Film Music Review
The Sammy awards



Volume 14

Number 1

Winter-Spring 2012



+Roger Hall

Contributing Writers:

+Steven A. Kennedy

+ Steve Vertlieb


IFMCA: the International Film Music Critics Association









Main Titles

Latest News

The Sammy Film Music Awards

The Best Film Music of 2011

Ratings and List of FMR Online Issues

Film In Focus

Editor's Choice - Best of the Month CDs

New CD Reviews For 2012

Recommended DVDs and Books

Film Music Links




Your comments or questions are welcome.

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Film Music Review



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Film Music Review

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Latest News


John Williams: An 80th Birthday Tribute
(including a special CD with his film music)


The International Film Music Critics Association have announced their choices for the best of the year for 2011. See the entire list at this link:

IFMCA Awards




Favorite Film Music Poll


Here is your chance to pick some of your favorite Hollywood movie songs
and film scores from the past 75 years (1933 to 2008).

The titles don't have to be what you consider to be the greatest or most popular film music. They are your choices of film music you especially enjoy, both scores and songs.

Send your list of up to 30 favorites (songs or scores in any order)
by April 16, 2012 to:

My favorite movie music

See the film scores and movie songs selected so far at the

Film Music Web Poll


For more titles, see these links:

100 Essential Film Scores of the 20th Century

Top Ten Movie Song Favorites

Twenty Essential Hollywood Musicals


By FMR Critics

By Steve Vertlieb
"Tribute to James Bernard" in Memories of Hammer (2002)
edited by Gary J. and Susan Svehla.

"The Horror and Fantasy Films of Max Steiner" in
The Max Steiner Annual (1970)

"Film Music in the 1980s: A Symposium" in
Pro Musica Sana
(Spring 1990)

"The Reinvention of Miklos Rozsa" in
Midnight Marquee (no. 52)

By Steven A. Kennedy
"Copland on Celluloid" (interview with
conductor Jonathan Sheffer) in
Film Score Monthly (February 2001)

By Roger Hall
A Guide to Film Music: Songs and Scores
(1st ed, 1997; 2nd ed, 2002, 3rd ed, 2007; 4th ed, 2009)

"Bernard Herrmann" in
American National Biography (24 vols.)

"From Hitchcock to Harryhausen: Ten Essential Herrmann Scores"
in Film Score Monthly (April-May 2000)

"Remembering (David) Raksin"
in Film Score Monthly (September 2004)

"Elmer's Magnificent 7:
Essential Elmer Bernstein Scores of the 1960s"
in Film Score Monthly (October 2004)

"Tip to Moviegoers: Take Off Those Earmuffs!"
(interview with Aaron Copland)
in Soundtrack! (Fall 2000)

"The Magnificent One: 50 Years of Elmer Bernstein Film Scores"
in Soundtrack! (Summer 2001)

"Bernard Herrmann: The Early Years"
in Soundtrack! (Spring 2002)

"Dimitri Tiomkin's Golden Decade" (1948-1958)
in Soundtrack! (Winter 2002)

All these articles are listed in
this well organized and very useful reference book...

Film and Television Music: A Guide to Books, Articles, and Composer Interviews

A Guide To Books, Articles, and Composer Interviews
Compiled and Edited by Warren M. Sherk



Film Music Guide

An informative resource guide on DVD-R,
with 50 music examples and a video program.
Read more about A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC at

Film Music Guide



Now On DVD

A play with music composed and compiled by Roger Hall
and based on a famous utopian 19th century novel
is now available on DVD and titled,

The Musical Telephone: A Romantic Narrative



"Moon River" at 50

"Moon River" - Memories of Henry Mancini




Complete List of CD, DVD and Book Reviews
on Film Music Review
(1998 - 2010)

click here



Film Composers Remembered

John Barry (1933-2011)



Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975)





Sammy Film Music Awards

The longest-running awards chosen
exclusively for film music recordings

News Flash!

The 24th Annual Sammy Awards for 2011

have been announced







IFMCA: the International Film Music Critics Association


IFMCA Legends

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is proud to announce the formation of the IFMCA Legends archive, celebrating the life and work of some of film music’s greatest historical artists.

Although the primary focus of the IFMCA is the celebration of the best in modern contemporary film music, it is also fully aware of the amazing legacy of groundbreaking music left by the classic Golden Age and Silver Age composers of decades past. To that end, the IFMCA has established the IFMCA Legends archive, which celebrates the work of these cinematic pioneers. Other than their musical contribution, the only other criteria necessary to become a member of the IFMCA Legends archive is to be deceased.

Each year, starting this year, IFMCA members will vote on new inductees who, in their opinion, have left an indelible mark on the world of film music through their groundbreaking scores, and who are deserving of recognition for their work. Each inductee will be the subject of an in-depth essay written by one of the IFMCA’s members, highlighting their life and most important scores, and which will be featured in a special new section on the IFMCA website.

For this inaugural year, IFMCA members chose five initial inductees. In future years, two new inductees will be chosen. The initial five inductees are:



The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing about original film and television music.

The IFMCA was originally formed in the late 1990s as the now-defunct “Film Music Critics Jury” by editor and journalist Mikael Carlsson, a regular contributor to Music from the Movies, and the owner of the Swedish independent film music label MovieScore Media. Since its inception, the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 40 members from countries as diverse as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The group’s main focus is the IFMCA Awards, which it presents annually to the best riginal scores from motion pictures, television and video games from the preceding calendar year. Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to Michael Giacchino’s UP in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s ATONEMENT in 2007, James Newton Howard’s LADY IN THE WATER in 2006, John Williams’ MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s THE INCREDIBLES in 2004.

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association, its members and the list of their awards, please visit them at this link:




The Best Film Music of 2011


Read our film music critics picks for

Best Film Music Releases of 2011
(CDs, DVD and Film Music Books)








FMR rating system for CDs and DVDs:

**** = Superlative (Highest Recommendation)

***1/2 = Very Good

*** = Good

**1/2 = Okay

** = Barely Passable

* = Poor

The Special Merit CDs are chosen at any time during a month for outstanding overall production of a soundtrack or compilation.

The Editor's Choice - Best of the Month designation is for those CDs that are singled out for their excellence. They are chosen anytime within a given month and may not be chosen every month.

2011 (Volume 13 )

Number 1 (Winter)

Number 2 (Spring)

Number 3 (Summer)

Number 4 (Fall)

2010 (Volume 12)

Number 1 (Winter)

Number 2 (Spring)

Number 3 (Summer)

Number 4 (Fall)

2009 (Volume 11)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (Winter)

Number 2 (Spring)

Number 3 (Summer)

Number 4 (Fall)

(Volume 10)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (Winter)

Number 2 (Spring)

Number 3 (Summer)

Number 4 (Fall)

2007 (Volume 9)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (January - February)

Number 2 (March - April)

Number 3 (May - June)

Number 4 (July - August)

Number 5 (September - October)

Number 6 (November - December)


2006 (Volume 8)

Index to All Reviews (January - December)

Number 1 (January - February)

Number 2 (March - April)

Number 3 (May - June)

Number 4 (July - August)

Number 5 (September - October)

Number 6 (November - December)


Volumes 1 - 7
These reviews no longer available online.
Here is a link to the complete list of

CD Reviews (1999-2005)

These reviews are included on
the DVD,
A Guide to Film Music (4th edition)


Index to Volumes 1 - 12

nInCDs, DVDs and Book Reviews)




Essential Film Scores of the 20th Century


See the list at

100 Essential Film Scores






Film In Focus

The series devoted to one film and its film score


Hugo Friedhofer's Oscar-winning score





Miklós Rózsa's score







No. 3: KING KONG and
Max Steiner's milestone score






Elmer Bernstein's score







No. 5: VERTIGO and
Bernard Herrmann's score





Dimitri Tiomkin's score









Alfred Newman's Oscar-winning film score









Adolph Deutsch's score









No. 9: PSYCHO and
Bernard Herrmann's score






No. 10: CITIZEN KANE and
Bernard Herrmann's first film score





Editor's Choice for 2012
Best Recordings of the Month



Capsule Review:

music by Bernard Herrmann

Total Playing Time = 77:18

Album Produced by Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William Stromberg

Tribute Film Classics TFC-1007

Rating: ****

This is another outstanding CD release from Tribute Film Classics, with their usual excellent overall production quality. It has wonderful sound, a stellar performance by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, under William Stromberg's accomplished direction. Also, a beautifully designed 32 page booklet by Jim Titus, Production Notes by John Morgan, Notes From The Podium by William Stromberg, The Enigma of Neretva by Jim Doherty, and an informative article and CD notes by Kevin Scott. If you are a Bernard Herrmann fan, don't wait -- this CD is a must for your collection!

Now, when will this team do the same with Herrmann's only Oscar-winning score: THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER?
-- Roger Hall, 31 January 2012



Capsule Review:

A Tribute To John Williams:
An 80th Birthday Celebration

Total Playing Time = 70:56

Project Director: Tom Laskey. Mastering Engineer: Maria Triana.
Art Director: Roxanne Slimak. CD Booklet Notes: David Foil.

Sony Classical 88691942532

Rating: ****

A selection of John Williams music presumably chosen and approved by the composer himself. Even though almost all of the CD consists of previously released music, there is a generous amount of his best known film themes. Besides his recent themes from THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN and WAR HORSE (selected for IFMCA Awards and Sammy Awards), there are familiar and much-loved themes: "Out To Sea/ The Shark Cage Fugue" from JAWS, "Adventures on Earth" from E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, "Harry's Wondrous World" from HARRY AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, Theme for NBC Nightly News, Theme from SCHINDLER'S LIST (violin soloist: Itzhak Perlman), and "Throne Room and Finale" from STAR WARS. There are also several wonderful themes which might not be as well known, such as the beautiful theme from SABRINA (violin soloist: Itzhak Perlman), and the exuberant "March" from the Steven Spielberg comedy film, 1941, which I played on a radio birthday tribute to John Williams. In addition, there are several classical pieces, the opening fanfare, "Sound the Bells!," and the "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra," superbly performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. All the music on this CD was composed and conducted by John Williams. The final track has the one newly released piece: "Happy Birthday Variations" - a 5 minute series of delightful variations on the familiar theme, performed by the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles in 1999.

A very enjoyable and attractively presented birthday tribute to John Williams, the world-famous composer and conductor.

Bravo to Maestro Williams for his many years of superlative music-making!
-- Roger Hall, 29 February 2012

See also -- John Williams: An 80th Birthday Tribute



Editor's Choice for Best of the Month
2009 - 2011






Soundtrack and Compilation Reviews
For 2012

CD reviews:

The Golden Age of Hollywood (Compilation) - RPO

John Williams Greatest Hits (Compilation) - Telos

NEW BABYLON (2 CD set) - music by Dmitry Shostakovich - Naxos









Useful resource guide now on DVD-R,
with 50 music examples and a video program.
Read more about A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC at

Film Composers and Soundtracks



Recommended DVDs and Books

DVDs with outstanding soundtracks





(Blu-ray Special Edition)
Music by Bernard Herrmann

Isolated score track and
commentary by film & music historians: John Morgan,
Nick Redman, Steven Smith, William Stromberg



2 Disc Deluxe Edition --
music by Dimitri Tiomkin




(Included in Fox WESTERN CLASSICS box set)
Music by Bernard Herrmann



(Guests: Dimitri Tiomkin & Dr. Samuel Hoffmann)




The Robe

THE ROBE (1953)
(Special Edition)
Music by Alfred Newman

Commentary by
film composer David Newman,
film historians Jon Burlingame, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman




RecoRRecommended Books


The Hollywood Film Music Reader
by Mervyn Cooke



Pick Yourself Up - Dorothy Fields and The American Musical
by Charlotte Greenspan


mmended Books

by Philip Furia and Laurie Patterson





by Mervyn Cooke






Alex North's A Streetcar Named Desire: A Film Score Guide (Scarecrow Film Score Guides)

A Film Score Guide
by Annette Davison



End Titles



See the list of recommended sites at

Film Music Links




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Film Music Review

Use this handy Search Box for your purchases from


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