's major works for piano and orchestra. The pianist is equally at home with Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov though previous albums have focussed on chamber works either for solo piano (the "Live" album) or the Charles Ives "Four Sonatas" for violin and piano with Hilary Hahn as the violinist. The new release has all 4 of the Rachmaninov Piano Concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Francis. This new release is available now at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
The latest film score by Clint Mansell is "Stoker". After festival screenings at Sundance and Glasgow, the movie is now on general release in cinemas. Mansell sets the tone for the movie with some hauntingly atmospheric music, and a few pulse-driven tracks. Piano music features in a pivotal movie scene (see the trailer here on youtube), and this source music "Duet" was provided by none other than Philip Glass in his own inimitable style. The soundtrack album also includes music by Emily Wells, who collaborates with Mansell on the final bonus track "If I Ever Had a Heart". The album is available now at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
ITV is full of trailers for its drama series "Mr. Selfridge" about the American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge who started the London department store in 1909. All these trailers are accompanied by a piece of big band music from the Swing Era. "Sing, Sing, Sing" is a song written in 1936 by the jazz musician and songwriter Louis Prima (1910–1978). The following year clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman (1909–1986) ditched the lyrics to create the famous instrumental version. Here is a video of the music from the 1956 film called "The Benny Goodman Story" with Steve Allen playing the Bandleader and miming Goodman's clarinet solos.
Related to our last post about Doctor Who music, there is a festival in East London this month called "Pioneers of Electronic Music". Various events will be held in different venues from March 6th to 17th. The festival has been put together by "Nonclassical" and full details can be found on their website at www.nonclassical.co.uk. The events include practical demonstrations building and using synthesisers for those interested in Electronic Music, films with pioneering soundtracks: The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet, and concerts with music by Messiaen, Stockhausen, Varese, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, and Tristram Cary.
New Doctor Who Soundtracks with be released this year to celebrates the show's 50th anniversary. First up is the 1984 story "The Caves of Androzani", where Peter Davison regenerates into Colin Baker, and voted the best story by readers of Doctor Who Magazine in 2009. The music for "The Caves of Androzani" is by Roger Limb and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Various member of the Workshop provided music for the show between 1980 and 1985, and Roger Limb had previously scored "The Keeper of Traken" with Tom Baker and a number of Peter Davison stories. This first soundtrack album will be available from 25th March but you can pre-order it now at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com (available April 23rd).
No doubt the Oscars parties are still in full swing. There were a lot of good condenders for oscars, and on the whole the awards were spread evenly among some well-deserving films with the oscar music awards in line with the earlier Golden Globes. In the best score category Mychael Danna won for "The Life of Pi", one of our Top 10 Scores of 2012, beating strong competition from Dario Marianelli, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams and Thomas Newman. Newman has the consolation of winning "Best Score" at the Baftas for Skyfall, with Adele and Paul Epworth again winning for the film's title song "Skyfall". See the full story of the 2013 Awards and the Film Music Oscars.
In "Sound the Trumpet" we are treated to the Royal Music of Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. The works include a selection of enjoyable regal pieces and arrangements with the starring trumpet ably support by the English Concert orchestra under their founder Trevor Pinnock, and a sprinkling of additional artists. Alison Balsom plays a valve-less trumpet as a nod to the baroque instruments of Purcell and Handel's day, though a little more manageable than a period natural trumpet which is notoriously difficult to play. The album was fittingly released in 2012, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, and has since rocketed up the classical charts. It is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Fresh from Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, Danny Elfman's music is back at our cinemas with "Hitchcock". The biopic looks at the professional and domestic aspects of the Alfred Hitchcock's life while making "Psycho" but his marriage to Alma faces a crisis. The score is all Elfman but with nods to the suspense music of the director's famous movies. The CD covers in the UK and US are strangely different, but now available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
As part of their Masterclass series, Screened Music Network will host "Scoring Drama" at the BFI, exploring different approaches to composing for film and television drama. This day-long event features 3 award-winning composers: Debbie Wiseman MBE (Wilde, Warriors, Judge John Deed), Murray Gold (Doctor Who, Shameless, Torchwood) and John Lunn (Downton Abbey, Going Postal, Hotel Babylon). Some sessions include analysis of scores, so the ability to read music is recommended. More details and booking information can be found at the Screened Music Network website.
Mozart's Jupiter Symphony is famous - it is his Last (No.41), The Wombles used the 3rd movement for their song "Minuetto Allegretto", but to musicians the 4th movement is famous because Mozart did something special. He combined Baroque counterpoint fully into a Classical symphony, i.e. he has multiple themes going on at the same time. Mozart wrote the famous Coda first (from 10:30 in the video) and then created the rest of the movement to introduce and combine all these themes. The video really seems to highlight this stroke of genius, because the eye helps the brain to "hear" all the different themes.
Awards Season 2013 is now well underway, with the nominations announced this week for both the BAFTAs and the Oscars. The Golden Globes are always one step ahead: their nominations were announced in December and their awards ceremony is on Sunday. Looking at the Music Categories, there is again a lot of consistency between the big three awards. Anna Karenina by Dario Marianelli, "The Life of Pi" by Mychael Danna and "Lincoln" by John Williams are all nominated for all 3 awards, while "Argo" by Alexandre Desplat and Skyfall by Thomas Newman are both nominated for 2 out of 3 awards. Mychael Danna also has a nod for the song "Pi's Lullaby" and Adele's "Skyfall" and Schonberg's "Suddenly" from "Les Mis" have both got 2 song nominations.
Howard Goodall is known as the composer for several iconic TV series, including Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Mr. Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, and Q.I. The composer is also well-known as a presenter, on the Classic FM radio station and on sereval TV documentary series such as "Big Bangs" and "How Music Works" on Channel 4. His latest series starts later this month on BBC 2 called "Howard Goodall's Story of Music", which aims to describe aspects of music in layman's terms and cover a broad inclusive range from classical to popular genres. A book to accompany the series is already available in shops. Called "The Story of Music" the book can be found online at Amazon.co.uk (now) and Amazon.com (soon).
We recently posted a review of the excellent Anna Karenina score by Dario Marianelli. Another film scored by the composer is "Quartet" which is currently showing in the UK and elsewhere. Directed by Dustin Hoffman, the film features an all-star cast playing characters in a home for retired opera singers. The soundtrack album is therefore a mix of classical instrumental and opera works (by Verdi, Schubert, Haydn, Gilbert and Sullivan, etc.) with four tracks by Marianelli. The album is available at Amazon.co.uk. The US version has a different cover and is available from tomorrow at Amazon.com.
Happy New Year to mfiles visitors! For our first post of the year, we wanted to mention "Life of Pi" which is currently out at the cinema. Not only is this a visual treat (especially when seen in 3D) but it also features a great score by composer Mychael Danna. The Canadian composer is known for his interest in Indian music, which makes him an ideal choice for "Life of Pi" based on the novel by Yann Martel. The story is about Pi Patel the son of an Indian zoo-keeper who is moving to Canada when the ship is involved in a shipwreck. He then finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with a tiger and other animals. The soundtrack is one of our Top 10 from 2012 and is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
We are saddened to report the death of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The composer is known for his many concert works, his love of jazz and for his contribution to fim music. Among his film scores were several in the 1960s/70s for director John Schlesinger including "Billy Liar", "Far from the Madding Crowd" and "Yanks" though he is also well known for "Murder on the Orient Express" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral". For British television his contributions spanned several decades from the early historical Doctor Who story "The Aztecs" through "The Charmer" (a series starring Nigel Havers) to "Gormenghast", the BBC's adaptation of Mervyn Peake's novels. Though knighted in 1998 the composer had stayed in New York for many years. He died peacefully on Christmas Eve at the age of 76.
The film version of the hit musical "Les Misérables" will start showing in cinemas across the world in the next few weeks. The film's songs were recorded live on the film set, to allow the actors to give completely genuine performances. You can find out more about the movie's approach to sound design at a BAFTA Materclass with the musical's composer Claude-Michel Schönberg on 18th January at the BFI Southbank Centre. Meanwhile the film soundtrack will be released shortly and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.com (from 21st December) and Amazon.co.uk. As a taster here's the International Trailer on YouTube.
If you are a fan of Doctor Who Music and the music of long-standing series composer Murray Gold, then Sydney Opera House is the place to be this weekend. Following a successful show in Melbourne in February, series conductor Ben Foster will now conduct The Metropolitan Orchestra in a new show presented by Alex Kingston and Mark Williams (otherwise known as Rory's daughter and dad). For more information including times and booking information see the further details on the Sydney Opera House website.
Howard Shore's music for the first installment of "The Hobbit" is available from today in the UK and tomorrow in the US. Fans of "The Lord of the Rings" movie scores will not be disappointed since Shore uses a consistent style, referencing some of the themes already associated with "The Shire" and introducing new themes for the Hobbit movies. The standard soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Like the earlier Lord of the Rings movies, a special edition CD is also available with a leather style finish - at these alternative links Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
One of the most famous cases of a rejected score is Alex North's score for the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". North's original score, recorded back in 1968 and beautifully restored and remastered, is available to download from today at Amoeba Music and a dedicated website at www.AlexNorth2001.com provides more detail about the new album. Stanley Kubrick commissioned North to create music for the film. However the director decided to keep the temporary soundtrack of Classical Music he had put together. North's music has been released before as a re-recording conducted by Jerry Goldsmith, but this new release was able to use the original tapes.
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