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Recently release by Sony Music is "Hans Zimmer: The Classics" featuring the music of Hans Zimmer as you've never heard it before. This is really a celebration album, full of cover versions of some of Zimmer's most famous tracks played by a diverse collection of guest artists, some having recorded the composer's music before and some possibly for the first time. Those artists include violinist Lindsey Stirling, cello/piano duo The Piano Guys, pianist Lang Lang, trumpeter Till Brönner, cellist Tina Guo, Saxophonist Amy Dickson, singer Leona Lewis, violinist Maxim Vengerov, pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, the duo 2Cellos, organist Roger Sayer and Lang Lang together with Maxim Vengerov. The album is available from online stores, including these links from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. As a taster Sony Classical have released the theme from "The Dark Knight Rises" featuring Rachel Stirling here on youtube.
We've made a small update to the mfiles Sheet Music pages. These previously displayed the sheet music allowing playback using the Sibelius Scorch plugin. However this plugin is now no longer supported by the modern versions of the main browsers, and so reluctantly we have stopped using the Scorch plugin. Instead these pages now embed the PDF version of the sheet music to allow visitors to preview the music. We also include a small playbar allowing playback of the associated mp3 file so you can also sample the audio playback before downloading. Hopefully this makes for a more positive visitor experience but if there are any teething problems or unforeseen issues please let us know through the Feedback email address.
An original handwritten manuscript of the composer Gustav Mahler has been sold at auction this morning for £3.9M. The Sotheby's premium brings the total price up to the record-breaking price of £4.5M. Also up for auction was a manuscript said to be by Beethoven, but doubts over its authenticity meant it sold for "only" £200,000. See the BBC News website for more detail. This story brings to mind a question asked on Quora asking why manuscripts by Beethoven don't fetch the same price as works of art by for example Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso. The answer is that paintings by these artists are the works of art themselves intended to be looked at. A composer's works are meant to be listened to, and the score is a set of instructions for creating the music.
The series of talks called "Conversations with Screen Composers" continues next month with Anne Dudley and Daniel Pemberton at separate events in November. Anne Dudley is best known for her scores to "The Crying Game", "Buster", "The Full Monty" and the remake of "Poldark" for TV. Her score for the upcoming thriller "Elle" was recently nominated for the Palme d'Or award at this year's Cannes International Film Festival. Daniel Pemberton has similarly scored a variety of film and TV productions including "The Counsellor", "Steve Jobs", The Man From U.N.C.L.E., "Dirk Gently" and "Peep Show". The events are sponsored by BAFTA and PRS for Music and take place in the Elgar Room at The Royal Albert Hall, Anne Dudley (tickets) on 15th and Daniel Pemberton (tickets) on 29th November.
Composer Joe Hisaishi is perhaps best known for his film scores to director Hayao Miyazaki's anime films including Nausicaä, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, but equally he has also scored a string of soundtracks for films by Takeshi Kitano including A Scene at the Sea, Sonatine, Hana-Bi and Dolls. Yet arguably Hisaishi's most famous score is for the latter director's Kikujiro and the composer regularly plays this music at his sell-out concerts. The opening track is called "Summer" and aspects of this lyrical piano theme permeate the whole score. The popularity of the score album has now resulted in a re-release with a new cover, available here at Amazon.co.uk while the otherwise identical original release can still be found at Amazon.com.
Denge near Dungeness in South-East England is the site of huge concrete relics of a forgotten technology. These "Sound Mirrors" can focus and amplify sounds onto a microphone to detect the distant sound of aircraft, but were quickly overtaken by a then-new technology called radar. The location continues to inspire in many ways, including an film called Dungeness produced for Audi UK & featured in Audi Magazine (iPad), looking at these amazing historic structures and the land, people and wildlife of the area. The music for the video, fittingly an ambient shifting soundscape by Sydney-based composer Ellis Cage, is equally inspired by the scenery of Dungeness. The music has been released as a single "Picture The Sun" available from the composer's website at www.elliscage.com.
If you fancy hearing David Arnold's rousing film score to Independence Day played live while the film itself is shown on the big screen, then head to the Royal Albert Hall on 22nd September. David Arnold himself will be giving a pre-show talk discussing his music for film including 5 Bond films, television including Sherlock and major events including the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony. The main ID4 event will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and conducted by Nicholas Dodd. The show celebrates the 20th anniversary of the original release, as does the sequel "Independence Day: Resurgence" which is now in cinemas. For more information and tickets visit the Royal Albert Hall website.
The Man from Fugue State is a traditional point-and-click adventure game set among lots of Western cliches, but charmingly illustrated with plenty of puzzles to solve and lots of humour. The game is free to download, with lots of Western style music tracks sourced from the internet including some by yours truly Jim Paterson sourced from Soundcloud. So yes I'm biased, but it's free to download and play so what's not to like! The game has been put together by Salvador Haggini (aka Graham Nichols). Download links and more about the game and contributing artists can be found at themanfromfuguestate.weebly.com. Reviews of the game can be found at gamingrespawn.com and at adventuregamers.com.
One of the advantages of running a music website is that you'll occasionally receive CDs that wouldn't normally be top of your listen list. But "The Boy and the Beast" is a great score by Masakatsu Takagi. This young composer is making a name for himself in anime film scores and is no doubt destined for great things. Like many Japanese anime scores, the music seems to western ears like a blend of orchestral and more unusual instruments, with certain oriental mannerisms colouring some conventional and often cute melodic writing - available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. And if you play the piano there is a great sheet music book of piano solos and songs at Wasabi Sheet Music (shipping worldwide). The composer's own website is at www.takagimasakatsu.com.
As part of their series of Composers in Conversation, BAFTA now present this interview with Cliff Martinez, who discusses his career spanning 25 years across film, TV and games. Martinez started out as a drummer in various bands before turning to film scoring. The composer discusses his uniquely textural approach to film scoring, and his experiences working with directors such as Steven Soderbergh (in "Sex, Lies and Videotape", "Traffic" and in "Solaris"), and more recently with the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (with collaborative credits including "Drive", "Only God Forgives" and most recently "The Neon Demon").
Fresh from his recent Oscar win (not to mention BAFTA and Golden Globe) for his score to Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, the great Ennio Morricone will be touring with his "60 Years of Music World Tour" including a number of outdoor locations throughout Europe. One of these will be his first ever UK gig outside of London at Blenheim Palace's Great Court on Thursday 23rd June. This will be the first in the Palace's Nocturne Series of Concerts with shows on later evenings featuring The Corrs and Elton John. The concert on the Saturday 25th June is "The Music From Bond" introduced by former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton conducted by Richard Balcombe with singers Mary Carewe and Simon Bowman. Tickets for all the shows will be available soon at the Nocturne Live website. And who doesn't enjoy the The Music of James Bond?
Another film composer is featuring in concert in London. Brian Tyler is probably best known at the moment for his action and superhero scores, and the concert is entitled "Brian Tyler Live: Film Music for Stars, Cars & Superheroes" and will take place in London's Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 7th May. Tyler himself will be conducting music from his own film, TV & Game scores: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man III, The Fast and the Furious Franchise, Thor: The Dark World, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Now You See Me, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, The Expendables, Hawaii Five-0 and Children of Dune. Brian Tyler will also conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in a special tribute to John Williams. More details and booking information are available at Philharmonia website. Finally here is a video taster of The Film Music of Brian Tyler.
A number of well-known film composer have live concert performances this year, and first up is the great Hans Zimmer himself who certainly knows how to put on a show - and on this occasion his music for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (co-composed by Junkie XL) simultaneously hits cinemas. Zimmer has invited a number of his favourite musicians with whom he has worked on several of his film scores, including Lebo M the famous South African musician whose vocals memorably introduce "The Circle of Life" at the opening of Disney's "The Lion King". Also joining Zimmer on stage will be guitarists Johnny Marr and Mike Einziger, cellist Tina Guo-Morabito, and up to 70 musicians! The concert series starts off in London on 6th and 7th April before touring many big cities throughout Europe through April, May and early June. More details are available on hans-zimmer.com and hanszimmerlive.com.
Sir George Martin has died at the age of 90. He is best known as a music producer and particularly for producing many of the Beatles' albums. His close involvement with the group has earned him the title of the "Fifth Beatle" though his contribution was very much behind the scenes. He acted as producer and arranger for much of the Beatles' work bringing a lot of innovative ideas to their tracks helping to make them the distinctive, ground-breaking songs we all know. But in career terms George Martin was an all-round musician who could turn his hand to many things. As a film composer he had previously worked with Peter Sellars before scoring a couple of the Beatles movies "A Hard Day's Night" and "Yellow Submarine". Arguably his finest score as a film composer is the Bond movie Live and Let Die, the first in the series to feature Roger Moore and a temporary departure from the established John Barry sound. Of course Martin brought in Paul McCartney to sing the distinctive title song. His contribution to music is immense and he will be sorely missed.
In March this year BAFTA will invite Clint Mansell to the Royal Albert Hall to discuss his career as a film composer. Mansell became known as a film composer after scoring director Darren Aronofsky's early films such "Pi", "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Fountain". The pair have gone on to collaborate on several films since then, but their profiles have grown significantly since then. Mansell is planning a tour later this year in several UK cities (and elsewhere) to showcase his music, and in 2014 a tour by the Kronos Quartet featured Mansell's music at its heart after having performed on the original soundtrack for "Requiem for a Dream". More recently Mansell has scored "Black Swan", "Noah" and "High Rise". This is part of the BAFTA series "Conversations with Screen Composers" and will take place in the "Elgar Room" - more details and tickets can be found at the Royal Albert Hall website. (If you're unsure if you know Mansell's music, just play the 2nd video on the Albert Hall page - you will recognise it immediately.)
It's a New Year and the world seems to have gone Star Wars mad! There's a lot of nostalgia too for the original films brought on by numerous references in the latest move The Force Awakens (expect a full score review soon on mfiles). One constant throughout the 7 Star Wars films to date is the music of John Williams, and this fantastic legacy of the most famous film music in history is celebrated in a range of Ultimate Soundtrack Editions on various media including vinyl, CD and digital download versions. The CD version (pictured here) comes on 10 CDs with audio interviews with Harrison Ford and John Williams plus a bonus DVD with "Star Wars: A Musical Journey", a one hour special hosted by actor Ian McDiarmid. Described by Amazon as "The most acclaimed and enduring film music in Hollywood history" the CD box set can be found at the Amazon.com along with links to the alternative Vinyl and Digital versions.
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