Recent Film Soundtracks on CD:

Wojciech Kilar - Bram Stoker's Dracula and other film music soundtrack CD cover Naxos continues its excellent "Film Music Classics" series which has now got some excellent film scores and collection albums in the series. This particular release takes us back to "Bram Stoker's Dracula" by Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, but also introduces us to a lot of other tracks by the composer from less well-known films including "King of the Last Days", "Death and the Maiden" and "Pearl in the Crown". The soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Nicholas Hooper - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix soundtrack CD cover On this occasion, Nicholas Hooper takes over scoring duties, and brings an overdriven guitar into his very first track "Fireworks". Other than that this fifth film in the series has very much the traditional element you would expect on a Harry Potter soundtrack, with even some references to John William's "Hedwig's Theme", though some of the tracks are quite dark in an eerie horror movie sense, but this seems appropriate given the similar age group viewing teen horror movies. The soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Mark Isham - In the Valley of Elah soundtrack CD cover In "In the Valley of Elah" Tommy Lee Jones investigates the death of his son following upon his return from duty as a soldier in Iraq. Versatile composer Mark Isham has put down his trumpet and brought us an ambient atmospheric soundtrack which reflects the turbulent emotions and mystery behind the story, and reminds us somewhat of his earlier ambient soundtrack to the equally thoughtful and emotional "Crash". This latest soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Brian Tyler - Children of Dune soundtrack CD cover The novels of Frank Herbert require a mini-series like Children of Dune to bring out their detailed depiction of alien worlds. The soundtrack by Brian Tyler is a superb accompaniment to the series. It has a great main theme, the ethnic music of the Fremen people inhabiting the desert planet Dune, a song sung in their native language, with the political intrigue and heroic action involved in the fight to control the planet and it's key produce: the spice with its wonderful but dangerous properties. The soundtrack CD has a full 36 tracks and is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Hans Zimmer - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest soundtrack CD cover Like the previous film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a fun movie, so it needs the same ingredients to appeal to the same audience. The music by Hans Zimmer, who leads the company producing many of today's blockbuster soundtracks, is the same kind of fun experience with over-the-top thrills and action, and the mysterious ghostly magic that suspends disbelieve and draws the audience into its escapist world. The soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

John Ottman - Superman Returns soundtrack CD cover With Superman Returns, the film makers have tried to remain true to the films of the 70s and 80s starring Christopher Reeve. Part of the success of those films was the music by John Williams whose theme seemed to fit the Superman concept like a glove. With this soundtrack, composer John Ottman has used those key themes by John Williams and added some ideas and themes of his own to create a soundtrack which also remains true to the previous films yet has something of a unique identity. The soundtrack CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Michael Giacchino - Mission Impossible 3 soundtrack CD cover In many ways, Michael Giacchino (Lost) has returned to basics with the soundtrack to the third installment in the franchise, Mission Impossible 3. Not only does he use more of the original Lalo Schifrin material from the original television series, but he has ignored the trend towards increasing use of electronics and techo action tracks to bring back a largely acoustic sound in a similar vein to his Incredibles soundtrack. The action feels real and gritty as a result. The CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Alberto Iglesias - The Constant Gardener soundtrack CD cover With the soundtrack to The Constant Gardener, composer Alberto Iglesias has again proved his superb versatility. Again quite different to his previous soundtracks for Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, this one is simply a breathtaking blend of warmth and power, with wonderful rhythmic and melodic touches and musical influences both old and new. There is a strong sense of African culture to suit the location and the album includes two songs by Ayub Ogada. The CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

John Williams - Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack CD cover Memoirs of a Geisha is just one of the superb soundtracks created by John williams during 2005. He has very effectively taken some aspects of the instrumentation and styles of Japanese music, and crafted that together with his familiar orchestral sound into a soundtrack which integrates with the setting and yet finds the emotional core to which western audiences will easily relate. With Yo-Yo Ma on Cello and Itzhak Perlman on Violin, the CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com with sheet music from The Music Room.

Jeff Rona & Lisa Gerrard - A Thousand Roads soundtrack CD cover The soundtrack to A Thousand Roads is a collaboration between Jeff Rona and Lisa Gerrard, both of whom have worked with Hans Zimmer. It very effectively uses the sounds and influences from American India music, and is highly evocative of the landscape, history and culture of the native American people. The music is atmospheric and relaxing, and the album contains some bonus tracks of some genuine Indian music labelled "inspirations". The CD is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Tsotsi - soundtrack CD cover Tsotsi is based on the novel by South African playright Athol Fugard which tells of a Soweto gang leader who ends up caring for the baby he accidentally kidnaps in a car highjacking. The soundtrack features Zola (who also plays a part as a gang member) performing Kwaito music which is a kind of hip-hop from Johannesburg's urban youth culture. There is also an atmospheric score by Paul Hepker and Mark Killan augmented by voice of world music legend, Vusi Mahlasela. The soundtrack album should now be available from: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Johnny Cash - Walk The Line soundtrack CD cover Walk the Line is the story of Johnny Cash, with Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. The CD features classic Johnny Cash tracks including "Ring of Fire", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Cry Cry Cry" and of course "I Walk The Line". Most of these are sung by one or both leads, but there's also Shooter Jennings, who plays his father Waylon Jennings, Jonathan Rice who plays Roy Orbison and Tyler Hilton who plays Elvis Presley. The movie soundtrack is produced by T Bone Burnett who also composed the film's underscore. Get the CD at: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Various & David Arnold - Stoned soundtrack CD cover The movie Stoned is a biopic of Brian Jones, founder member of The Rolling Stones, who was found drowned in his swimming pool under the influence of drink and drugs. The soundtrack is full of cover versions of classic Stones tracks performed by The Bees, Kula Shaker, the 22-20's, Jefferson Airplane and Traffic. Haley Glennie-Smith performs acoustic versions of "Love in Vain" and "Come On in My Kitchen" and Bond composer David Arnold provides the main score with 4 tracks on the album. The CD can be ordered at these links Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Danny Elfman - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory CD cover Tim Burton's composing partner Danny Elfman has put together a soundtrack with suitably zany songs and themes for this big screen version of Roald Dahl's favourite children's story. As with "A Nightmare before Christmas" Elfman himself has produced most of the vocals, processing his voice electronically to create different qualities and ranges. The soundtrack album to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can be found at these links Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Jonathan Larson - RENT movie soundtrack CD cover The stage musical RENT has been an enormous success on Broadway playing for more than 10 years. This moving story is based on Puccini's opera La Boheme but adapted to modern New York with a great set of Rock songs. A recording of the original Broadway version came out back in 1996, but 2005 sees the release of a movie version directed by Chris Columbus. This remains faithful to the show's spirit, retaining many of the original cast and updating some of the song arrangements. The movie soundtrack double album can be found at these links Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

John Williams - Star Wars 4: Revenge of the Sith CD cover The final film of the Star Wars series tells the story of Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader. John Williams provides the score of course, with themes both old and new woven into the fabric. There are tracks for the Jedi standing against overwelming odds, for new baddie General Grievous, for the birth of Padme's twins Luke and Leia, and for Anakin's fight against Obi-Wan. Also included with the soundtrack CD is a bonus DVD "Star Wars: A Musical Journey". Here are links to Revenge of the Sith at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard - Batman Begins CD cover Batman Begins returns to the origins of the "Caped Crusader" and the film franchise returns to its original dark mood. Unusually the music is provided by two composers. The soundtrack has the dramatic throbbing power of Hans Zimmer coupled with the dark and moody conceptual music of James Newton Howard. The tracks have unusual names such as "Vespertilio" and "Eptesicus" which are actually the names of various types of bats. The album complete with sound samples can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

John Williams - War of the Worlds soundtrack CD cover Steven Spielberg has been working his version of War of the Worlds for some time, and at long last it is on general release. It is no surprise to learn that his usual composer partner, John Williams, is providing this music. The music is non-thematic and very much that of an intense action thriller with brief moments of intimacy. This is far removed from the cute world of "ET" and perhaps similar in style to the more recent "Minority Report". The soundtrack is now available at the following links Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek - Finding Neverland soundtrack CD cover Deservedly winning this year's oscar for Best Original Score, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek's music for Finding Neverland is a rare delight. It is playful and infectious while never hard on the ear. Though it has been carefully crafted to fit the mood of the film, it still maintains the boyish spontaneity exhibited by Johnny Depp as J. M. Barry in the movie. A feature of the album is the inclusion of a number of tracks by pianist Leszek Mozdzer improvising on the themes from the film's soundtrack. The album can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Thomas Newman - Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack album CD cover Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - Since his success with "Finding Nemo" it is obvious how well the music of Thomas Newman translates into an appropriate soundscape of Children's stories. This one is based on the series of children's books following the adventures of orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, and stars Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf. The soundtrack can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. For more information see the film's official site at www.Unfortunate Events Movie.com.

Umebayashi - House of Flying Daggers soundtrack album CD cover House of Flying Daggers - From Zhang Yimou, the director of Hero, this is a story set in China's Tang Dynasty where rebel forces oppose a corrupt government and two policemen plot to capture a blind dancer thought to be the daughter of a rebel leader. The music on this occasion is supplied by Shigeru Umebayashi, a veteran Japanese composer who has received numerous awards for his film music. The soundtrack can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Edward Shearmur - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow soundtrack album CD cover Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - This is a great soundtrack from Edward Shearmur (Johnny English) in a style that is partly modern and partly a retro pastiche of old fashioned heroics like Flash Gordon. The film stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie in a traditional story of good fighting evil and features some stunning CGI effects. Just recently released, the soundtrack can be ordered from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Further information about the film can be found at www.skycaptain.com.

Tan Dun - Hero soundtrack album CD cover Hero is a new Martial Arts movie with well-choreographed fight scenes and a touch of mysticism and romance. The music is percussive for the fighting scenes and lyrical for the spiritual and romantic elements, and written by Tan Dun, composer of (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) which featured Yo-Yo Ma as the cello soloist. This soundtrack's soloist is Itzhak Perlman who uses a non-standard tuning on his violin. The soundtrack is due for release in October, though more information and ordering details can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.


New Releases - albums, shows, classical or soundtrack related:

Manderlay and Dogville soundtrack CD cover Manderlay is the sequel to Dogville and is a provocative story of racial prejudice and slavery. Written and directed by Lars von Trier, Manderlay is set in the 1930s in the American South and features an all star cast. Both films have an ambundance of beautiful and heartfelt baroque music, and this album combines the best tracks onto a single album. Featured composers include Vivaldi, Handel, Albinoni and Pergolesi with "Young American" a song by David Bowie. Details about the CD can be found at these links Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

State of Grace 3 album CD cover State of Grace 3 follows on from Paul Schwartz's previous successes with the "State of Grace" series. These albums are a cross-over fusion of Classical, Opera and Popular music, with the choral tracks using mostly Latin text. Schwartz has gathered a fine collection of singing talent on this album with Lisbet Scott providing the lead vocals on most tracks, and Rebecca Luker on "Salve Regina" The CD is available at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, and further information can be found at www.state-of-grace.net and www.paulschwartz.com.

Relax & Escape, Classic FM collection CD cover Relax & Escape is a 4-CD collection of exceptional chill-out music selected by the radio station Classic FM. The collection includes lots of well-known classical works and quite a few popular themes from the world of film music. The selection comes from the world's greatest composers, and performed by some of the world's greatest musicians. This package is very good value for money and would make an excellent Christmas present. You can find it at this link on Amazon.co.uk.

Aria 3 Metamorphosis album CD cover Aria 3: Metamorphosis follows on from Paul Schwartz's previous successes with "Aria" and "Aria 2: New Horizon". These albums are a fusion of old and new, with snippets of Classical and Operatic works arranged into chill-out dance tracks with a contemporary feel. The mood is ambient and relaxing, modern yet with a subdued power arising from the use of live voices and mostly acoustic instruments. The CD can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Further information can be found at www.paulschwartz.com.

Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone album CD cover Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone - This new release is an exciting combination of talents from acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma who is no stranger to film music (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and the veteran composer Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). The album features specially written arrangements of his film music, and to launch it Morricone will be conducting a concert with Yo-Yo Ma in Rome on November 16th. The CD can be ordered from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Further information can be found at www.yo-yoma.com and www.sonyclassical.com.

Mantovani at the movies - album CD cover To anyone listening to popular orchestral music in the 1950s, Mantovani needs no introduction. One of his greatest achievements was to recognise the appeal of film themes and songs and he was instrumental in their popularisation. He created and conducted his own arrangements of film themes often using his unique "cascading strings" sound. This budget album brings together some of the most popular film music of the last centrury, from Moon River and Over the Rainbow to Zorba the Greek and The Magnificent Seven. The album can be found at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The Ultimate Movie Music Collection - 4 CD pack cover If you know someone who likes movie music, The Ultimate Movie Music Collection is the perfect gift for Christmas. It contain 4 hours of the best film music on 4 CDs covering tracks from your favourite movies. Star Wars, Jarassic Park, ET, Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Minority Report, The Thorn Birds, Shakespeare in Love, On Golden Pond, Titanic and Crouching Tiget Hidden Dragon are just a small sample of the films included. Created by the expert Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the pack is great value from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.


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