Various Artists

Film Music 2008

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Following Film Music 2007, Silva Screen Records makes its examination of 12 months in the movie calendar an annual event with the release of Film Music 2008, which might be considered a sort of "Now That's What I Call Movie Music!" for the year, except, of course, that Silva Screen re-records the scores of films; these are not the original recordings (a fact not revealed on the front or back covers of the album). The label's primary performer on its many soundtrack recreations is the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, but, as is apparent here, just using a big symphony orchestra isn't really enough anymore for movie music in the late '00s. Even when composers have orchestras at their disposal in assembling music for big-budget animated features like Wall-E and big-budget superhero extravaganzas like Iron Man and The Dark Knight, they combine the natural sounds of the orchestras with sounds they squeeze out of their computers and synthesizers. Hence, much of the music here is made by the Prague along with something called London Music Works, which handles the electronic sounds (mostly percussion) and the rock-styled elements. Like the Now compilations, this album groups the music into styles that segue from one to another. The Prague has more to do early on, when fanciful adventures like The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and romances like The Duchess are the bill of fare. Midway, the superheroes take over, and they need supercharged music with electronic augmentation. Comedy (Burn After Reading) and animation (Wall-E) follow, and the album really closes with the sad, piano-based end title from Changeling (composed by Clint Eastwood). The last two tracks are really ringers. The theme from Sex and the City, a sassy little tango, is actually from the TV series, and was not written for the film, and John Williams' "The Raiders March" has been in Indiana Jones movies since the '80s. But they're both welcome pieces of music. By the way, in compiling the "best-of" 2008, somehow the folks at Silva Screen missed the year's Oscar winner, Slumdog Millionaire. But there's still plenty of time to work up an album devoted to Bollywood's A.R. Rahman, if there isn't one in preparation already.

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