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The 9th Annual

Best Film Music CDs and DVDs

Released During 2006

 

 

Best of 2006

Selected by Roger Hall

 

When reviewing film music, a writer can only express his or her opinion based on what they hear on the CD and also, if possible, how the score works or doesn't work in a film. So this annual list is a subjective choice of the past year's film music. You may agree with some or none of these choices. But it is only one reviewer's choices based on what he feels are the best and worst film music of the year.

This year I must say that both Steve--his choices follow mine below--and I feel it was a very lean year for worthwhile soundtracks.

In the past it was much easier to pick the best soundtracks [see the previous lists below from 1998 to 2005]. This time it was much harder choosing the ones I felt were good enough to be singled out.

John Williams has taken the year off and he is sorely missed. Last year both Steve and I selected him as Top Film Composer of the Year, due to his 4 memorable scores, especially MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and MUNICH. For his 75th birthday in 2007, a CDR titled: "John Williams on Radio" is now available with A Guide to Film Music. Unfortunately, this was not the case for 2006 with very few really outstanding soundtracks. Unfortunately too many films these days have loud and noisy songtracks.

There were other outstanding soundtracks in 2005 as well, like LADIES IN LAVENDER.

FMR has a star rating system to reflect how a soundtrack or compilation is judged based on its performance, production and art design. Some CDs were designated as Special Merit for their excellence in production. The highest honor is reserved for those CDs that I've selected as Best of the Month. These are indicated on the list below.

My list is based on past FMR reviews over the past year.

Some soundtracks were better than the film. Fortunately, there remains a steady flow of restorations and re-recordings that receive first class treatment by suchlabels as: FSM, Intrada, MMM, Naxos, and Silva Screen.

So without further comments, let's begin with the...


Top Film Composer
of the Year: James Newton Howard

J.N. Howard was picked as Top Film Composer for 2000.
Over the years he has continued to produce memorable scores. In 2004, his score for THE VILLAGE was chosen for a Sammy Award. In 2006, he had another good year with several outstanding soundtracks, BLOOD DIAMOND and LADY IN THE WATER.

 

 

Here are the remaining choices (listed alphabetically in each category)...

Best New Soundtrack Releases (listed in alphabetical order)

CARS (Randy Newman) -- Disney Pixar -- Even with the odd batch of songs, Newman's score and song makes the ride worthwhile.

THE DA VINCI CODE (Hans Zimmer) -- Decca -- [ Best of the Month for May ] -- A more enjoyable film than many critics claimed with a very evocative score by Zimmer.

LADY IN THE WATER (James Newton Howard) -- Decca -- [Special Merit] -- A score much better than the badly muddled film written and directed by M. Night Shyamaylan.

PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER (T. Tykwer, J. Klimek, R. Heil) -- EMI -- [ Special Merit ] -- Like LADY IN THE WATER, another outstanding score for a poorly conceived film.

SUPERMAN RETURNS (John Ottman) -- Rhino -- Essentially a special effects bonanza with little story and a disappointing actor (Brandon Routh) as Superman. Ottman's score soars however, along with the great Main Theme by John Williams.

Best Restorations and Re-Recordings

LOST IN SPACE (40th Anniversary Edition, 2 CDs) (John Williams & other composers) -- La-La Land -- [ Special Merit ] -- TV series nostalgia at its best.

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG & 2 other films (Roy Webb & others) --Monstrous Movie Music--[ Special Merit ] -- A quality production, as usual from this small but gutsy label, and the booklet provides hugely enjoyable reading.

THIS ISLAND EARTH & 3 other films (Herman Stein & others) --Monstrous Movie Music--Sci-fi fun from the 50s, with a booklet stuffed with tasty bits of info.

TRUE GRIT(Elmer Bernstein) --Tadlow -- [ Best of the Month for June ] -- A terrific film music re-recording project.

THE WRONG MAN (Bernard Herrmann)--Film Score Monthly-- [ Special Merit ] -- A masterful film noir score and excellent restoration.

Best Compilation Releases

CHARLIE CHAPLIN: The Essential Film Music Collection-- Silva Screen--[Special Merit ] -- Wonderful tribute to this multi-talented comedic genius.

CINEMA RHAPSODIES: The Musical Genius of Victor Young --Hit Parade--[Special Merit ] -- Long overdue release of music by this prolific film composer and conductor from the past. Mostly in good old mono!

THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY: A Century of Flight --Varese Sarabande--[ Special Merit ] -- Memorable high flying film themes.

MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF MARLON BRANDO --Silva Screen--Excellent collection of film themes.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (6 CD set) --Turner Classic Movies/Rhino Movie Music--[ Best of the Month for April ] -- A superb anthology of great musical songs from M-G-M's past.

Best Record Labels and Album Producers

Film Score Monthly -- Lukas Kendall

Monstrous Movie Music -- David Schecter and Kathleen Mayne

Silva Screen/ Tadlow -- James Fitzpatrick

Turner Classic Movies/Rhino -- George Feltenstein

Best DVD Releases (Single and Multi Disc Sets)

Single Music DVD

MORRICONE CONDUCTS MORRICONE [ Special Merit ] -- A very enjoyable concert of Morricone's best film music, recorded in Munich, Germany.

LEAN BY JARRE - A Musical Tribute to Sir David Lean (CD/ DVD) -- Maurice Jarre's memorable film music tribute.

 

DVD Set

THE BUSBY BERKELEY COLLECTION (6 DVDs): 42ndSTREET (includes featurette on songwriter Harry Warren), GOLDDIGGERS OF 1933, FOOTLIGHT PARADE, DAMES, GOLDDIGGERS OF 1935, THE BUSBY BERKELEY DISC (21 musical numbers from various Warner Bros. musicals) -- A wonderful collection of some of the greatest early Hollywood songs and production numbers.

 

Best for 2006

Selected by Steven A. Kennedy

Top Film Composer of the Year:   Alexandre Desplat

I have selected Desplat because he has had a year similar to John Williams in 1991. Then, Williams provided several scores that kicked off with a Harrison Ford thriller, PRESUMED INNOCENT. Desplat has this year’s Ford thriller FIREWALL. As 2006 came to a close, Desplat had scores for two films, QUEEN and THE PAINTED VEIL, that began to receive a great deal of critical notice. The discs were released in 2007 so technically should show up a year from now. But like his score for GIRL WITH A PEARL EARING, I think it important that we acknowledge this accomplishment while people are still debating if they should receive any awards. Desplat’s music has shown up in review on the site in the past, Roger’s review of THE LUZHIN DEFENSE was ahead of its time for directing people to Desplat’s music. And this is a composer worth our attention.

Best New Soundtrack Releases in alphabetical order

ABOMINABLE ( Lalo Schifrin)

APOCALYPTO (James Horner)

THE DA VINCI CODE (Hans Zimmer)

LADY IN THE WATER (James Newton Howard)

PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER ( Tom Tykwer, Reinhold Heil, and Johnny Klimek)

Honorable Mention:

ALL THE KING'S MEN (James Horner)

MOTHER OF MINE (Tuomas Kantelinen)

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (John Powell)  

Best Restorations and Re-Recordings in alphabetical order

AMAZING STORIES (Volumes 1-2) – Multiple Composers (Intrada)

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE/1001 ARABIAN NIGHT– George Duning (FSM)

CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF AND OTHER FILM MUSIC – Benjamin Frankel ( Naxos)

GHOSTBUSTERS– Elmer Bernstein ( Varese Sarabande CD Club)

GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS– Leslie Bricusse/ John Williams (FSM)

JOE 90 – Barry Gray (Silva)

LIFEFORCE– Henry Mancini and Michael Kamen (BSX Records)

THE LORD OF THE RINGS -- THE TWO TOWERS (complete) – Howard Shore (Reprise)

Best Compilation Releases

TRUE GRIT: ELMER BERNSTEIN CONDUCTS HIS CLASSIC SCORES FOR THE FILMS OF JOHN WAYNE -- Varese Sarabande

CHARLIE CHAPLIN : THE ESSENTIAL FILM MUSIC COLLECTION -- Silva

GREAT FILM FANTASIES -- Telarc

MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF MARLON BRANDO -- Silva

MUSIC FROM THE HARRY POTTER FILMS -- Silva

 

Best Record Labels and Album Producers

Film Score Monthly -- Lukas Kendall

Intrada -- Douglas Fake

La-La Land Records / Prometheus -- Ford Thaxton

Silva Screen -- James FitzpatrickVarese Sarabande -- Robert Townson

 


 

8th Annual Best of Film Music (2005)

7th Annual Best and Worst Film Music ( 2004)

6th Annual Best and Worst Film Music (2003)

5rg Annual Best and Worst Film Music (2002)

4th Annual Best and Worst Film Music (2001)

3rd Annual Best and Worst Film Music (2000)

2nd Annual Best and Worst Film Music (1999)

1st Annual Best Film Music (1998) 


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