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Christian's Note Highlights

“As a guest judge this year for Tracksounds, I was happy to lend a hand to the final selection process of the 2007 Cue Awards. . . In the past few years, my nominees for Filmtracks have strayed further from the tastes of mainstream film score collectors who concentrate their collections on blockbuster American productions."

“Many of the more intriguing fantasy and adventure scores of 2007 came from unexpected places."

 

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Christian Notes

Christopher's Notes

 
 

As a guest judge this year for Tracksounds, I was happy to lend a hand to the final selection process of the 2007 Cue Awards. Both in these awards and in the selections of the International Film Music Critics Association, I did not participate in the nomination process. In the past few years, my nominees for Filmtracks have strayed further from the tastes of mainstream film score collectors who concentrate their collections on blockbuster American productions. 2007 was perhaps the clearest evidence of this shift so far.

With that in mind, I found myself voting on IFMCA and Tracksounds nominees that I did not necessarily agree with, but among which I still had preferences. The nominees and winners at Tracksounds seem heavily weighted towards American scores for the fantasy and adventure genres, which are commonly the staple of the younger, online film music collecting populus that has supported soundtrack sites since the start. Among the winners, Stardust is indeed worthy of strong consideration.

Many of the more intriguing fantasy and adventure scores of 2007 came from unexpected places, however. Both Carlo Siliotto's Nomad: The Warrior and Jane Cornish's Island of Lost Souls joined Stardust as refreshing changes. While I cannot say if these scores appeal to collectors geared towards the current mainstream style of Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky, they are, at the very least, alternatives.

The strength of the international scene in film music extended to drama as well. Brian Tyler, while American, excelled with his East Indian score for Partition. French composer Philippe Rombi provided a glorious tribute to the Golden Age with Angel. Alexandre Desplat's year was outstanding, with The Golden Compass attracting significant support from our community. Dario Marianelli received his due international recognition, even if Atonement remains a tad overrated. In the guilty pleasure department, even Debbie Wiseman and Vangelis offered music in Flood and El Graco, respectively, that may not be great, but is easy on the ears nonetheless. And, as always, Ennio Morricone continues on...

Speaking of Morricone, Marco Beltrami's 3:10 to Yuma was America's most vibrant (and possibly most intelligent) entry. Alan Menken and Michael Giacchino's scores for the animated (and partly animated) genre rounded out the year with a strong presence.

Among the Tracksounds winners that I fully agree with, the awarding of "Record Label of the Year" to Varese Sarabande is the most satisfying. No label supports our community with both commercial and specialty products as actively as Varese. Additionally, John Williams' absense is always felt, no matter how old a collector you are. Finally, James Newton Howard quietly assembled a remarkable year and, if you merge 2006 and 2007, has easily written the best combined material in our genre of music over that time.

Overall, although 2007 seemed very much like a poor year for film music (and, in some ways, it was), the gems were there. They simply took a bit of digging to find. With any luck, 2008 will yield more dynamic and intelligent scores for mainstream American eye candy.

 

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Christian Clemmensen is the webmaster at Filmtracks
Special thanks for his participation in this years Cue Awards.  He was invited to participate as we lost a judge at the last-minute and because of large influence Filmtracks had early-on in the life of Tracksounds.
 

 

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