Disc One: 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 72:11)
“2009-2001”: Music Composed byCarter Burwell, Patrick Cassidy, Charlie Clouser, Michael Giacchino, James Newton Howard, Rolfe Kent, John Murphy, Javier Navarrete, David Shire, Alan Silvestri, Johan Soderqvist, John Williams, Christopher Young, and Hans Zimmer.
Disc Two: 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 66:50)
“1999-1984”: Music Composed by Elmer Bernstein, John Carpenter (with Dave Davies and Alan Howarth), Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith, Nerf Herder, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Wojciech Kilar, Joseph LoDuca, Alan Silvestri, John Williams, and Christopher Young.
Disc Three: 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 66:39)
“1983-1977”: Music Composed by Bela Bartok, Charles Bernstein, John Carpenter (and with Alan Howarth), Pino Donaggio, Goblin, Jerry Goldsmith, Ennio Morricone, Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave, George Thorogood, and John Williams.
Disc Four: 15 Tracks (Playing Time = 70:39)
“1976-1922”: Music Composed by James Bernard, Billy Goldenberg, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, Krzystof Komeda, John Morris, Mike Oldfield, Humphrey Searle, Gerard Schurmann, Dmitri Tiomkin, and Franz Waxman.
Album produced by James Fitzpatrick, David Wishart and Rick Clark. Compiled by Rick Clark. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus (Crouch End Festival Chorus) conducted by James Fitzpatrick, Nic Raine, and Paul Bateman; the Phiharmonia Orchestra conducted by Neil Richardson; the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alywn; London Music Works; Michigan Music Works; and Electronic/Synth performances by Mark Ayres, Nick Watson, and Gareth Williams. Recorded at Barrandov Studios – Smecky Music Studio, Prague; Whitfield Street Studios, London; and Silva Screen Studios, London. Release mastered by Gareth Williams and Rick Clark. Engineered by Jan Holzner, John Timperley, and Mike Ross Trevor. Artwork and design by Damien Doherty.
Silva Screen Records 1288
Nine years ago, Silva released a two-disc set of music from Horror films “from NOSFERATU to THE SIXTH SENSE called A History of Horror. It appeared at about the time when the somewhat infamous City of Prague Orchestra seemed to be improving and the set was a fairly good mix of old and new music. That set was also a bit heavier on music from English films featuring music by Carl Davis and Debbie Wiseman as well as some James Bernard. Bernard’s music (taken from other fine Silva overviews of his music) is all that made it to this new four-disc compilation.
Of the 28 tracks on that previous release, 18 reappear here, and several others are re-edited slightly, and a couple of different selections are chosen from films whose music appeared on that earlier release. But if you somehow overlooked or missed the earlier one, this new one will give you a great overview of some classic film music from really THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Bernard’s music for the 1922 NOSFERATU is of course of more recent vintage) to this year’s DRAG ME TO HELL. This new set is organized in reverse chronological order with the newest music kicking off disc one and the oldest music bringing up the final disc. There are of course some selections re-edited from before and even a number of at least new to this reviewer selections conducted by Nic Raine that appear to replace older Silva catalogue items.
Disc One serves up selections from present releases back to 2001 which even fans of older film music will likely enjoy. It kicks off with music from Christopher Young’s great score to DRAG ME TO HELL (listed here as “Original Version” end titles) in a performance that comes pretty close to the originals. Music from TWILIGHT is really the only highlight from Burwell’s score, known as “Bella’s Lullaby.’ Some of the selections are pulled from recent year highlight discs (like Giacchino’s “Roar” from CLOVERFIELD). The variety of mostly lyrical, and rarely chilling, music makes for a wonderful listening experience that eschews the jolts and dissonance one may associate with music from this genre. The disc, featuring performances mostly conducted by James Fitzpatrick, is literally one great performance after another. Music from SUNSHINE, ZODIAC, PAN’S LABYRINTH, and THE MUMMY RETURNS give you just a quick glimpse of the variety of composers represented here. It is a mark of Silva’s love of good film music on display throughout the set that one has to admire. Some interesting moments include “Eli’s Theme” by Johan Soderqvist from the foreign film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (a delightful musical surprise), the appearance of the quirky theme by Rolfe Kent from DEXTER, and a suite of music from Howard’s score for KING KONG. The inclusion of non-orchestral driven music (like Clouser’s music from SAW or Murphy’s 28 DAYS LATER) sometimes causes a quick readjustment due to the shift in sound but you have to admire the breadth of selections here. The selection from THE RING also has a rather abrupt end making it the only really “scary” music on the first disc in terms of its chilling effects. The rest is all a reminder of the great music composed over the first decade of the 21 st century.
Evidently there were no horror films in 2000 as the second disc covers music from 1984-1999 kicking off with music from Goldsmith’s score to THE MUMMY remake. Some of these selections have appeared elsewhere but this disc two turns out to be filled with intelligently-chosen selections covering a breadth of musical styles. Music from SLEEPY HOLLOW and THE SIXTH SENSE close out the first third of the disc which is separated by the energetic theme from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and the first appearance of synthesizer music in the release beginning with music from John Carpenter’s VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. The “Dance of the Witches” from THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK gives us a little Williams, Silvestri’s theme from PREDATOR, music from Horner’s ALIENS, and Bernstein’s GHOSTBUSTERS theme round off the more familiar names, while inclusion of Kilar’s music for BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA and music from Young’s Hellraiser and its sequel remind us of composer’s who got our attention with superb scores during this period. This disc is not as rigorously chronological in reverse which makes sense for some of the selections included here. Again, it is another fine disc of great film music all well-performed.
Disc Three features the most synthesizer-based film music as it covers 1977-1983, much of it by John Carpenter with instantly recognizable main themes. The disc begins though with Charles Bernstein’s theme for A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET followed by a somewhat unnecessary, but well-played, cover of “Bad to the Bone” as used in CHRISTINE. Morricone’s music for THE THING and “Regan’s Theme” from EXORCIST II make for nice additions in a disc that is filled out with music by Goldsmith (POLTERGEIST, ALIEN) and Williams (DRACULA, THE FURY—the latter being a pleasant surprise). Fan favorites from Phantasm and SUSPIRIA create equally creepy but no less jolting horror movie moments. The one odder inclusion is the Bartok music as used in THE SHINING which demonstrates again the wide net cast by the producers of the set.
Disc Four pulls us mostly back to orchestral music from 1976-1922 with the one exception of “Tubular Bells” from THE EXORCIST. Most of this disc revisits Silva’s earlier horror music compilation and features a number of selections from Hammer films scored by James Bernard. His more recent score for the 1922 film NOSFERATu closes off the album so in theory the oldest music comes from Waxman’s score to THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. The disc opens with “Ave Satani,” probably one of the more famous chilling film scores (THE OMEN), and then shifts gears briefly for the “Transyvanian Lullaby” from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN before heading into music that demands to be listened to and features the most dissonant selections in the set. One delightful surprise here is music from Billy Goldenberg’s score for DUEL conducted by Fitzpatrick (perhaps to reappear in a Spielberg compilation).
Overall, this is a fantastic traversal of film music with of course plenty of great music missing and we could all carp about what we wish was included, but the bottom line is that this is a superb compilation with much to recommended it, especially if you missed the earlier release, and even if you have that one (!).
The booklet is similar to the ones Silva did for the Cinema Century sets with only performer information, title, year of film, and publishing information, so it is hard to know when they are using their own arrangements or “original” ones.
However, that should not make one hesitate from enjoying or purchasing this fabulous set which will be perfect for a late eve.
--Steven A. Kennedy, 23 October 2009
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