RED JOAN -George Fenton

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After being somewhat confused with Fenton’s enjoyable score to Cold Pursuit and then seeing the film, which is categorised by IMBD as an action crime drama thriller (missing out the actual black comedy element) – I understood the scores tone and liked it even more. And here we are, after a long Fenton drought, with a second score in the same year.

Red Joan is the true story of Joan Stanley, a Soviet and Communist sympathiser recruited by the KGB in the thirties. She was undetected for many years and was finally charged with treason when a senior citizen.

Much has been written about this being a wide ‘dramatisation’ of the true story but here I want to highlight the score which is masterfully composed by Fenton who has such a sprawling canvas of work including composer and musical director with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, TV work and of course film soundtracks including The Company of Wolves, Dangerous Liaisons and The Lady In The Van.

Red Joan is an accomplished score, each cue fitting the whole, weaving throughout with emotions of fear, intrigue and pockets of regret. Starting with Red Joan Theme-Prelude which ambles along with a short piano refrain with an added tinge of defiance of what was done, is done. The refrain expands in the following cue You’re Under Arrest slowly but as realisation creeps in low dark notes appear and in Restraining Order there is such a delicate lightness of touch in the composition, it’s quite beautiful.

The swirling refrain is cleverly repeated in most of the short cues but with the slightest of change which never compromises the intensity of the score. It may not soar or have a memorable theme but this is NOT a soundtrack to be underestimated.

“I regard Red Joan as a personal score – by which I mean personal to the character of Joan My aim was to find a tonal language that sat well with the story of Joan in the 1930s but which never lost the sense of the story being told and remembered by the older Joan. A balance between the immediacy of young Joan’s experience and old Joan’s recollections. My hope is that even when heard away from the film that the music evokes the narrative of this extraordinary story.” George Fenton

TRACK LIST

1 Red Joan Theme (Prelude) 0:45
2 You’re Under Arrest 2:47
3 Back to Cambridge 2:45
4 The Ghost of Matter 2:22
5 My Little Comrade 2:01
6 The Tower 1:57
7 Restraining Order 2:16
8 Good at Drawing 2:43
9 Leo’s Arrest 1:13
10 Chadwick’s Arrival 1:58
11 Making Land Tomorrow 1:39
12 Maybe One Day 2:08
13 The University 2:33
14 Hiroshima 2:25
15 Agent Lotto 1:54
16 Inspection 2:27
17 The Locket 1:50
18 Photo Secrets 2:23
19 Leo’s Destiny 2:54
20 Special Branch 1:49
21 Two Copies 1:25
22 I’m Not a Traitor 1:56
23 Max In Jail 2:47
24 End Titles 5:16
25 Red Joan Theme (Postlude) 0:40

Label: Movie Score Media

Filmic Radio Show – June 2019

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Had to miss out  May show due to travelling, so this show is a tad longer than normal.

PLAYLIST – Composer/Track Title/Film

John Barry Moonraker Main Title Moonraker
John Barry Bond Lured To Pyrimid Moonraker
Kasper Kaae Elven Out Stealing Horses
Mike Patton/Lai Di Gola A Perfect Twist A perfect Place
Benjamin Wallfisch The Cousul Of Wizards Shazam
Benjamin Wallfisch Run! Shazam
Michael Abels Anthem Us
Ilan Eshkeri Nureyev The White Crow
Harry Warren/Al Dubin/Doris Day I Only Have Eyes For You Young Man With A Horn
Volmer Bertlemann Landing Ashore Hotel Mumbai
Stuart A Staples/Ropbert Pattinson Willow High Life
John Williams Cinderella Liberty Love Theme Cinderella Liberty
John Williams Maggie Shoots Pool Cinderella Liberty
Nathan Whitehead Days Gone Days Gone
Yves Gourmeur Main Theme The Hummingird Project
Geroge Kallis The Fabric of History Cliffs Of Freedom
Tom Borrowdale Spring Spring
Thomas Newman End Title The Highwaymen
Joe Kraemer The Man Who Killed Hitler The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot
Joe Kraemer Barr’s Theme The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot
Clint Mansell We Are All Stardust Out Of Blue

Filmic Radio Show – March 2019

Here is my latest Filmic Radio Show, including new and vintage soundtracks, some late 2018 releases and I take a look at a really cool 1963 Henry Mancini score.

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PLAYLIST

Valor Sarah Schachner Anthem
The Mirror Dance Rachel Zefirra Elizabeth Harvest
No Words Formed Rachel Zefirra Elizabeth Harvest
The New Kid Mark Mothersbaugh Holmes and Watson
Old Turkey Buzzard Quincy Jones/Freddie Douglas/Jose Feliciano McKenna’s Gold
Earth Out Of Control Roc Chen The Wandering Earth
The Loser Andre Previn Goodbye Charlie
A Rose and the End Andre Previn The Subterraneans
The Auction In Iron Curtain Dai Tai The Gutenberg Project
Somethin’ Like This Brian Tyler What Men Like
Captain Marvel Pinar Toprak Captain Marvel
Learning The Truth Pinar Toprak Captain Marvel
The Tango John Debney Isn’t It Romantic
Main-Title-Morgan’s Ride John Debney Cutthroat Island
Strange People Martin Phipps The Aftermath
The House Martin Phipps The Aftermath
Charade Opening Titles Henry Mancini Charade
Latin Snowfall Henry Mancini Charade
Bud’s Scam Stewart Copeland Wall Street
Main Title-Trinity Infinity Don Davis The Matrix
Bullet Time Don Davis The Matrix

ONE LAST DEAL (Tuntematon Mestari) by Matti Bye – Soundtrack Review

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Elderly art dealer Olavi is about to retire. This is a man who has always put business and art before everything. At an auction, an old painting catches his attention. Olavi suspects it is worth much more than its starting price, which is low because its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed. He decides to make one last deal in order to earn some pension money. At the same time, Olavi’s estranged daughter Lea, whom he hasn’t seen for years, asks him to help her with his teenage grandson Otto (15). Together with Otto, Olavi starts to investigate the history of the painting.  Olavi buys the painting, but when the auction house realises that there has been a mistake with the original pricing, they turn on him.

The film is directed by Finnish director Klaus Haro who is one of his country’s most prolific contemporary filmmakers. The score is by Swedish composer Matti Bye who has scored for both tv and film.

It opens with a soft piano led cue full of wistfulness which gently rolls along into the second cue but at a faster pace, it’s an easy listen even with some scratchy strings underneath. A New Day has a lovely drum brush keeping tempo, something you don’t often hear. Olavi’s Tango continues the relaxed flow with piano and accordion plus double base leading the tango rhythm. It’s a short but pleasing cue.

This is a plaintive score telling of a gentle life suddenly thrust into chaos and emotional disruption at a time in the life of Olavi when he wants to retire. Father and Daughter has a different feel, the same small set of instruments are used but with a slight edge to it’s tone representing the distant relationship with his daughter. The slow tango reappears in The Empty Room in a more developed style. The closing track The Letter is neither sad nor jubilant, just very much in the same vein as the Opener. 

This is a gentle and subtle score with a small selection of instruments, which will most probably have few listens especially as there currently is no UK release date hence why I am highlighting it. It’s a lesson in restraint showing that complex emotional stories don’t have to be fully orchestrated. By using a small group of musicians Bye has created a sweet and expressive score.

PLAYLIST
1. One Last Deal
2. The Art Dealer
3. A New Day
4. The Library
5. Olavi’s Tango
6. The Museum
7. Father and Daughter
8. The Empty Room
9. The Letter
Total Album Time: 20:41

Available on Amazon.com
Streaming on Spotify

Filmic Radio Show February 2019

So I am a little late – there are soooooo many soundtracks out there to listen to! This months show features a UK classic score from 1969, a Jerry Goldsmith vinyl release, recent soundtrack releases and one of the last scores by the late Michel Legrand. Oh, and 3 listener requests!

 

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL Vinyl Release REVIEW – Jerry Goldsmith

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In January of this year Varese Sarabande released Jerry Goldsmith’s score to L.A.Confidential on vinyl. This detective film noir set in 1950’s Loss Angeles was released in 1997 and firmly etched itself onto all the relevant Top 10 ‘must see’ lists.
Director Curtis Hanson used music from the period so it was left to Goldsmith to fill in the drama which he most certainly did! Not perhaps a soundtrack you would play that often but this should be in your collection if you call yourself a movie-music fan.

I read that it’s a soundtrack which suites vinyl which at first I couldn’t really grasp but after listening several times I get it. Short at just over 30 minutes, it allows you to take your time and really listen. It opens with Bloody Christmas, a fast, punching beat with brass that pierces the senses and puts your brain on alert it then dissolves into the mellow use of trumpet which Goldsmith used to perfection in his score for Chinatown.

The deepest of piano keys introduce The Photo’s, a cue which builds into a superb Goldsmith percussive cacophony which strikes right through the ever building tension. This score is taught and unforgiving in its high strung violins, tremulous piano notes and piercing use of trumpet. It never lets up especially in Shoot Out, the longest track at 04:09 which pulls all the previous track elements in and pushes itself to the extreme. This score never settles and to get such intensity into quite a short score is genius.

PRESS RELEASE
“Goldsmith’s score is now considered a masterpiece nearly on the level of his landmark ‘Chinatown’. Jerry Goldsmith would have turned 90 in 2019. His music continues to be revered, celebrated and performed all over the world. I am thrilled to see this score, which was absolutely ideal for vinyl from the very beginning, finally, debut on the classic LP format. A priceless slice of vintage Los Angeles!”
Robert Townson, Vice President of A & R

Label: Varese Sarabande

Side A
1. Bloody Christmas (02:50)
2. The Cafe (02:20)
3. Questions (02:20)
4. Susan Lefferts (02:54)
5. Out of the Rain (02:47)
6. Rollo Tomasi (03:08)

Side B
1. The Photos (02:28)
2. The Keys (01:52)
3. Shootout (04:09)
4. Good Lad (02:19)
5. The Victor (02:32)

 

FILMIC SOUNDTRACK AWARDS 2018

With the awards season nearing the end it’s time to declare my favourite soundtracks of last year. 2018 was a mixed year of highs and lows, for some reason I didn’t get to listen to a lot of non-UK & USA scores so I’m making this a priority for 2019 as best I can. What was a delight was the return of the synth score [see Best Comedy Score below], a fun throwback to the scores of the ’70s and early ’80s!

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FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
VICE – Nicholas Britell

BEST DRAMA SCORE
VICE – Nicholas Britell

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BEST COMEDY SCORE
VIDEOMAN – Waveshaper/Robert Parker

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BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER SCORE
KING OF THIEVES – Benjamin Wallfisch

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BEST FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR SCORE
THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS – James Newton Howard

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BEST ANIMATION SCORE
MAX AND ME – Mark McKenzie

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BEST DOCUMENTARY SCORE
DYNASTIES – Benji Merrison& Will Slater

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BEST TV SCORE
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK – Cezary Skubiszewski

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BEST ARCHIVAL RELEASE
THE BRIDE WORE BLACK – Bernard Herrmann/Producer Jose M.Benitez

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BEST CUE OF THE YEAR

THE LANDING  from first Man – Justin Hurwitz