Monday, September 30, 2013

Title Oddities and More Punny Track Titles

Composers seem love puns and many have included their own take in various albums and track titles.  Previously I've looked at John Williams Repeating Titles, Danny Elfman Repeating Titles and Michael Giacchino Puns.  

Here are some more oddities and puns to enjoy!    

MARCO BELTRAMI has used some great puns over the years, including some actor references in The Watcher, the Max Payne puns could be in a list of their own, and puns on his collaborators, Buck Sanders and Marcus Trumpp.  Here are some of my favorites.  

The Cue from Hell (Scream, 1996)
Dopple Gailer (Scream 3, 2000)
Vamp On a G String (Dracula 2000, 2000)
Keanuvision (The Watcher, 2000)
Queen of Spaders (The Watcher, 2000)
Hot Tomei-to (The Watcher, 2000)
Nomack the Knife (Blade II, 2002)
I.H.O. Paincakes (Blade II, 2002)
Charge of the Light Grenade (Blade II, 2002)
What Do You Want On Your Tombstone? (Terminator 3, 2003)
Ol' Timey Music (Underworld: Evolution, 2006)
Marcus Trummped (Underworld: Evolution, 2006)
Who Let the Cows Out? (3:10 to Yuma, 2007)
Payneful Piano (Max Payne, 2008)
Roll Over Beethoven (Knowing, 2009)
Lamb Lamp Lambency (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, 2010)
Sander Bucks (The Thing, 2011)
Music for Airport Zombies (Warm Bodies, 2013)
Marcus' Trump Stumps (Warm Bodies, 2013)
Get to the Choppa! (A Good Day To Die Hard, 2013)
Logan's Run (The Wolverine, 2013)
Whole Step Haiku (The Wolverine, 2013)
Matzah-Hisu (The Wolverine, 2013)

CHRISTOPHER YOUNG has also used some great puns in his track titles over the years, most notably his composer-related puns.  Here's a quick list of some of my favorites.  See if you can guess what composer has hidden in the title.

Her Man Awaits (Pranks, 1982)
Jerry's Gold Myth (The Power, 1984)

A New Man's Destiny (Def-Con 4, 1985)
Freed of Her (Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2, 1985)
Brought on by Night (Hellraiser, 1987)
Skin Her Alive (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, 1988)
A North Passage (Bat*21, 1988)
Polidori's Potions (Haunted Summer, 1988)
Too Morose? (Bright Angel, 1990)
Dela Rue (The Vagrant, 1992)
KaperKut (Rapid Fire, 1992)
Lena Lai (Dream Lover, 1993)

Rag Skin Blues (Dream Lover, 1993)
Rota Rooter (Set It Off, 1996)
Barrytone Sex (The Man Who Knew Too Little, 1997)

Bee Wax Menthol (Judas Kiss, 1998)
The Dancing Jars (Entrapment, 1999)
Ant Heel Blues (In Too Deep, 1999)
Sire Shire (Wonder Boys, 1999)
Previncial Illusions (Swordfish, 2001)
Alwyn Spires (The Shipping News, 2001)
Grusin Twosome (Bandits, 2001)

ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL makes you want to grab your music dictionary.  Many track titles over the years use music terminology and dance styles, with a lot in Latin or Italian thrown in.  

Alien³ (1992)
Agnus Dei 
Lullaby Elegy 
Demolition Man (1993)
Dies Irae 
Machine Waltz 
Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Libera Me 
Lestat's Tarantella 
Claudia's Allegro Agitato 
Marche Funébre 
Lestat's Recitative 
Santiago's Waltz 
Cobb (1994)
Variations on an Old Baptist Hymn 
Cooperstown Aria Part I 
Cooperstown Aria Part II 
Georgia Peach Rag 
Sour Mash Scherzo 
Batman Forever (1995)
Perpetuum Mobile 
Nygma Variations (An Ode to Science)
Mouth to Mouth Nocturne 
Gotham City Boogie 
Mr. E's Dance Card (Rumba, Fox-Trot, Waltz & Tango) 
Two-Face Three Step 
Spank Me! Overture 
Michael Collins (1996)
Elegy for a Sunday 
Boland Returns (Kitty's Waltz)
Sphere (1998)
Terror Adagio
In Dreams (1999)
Agitata Dolorosa
Claire's Nocturne
Premonition Lento
Elegy Ostinato 
Titus (1999)
Tamora's Pastorale 
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Toccata and Dreamscapes
Adagio and Transfiguration 
S.W.A.T. (2003)
AK-47 Scherzo 
Three Chords in Two Minutes 
The Fascist Shuffle 
The Tempest (2010)
High Day Two-Step
Prospera's Coda

Any other favorite composer titles or ones I've left off?  Leave a comment!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Alexandre Desplat: The Vibrant

Alexandre Desplat was born in Paris, France in 1961. He began his musical life on piano at the age of five, before adding on flute and trumpet. As a teenager, Desplat spent time watching films and listening to their scores - becoming a fan of the great film composers. He attended the Paris Conservatory, he became classically trained on the flute, while studying music with French composer Claude Ballif. He began to expand his listening and playing to classical, jazz, and African music. From his Greek mother, he began to explore the music of modernist composer Iannis Xenakis. He also studied with arranger and orchestrator Jack Hayes in California.

Composing first started for Desplat on the French cable channel Canel+. He worked on several television series and TV movies, and eventually worked his way into films starting with Ki lo sa? (1985). Notable early works include Lapse of Memory (1992) with director Patrick Dewolf, and beginning another director collaboration with Jacques Audiard's See How They Fall [Regarde les hommes tomber] (1994). They also worked on Innocent Lies (1995) with Dewolf, and A Self-Made Hero (1996), which lent Desplat his first C
ésar nomination. His next score with Audiard - Read My Lips (2001), also received a César nomination.

After years of French films, Desplat's burst into the Hollywood arena with Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003). His intriguing use of instruments is apparent in this score, with his signature piano solos, bells and flute solos. The score would go onto nominations for the BAFTA and Golden Globes. Choosing interesting and varied projects, Desplat continued with films like Birth (2004), The Upside of Anger (2005), Hostage (2005), Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005), which won him a C
ésar. His suspenseful score to Syriana (2005), proved to be another breakout for Desplat, this time receiving another Golden Globe nomination.

Desplat's restrained score, with an overlap of modern and traditional sounds, to The Queen (2006) received critical acclaim, including a BAFTA nomination and his first Academy Award nomination. That same year he scored the thriller Firewall (2006) and the lyrical The Painted Veil (2006) highlighted by piano solos. The latter won the Golden Globe award.

Desplat continued to vary his projects, from erotic dramas like Lust, Caution (2007), French war film Intimate Enemies [L'ennemi intime] (2007), children's fantasy Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) with Aaron Zigman, to the large fantasy film The Golden Compass (2007). It was also in 2007 that Desplat was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2008 saw the releases of Largo Winch (2008), and a collaboration with director David Fincher on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). The intimate score to 'Benjamin Button', secured Desplat's role in Hollywood, and presented him with BAFTA, Golden Globes and Academy Award nominations.

2009 showed Desplat's prowess as a fast composer, tackling several projects of varying size. There was Chéri (2009) - a return with "Queen" director Stephen Frears, French drama Coco Before Chanel (2009), and A Prophet (2009) with director Audiard - another C
ésar nomination. His Hollywood scores included the French-flavored cheerful score to Julie & Julia (2009), the delightfully quirky Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) - BAFTA and Oscar nomination and supplying the romantic tones of franchise hit, The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009).

2010 was another banner year for Desplat, with the minimalist score to Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (2010) - C
ésar winner. He made a large splash with another British biopic, The King's Speech (2010). The lyrical score (recorded with original EMI Royal microphones), won critics over with Golden Globe and Oscar nominations and winning the BAFTA award. Desplat also entered another popular franchise - this time taking over for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), building upon the thematic worlds of the past films.

2011 seemed to be just as busy, with a hypnotic score to Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011), political thriller The Ides of March (2011), composing the theme to My Week With Marilyn (2011), reviving past material with the ending the franchise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), the Roman Polanski drama Carnage (2011) and drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011). With speed and variety, he composed scores for director Audiard's Rust and Bone (2012) which would lead to another C
ésar win, another interesting score for Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and the fantastical animated film Rise of the Guardians (2012). Near the end of the year, he received a lot of attention to his scores to the drama Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Argo (2012), for which he received nominations for BAFTA, Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

No signs of stopping, Desplat has worked on several scores in 2013, including Philomena (2013) with Stephen Frears, Zulu (2013) and Venus in Fur (2013), again for Roman Polanski. Upcoming scores include WWII drama, The Monuments Men (2013) - in which he also has a cameo, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) for Wes Anderson.    

Alexandre Desplat's rise to major Hollywood player came fairly quickly, considering his output since "Girl With the Pearl Earring" in 2003. His ability to score seemingly everything in almost every genre has made him useful to many directors. He has gone from high-profile films, while never leaving European cinema behind.

His style of writing utilizing a large palette of musical colors make his scores interesting, giving plenty of room for soloists to shine - as well as the London Symphony, which has recorded many of his scores. He also conducts and orchestrates on his scores (along with orchestrators Jean-Pascal Beintus and Conrad Pope), something that has influenced his use of instruments and style.  We'll be seeing much more from Desplat in many more projects in years to come, as he continues to be a major Hollywood player.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Scoring Stages: Universal

Universal Studios
Scoring Stage 10

After a long history of silent films, Stage 10 and 11 were the first originally constructed as soundstages in 1928.  Stage 10 eventually closed in 1992, and became designated as Henry Mancini Building #2315.  The building now houses Universal Studios Sound complete with dubbing theaters, and ADR stage.     

Scores recorded here include:
The Black Cat (1934) - Heinz Roemheld
Bombay Mail (1934) - Heinz Roemheld
Diamond Jim (1935) - Franz Waxman
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Franz Waxman
Spring Parade (1940) - Hans J. Salter
Sea Raiders (1941) - Stock music by Franz Waxman, Frank Skinner, Hans J. Salter, et al.
Up In Central Park (1948) - Sigmund Romberg
It Came From Outer Space (1953) - Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, Herman Stein
Psycho (1960) - Bernard Herrmann
Airport (1970) - Alfred Newman
Family Plot (1976) - John Williams

Airport (1970)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Screen Credit Quiz (B&W Edition 2)

It's time for another challenging Screen Credit Quiz! It's our second installment of ALL black & white films!   

Like the last B&W round, all of these are fairly well known films, nothing too obscure.  (Hint...5 of these scores were Oscar nominees)

With that said, put your guesses in the comments! And have fun!