Hey folks, Harry here with the latest SCORE report from our man with the ears, Dan. But before we get to his updates I wanted to fill you in a bit on a little score adventure I went on recently. Now usually I don't go on what I call score adventures. There was the one time where I got to watch John Carpenter scoring and recording GHOSTS OF MARS, but that was extremely abby normal, because basically it was just John and a pair of sound engineers and Moriarty and I watching it all. Very intimate, very lowkey... and certainly I've never done the big all scoring session with like 110 piece orchestra.
Well, I got a call from Robert Rodriguez inviting me and Father Geek out to this recording studio somewhere out past that famous Austin Bridge. Apparently he was going to experiment with what might very well become 'his orchestra' to record his scores with. You see, Robert Rodriguez tries to do as much of his film work local as he can, that way he can be a family man with a fairly normal family life, while still being a filmmaker. From what he told me I was going to be seeing somewhere around 110 musicians picked as being the finest in their particular instruments from Dallas, Houston and Austin's symphonies. He was also inviting John Debney to give them a listen and see what he thought of it all according to his expert ear, and also so John could give a listen to what Robert had written so far for ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO and SPY KIDS 2.
When we first arrived I was amazed to see we were actually in a huge ampitheater. The orchestra was at the base, their backs to a large stone looking wall surrounded by windows displaying our gorgeous Austin Hill Country, which on this particular day was filled with flying vultures. Just like that one in CLASH OF THE TITANS.
The piece of music that they were playing when we walked in was from SPY KIDS 2. Very Bernard Herrmann-y, heavy on the strings, some ratchet sounds, using his brass like Herrmann, but it also sounded a bit more playful. The scene, I was told is when Juni and Carmen are adrift right off the Island of Lost Dreams, as a Sea Serpent comes up behind them to consume them. The music fit that scene concept perfectly. Robert was deliberately scoring SPY KIDS 2 to sound more like an old Ray Harryhausen style film, because frankly, that's the type of movie he's making. I can't really describe how cool it is sitting basically alone in a giant auditorium listening to a 110 piece orchestra that doesn't exist. I mean, these people basically have never played together as a whole before me walking in here, and this was sounding really great, at least to my unprofessional ear. I may have over a 1000 soundtracks, but that's like saying you're an expert on sex because you have a lot of porn. Taint the same at all.
After that piece was recorded, there was a break because the orchestra was going to be changing pace a bit to record the opening music for ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. The second I heard this I got a bit giddy. I am an absolute blind lover of EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO. Those are the movies I knew before I had ever met Robert Rodriguez and why I picked up his book and read it 4 or 5 times. From the first time Robert and I sat down to paint monster models together at his house over 5 years ago, we've talked about ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (and for that reason and many others, I'll no longer be reviewing Robert's films. I'll comment on them, give my experience with them in articles, but I won't be writing full fledged reviews of them). As the orchestra came back in and took their places.... as they began to make those little orchestra noises like at the beginning of FANTASIA, I began to get giddy and curious and nervous...
Why nervous? Well, the previous Mariachi films' soundtracks have been fairly intimate. The first one was almost all one instrument. For DESPERADO, it was LOS LOBOS. Where does a 110 piece orchestra fit into a story of a simple Mariachi and a guitar case filled with guns?
MY GOD! I want this playing in my room for weeks. Why 110 piece orchestra? They play back-up to the Mariachi. While the previous Mariachi films were intimate tales, this is the epic one, at least epic sounding. The pauses in the orchestra will be filled in by the guitar of the Mariachi as he goes solo, and Robert has also included a heart tearing Tuba solo that was just wonderful. Have you ever heard good old fashioned BULLFIGHTING music? Or Alfred Newman's score to Tyrone Power's BLOOD AND SAND? Well this doesn't sound like that, but has a bit of that flavor. He's turned this newly formed Texas Philharmonic Rebels into some sort of tragic heroic Latin symphony. You can hear those Spanish horns, the sweeping of the strings and the spine-chilling trills of the flutes. They played through this 5 or 6 times making slight variations in the orchestration, moving the Tuba to the center of the orchestra, recording his part alone, separating the harp, etc etc etc. After the piece, Robert came over with his little MP3 player and played for me the Mariachi track that goes on top of this all, and it is the best guitar work of the trilogy.
I also heard the Orchestra playing the background music for the FLOOP song that Robert wrote, and this was Robert's attempt to record an 'Elfman' tune, since Danny wrote Floop's song in the first film, and wasn't available for this chapter in the Spy Kids adventures. The results, very Elfman-y. You can't say, it sounds like THIS DANNY ELFMAN track, but you'd swear it was somewhere in there. The song is made up of big crescendos and silences, where Alan Cumming's Floop will be doing his words. After this, Robert let me hear Alan's track, very very fun.
The last major piece was the music that plays during Johnny Depp's ascension. I'm not gonna say to what he is ascending, but I will say, I think you'll like it. This music was quite haunting, here you'll hear the sounds of giant church bells (obviously not in the orchestra today, but sourced from big church bells I imagine and added in later) and again Robert left a smile on my face, as well as John Debney's. John loved the music and these Texas Philharmonic Rebels. Hopefully we'll see CDs of these very soon around the times of their releases. SPY KIDS opens that second weekend of August if memory serves, and while ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO hasn't nailed a date, it looks like Robert wants to open it in Mexico before the craziness of November comes in. Now, I turn ya over to Dan and his report from the world of scores...
So after a little bit of a delay, Varese Sarabande announced their new Club releases, which include Georges Delerue's highly sought-after score, JOE VS. THE VOLCANO. Get this one now - supplies are limited!! Also announced were THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE (Jerry Goldsmith), THE VIRGIN QUEEN (Franz Waxman) and CAST A GIANT SHADOW (Elmer Bernstein). So we didn't quite get the titles a lot of people wanted (like PREDATOR or COMMANDO), but they might be coming further down the line.... VareseSarabande.Com
Film Score Monthly has just released it's two newest releases: 36 HOURS by Dimitri Tiomkin (HARRY NOTE: Just listened to this soundtrack and adored it!), and THE TRAVELING EXECUTIONER, by Jerry Goldsmith. FilmScoreMonthly.Com
Percepto Records will be releasing a triple-score (double CD) album release of THE FLY / RETURN OF THE FLY / THE CURSE OF THE FLY, as well as Vic Mizzy's score to THE NIGHT WATCHER. Percepto.Com
Who wants a double dose of ROLLERBALL? Well, Varese Sarabande also just released Andre Previn's score to the original Norman Jewison film, and Virgin Records is releasing Eric Serra's score to John McTiernan's remake. Also cashing in on the upcoming LEGEND Special Edition DVD, Silva Screen Records is re-packaging their release of Jerry Goldsmith's score, with new cover art to match the DVD. But the contents are exactly the same, so if you already have it, don't bother running out to get it. But if you don't have it, go get it NOW!
Varese is putting out a bunch of stuff, including David Newman's score to ICE AGE, Henry Manfredini's score to JASON X, David Julyan's score to INSOMNIA, David Arnold's score to ENOUGH, and Jan A.P. Kaczmarek's score to UNFAITHFUL. Nick Glennie-Smith's score to WE WERE SOLDIERS just came out, on the Columbia Legacy label. Also look for the Bryan Adams song-filled SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (with 20-minutes of score by Hans Zimmer) on A&M Records.
James Horner fans should note that RCA has put out his score to John Woo's WINDTALKERS. Rhino Records has just put out an expanded release of Randy Newman's acclaimed score to RAGTIME. Shakespeare fans will be delighted to know that there is now an new recording of the complete score to Franco Zeffirelli's ROMEO AND JULIET (Nino Rota) available on Silva Screen Records.
Star Trek fans will be happy to know that Dennis McCarthy's score to the pilot episode of "Enterprise" ("Broken Bow") is now available on Decca Records, and features two versions of the main title song - as well as McCarthy's original main title track, which was unused (even though the theme shows up in his scores).
A bunch of people are wondering what the deal is with a SPIDER-MAN score release, and the latest word is that Elfman's score to the blockbuster should be coming to CD on June 4th. So, stay tuned! The other box-office gorilla, STAR WARS: EPISODE 2, has had it's score album out for a while now - but it seems that the music is a bit of a mess in the film. Has anyone else noticed how chopped up the album cues are on screen? And what's the deal with the use of music from THE PHANTOM MENACE? Essh! It makes one wonder how that anticipated 2-CD release later this year might turn out - will it end up being another "editor's cut" job like the PHANTOM MENACE: ULTIMATE EDITION CD set was? We'll just have to wait and see.
If you have anything film-score related you want me to mention here, or have any questions, feel free to email me: by clicking this and then running your fingers over that keyboard of yours till the letter is done then press click on the mouse. Have a smoke, and I'll get back to you later!
Until next time,