Series of programmes exploring film music
Series of programmes exploring film music
John Williams - the scores you'd forgotten
John Williams is one of the most successful and most identifiable of all Hollywood composers, with the likes of Star Wars, Harry Potter, ET, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List to his credit. But what might the Williams legacy be had Steven Spielberg and George Lucas turned to other composers to write their scores? Matthew looks back over John Williams’ long career and celebrates his associations with the likes of Oliver Stone, Robert Altman, Irwin Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. The programme features music from ‘How To Steal A Million’, Lost In Space’, ‘Land Of The Giants’, ‘The Valley Of The Dolls’, ‘Images’, ‘The Long Goodbye’, ‘The Towering Inferno’, ‘Black Sunday’, ‘Family Plot’, ‘The Fury’, ‘Dracula’, ‘The Witches Of Eastwick’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha’, ‘The Book Thief’ and ‘Jane Eyre’. The Classic Score of the Week draws on music for Oliver Stone’s ‘Born On The Fourth Of July’.
The screen music of Barry Gray
Jamie Anderson, whose father Gerry Anderson gave us Supercar, Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, UFO and Captain Scarlet, joins Matthew Sweet for a look back on the music of Barry Gray, the man who provided the musical voice to Anderson’s classic small screen creations. Together, Matthew and Jamie consider the varied aspects of Gray’s style, his pioneering use of electronics, his working relationship with Gerry Anderson, and his legacy. The programme features key musical moments from children’s TV classics, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90; and also some of the later live action series such as UFO and Space 1999.
The Classic Score of the week is Barry Gray’s music for the full length big screen supermarionation feature, ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’.
The multi-instrumentalist musician David Amram describes himself as a 'promising young composer' as he approaches his 90th birthday. This promising young man has created and played seminal scores for films such as The Arrangement and The Manchurian Candidate and has, as jazz musician, performed with the great players of the last century, including Dizzie Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus and Charlie Parker. In this special interview commemorating Amram's milestone birthday Matthew Sweet talks to the composer about his music, his work with the directors Elia Kazan, John Frankenheimer, about his friendship and collaboration with Jack Kerouac and about his early life as a boxer and his Jewish faith.
Matthew Sweet features a selection of music for films that have been led by actors not yet in or out of their teens. From the likes of Jackie Coogan, Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, to more recent stars such as Jodie Foster, Daniel Radcliffe and Asa Butterfield. The programme is prompted by the release this week, to streaming services, of Artemis Fowl, Disney’s new young adult fantasy based on the novels by author Eoin Colfe. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it has a new score by Patrick Doyle, and stars 15 year old Ferdia Shaw.
The programme features music from ‘What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, ‘Finding Neverland’, ‘The Kid’, ‘Bright Eyes’, ‘Captains Courageous’, ‘Babes In Arms’, ‘Hunted’, ‘Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory’, ‘The Parent Trap’, ‘Pollyanna’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, ‘Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone’ as well as music from Patrick Doyle’s new score. The Classic Score of the Week is Miklos Rosza’s music for the 1940 ‘Thief Of Baghdad’ starring Sabu.
Matthew considers films that make a feature of the cinema going experience itself and invites stories and recollections from listeners as part of the programme; and he looks forward to the new re-mastered version of Cinema Paradiso out at the end of the month.
At a time when nearly all cinemas are closed owing to Covid-19, Matthew celebrates the cinema buildings themselves, through scores and films that are either about cinemas, that feature cinemas, or are about enjoying the cinema experience. They could be the great illuminated electric picture palaces of the 30s, the converted local village hall, the drive-in, or the multiplex, each has its own character and story to tell. The programme draws on films as varied as The Magic Box, The Smallest Show on Earth, Army of Shadows, The Chosen (1981), The Blob, Dillinger, Inglorious Basterds, The Last Picture Show, and perhaps not surprisingly, Cinema Paradiso.
The cinema is a place of escape, a place of fantasy and wonderment, of shared experiences; as John Updike said:
“The size of the great rear wall measures
The breadth of the dreams we have there.”
So, Matthew invites listeners to share their cinema going stories - to record themselves and become an integral part of the programme - a programme in homage to the movie house.
Matthew Sweet focuses on music for mystery films, a genre favourite, where the unexplained disappearance of a character becomes the starting point for adventure. As well as great examples from the past, Matthew also features music from the new film 'Only The Animals' with a score by Benedikt Schiefer, which has just received wide release.