Music Box Records receives IFMCA Award for Obsession

musicboxlogoLaurent Lafarge and Cyril Durand-Roger, founders of Paris-based film music record label Music Box Records, have been presented with International Film Music Critics Association Award for Best New Archival Release – Re-Release of an Existing Score, by IFMCA member Florent Groult, for their exemplary work re-releasing Bernard Herrmann’s classic 1976 score for Obsession.

They accepted the award on behalf of producer George Litto, liner note writer Daniel Schweiger, album art director David Marques, and restoration/mastering director Christophe Hénault.

The other nominees in the category were new presentations of John Williams’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, James Horner’s Braveheart and John Barry’s Dances With Wolves, all three by La-La Land Records, and Intrada’s re-release of John Williams’ Jaws.

Herrmann’s work for Brian de Palma’s psychological thriller was one of the composer’s very last efforts before his death, on December 24, 1975. In his overview about the Fathers of Film Music, IFMCA member Craig Lysy wrote that “Herrmann provided (with Obsession) what many believe to be his cinematic requiem. His score, which was infused with evocative choral beauty, focused and enhanced the film’s narrative of love haunted by death. Liturgical colors permeate the film from the opening frames and ultimately achieve a wondrous triumph during the film’s denouement. This score is enduring testimony to Herrmann’s mastery of his craft.” Music Box Records’ newly re-mastered release presents both the reconstructed and restored original film score from the best sources available to this day, and the re-mastered original 1976 soundtrack album, in a beautifully packaged 2-CD set.

“It’s a true pleasure for me to present this very first IFMCA award to my friends Laurent Lafarge and Cyril Durand-Roger,” explained Groult, who has collaborated with them on some of their earlier releases. “Music Box Records celebrated its fifth anniversary last February, and they not could have dreamt about a better gift than this international recognition”.

Since their very first album in 2011, the French label has grown year after year with a singular and eclectic editorial line, and has released nearly 90 titles including Roy Budd’s Mama Dracula, Philippe Rombi’s Ricky, Maurice Jarre’s Vendredi ou la Vie Sauvage, Carmine Coppola’s The Outsiders, Georges Delerue’s La Révolution Française, Danny Elfman’s Good Will Hunting, Lalo Schifrin’s Golden Needles, and more recently Alan Silvestri’s Reindeer Games, Laurent Eyquem’s Les Enragés, Serge Franklin’s A Tale of Two Cities and Claude Bolling’s Lucky Luke. “We are very honored to have won this IFMCA Award,” said Lafarge and Durand-Roger. “It’s such an important thing for our label, as it rewards five years of a constant and passionate work. We of course congratulate all our collaborators who made this special release possible.”

Click here for purchasing links for the album.

Click on images below for larger versions:

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IFMCA members participate in the 2016 Harpa Awards for Best Nordic Film Score

harpaIFMCA members Stefanos Tsarouchas and Thor Joachim Haga were present at this year’s Harpa Awards in Berlin, Germany.

by Thor Joachim Haga

On February 15, the Nordic film music industry once again gathered to celebrate the best scores of 2015 during this year’s Harpa Awards and the Nordic Film Music Days in Berlin, Germany. This event has previously been hosted in different Nordic countries, but was moved to coincide with the Berlinale film festival this year.

Unlike the last Harpa award in Helsinki, Finland (read report here), there was no symphonic concert to cap off the proceedings, nor any seminars or international guest composers. Instead, a red carpet event was hosted at the Nordic embassies in the German capital. This is an exclusive gala event not open to the public – mostly intended as a mingling party for composers and industry – but still managed to attain a level of importance and a necessary window for the Nordic film music scene. Another new feature was a collaboration with the event Northern Lights Talents, promoting Nordic actors and actresses.

After the red carpet photo shoot (see a selection of photos below), there was the award ceremony itself. The film music nominees were:

Best Film Score of the Year:

  • Idealisten (Jonas Struck, Denmark)
  • Solan og Ludvig: Herfra til Flåklypa (Knut Avenstroup Haugen, Norway)
  • The Midwife/Kätilö (Pessi Levanto, Finland)
  • Flocken (Lisa Holmqvist, Sweden)
  • Rams/Hrutar (Atli Örvarsson, Iceland)

Honor Award (Best Overall Output of the Year):

  • Frans Bak (Denmark)
  • Ginge Anvik (Norway)
  • Lauri Porra (Finland)
  • Adam Nordén (Sweden)
  • Johann Johannsson (Iceland)

The ceremony was hosted by Danish composer Halfdan E and Linda Steinhoff of Northern Lights Promotion.

Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of Icelandic films and culture these days, the winners were Atli Örvarsson for Rams in the first category, and the Oscar-nominated Johann Johannsson in the second. While both are brilliant composers deserving of their award, it also begs the question if there is a tendency, more generally, to overrate the ‘exoticism’ of Iceland at the cost of a more levelheaded filmatic or musical evaluation. In particular, it seems like a “Nordic sound” (if there is one) is often associated with the more exploratory, ambient textures of the island nation. In the jury were Thomas Robsahm (Norway), Konrad Sommermeyer (Germany) and Christine Auf Der Haar (Switzerland).

After the ceremony, a big party was held at the second floor of the embassies, featuring a live performance of selections from Idealisten by composers Jonas Struck and Asger Baden.

Present at event were IFMCA member Stefan Tsarouchas and Thor Joachim Haga. Stefan interviewed several of the visiting composers, while Thor was there primarily as a member of the Norwegian pre-jury.

This year’s Nordic Film Music Days and Harpa awards was a leaner version than previous years, for which there might be economic reasons. I miss the seminars and the lush concert, and one or two international ‘film music stars’ to add a pinch of glamour to the proceedings. Still, as long as it’s an internal event, it makes the content more focussed and to-the-point. There are arguments to be made for both sides. In either case, the collaboration between the Berlinale and the Nordic Film Music Days seems to be set for the foreseeable future. We’re already looking forward to next year!

All photos below courtesy of Lea Buragiewicz / Marco Di Filippo (Lights Promotion)

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IFMCA Award Winners 2015

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2015 IFMCA AWARDS; JOHN WILLIAMS WINS THREE AWARDS FOR STAR WARS

theforceawakensThe International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2015, in the 2015 IFMCA Awards.

The award for Score of the Year goes to composer John Williams for his work on the massively popular and successful epic science fiction fantasy “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” from director J. J. Abrams. IFMCA member James Southall said that “the Force remains strong in John Williams and long may it continue” and called the score “glorious,” while IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called the score “a powerfully melodic and excitingly complex piece of grand artistry from an era of greatness that only John Williams in top form could deliver.” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is also named Best Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, and wins the Film Music Composition of the Year award for the film’s conclusive end credits suite, “The Jedi Steps and Finale”. These are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth IFMCA Awards of Williams’s career, and it marks the third time he has been awarded Score of the Year, after “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, and “War Horse” in 2011.

Composer Michael Giacchino is named Composer of the Year, having written four outstanding works spanning multiple genres in the past year. His work in 2015 includes scoring the emotional Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out,” which is also named Best Score for an Animated Film; the ambitious science fiction adventure “Jupiter Ascending,” which was nominated in multiple genres including Score of the Year; the fantastical adventure “Tomorrowland,” which was nominated for Film Music Composition of the Year; and the massively successful action-adventure “Jurassic World,” which built on John Williams’s score for the first film featuring genetically modified dinosaurs running amok in a lavish theme park. IFMCA member Karol Krok called “Inside Out” “enjoyable and endearing,” while IFMCA member Charlie Brigden said that “Jurassic World” “displays just how much of a command [Giacchino] has over a modern symphony”. These are the thirteenth and fourteenth IFMCA Awards of Giacchino’s career, and it marks the third time he has been named Composer of the Year, following his previous wins in 2004 and 2009.

The IFMCA’s ongoing recognition of emerging talent in the film music world this year spotlights Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini, who is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year. Malagnini has been working primarily in world of British television since he first emerged onto the scene in 2010, writing scores for popular shows such as “Muddle Earth,” “The Body Farm,” “The Paradise,” and “Call the Midwife,” but really impressed IFMCA members this year with his first major film score for a new version of the classic Peter Pan story, “Peter & Wendy”. IFMCA member Jon Broxton called “Peter & Wendy” “undoubtedly one of the best scores of 2015”, while IFMCA member Peter Simons described the score as being “so infectious, so colourful, playful and utterly charming”.

The various other genre awards are won by James Horner for the epic Chinese-language drama “Wolf Totem”; Douglas Pipes for the mischievous and malevolent Christmas comedy “Krampus”; Joe Kraemer for the exciting retro action score for “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”; and Steven Price for his music for the BBC nature documentary “The Hunt”.

In the non-film categories, Argentine composer Federico Jusid wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for the third year in a row, this time for his astonishing score for the Spanish historical TV drama “Carlos, Rey Emperador,” the sequel to the multi-award winning “Isabel,” while composer Austin Wintory wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his groundbreaking work on “Assassin’s Creed” Syndicate”, a score which not only includes classical dances used as action cues, but also a number of original ‘murder ballads’ penned in collaboration with Australian musical comedy group Tripod.

Oakland, California-based Intrada Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year in recognition of their ongoing excellence in restoring and releasing the most beloved film scores of the past, while film music historian and writer Jon Burlingame wins the Archival Compilation award for the wonderful box set of music from the original 1960s “Mission: Impossible” he produced for La-La Land Records. Interestingly, both the Archival Re-Release and Re-Recording categories are won by different versions of Bernard Herrmann’s 1976 score for the psychological thriller “Obsession” – firstly, the outstanding release of the original score tracks by French label Music Box Records and producers George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger; and secondly, the magnificent re-recording of the entire score by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nic Raine, and produced by James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music.

Finally, the IFMCA has decided to bestow a rare Special Award on the late James Horner, for his classical work “Pas de Deux”. The piece is a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, and was commissioned by the Norwegian brother/sister musical duo Mari Samuelsen and Hakon Samuelsen. The work was released through Mercury Classics and Universal Music in May 2015, and represented the first of several anticipated major excursions into pure classical music – what would have been a new and exciting phase in the composer’s musical career, especially since his first, abortive attempts in the late 1970s and early 1980s failed to ignite the public’s imagination. Sadly, with the composer’s tragic death in a plane crash in June, it also represents ‘what might have been,’ and this award is intended to be a tribute in recognition the composer’s life and work, and all the great unheard music that died with him.

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COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Michael Giacchino

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Maurizio Malagnini

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • Krampus, music by Douglas Pipes

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, music by Joe Kraemer

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Inside Out, music by Michael Giacchino

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • The Hunt, music by Steven Price

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES

  • Carlos, Rey Emperador, music by Federico Jusid

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, music by Austin Wintory

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, album produced by George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger, liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, album art direction by David Marques (Music Box)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Christopher Husted, album art direction by Matthew Wright and Damien Doherty (Tadlow)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION

  • Mission: Impossible – The Television Scores; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jon Burlingame, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson

SPECIAL AWARD

  • Pas de Deux, classical work by James Horner, commissioned by violinist Mari Samuelsen and cellist Hakon Samuelsen

IFMCA Award Nominations 2015

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; OCTOGENARIAN VETERANS JOHN WILLIAMS AND ENNIO MORRICONE LEAD THE FIELD, MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS FOR MICHAEL GIACCHINO, LATE JAMES HORNER

FEBRUARY 4, 2016. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2015, for the 12th annual IFMCA Awards. The most nominated composers are industry veterans John Williams and Ennio Morricone, as well as Michael Giacchino, and the late James Horner.

83-year old John Williams receives four nominations, all for his score for the smash hit sci-fi adventure “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” directed by J. J. Abrams, which is nominated for Score of the Year, Best Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror score, and Film Music Composition of the Year. Williams also receives a personal nomination as Composer of the Year. Williams has previously been nominated for 31 IFMCA Awards, winning on 12 occasions, including Score of the Year for “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005 and “War Horse” in 2011.

87-year old Italian legend Ennio Morricone receives four nominations; three for his score from director Quentin Tarantino’s dark western “The Hateful Eight,” which is recognized in the Score of the Year, Best Drama score, and Film Music Composition of the Year categories, and one for himself as Composer of the Year. Morricone has been nominated for IFMCA Awards on seven previous occasions; his last Score of the Year nomination was in 1999, for “La Leggenda del Pianista sull’Oceano [The Legend of 1900]”.

Michael Giacchino’s nominations are split between three works: the moving Disney-Pixar animated film “Inside Out,” which is nominated for Best Animation score; the ambitious science fiction epic “Jupiter Ascending,” which is nominated for Score of the Year and Best Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror score; and the fantasy adventure “Tomorrowland,” which is nominated in the Film Music Composition of the Year category. Giacchino has previously been nominated for a total of 31 IFMCA Awards, winning twelve of them. He won the Best Score award in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” in 2009 for “Up,” and was named Composer of the Year in both those years.

James Horner, who was tragically killed in a plane crash this past June, receives three nominations for his score for the Chinese-language drama “Wolf Totem” directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, which is recognized in the Score of the Year, Best Drama score, and Film Music Composition of the Year categories. Horner is also nominated as Composer of the Year, and in so doing becomes the first composer to be nominated in this category posthumously. Prior to this year, Horner’s lifetime IFMCA tally stood at 14 nominations, with one win, for “The Mask of Zorro,” in 1998.

The other nominee for Score of the Year is Patrick Doyle’s score for the romantic Disney fantasy “Cinderella,” while the other composer vying for the title of Composer of the Year is Daniel Pemberton, who wrote several outstanding scores in 2015, including the big-screen reboot of the 1960s spy thriller franchise “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” and “Steve Jobs,” a dramatic look at the inner workings of the Apple corporation across several decades.

Each year the IFMCA goes out of its way to recognize emerging talent in the film music world, and this year is no exception. The nominees in the Breakthrough Composer of the Year category include the alternative pop group Cat’s Eyes – comprising English musician Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian soprano/composer/instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira – who wrote a dream-like score for the experimental British erotic film “The Duke of Burgundy”; British composer Gareth Coker, for his immensely popular score for the video game “Ori and the Blind Forest”; Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, who brought the spirit of Rocky Balboa back to life with his score for the boxing drama “Creed”; Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini, whose scores for the British fantasy film “Peter and Wendy,” as well as the popular TV series “Call the Midwife,” caught the attention of the group; and Spanish composer Diego Navarro, whose score for the animated film “Atrapa la Bandera [Capture the Flag]” was a rousing celebration of the heroism of space exploration.

As it has in previous years, the IFMCA takes pride in honoring composers from across the film music world; this year’s international nominees include French composer Armand Amar for his score from the expansive documentary feature “Human,” Hungarian composer Robert Gulya for his charming music for the adventurous Mark Twain adaptation “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” Argentine composer Federico Jusid for his superb work on the Spanish TV series “Carlos, Rey Emperador” (the sequel to the multi-IFMCA Award-winning “Isabel”), veteran French composer Michel Legrand for his delightful score for the comedy “La Rançon de la Gloire [The Price of Fame],” Spanish composer Fernando Velázquez for his chilling work on the beautiful gothic horror film “Crimson Peak,” and French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared for his score for the poetic and philosophical animated film “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet”.

Several other composers are receiving their first ever IFMCA Award nominations this year, including Jessica Curry (“Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture,” Video Game), Bryce Dessner (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Darren Fung (“The Great Human Odyssey,” Documentary), Tom Holkenborg (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror), Joshua Johnson (“I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story,” Documentary), Joe Kraemer (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Matthew Margeson (“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Alva Noto (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), and Ryuichi Sakamoto (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller).

The International Film Music Critics Association will announce the winners of the 12th IFMCA Awards on February 18, 2016.

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FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • Cinderella, music by Patrick Doyle
  • The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • Jupiter Ascending, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Michael Giacchino
  • James Horner
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Daniel Pemberton
  • John Williams

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Cat’s Eyes (Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira)
  • Gareth Coker
  • Ludwig Göransson
  • Maurizio Malagnini
  • Diego Navarro

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock” from The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • “Brothers in Arms” from Mad Max: Fury Road, music by Tom Holkenborg
  • “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
  • “Pin-Ultimate Experience” from Tomorrowland, music by Michael Giacchino
  • “Return to the Wild” from Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • Carol, music by Carter Burwell
  • Creed, music by Ludwig Göransson
  • Far From the Madding Crowd, music by Craig Armstrong
  • The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • Krampus, music by Douglas Pipes
  • The Lady in the Van, music by George Fenton
  • La Rançon de la Gloire [The Price of Fame], music by Michel Legrand
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, music by Thomas Newman
  • Spy, music by Theodore Shapiro

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service, music by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E., music by Daniel Pemberton
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, music by Joe Kraemer
  • The Revenant, music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and Bryce Dessner
  • Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, music by Robert Gulya

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • Cinderella, music by Patrick Doyle
  • Crimson Peak, music by Fernando Velázquez
  • Jupiter Ascending, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Mad Max: Fury Road, music by Tom Holkenborg
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Atrapa la Bandera [Capture the Flag], music by Diego Navarro
  • Gamba, music by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • The Good Dinosaur, music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna
  • Inside Out, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, music by Gabriel Yared

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • The Great Human Odyssey, music by Darren Fung
  • He Named Me Malala, music by Thomas Newman
  • Human, music by Armand Amar
  • The Hunt, music by Steven Price
  • I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story, music by Joshua Johnson

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES

  • Carlos, Rey Emperador, music by Federico Jusid
  • Fargo, music by Jeff Russo
  • Outlander, music by Bear McCreary
  • Texas Rising, music by Bruce Broughton and John Debney
  • Wolf Hall, music by Debbie Wiseman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, music by Austin Wintory
  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, music by Jessica Curry
  • Ori and the Blind Forest, music by Gareth Coker
  • Revelation, music by Neal Acree
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide, music by Geoff Knorr, Griffin Cohen, and Grant Kirkhope

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence; music by John Williams, album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
  • Braveheart; music by James Horner, album produced by Dan Goldwasser and Mike Matessino, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
  • Dances With Wolves; music by John Barry, album produced by Didier C. Deutsch, Mark G. Wilder, and Ford A. Thaxton, liner notes by Randall D. Larson, album art direction by Mark Banning (La-La Land)
  • Jaws; music by John Williams, album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by Scott Bettencourt, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)
  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, album produced by George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger, liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, album art direction by David Marques (Music Box)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Back in Time: 1985 at the Movies; music by Various Artists, performed by the Varèse Sarabande Symphony Orchestra cond. David Newman, album produced by Robert Townson, liner notes by Robert Townson, album art direction by Robert Townson, Bill Pitzonka, and Matthew Joseph Peak (Varèse Sarabande)
  • Concert Suites/Music For Films; music by Fernando Velázquez, performed by the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra and Landarbaso Chorus cond. Fernando Velázquez, album produced by Fernando Velázquez and José M. Benitez, liner notes by Fernando Velázquez, Koldo Serra, Juan Antonio Bayona, and Oskar Santos, album art direction by Nacho B. Govantes (Quartet)
  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Christopher Husted, album art direction by Matthew Wright and Damien Doherty (Tadlow)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah; music by Miklós Rózsa, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Frank K. DeWald, album art direction by Matthew Wright, James Fitzpatrick and Ginko Digi (Tadlow/Prometheus)
  • The Music of Patrick Doyle for Solo Piano; music by Patrick Doyle, performed by Patrick Doyle, album produced by Patrick Doyle and Robert Townson, liner notes by Patrick Doyle, album art direction by Robert Townson and Bill Pitzonka (Varèse Sarabande)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION

  • Alan Silvestri: World Soundtrack Awards; music by Alan Silvestri, album produced by Sian Bolland and Reynold d’Silva, liner notes by Raf Butstraen, album art direction by Stuart Ford (Film Fest Gent/Silva Screen)
  • Double Indemnity: Film Noir at Paramount; music by Various Artists, album produced by Lukas Kendall, liner notes by Scott Bettencourt, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)
  • Lost in Space: 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jeff Bond and Neil S. Bulk, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)
  • Mission: Impossible – The Television Scores; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jon Burlingame, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)
  • Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection; music by Various Artists, album produced by Randy Thornton, liner notes by Various, album art direction by Lorelay Bové (Disney)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson
  • La-La Land Records, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys
  • Quartet Records, José M. Benitez
  • Tadlow Music, James Fitzpatrick
  • Varése Sarabande, Robert Townson

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The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing and broadcasting about original film, television and game music.

Since its inception the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 65 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to Hans Zimmer’s “Interstellar” in 2014, Abel Korzeniowski’s “Romeo & Juliet” in 2013, Mychael Danna’s “Life of Pi” in 2012, John Williams’s “War Horse” in 2011, John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s “Up” in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s “Atonement” in 2007, James Newton Howard’s “Lady in the Water” in 2006, John Williams’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” in 2004.

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association go to www.filmmusiccritics.org , visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @ifmca, or contact us at press@filmmusiccritics.org.

Introducing the Critic: Dimitri Riccio

Dimitri RiccioTell us a little about your background, both personally and professionally (in terms of film music). How did you first discover film music?

I was born in Torino (homeland of FIAT automobiles), in northern Italy, in 1971. I remember my first exposures to film music were John Williams – oh what an original thing! In 1980 my uncle gave me a 45rpm of Superman: The Movie, and I was overwhelmed by its gorgeous Love Theme and thunderous Main Theme; it was music composed just for me, for my own inner world, and I loved it to death. Some years later I went to the cinema to see E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and the next day I stressed my mom till she took me out by car in search of John Williams’ soundtrack LP. I was obsessed by the Flying Theme, I needed it! Needless to say, I spent countless hours listening to this absolute masterpiece of the 20th century.

Then along came the scores for Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and no, you’ve read well, no Raiders of the Lost Ark – it came later for me (around 1987), but I still remember it was a knockout.

There were also Bill Conti’s Rocky scores, Horner’s Cocoon, and Goldsmith’s Rambo scores, but my deep love for film music is clearly a John Williams affair.

How did you begin your website? Tell us a little about its history, and what you do now in terms of film music journalism.

I started writing for Soundtrack magazine back in the nineties; I interviewed Ennio Morricone in 1991, and it was such an experience! Then I was hired by two Italian musical magazines, Classical CD and Audiophile Sound, where I was the only film music reviewer. The feedback was really good, so I went on writing for them about six years. Then I entered the group of reviewers and writers at Colonne Sonore, where I still am. I also conducted for a while a radio show about film music and cinema called Lanterna Magica, which was quite successful.

In the past years I’ve met and interviewed some of my heroes and it was always a great experience. Besides Morricone, I was fascinated by the very friendly Michael Giacchino, and by Alan Silvestri’s kindness. I also became good friend with conductor and film music champion John Mauceri, a truly special and warm artist.

You know, like every reviewer, I’m a failed writer. I miss the perseverance to put down a real novel (I’ve written dozens of short stories and begun “the Book”, with a capital B, countless times) but a movie critic or a score review is likely rather affordable for my intermittent writing art.

Beside that, I really love writing about a composer or a film score I like – or not, of course – sharing my deepest feelings with the readers. Also, I’ve always had the will to write about film music not in a too much technical way, but conversely I’ve always tried to write the reviews I’d like to read, to write a small account of my thoughts and reactions about the score I’m writing about. I always try to tell a story more than a straight analysis of the music, it’s by far less boring. Then there’s my proud membership to IFMCA where I also play the duties of Regional Coordinator for Italy, keeping contact with Italian composers in the name of IFMCA.

What, in your opinion, are the things that are necessary for a film score to be successful?

Is there a rule for a film score for being successful? I don’t think so. For sure the old belief that the best film music is the one unnoticeable is a real piece of nonsense. The best film score is the one that works perfectly with the picture and also goes noticed by the public. Imagine how E.T. could fly through the dreamy starry night in front of that perfect Spielbergian moon if the great John Williams wasn’t there to sing the music of our collective souls with one of the ten greatest film scores of history? And how could Norman Bates kill Marion Crane if Bernard Herrmann’s genius wasn’t there to guide his knife? How could a Pink Panther jazzily run from Clouseau, and how could Holly Golightly finally find her huckleberry friend, without Henry Mancini’s heart-stopping art?

That’s my belief: you shouldn’t necessarily get out of the cinema humming the movie theme (how much I loved it, and how much I miss it…), but the best film music should enrich your experience being smart and intelligent, adding something to each part of the movie, and leaving in you the idea that you’ve just seen something special. A good score can do all this.

What is your opinion of the film music industry as it stands today, especially in Italy?

To me, currently, film music isn’t that well. We’ve entered a strange, new world. Composers are slowly disappearing, making room for sound designers attitude. Many young, and some less young directors, are going for soundtracks that are ever more undefined, fashionable for contemporary masses, but tedious, monolithic, without subtleties, noisy to be kind, great melodies are nowhere to be found. That’s the current trend. Blockbusters are all scored in the same, horrible way, and if only some years ago one was waiting thrilled for that type of scores, nowadays I almost lost hope and interest in them.

Certainly we still have great composers on the scene. The uncompromised Ennio Morricone and John Williams, still at the top of their game; the ever growing Danny Elfman; Chris Young (how much I miss his old, sad, hyper-personal aching melodies though); James Newton Howard (although shortly after The Village, his absolute masterpiece to me, suddenly he seemed obliged to ape those awful noise makers to be hired – he, the composer of Alive and Wyatt Earp! If this isn’t sad tell me what it is). Alexandre Desplat, the great underestimated Philippe Rombi, the always good Howard Shore, Roque Baños (Balada Triste de Trompeta was one the greatest scores of the last years but why on earth Hollywood brought on one of the most talented young composer alive just to turn him into an RC clone…)

It’s strange, though, to notice that Europe is by far better than Hollywood in film music nowadays. Young composers are going for a post-Williamsian/Goldsmithian style of music, while Hollywood is rejecting the old composing school due to shortsighted production choices. We have the likes of Pasquale Catalano, Daniele Falangone, Kristian Sensini, Paolo Vivaldi, Paolo Buonvino, and many others in Italy, although sadly there’s always too little money for the music score. Philippe Rombi, Raphael Gesqua, and Bruno Alexiu in France. Victor Reyes, Fernando Velazquez, Federico Jusid, and Pascal Gaigne in Spain, and many others giving all their great talents to the silver screen, joyously sending a message to Hollywood: you forgot how much better is this way!

Who do you think are the best film music composers, historically and working today? What is it about their music that appeals to you?

The fathers of film music should be studied and analysed – and loved, of course! – by anyone who is willed to write about this wonderful art form. How could someone speaking about soundtracks omit in his basic training the likes of Steiner, Korngold, Herrmann, Alfred Newman, Rozsa, just to name the greatest? To me, the lasting experience of being exposed for the first time to the scores of Korngold, Herrmann and Rozsa is unforgettable.

I remember very well the joy I experienced when listening time and time again to the Varese CDs of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk. It was then that I understood where John Williams’s Star Wars and Indiana Jones were coming from. Those incredibly lush orchestrations, that busy action music, really made me cry of joy. Rozsa’s Ben Hur, Quo Vadis and El Cid also made a great impact on my love for film music. How could you bear the incredible beauty of that sea of themes and marches and glorious musical storytelling?

Then there’s the tortured, romantic, frightening genius of Bernard Herrmann, probably the greatest film composer of all time. When he goes for love stories there’s always a sad, hopeless voice in his music, even when it shines, that sings of all the lives he hadn’t lived, of all the loves he couldn’t love, of all the clouds that overshadowed countless suns. And when he went straight for the psyche he was the sharp blade that cut your fears into thousands new fears: using musical instruments he was able to find your inner frightening music and to use it against you to make you feel you were the victim you were watching in the movie in front of you. And that is genius to me!

Of course, I’m in deep love with John Williams, who is up there with Herrmann to me, a composer who never fails to introduce me in a state of awe as if I were in the Sistine Chapel and not listening to a film score. The same can be said for Jerry Goldsmith, one of the deepest loves of my entire life. And the immense Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Henry Mancini, Bill Conti, Elmer Bernstein, Georges Delerue, Maurice Jarre, Basil Poledouris, and all the others I’m now forgetting.

I also have a special place in my heart for James Horner. There were times in my life I loved him or detested him. Since his tragic death I’ve not been able to listen to his music anymore. It’s too much painful and I miss him in a way I could have never imagined. Sooner or later I’ll be back to his incredible music and I’ll finally find once again that old good friend who helped me when I was a teen getting through thick and thin, gently waiting for me to walk together down where the road ends.

Read Dimitri’s reviews at Colonne Sonore.