I have decided to introduce a new feature here at Movie Music UK, which will feature reviews of classic scores from my own childhood and one of my favorite periods for film music – the 1980s. Inspired by the “Throwback Thursday” idea from Facebook, in which people post old photos of themselves every Thursday, I have decided to call this feature Throwback Thirty!
My plan is that, every Thursday, I will debut a brand new review for a score from a film which was in theaters exactly thirty years ago (roughly – there will be a bit of leeway here and there), meaning that for the rest of the year I will be looking at scores released in 1984.
The first review will debut tomorrow; I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you enjoy the series going forward!
As you all may be aware, I have an unabashed passion for Golden Age film scores. I was very happy to join Movie Music UK in 2010 and be given the opportunity to review the wonderful scores from this era. Sometime ago I had an idea to enhance the MMUK experience by providing our readers with more insight and knowledge of this era. I offered to provide a new series where I would explore the biographies, style, filmography, masterworks, awards and legacy of the great film score composers of the past.
It seemed to me from my discussions at different film score community sites that for many members, while there was an understanding and appreciation of modern film scores, much of its earlier history and works for the most part remained unexplored, the proverbial terra incognita. As a student of film score history, I believe that to better understand and appreciate the present, you must first understand the past. As any archeologist can attest, there are great treasures of the past just waiting to be discovered. It is my sincere hope that I can serve as a your guide on a personal quest of discovery of some of the greatest composers and scores ever written.
I am very pleased to launch this series with an exploration of how it all began, with none other than the true Father of Film Scores, a film score Titan, and one of my favorite composers, the legendary Max Steiner. The first article will go live on Tuesday April 1st, and will continue with a new article on the first of each month from now on.
All the best!
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2013. This year’s awards have a real international flavor, with the top awards going to composers primarily from Poland and Spain, but also from France, Japan and Argentina.
The award for Score of the Year goes to Polish composer ABEL KORZENIOWSKI for his beautiful score for director Carlo Carlei’s new cinematic version of the classic Shakespeare story of tragically doomed love, ROMEO AND JULIET. IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called the score an “epic romance”, and felt that the film “inspired greatness out of the right composer”, while IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that Korzeniowski “is a composer who is not afraid to bring out the deeper sentiments in a film through his music, and it’s so refreshing to hear music from a man who so clearly understands what good film music can achieve”. Read more…
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2013. In this 10th Anniversary year of the IFMCA’s creation, the most nominated composer is Abel Korzeniowski, who received six nominations: Score of the Year, Best Drama Score and Film Music Composition of the Year for his work on director Carlo Carlei’s new screen version of the classic Shakespeare romance “Romeo and Juliet”; Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror Score and Film Music Composition of the Year for his work on director Randy Moore’s unusual satirical fantasy-horror set in a nightmarish Disney theme park, “Escape From Tomorrow”; and a personal nomination as Composer of the Year. Kraków, Poland-born Korzeniowski has previously been nominated for three IFMCA Awards, winning the award for Best Drama Score for “A Single Man” in 2009. Read more…
- ROMEO AND JULIET, Abel Korzeniowski
- ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW, Abel Korzeniowski
- EVIL DEAD, Roque Baños
- THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, Howard Shore
- THE WIND RISES, Joe Hisaishi
Of every score released this year, none impressed me more than Romeo and Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski. It’s the ultimate portrayal of romantic love: passionate, longing, and beautiful, and musically-speaking it ticks all the boxes, by being multi-thematic, structurally interesting, and wonderfully performed by a full orchestra. Korzeniowski’s stellar year continued with his lush, sweeping, ironic score for the unusual fantasy Escape from Tomorrow, where his music helped the film satirize the conventions of Disneyland, and convey the hallucinations of a man slowly losing his mind in the theme park. Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi gave his final collaboration with director Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises, a trio of gorgeous themes, including one rooted in the sunny music of the Mediterranean for the man who designed a fighter plane for the Japanese in World War II. Howard Shore returned to Middle Earth for the second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, and further enhanced his reputation with a dark, complicated score featuring a multiplicity of themes, enormous action music, and gorgeous orchestral textures. And speaking of dark, complicated scores, none was darker than Roque Baños’s Evil Dead, a roaring, thunderous musical celebration of horror featuring the year’s standout instrumental choice – the air raid siren!
The five other scores rounding out my Top 10 are: THE BOOK THIEF by John Williams, COLETTE by Atli Örvarsson, COPPERHEAD by Laurent Eyquem, INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED by Carlo Siliotto, and STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, music by Michael Giacchino. Read more…
Kilar was born in Lvov, Ukraine, when it was still part of Poland, in July 1932, but moved to Katowice in Silesia in 1948 with his father, a gynecologist, and his mother, an actress. Kilar studied at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice under composer and pianist Władysława Markiewiczówna, at the State Higher School of Music in Kraków under composer and pianist Bolesław Woytowicz, and in Paris with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in the late 1950s. Upon his return to Poland, Kilar and fellow composers Henryk Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki led an avant-garde music movement in the 1960s, during which time he wrote several acclaimed classical works.
Kilar scored his first film in 1959, and went gone on to write music from some of Poland’s most acclaimed directors, including Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Kazimierz Kutz and Andrzej Wajda. He worked on over 100 titles in his home country, including internationally recognized titles such as Bilans Kwartalny (1975), Ziemia Obiecana (1975), Rok Spokojnego Słońca (1984), Życie Za Życie (1991) and Pan Tadeusz (1999), plus several others in France and across other parts of Europe. Read more…
After much thought and deliberation, I have decided that, from now on, I will no longer be assigning star ratings to any of the reviews I write. The main reason for this is because, for too long now, I have had the feeling that many of my readers simply look at the star rating at the end of the review and use it as a quick and easy overview of my thought processes about a particular score, when in actual fact I want the meat of the review itself to convey my feelings. Slapping an arbitrary *** rating onto this score or that score really does nothing other than try to distill 2,000 words of prose into a single idea, whereas in reality the differences between three star, three-and-a-half star and four star ratings are subtle and can be swayed by all manner of different criteria.
So, here we go. I hope that the change in thinking will not be too radical for everyone. I do spend a lot of time crafting my thoughts and trying to put over intelligent arguments and detailed descriptions of each score I review, and hopefully the lack of an all-encompassing thumbs-up or thumbs-down will encourage people to really read what I write, (hopefully) understand my point of view about things, and stir up some interesting debate and discussion, both in the comments here and on the MMUK Discussion Board.