Monday, November 30, 2015

Spotlight On...The Hunger Games

The newest Spotlight On takes a look back at the Hunger Games franchise.
Let's take a look back on the Hunger Games films score by score, and may the odds be ever in your favor. 

The Hunger Games (2012)
Music by James Newton Howard
With the first film in the franchise, the score became a collaboration between James Newton Howard, Arcade Fire and T-Bone Burnett.  In the end, most of the score remained forgettable with two notable exceptions: the Capitol fanfare (Horn of Plenty), and Rue’s Farewell.  The latter composed by Howard has become the de facto emotional/rebellion theme for the film series.  Many parts of the score incorporate a folk/Appalachian sound, with rough electronics and percussion added for the actual games.  The identity and use of score thankfully improve in each film.  (Just listen to: The Train, Horn of Plenty, Rue’s Farewell, Tenuous Winners/Returning Home) 

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Music by James Newton Howard
In this sequel, Howard has some reprises and expansions of the past themes.  Rue’s Farewell and Horn of Plenty show up throughout the score, in addition to a new love theme.  The score contains plenty of ambient sounds and a better grasp on the action music.  (Just listen to: Katniss, I Need You, Arena Crumbles)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)
Music by James Newton Howard
Howard nicely reflects the moody atmosphere even more in this sequel score.  Here he builds upon previous themes, while capturing new emotions with violin and female vocal solos.  The best new addition is The Hanging Tree (not written by JNH) but adapted and incorporated throughout.  Easily the strongest of the scores.  (Just listen to: District 12, The Arsenal, The Hanging Tree, Air Raid Drill, District 8 Hospital)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
Music by James Newton Howard
Continuing the darker tone, the score adds more emotional beats through solo performances and the action material works well.  We get a few emotional reprises of past themes - Rue’s Farewell and the Deep in the Meadow lullaby heard in the first film.  Hanging Tree surprisingly isn't referenced.  It’s another strong JNH score and a great way to end this set of films.  (Just listen to: Prim Visits Peeta, Sewer Attack, Primrose, There Are Worse Games To Play/Deep In The Meadow/The Hunger Games Suite)

Check out the others in the SPOTLIGHT ON.... SERIES!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scoring the Series: Back to the Future

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future in 2015, here is a guide to the scoring of each film with a few scoring photos tossed in.   

Back to the Future (1985)
Music composed by Alan Silvestri
Conducted by Alan Silvestri
Orchestrator: James B. Campbell
Music Editor: Kenneth Karman
Recorded and Mixed by: Dennis Sands

Recorded at Burbank Studios (Warner Bros), May-June 1985

Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Music composed by Alan Silvestri
Conducted by Alan Silvestri
Orchestrator: James B. Campbell
Music Editor: Kenneth Karman
Engineer: Dennis Sands
Recorded at Burbank Studios (Warner Bros), September-October 1989 & Lorimar (Sony), November 1989


Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Music composed by Alan Silvestri
Conducted by Alan Silvestri
Orchestrator: James B. Campbell
Music Editor: Kenneth Karman
Recorded and Mixed by: Dennis Sands

Recorded at Burbank Studios (Warner Bros), March-April 1990

With the original Back to the Future, the "Outatime Orchestra" (seen below) was the largest orchestra to perform on a Universal film.  Scoring pictures from the 1985 sessions are below.    





Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Scoring the Series: James Bond

As we celebrate the release of the 24th James Bond film - Spectre, here is a guide to the scoring of each Bond film with a few scoring photos tossed in.   

Dr. No (1962)
Music composed by Monty Norman
[James Bond Theme played by John Barry & Orchestra]
Conducted by Eric Rodgers
Recorded CTS Bayswater, England - June 1962

From Russia With Love (1963)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded CTS Bayswater, England - March 1963

Goldfinger (1964)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded CTS Bayswater, England - July 1964

Thunderball (1965)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Bayswater, England - October 1965

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Bayswater, England - April 1967

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Bayswater, England - October 1969

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Bayswater, England - October 1971

Live and Let Die (1973)
Music composed by George Martin
Conducted by George Martin
Recorded at AIR Studios, England - April 1973

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Wembley, England - October 1974

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Music composed by Marvin Hamlisch
Conducted by Marvin Hamlisch
Recorded at AIR Studios, England - April 1977

Moonraker (1979)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at Studio Davout, Paris - April 1979

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Music composed by Bill Conti
Conducted by Bill Conti
Orchestrated by Peter Myers
Recorded at Music Centre Wembley, England

Octopussy (1983)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at Music Centre Wembley, England

A View to a Kill (1985)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Orchestrated by Nic Raine
Recorded at CTS Wembley, England - March/April 1985

The Living Daylights (1987)
Music composed by John Barry
Conducted by John Barry
Recorded at CTS Wembley, England

Licence to Kill (1989)
Music composed by Michael Kamen
Conducted by Michael Kamen
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra

GoldenEye (1995)
Music composed and performed by Eric Serra
Arrangement/additional music by John Altman
Conducted by John Altman
Symphony recorded at Angel Studios, England

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Music composed by David Arnold
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestrated by Nicholas Dodd
Recorded at AIR Lyndhurst, England

The World is Not Enough (1999)
Music composed by David Arnold
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestrated by Nicholas Dodd
Recorded at AIR Lyndhurst, England

Die Another Day (2002)
Music composed by David Arnold
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestrated by Nicholas Dodd
Recorded at AIR Lyndhurst, England

Casino Royale (2006)
Music composed by David Arnold
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestrated by Nicholas Dodd
Recorded at AIR Lyndhurst, England

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Music composed by David Arnold
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestrated by Nicholas Dodd
Recorded at AIR Lyndhurst, England

Skyfall (2012)
Music composed by Thomas Newman
Conducted by Thomas Newman
Orchestrated by JAC Redford, Steven Bernstein, Peter Boyer, Carl Johnson
Recorded at Abbey Road, England

Spectre (2015)
Music composed by Thomas Newman
Conducted by Thomas Newman
Orchestrated by JAC Redford
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, England