Vintage scores from Bernard Herrmann, Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams found fresh life in new editions from indie imprints — many released in their full form for the first time.
Film-score buffs had a bonanza of riches to choose from in 2018 — notwithstanding the fact that the soundtrack business is almost unrecognizable from what it was even a decade ago. Instead of farming out their new scores to the traditional soundtrack labels, most studios now retain them for their own in-house labels and generally release them digitally. Meanwhile, the labels that once relied on current films for their bread-and-butter releases are focusing more on the niche market for classic film scores: re-releasing old ones with new material, finding worthy titles that somehow never got released, and in some cases even re-recording classic scores.
It’s a complicated business, label executives say. Not only must they track down the best available audio (studios and production companies don’t always retain the elements or sometimes can’t find them), they have to clear the rights (and sometimes the music publishing details have changed). And, especially in the case of very old scores, modern technology has to be put to use to upgrade and improve flawed sound sources.
Commercial viability is also a factor: cult figure Bernard Herrmann, idolized composer Jerry Goldsmith and the perennially popular John Williams always sell well, and all were represented in this year’s output. Many of these are released as limited editions of 1,000 to 5,000 units to ensure quick sellouts.
Here are Variety.com’s choices for the best classic film music releases of 2018, listed alphabetically:
Advise and Consent (on the Kritzerland label)
Jerry Fielding’s score for Otto Preminger’s 1962 political drama marked his comeback after a decade of being blacklisted and unemployable in Hollywood. The outspoken composer would eventually receive three Oscar nominations; this release is the score’s first appearance on CD in the U.S.
The Bride Wore Black (Quartet)
The second of two films that the great Bernard Herrmann scored for French director Francois Truffaut (their “Fahrenheit 451” is a recognized masterwork), this 1968 score was previously available only on a rare French EP. Spanish film composer Fernando Velazquez conducted the complete score for this new recording, including 25 minutes dropped by Truffaut (and thus being heard for the first time).
Colossus: The Forbin Project (La-La Land)
Universal Pictures Film Music launched its Heritage Collection series of previously unreleased scores with French composer Michel Colombier’s inventive, strings-and-percussion-dominated music for the chilling 1970 sci-fi classic about a super-computer intent on world domination.
Harry Potter: The John Williams Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)
Perhaps the year’s greatest gift to soundtrack lovers, this handsomely packaged seven-disc box set lovingly preserves every note of Williams’ three “Harry Potter” films (“Sorcerer’s Stone,” “2001; “Chamber of Secrets,” 2002; “Prisoner of Azkaban,” 2004) and, in four separate booklets, details the entire history of Williams’ involvement with the J.K. Rowling phenomenon.
(Excerpt) Read More at: Variety.com