News Archive... AKA The Old Blog

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 "Best Music" Awards (so far...)

Chicago Film Critics:
The Fountain - Clint Mansell

Phoenix Film Critics ("Best Use of Music"):
Dreamgirls - Various

San Diego Film Critics:
Babel - Gustavo Santaolalla

Las Vegas Film Critics:
The Good German - Thomas Newman

The Black Reel Awards:
Best Original Score
Akeelah and the Bee - Aaron Zigman
Dreamgirls - Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas
Idlewild - Antwan Andre Patton
Inside Man - Terrence Blanchard
Something New - Lisa Coleman & Wendy Melvoin

Satellite Awards:
Babel - Gustavo Santaolalla

Critics' Choice Awards ("Best Soundtrack" & "Best Composer"):
Happy Feet
Marie Antoinette

Philip Glass - The Illusionist
Clint Mansell - The Fountain
Thomas Newman - The Good German
Gustavo Santaolalla - Babel
Howard Shore - The Departed
Hans Zimmer - The Da Vinci Code

Los Angeles Film Critics:
The Painted Veil and The Queen - Alexandre Desplat

New York Film Critics Online:
The Illusionist - Philip Glass

Annie Awards (Animation):
The Ant Bully - John Debney
Bah Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas - Gordon Goodwin
A Monkey’s Tale - Laura Karpman
Cars - Randy Newman
Ice Age: The Meltdown - John Powell

Thursday, December 21, 2006

THR: 'Clef Notes'

"Clef Notes", an interesting article from The Hollywood Reporter (appearing way back in November) on this year's scores predicted to get an Oscar push. Read more...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tyler Bates' '300'

Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 free Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian slave army. Facing impossible odds, their valor and sacrifice ultimately inspired all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy to fight for democracy.

For this "Battle Epic" director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) engaged Tyler Bates to create a score that embodies expansive orchestral and choral themes that express a sweeping palette of color and emotion, while embracing a tonal palette unfamiliar to studio films of its nature.

In developing a sound that wouldn't betray the Frank Miller-inspired dark and stunning backdrop, the rugged stature of the Spartans, and the threatening characters they encounter on their quest to preserve freedom and democracy, Bates chose percussion as an effective foundation for much of the score. Bates explains, "My intent was to support the physicality of the actors, while staying true to the inspiration of this film and that of the Spartans -- freedom and will." Singer Azam Ali (Niyaz, Vas) served as both the voice of Sparta and the Persian threat. Orchestra and choir were recorded in London at Abbey Road studios, serving as the emotional canvas for the many colors and textures of Azam's haunting voice. Bates designed score pieces to incorporate Ali's many singing techniques in a broad range of emotions. Feeling it important to not color the story with specific words, yet to be bold and confident with voices throughout the score, Azam's vocal melodies were written in a phonetic language, as were all the choral parts. The guitarviol, an obscure electric bowed instrument, was used to create the crude melodies and much of the score's darker atmospheres, in addition to hand-crafted ambient sound design apparent in the music.

Bates comments, "The greatest challenge to writing and producing the music for 300, was to bead a musical thread throughout the film's ever-changing landscape of visual art and its ominous, horrific and mystical beings, while sustaining the epic and emotional qualities from which this film was made. I had to approach it in a style as inventive as the film itself." Warner Bros Records is distributing the score soundtrack album, comprised entirely of Bates' music, with the film's March 9th theatrical release. More:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Intrada: McKenzie's 'Blizzard'

Intrada Signature Edition: Blizzard
Music by Mark McKenzie

Katie wanted only one thing: to ice-skate. While practicing on an outdoor rink, Katie is befriended by former Olympic skating champion Otto Brewer, who offers to teach her "proper skating." Under Brewer’s tutelage, Katie blossoms into a magnificent skater. When Katie’s family is forced to move to the big city, Katie is devastated. Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Santa and his elves are celebrating the birth of baby reindeer Blizzard. Blizzard possesses all three magical reindeer gifts: the ability to fly, the power of invisibility, and the gift of seeing with her heart. Using her empathic ability, Blizzard feels Katie's sadness and flies to Katie’s home, where these two strangers from different worlds help each other. Set in a post-war 1940s, BLIZZARD stars Brenda Blethen, Christopher Plummer and Kevin Pollack

McKenzie's score to Blizzard features a 100-piece orchestra and is a sweeping, colorful work in every robust, decadent Christmas sense. McKenzie received the assignment while orchestrating Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek: Nemesis, and was encouraged by the veteran composer to take on the project. Upon hearing McKenzie's results, Goldsmith said he admired the very tender, gentle, sweet, and pretty nature of the score. The powerful, exciting flying and skating sequences might even suggest a nod to Mr. Goldsmith.

This release is limited to 1000 copies.

Intrada Signature Edition - ISE1011 - In stock now
For cover art, track listing, and sound samples, please visit

Also see:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ennio, meet Oscar. Oscar, meet Ennio

From The Associate Press...

Italian composer Morricone to get honorary Oscar
Wednesday December 13 9:11 PM ET

Italian movie composer Ennio Morricone, famed for his work on such "spaghetti westerns" as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "A Fistful of Dollars" will receive an honorary Oscar during the Academy Awards ceremony next February, organizers said on Wednesday.

Morricone, 78, has composed more than 300 motion picture scores during his 45-year career, but had never won an Oscar. He was nominated five times, for "Days of Heaven" (1978), "The Mission" (1986), "The Untouchables" (1987), "Bugsy" (1991) and "Malena" (2000).

The honorary Oscar, determined by the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, went this year to director Robert Altman, who died last month.

"The board was responding not just to the remarkable number of scores that Mr. Morricone has produced," said Academy president Sid Ganis, "but to the fact that so many of them are beloved and popular masterpieces."

Morricone's other credits include the scores for "Once upon a Time in America," "Cinema Paradiso," "Bulworth," "In the Line of Fire," "La Cage aux Folles" and the 2008 release "Leningrad."

The 79th annual Academy Awards will be held in Hollywood on February 25.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Your latest listening options

Cinematic Sound is presenting a 3-hour tribute to Shirley Walker, in honor of her career. Including The Black Stallion, The Flash, Memoirs of An Invisible Man, Batman: Mask of The Phantasm, Space: Above and Beyond, Willard and more. View the playlist.

More listening...

Composer Hans Zimmer is the latest guest of On The Score at Spotlighted on the show will be Zimmer's romantic-comedy approach for director Nancy Meyers, beginning with Something's Gotta Give, and continuing now for The Holiday. Zimmer's lush music links the film's star-crossed characters from LA to London- a mult-faceted score that drew Zimmer to such collaborators as composer Heitor Pereira and singer Imogen Heap - as well as Zimmer's wife Suzanne. Head to for more.