This year there was a plethora of provocative and original movie and TV scores, writes Jocelyn Clarke
ALTHOUGH the list of top 10 scores and soundtracks of 2006 manages to be both diverse and inclusive – eight scores, one film soundtrack and one television soundtrack – it unfortunately does not include either an anime or a game soundtrack (notably Howard Shore’s Soul of the Ultimate Nation) because it’s only a top 10 . . .
Nevertheless, the real challenge in compiling a list lies less in deciding what to include than determining eligibility as scores are often released months in advance or weeks after a film’s actual release date. The movies The Fountain and Hollywoodland will bow on Irish shores next February, but the scores are released this year.
The list does include five British, two American, two French, and one Brazilian composer, nine male and one female, some established and some emerging. Their scores range in style from sacred and neo-romantic to post-minimalist, and combine orchestral with electronic and post-rock. While most of the names may not be familiar and some may seem a little odd (the “sacred music” composer John Tavener and that bloke from Pop Will Eat Itself), each one challenges genre conventions of contemporary film and television scoring.
2006 was a remarkable year for the growing number of TV soundtracks, particularly OC Mix 6 and Grey’s Anatomy, and of film music compilations and collections. Film Music Master Works of the late Jerry Goldsmith, The Essential Film Music Collection of Bernard Herrmann and the Centenary Celebration of Franz Waxman are particularly fine examples.
Other honourable mentions of 2006 include Christopher Young’s Grudge 2, Frederic Talgorn’s President, Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Galactica 2.0, Michael Brook’s An Inconvenient Truth, Alberto Iglesias’s Volver, Craig Armstrong’s World Trade Centre, Tyler Bates’s Slither, James Newton Howard’s Lady in the Water, and John Ottman’s Superman Returns – as well as the animation soundtracks Happy Feet and Hoodwinked, and, er, mockumentary soundtracks of TenaciousD in The Pick of Destiny and Borat.
2006 also saw the passing not only of the great Gold- smith (Chinatown, The Omen, Total Recall) but also of Basil Poledouris (Conan the Barbarian, Robocop), Shirley Walker (Memoirs of an Invisible Man, the Final Destination trilogy) and Sir Malcolm Arnold, the most recorded British composer of all time and the first to win an Oscar (for The Bridge on the River Kwai). During the summer, the decade old bilingual Cinefonia magazine and label unexpectedly closed down while film and television music site SondtrackNet (www.filmmusic.com) entered its 10th year with the launch of its podcast service.
In early 2007, keep an ear out for The Good German and Little Children by Thomas Newman, The Painted Veil by Alexandre Desplat, Apocalypto by James Horner, Blood Diamond by James Newton Howard, Babel by Gustavo Santalallo (all potential Oscar nominations), The Banquet by Tan Dun, The Good Shepherd by Marcelo Zarvos and The Bourne Supremacy by John Powell.