Hey mister, this CD is very short…
Last time I mentioned a place called “Cinescor” in Madrid. That place was my second home for years. It was simply a music store specialized in soundtracks and theatre music. A dream come true for a novice collector. Its owner has since then become on of my very best friends. Here I had a chance to compare knowledge with persons who shared my interests, and listen to music I didn’t even know existed. And it was there that I started finding out a few facts about the released music on CD’s.
One of them was, that for many record companies, film score publishing is a very marginal business. Except for very specific examples (e.g. Star Wars, Titanic,) no film score sells highly. Soundtracks do, but scores not so much. So the production of titles was always very limited. Titles would be normally produced to coincide with the release, but after initial runs, they would stop producing more, making many of this titles out-of-print. This scarcity makes some of this titles highly sought after.
Thankfully there are also some labels specialized in films scores. Varese Sarabande Records
is one of the main ones. A company almost exclusively dedicated to releasing scores. And there are others, like Intrada or Milan Records. But a lot of these releases are very short. Very often, under 30 minutes of the music are included in the discs. This has to do with the amount of royalties the labels have to pay for the discs, which are based on the length of said discs.
So, a lot of music actually goes unreleased, which makes complete or extended editions highly sought after too. But like in many other cases, the internet will play a big role in a fundamental change for film score collectors. A change that I’ll go thru in detail in my next post.
The Lord of the Rings: The Complete Recordings
The original releases for the scores of The Lord of the Rings were high quality ones. An excellent example of cramming as much music as possible in 74 minutes cd’s. A total of 3 ½ hours of award winning music.
But that was not enough, and a couple of years after the original releases, the complete editions for each of the films was made available. Beautifully boxed sets, with excellent notes. 11 cd’s in total. And each title with an audio DVD of each score with a 5.1 mix. A dream come true for a film music lover like me.
They were limited releases, but copies are easily found via Amazon or Ebay. Expensive, but worth every penny.
Release description wrote:
(This pertains to The Fellowship of the Ring complete recordings)
An epic film score receives epic treatment with The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring/Complete Recordings. Released for the first time on CD, the complete score for the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy contains more than 180 minutes of music on three CDs plus a DVD-Audio disc of the entire score in Surround Sound. Breathtaking and majestic, the 2001 Oscar and Grammy winning score compsted by Howard Shore also includes Enya's Oscar nominated "May It Be." For fans of any of The Lord of the Rings films, the Fellowship of the Ring/Complete Recordings is an essential experience.
Track: Return of the King: The White Tree
Another great film music site, with reviews, news on upcoming releases, exclusive features and the best resource for trailer music.
A favorite composer: Danny Elfman (& 2)
Picking just a handful of favorites last ime was too hard. This time, I’m going with other lesser titles that I feel warrant some consideration too.
A Few more favorites
Good Will Hunting
For a movie in which the dialogues are the main driving force, Elfman’s subdued score might not be so recognizable. Listening to it, with its simpler, more Irish sound, one can truly appreciate its minimalistic approach. Just a handful of instruments and very light choral sounds.
Men In Black
If I had to define this score, I’d have to label it as retro; both for its actual main theme sound, and also, for Elfman’s return to it’s rock roots, mixing orchestra sounds with electric guitar.
It was Elfman’s first adventurous score, using tribal rhythms to help elevate the horror. Because this was supposed to be a horror film… Still is a magnificent piece
The perfect mix of Gothic horror orchestra with choral layers. It is the evolution of Elfman’s horror sound, starting with “Nightbreed”, continuing with “The Frighteners”, and achieving its best results here. Grandiose and macabre
A rollercoaster ride, zany and perhaps too incidental to be listened as a whole. But it is still an enjoyable ride
Collectors corner, Must-Have & Small Gems
As the section indicates, here I’ll try to name 3 scores; the first, a difficult to find title, the second, is pretty much given, and the third, is a score that you may not think about that often (mainly due to the quality of the film), but it’s a surprising find.
Collector’s corner: Hocus Pocus – John Debney
A very scarce promotional release, mainly released thru its own composer (John Debney – Cutthroat Island, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Relic, Elf). 33 minutes of hijinks, tempo changes and, in general, a delightful and magical score.
The original copies were, for many years, one of the top 10 most sought after scores.
Track: Witches on Holiday
Must-Have: The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein
Arguably, some of the most famous film music ever composed. Just go ahead and tell me that you don’t recognize the main theme.
There is a widely available, re-recorded album with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra in Koch Records, that the composer considers the ultimate interpretation.
Track: Main Titles and Calvera’s Visit
Small Gems: Much Ado About Nothing – Patrick Doyle
Exuberant and jubilant; one of the many collaborations between the composer and Kenneth Branagh, and considered by many as his masterpiece. Works mainly by using two main themes, one for the men, and the other for the women. An excellent approach for a story mainly based on the Battle of the Sexes
The famous shower scene from “Psycho” was originally going to be, thru Hitchcock’s vision, played with no music.
Classic film composer Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock’s frequent collaborator, had already seen Hitch pull his music out for a scene (The plane sequence from “North by Northwest”). But this time, he convinced the director that he could create something perfect for it. And he did.