Monday, August 1, 2016

X2: X-Men United (Ottman, 2003)


     In 2000, the late Michael Kamen scored the successful first X-Men film.  3 years later, John Ottman (who was originally chosen to score the initial film) picked up where Kamen left off in "X2: X-Men United", and added his own spin on the musical themes of the titular superhero outcasts.  In the next decade he would go on to score 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and 2016's "X-Men Apocalypse".


     Ottman crafted many themes based on the characters in the film, and for a few of them (Stryker, Magneto and Jean Grey), created several sub-themes as well.  There are also a few "action" motifs, usually developed around rhythmic string ostinati, as well as some less obvious melodic material for Kurt (Nightcrawler) and Storm.
  • X-Men theme: fanfare/march, somewhat a "mutation" of Kamen's X-Men theme, and keeping the falling tail note.
  • Stryker theme: 3 note falling-rising motif, also an inverted version (rising-falling).
  • Stryker temptation theme: hypnotic tremolo figure.
  • Mystique theme: 5-note phrase variation of X-Men theme, often on harp with female sighing.
  • Jean Grey theme: falling, resigned/mystical melody/chord cadence, sometimes with cascading Phoenix motif.
  • Magneto theme: Ominous 3 and 4-note falling figure, with a syncopated sub-theme.
  • Deathstryke theme: metallic march rhythm, sometimes with exotic flute motif.
  • Wolverine drums motif.
  • Pyro theme: slow tremolo figure leading into a fateful harmony.


     The original soundtrack featured about half of the music used in the film, but in 2012 Lala-Land Records put out an Expanded Release.  This is described below.
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence (and themes)
1.1 0:22 Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare 0:00: Logos (ends with X-Men fanfare).
1.2 1:09 Opening
Titles
0:00: Xavier talks about the human-mutant issue in a voice-over over a star background (X-Men fanfare surfaces out of choir).
0:28: Main title with "tunnel" graphic, backing out into locked Cerebro chamber door (X-Men fanfare and march).
1.3 3:18 Nightcrawler Attack 0:00: A tour group looks at a portrait of Lincoln in the White House (subtle American anthem quote).  The President confers with his staff.  Kurt (Nightcrawler) teleports among the crowd.
1:09: Kurt begins his attack on the White House staff (Mozart's Requiem Mass choral chant with brass and percussion accents).
2:15: The President listens to the sounds of struggle in his office (held texture).  Kurt enters (choral chant resumes), dispatches the final agents and prepares to stab the President, but is shot at the last minute.  He escapes, leaving a message: "Mutant freedom now".
1.4 1:59 Alkali Lake 0:00: Scene dissolve to a frozen lake and dam, with Logan (Wolverine) approaching in the snow.  A white wolf shows him a gate.
1:06: Logan finds the abandoned ruins of the "Alkali Lake Industrial Complex" (hint of Stryker theme in low brass).
1.5 1:02 Jean's Hallucination 0:00: In a museum, Jean starts having psychic disturbances (partially used).
Something Terrible 0:29: Jean tells Scott that her dreams are getting worse.  He comforts her and they embrace.
1.6 3:38 Newscast 0:00: A newscast about Kurt's White House attack prompts Xavier to ask the students to leave the museum and return to the school. 
0:22: Back at Xavier's office, he tells the X-Men that he has been trying to track Kurt but is having some trouble.
Permission 1:06: Stryker tells Senator Kelly-Mystique that he's been interrogating Magneto and has learned about Xavier's school for mutants (brief X-Men motif in steel drums).  The President gives him permission for a raid.
2:07: Mystique-Kelly and Stryker later have a tense talk about a mutant-human war (X-Men motif, Mystique motif in harp).
Reunion 2:33: Logan returns to the school and flirts with Jean (Jean Grey theme), until Scott arrives.
1.7 1:27 Cerebro 0:00: Logan joins Xavier, as the Professor uses Cerebro to search out Kurt (cello, strings/synth).  He tells Logan that if he concentrates too hard, his probes could kill the people he is mentally connected to.
1.8 4:01 Sneaky Mystique 0:00: Jean and Storm take off in the X-Jet to find Kurt (X-Men fanfare).
0:27: Mystique infiltrates Stryker's office to research Magneto's imprisonment (Mystique theme developed in harp, echoed pizz strings, metals, female sighing voice etc, hint of Magneto theme in low brass). 
2:18: Yuriko arrives (Deathstryke motif), as Mystique learns of a duplicate Cerebro (Stryker motif in high winds).
3:04: Mystique transforms into a janitor and leaves (Mystique harp motif/sighs).
1.9 2:20 Meeting Nightcrawler 0:00: Inside an abandoned church, Storm uses lightning to bring Kurt out of hiding (X-Men fanfare developed).  Jean catches him (brief, gentle Jean theme chords).  Kurt claims he is innocent and that he was mind-controlled. 
1:10: Among his skin carvings, they discover a strange scar on the back of his neck (female chant).
1:51: Logan has a flashback dream about the lab in which he was experimented on (hint of Stryker theme harmony in strings).
1.10 2:29 You Remember Him 0:00: Magneto tells Xavier that Stryker has been visiting him (inverted variation of Stryker theme).
0:39: They discuss Logan.  Magneto apologizes for being Stryker's tool.  The room is gassed.
1:39: Xavier and Scott are captured by Deathstryke (Deathstryke metallic rhythm).
1.11 7:54 Mansion Attack 0:00: Soldiers sneak into Xavier's school and begin tranquilizing students.  Logan senses something is amiss.
0:42: The students, alerted, begin trying to escape.  Stryker's helicopter approaches from afar (ominous piano/bass).  Logan engages soldiers in the kitchen (brass, Wolverine drums).  Colossus leads the students out.
2:34: Logan rushes more soldiers (drums, fateful Stryker theme variations).  Stryker's helicopter gets closer.
4:32: Stryker's helicopter arrives (reverse Stryker theme).  Rogue, Bobby and John try to escape but are cornered.  Logan rescues them (drums) and leads them out, until they run into Stryker.
Don't You Remember 5:20: Stryker tempts Logan with hints of his past (reverse Stryker theme in high winds), but Bobby interrupts when he erects an ice wall between them (Stryker temptation theme). 
Escape 6:52: Stryker blows up the ice wall (Stryker temptation theme).  Logan leaves with the kids in Scott's car (X-Men motif), as soldiers reach Cerebro.
1.12 1:58 Opening Cerebro 0:00: Stryker breaks into the Cerebro chamber.
Bottom's Up 1:22: In a bathroom stall, Mystique drugs one of Magneto's guards in order to give him an iron injection (Mystique motif in harp/sighs). 
1.13 3:29 Jason's Story 0:00: Stryker tells Xavier how his psychic son Jason tortured his parents until his wife killed herself (reversed Stryker theme).  He brings Jason in.
Harmless Kiss 2:26: While at Bobby's house (Pyro theme begins developing), Rogue flirts with Bobby and they have a brief kiss, with slightly uncomfortable consequences.
1.14 1:27 Magneto's Escape 0:00: (alternate mix) Eric senses the high iron content in the guard and draws it out of him.  He uses 3 metal balls to escape his prison.
1.15 2:49 What Bobby Can Do 0:00: Bobby freezes a cup of coffee for his mother during his "coming out".  Bobby's brother calls the police.
Finding Faith 0:51: Kurt explains his skin carvings to Storm.  Storm uses anger to express her feelings for humanity's prejudice, and Kurt advises faith.
1.16 3:15 Pyro Attack 0:00: Police arrive at Bobby's house.  Logan is shot unconscious.  John (Pyro) is tempted to use his fire powers (Pyro theme).  He attacks the police.  Rogue uses her power to absorb John's control over flame and stop the fires.
2:18: Jean and Storm arrive as Logan wakes up and gives the policeman who shot him if a warning look.  Bobby gives his fearful parents a regretful look and they all leave.
1.17 1:26 Xavier Escapes 0:00: (Unused) Xavier escapes by using his powers to overcome a guard.  He finds Scott (unfortunately it's all an illusion by Jason).
1.18 2:20 Storm's Perfect Storm 0:00: When the X-Jet is targeted by hostile fighters, Storm uses her powers to create tornado funnels, and the X-Jet performs evasive maneuvers (Jean harmony with choir).
Missiles 1:25: One of the pursuing fighters launches 2 missiles.  Jean stops one of them but the other hits and brings down the X-Jet (they are soon saved by Magneto).
1.19 5:02 Fireside Chat 0:00: Magneto and the X-Men discuss Stryker's plans (Stryker theme in strings).  
Flashback 1:20: Jean uses her powers to probe Kurt's mind in order to locate Stryker's hidden base.
Jean And Logan 2:01: Jean and Logan have a heart to heart (Jean theme featured on piano).  Logan kisses Jean, but gets rejected.
You Know What I Want 3:24: Mystique decides to play a trick on Logan and pretends to be Jean (Jean theme chords with playful pizz bass).  She taunts him with images of Stryker (Mystique theme in harp/sighs, Stryker motif in high winds).
1.20 2:11 God Among Insects 0:00: Pyro shows his power to Magneto (Pyro theme with choir support).
Where Is Everyone? 0:42: Jason puts Xavier into an illusionary visit with an empty school.  In the illusion he decides to use Cerebro to find the other students.
1.21 4:21 I'm In 0:00: Logan enters Stryker's base through an underground tunnel.  He calls out Stryker.  Stryker's men capture him and bring him to Stryker (hint of Mystique theme).
1:38: Stryker realizes that it's actually Mystique.  Mystique takes out some men and gets control of the tunnel doors (frenzied piano, etc).  Stryker uses charges to blow open the door to Mystique, but with little effect.
2:58: Mystique opens the tunnel doors, allowing the X-Men to enter (X-Men motif developed).
3:30: Xavier, still in Jason's illusion, approaches and enters Stryker's modified copy of Cerebro.
1.22 3:53 It's Time 0:00: The door to Mystique is broken down, but it is Magneto and the X-Men who enter.  They form a plan to split up, as Logan heads for Stryker. 
1:11: Stryker arrives at his modified Cerebro and tells Jason to proceed with his plan (Stryker temptation theme begins).  Jason tells Xavier to find all of the mutants in the world using Cerebro. 
3:27: Xavier puts on the Cerebro helmet.
2.1 2:40 The Children 0:00: Storm and Kurt rescue the kidnapped students.
0:26: Jean looks for the Stryker-controlled Scott.  Scott attacks and Jean retaliates, but her Phoenix powers manifest and cause major damage to the base (and dam).  Water begins to leak in (ominous brass).  Scott comes out of Stryker's control and embraces Jean (subtle Jean theme).
Something's Wrong 1:50: Jean feels that something is wrong.  Stryker realizes the base is finished, as Xavier continues tracking mutants with Cerebro..
2.2 4:58 Augmentation Room
(Death Strikes Deathstrike)
0:00: Logan finds the lab where his adamantium was fused to his bones.  He has flashback visions of the procedure. 
1:58: Stryker and Deathstryke arrive (Stryker theme in strings).  Deathstryke stops Logan from reaching Stryker (Deathstryke metallic elements enter).
3:05: Deathstryke reveals her claws (Deathstryke flute motif) and Logan engages her in battle.
2.3 5:53 Deathstrike Dies 0:00: John (Pyro) disobeys orders and leaves the X-Jet (Pyro theme).
0:15: Logan's fight with Deathstryke continues.
0:32: Logan finally kills her with an adamantium injection (solo boys voice).
Magneto's Old Tricks 1:01: Jason tells Xavier to kill all of the mutants that he's found with Cerebro.  Magneto kills a bunch of soldiers (by pulling all of their grenade pins) and approaches Cerebro's outer door (falling Magneto motif).  Xavier concentrates on the mutant population.
2:13: The mutants begin to feel Xavier's attack.  Magneto eventually breaches the door to Stryker's Cerebro and shuts down the device.  The X-Men regroup as Magneto lectures Xavier. 
4:05: Magneto reconfigures Cerebro's architecture (Magneto sub-theme).  Stryker-Mystique gives Jason new instructions.
5:23: Jason has Xavier target all humans.
2.4 8:16 Wolverine To The Rescue 0:00: At his escape helicopter, Stryker tells Logan that the base will soon be destroyed and that they must escape if he wants answers to his past (Stryker theme in strings over piano arpeggios).  Logan straps him to the plane and heads back to the base.
2:06: Xavier prepares to kill all humans.  The X-Men arrive outside Cerebro as Xavier begins his attack on mankind (moaning accents/organ/harp, etc).
3:31: Storm asks Kurt to teleport her into the Cerebro chamber (suspense piano/winds).
4:16: Storm decides to use her cold climate powers to wake up Xavier.  Outside, Magneto says farewell to Stryker (Magneto motif).
5:07: Storm begins lowering the temperature with high winds, as Magneto and Mystique escape in Stryker's helicopter.  Pyro joins Magneto (Pyro theme).  Storm continues to lower the temperature inside the Cerebro room.
6:30: Xavier finally comes out of Jason's illusion (rising horn figure).  The base starts to collapse (churning low winds). 
7:15: The X-Men race to escape the base.  Logan finds them and leads them out.
2.5 2:23 Rogue Earns Wings 0:00: As cracks develop in the dam, the X-Men reach the outside, but find Stryker's escape helicopter gone. 
0:48: Suddenly Rogue arrives in the X-Jet and makes a rough landing.  The students all board with the Professor.
2:00: Logan has a final talk with Stryker.
2.6 7:04 Goodbye 0:00: Logan leaves Stryker and rejoins the other X-Men.  Xavier urges the team to get to Washington.  The X-Jet prepares to take off.
1:06: The dam breaks and Jean makes a decision.  She exits the X-Jet so that she can turn away the water (Jean harmony begins).
2:01: Jean closes the exit ramp before Scott can call her back.  Water approaches.   Jean protects the X-Jet from the wave (Jean theme becomes Phoenix motif).
3:39: Jean communicates a final message to Scott through Xavier.  Her Phoenix power manifests as she raises the jet (Phoenix motif).
4:24: The X-Men realize Jean is gone (Jean theme developed).  Kurt says a prayer.  The X-Jet heads to Washington.
We're Here To Stay 5:39: The X-Men give the President documents proving that Stryker was behind the White House attack (after hijacking his TV address in the dark).  Xavier tries to change the President's mind about mutants.
2.7 3:10 Evolution Leaps Forward 0:00: The President reconsiders his next words.  At Xavier's school, Xavier talks to Scott.
0:29: As Scott leaves, Logan tells him that Jean chose Scott.  Xavier begins a class.  He senses something outside the window, and then continues teaching (Jean harmony in soft strings). 
1:51: Camera pans to Alkali Lake as Jean's voice-over describes a leap forward in evolution.  A Phoenix-like shape appears below the water.
2:40: End Credits (X-Men theme march).
2.8 7:17 Suite From X-Men 2
(End Credits Original Version)
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:51: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
6:16: X-Men March.
2.9 0:51 Evolution Leaps Forward
(Original Version)
(Alternate) Camera pans to Alkali Lake as Jean's voice-over describes a leap forward in evolution.  A Phoenix-like shape appears below the water.
0:43: End Credits.
2.10 9:10 Suite From X-Men 2
(End Credits
Film Version)
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:45: Magneto themes.
5:55: Deathstryke theme.
6:40: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
8:14: X-Men March.


     The original 2003 soundtrack release has many of the highlights of the score and, all things considered, is actually not a bad 1-CD representation:
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence (and themes)
1 7:11 Suite
from
X2
0:00: X-Men theme developed into a march.
1:19: X-Men theme developed on strings/brass.
1:43: Phoenix theme in strings.
2:34: Jean theme developed in piano/winds/strings, joined by choir.
4:51: Pyro theme, Stryker theme.
5:56: X-Men fanfare begins to resurface.
6:15: X-Men March.
2 2:18 Storm's Perfect Storm 0:00: When the X-Jet is targeted by hostile fighters, Storm uses her powers to create tornado funnels, and the X-Jet performs evasive maneuvers (Jean/Phoenix harmony with choir).
1:25: One of the pursuing fighters launches 2 missiles.  Jean stops one of them but the other hits and brings down the X-Jet (they are soon saved by Magneto).
3 1:31 Finding Faith 0:00: Kurt explains his skin carvings to Storm.  Storm uses anger to express her feelings for humanity's prejudice, and Kurt advises faith.
4 3:31 Sneaky Mystique 0:00: Jean and Storm take off in the X-Jet to find Kurt (X-Men fanfare).
0:27: Mystique infiltrates Stryker's office to research Magneto's imprisonment (Mystique theme developed in harp, echoed pizz strings, metals, female sighing voice etc, hint of Magneto theme). 
2:00: Yuriko arrives (Deathstryke motif), as Mystique learns of a duplicate Cerebro (Stryker motif in high winds).
2:42: Mystique transforms into a janitor and leaves (Mystique harp motif/sighs).
5 1:28 Cerebro 0:00: Logan joins Xavier, as the Professor uses Cerebro to search out Kurt (cello, strings/synth).  He tells Logan that if he concentrates too hard, his probes could kill the people he is mentally connected to.
6 7:35 Mansion
Attack
0:00: Soldiers sneak into Xavier's school and begin tranquilizing students.  Logan senses something is amiss.
0:42: The students, alerted, begin trying to escape.  Stryker's helicopter approaches from afar (ominous piano/bass).  Logan engages soldiers in the kitchen (brass, Wolverine drums).  Colossus leads the students out.
2:16: Logan rushes more soldiers (drums, fateful Stryker theme variations).
3:55: Stryker's helicopter gets closer.  Rogue, Bobby and John try to escape but are cornered.  Logan rescues them (drums) and leads them out, until they run into Stryker.
5:00: Stryker tempts Logan with hints of his past (reverse Stryker theme in high winds), but Bobby interrupts when he erects an ice wall between them (Stryker temptation theme). 
6:32: Stryker blows up the ice wall (Stryker temptation theme).  Logan leaves with the kids in Scott's car (X-Men motif), as soldiers reach Cerebro.
7 1:36 Rogue Earns Her Wings 0:00: Rogue arrives in the X-Jet and makes a rough landing.  The students all board with the Professor.
1:15: Logan has a final talk with Stryker.
8 3:41 It's Time 0:00: The door to Mystique is broken down, but it is Magneto and the X-Men who enter.  They form a plan to split up, as Logan heads for Stryker. 
1:01: Stryker arrives at his modified Cerebro and tells Jason to proceed with his plan (Stryker temptation theme begins).  Jason tells Xavier to find all of the mutants in the world using Cerebro. 
3:16: Xavier puts on the Cerebro helmet.
9 4:59 Magneto's Old Tricks 0:00: While in prison, Eric senses the high iron content in the guard and draws it out of him.  He uses 3 metal balls to escape his prison.
1:24: At Alkali Base, Magneto kills a bunch of soldiers (by pulling all of their grenade pins) and approaches Cerebro's outer door (falling Magneto motif).  He breaches the door and shuts down the device.  The X-Men regroup as Magneto lectures Xavier. 
3:11: Magneto reconfigures Cerebro's architecture (Magneto sub-theme).  Stryker-Mystique gives Jason new instructions.
4:29: Jason has Xavier target all humans.
10 4:12 I'm In 0:00: Logan enters Stryker's base through an underground tunnel.  He calls out Stryker.  Stryker's men capture him and bring him to Stryker (hint of Mystique theme).
1:38: Stryker realizes that it's actually Mystique.  Mystique takes out some men and gets control of the tunnel doors (frenzied piano, etc).  Stryker uses charges to blow open the door to Mystique, but with little effect.
2:51: Mystique opens the tunnel doors, allowing the X-Men to enter (X-Men motif developed).
3:21: Xavier, still in Jason's illusion, approaches and enters Stryker's modified copy of Cerebro.
11 3:22 If You
Really Knew
0:00: At his escape helicopter, Stryker tells Logan that the base will soon be destroyed and that they must escape if he wants answers to his past (Stryker theme in strings over piano arpeggios).  Logan straps him to the plane and heads back to the base.
2:05: Xavier prepares to kill all humans with Cerebro.  The X-Men arrive outside Cerebro as Xavier begins his attack on mankind (moaning accents/organ/harp, etc).  Storm asks Kurt to teleport her into the Cerebro chamber (suspense piano/winds).
12 2:45 Playing with Fire 0:00: Police arrive at Bobby's house.  Logan is shot unconscious.  John (Pyro) is tempted to use his fire powers (Pyro theme).  He attacks the police.  Rogue uses her power to absorb John's control over flame and stop the fires.
1:48: Jean and Storm arrive as Logan wakes up and gives the policeman who shot him if a warning look.  Bobby gives his fearful parents a regretful look and they all leave.
13 4:52 Death Strikes Deathstryke 0:00: Logan finds the lab where his adamantium was fused to his bones.  He has flashback visions of the procedure. 
1:38: Stryker and Deathstryke arrive (Stryker theme in strings).  Deathstryke stops Logan from reaching Stryker (Deathstryke metallic elements enter).
2:55: Deathstryke reveals her claws (Deathstryke flute motif) and Logan engages her in battle.
14 4:00 Getting Out Alive 0:00: Storm decides to use her cold climate powers to wake up Xavier.  Outside, Magneto says farewell to Stryker (Magneto motif).
0:50: Storm begins lowering the temperature with high winds, as Magneto and Mystique escape in Stryker's helicopter with Pyro (Pyro theme).
2:13: Xavier finally comes out of Jason's illusion.  The base starts to collapse. 
2:59: The X-Men race to escape the base.  Logan finds them and leads them out.
15 5:28 Goodbye 0:00: Logan leaves Stryker to die in the snow and rejoins the other X-Men at the plane.  Xavier urges the team to get to Washington.  The X-Jet prepares to take off.
1:06: The dam breaks and Jean makes a decision.  She exits the X-Jet so that she can turn away the water (Jean harmony begins).
2:00: Jean closes the exit ramp before Scott can call her back.  Water approaches.   Jean protects the X-Jet from the wave (Jean theme becomes Phoenix motif).
3:25: Jean communicates a final message to Scott through Xavier.  Her Phoenix power manifests as she raises the jet (Phoenix motif).
4:10: The X-Men realize Jean is gone (Jean theme developed).  Kurt says a prayer.  The X-Jet heads to Washington.
16 1:48 We're Here
to Stay
0:00: Back at the White House, the X-Men give the President documents proving that Stryker was behind the White House attack (after hijacking his TV address in the dark).  Xavier tries to change the President's mind about mutants.
1:18: End credit (X-men fanfare).

Links

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Little Mermaid, ie Malá morská víla (Liska, 1976)


     Zdenek Liska had a notable filmography with the avant-garde stop-motion film-maker Jan Švankmajer, but he also wrote a delightful score to Karel Kachyna's Czech adaptation of Han Christian Anderson's "Malá morská víla"- i.e. "The Little Mermaid".


     As in the original story, a Mermaid encounters a human Prince while visiting the surface world.  She rescues him from death, but when he wakes up, he mistakes a newly-arrived human girl for his savior.  Later, in order to be with the Prince, the Mermaid visits a Sea Witch and sacrifices her aquatic form (and voice).  All goes well until the Prince marries the wrong girl.  In the end, the Mermaid tragically chooses to die rather than harm the Prince.


     Liska uses a variety of instruments in the score including some unusual synthesizer (Moog?) textures, treated with reverb to create an "underwater" flavor.  The Sea King's celebrations are accompanied by on-screen musicians who play conch shells, and these are presented in the score with flutes and hand percussion.  The songs sung by the Mermaid are enchanting, but also sophisticated, using some exotic melodic ideas.  Several themes and textures include:

  • Pendant theme: Vibrating organ drone with swelling textures.
  • Mermaid theme: A childlike song which includes some ethnic melodic twists.
  • Sea theme: Sea King's royal theme, opens with 4 rising notes, heard in the Main Title.
  • Announcement themes: Short fanfares used to announce the arrival of the various families and rulers of the sea.
  • Sea Witch theme: Somewhat melancholy song which the Mermaid had overheard being sung by the Sea Witch.
  • Siren theme: Used to lure sailors to their deaths, choral and ethereal, derived from Sea Witch theme.
  • Prince theme: Opens with an accent followed by a 4-note figure (rising and then with a falling tail), somewhat fateful.


     The tracks below are listed in chronological film sequence. A few tracks include the Mermaid's vocal track, and these I put at the end (tracks 4, 11).
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence/Themes
1 4:02 Malá Mořská Víla 0:00: The Sea King throws a sword at the screen.  Cut to waves crashing on rocks, distorted beach camera shot with main titles, credits over waves crashing on a beach.
Pendant theme as organ drones, Sea theme (opening rising 4-note figure), choral glissandi/accents, theme, bridge, theme recap, coda.
3:02: As the camera gradually pans underwater, a voice-over explains that an aquatic race populates the seas.  The scene lands on 2 sisters at the bottom of the sea.
Sea theme coda developed on subdued choir/winds/timpani, underwater pops/Pendant theme organ drones.
5 2:20 The Pendant / The Little Mermaid (Theme) The Mermaid sings a song to her father the Sea King.  Meanwhile the King uses his magic ring to observe a ship on the surface crash and sink (version without vocal).
Pendant theme organ drones, Mermaid theme in strings/bass/guitar/synth, high percussion leads to harpsichord, then brass/percussion/bass, recap percussion/harpsichord coda
3 2:46 Pearls From The Deep 0:00: The various peoples of the sea gather and exchange gifts/food.  The Sea King displays a ship's masthead and other things he has obtained from the humans.  They joke about the humans' misconceptions of underwater people.  The Sea Prince talks to the Mermaid.
Sea theme in flute/hand percussion/synth/bass, crossfaded into electronic pulses/sliding ambient drones.
2:11: The Mermaid's sisters playfully throw pearls at her and the Sea Prince.  The king displays his collection of human weapons.
Metallic percussion/ambient drones, Pendant theme organ drones/underwater pops.
7 3:11 The Sixth Sister 0:00: The Sea Prince tells the Mermaid about her father's magic viewing room.
Pendant theme organ drones/electronic pulses/sliding ambient drone.
0:35: The Sea Prince departs.  All of the mer-people begin to ascend stairs towards the surface. 
Announcement Theme 1 in flutes/bass, tic toc guitar/hand percussion/ambient sounds, joined by strings.
1:48: The Mermaid stays behind in order to explore her father's collection.
Electronic pulses/sliding ambient drones, scuffling sounds.
2:41: The Mermaid enters the forbidden cave.
Mysterious strings dialogue with slow tic toc guitar/perc., underwater pops.
8 1:38 Statue Of Salt 1 The Mermaid comes across a beautiful statue of a woman.  Her father appears and tells her that it is her mother.
Mysterious strings/underwater pops, Pendant theme organ drones with pops developed into a rhythm, pops and ambient accents.
9 1:22 Aquatic Babička (Theme) 0:00: The Sea King's musicians play.  The Mermaid talks about her magic pendant, which glows.
Announcement Theme 2 (Crown Prince of the Sunset Sea) in flutes/bass.
0:22: The Mermaid sings the song of the Sea Witch to her grandmother (no vocal).
Sea Witch theme in harpsichord/strings/cymbals.  Theme developed with accents/swells/wind sounds.
6 1:19 The Song Of The Siren (Theme) The (human) Prince hears the Mermaid's song and tells his ship's crew to pursue it.
Siren theme in gliding choral textures, ambient textures/pops/glass clinking.
19 0:31 Ascension To Fireworks The Sea King tells everyone to ascend to see the fireworks.  The Mermaid is amazed.
Harpsichord/organ accents with tic toc guitar/hand perc./synth accents, ending in strings accent.
10 0:48 In Safe Hands On the shore, the Mermaid cares for the rescued Prince and kisses him.  She sees a rooster.  The Princess and her friends approach on horseback.
Prince theme in harpsichord in 4-note figure (rising-falling), with zigzag falling figure, mysterious string textures becoming darker.
22 0:23 Behind The Rock The Princess finds the Prince lying on the shore, as the Mermaid hides behind a rock.
Poignant strings derived from Mermaid sub-theme.
13 1:05 Statue Of Salt 2 After the Mermaid has disappeared, the Sea King visits the mother's statue, and then leaves.  The Mermaid returns from rescuing the Prince.
Pendant theme organ drones/underwater popping developed into rhythm, joined by echoed ambient sounds/roaring.
12 2:04 The Black Sea The Mermaid sits on ocean rocks and pines for the departed human Prince.  She daydreams about different natural locales on land.
Prince theme in vibraphone/bass/hand perc., joined by flute, clarinet, developed with strings/perc./flute/clarinet/music box/synth.
2 1:28 Witches Firewall The Mermaid carefully ascends a staircase to the Sea Witch's cave while evading flames.
Underwater popping in rhythm, developed with high ambient accents/hissing.
14 1:31 Čarodějnice's Castle 0:00: She asks to become human, but the Witch demands to have her song (voice) in return.
Sound effects/ambient textures, with howling/whirring sounds/accents.
1:05: The Sea Witch prepares a magic drink for the Mermaid.
Pendant theme organ drone joins.
21 1:16 The Voice The Mermaid sacrifices her voice so she can become human.
Sound effects/ambient textures, underwater pops, water sounds, Pendant theme organ drones with halting solo vocal chant.
17 3:25 Games / Echoes The Prince and his retinue playfully duel and flirt.  The Prince hears echoes from the Siren song, drawing him away from the party and towards the beach.
Medieval dance rhythm with winds/lute/percussion intercut with Siren theme in gliding choral textures and clapping, ending with gong cadence.
15 1:10 The Song Of The Siren (Song) The Prince leaves his retinue and is drawn to the beach.  He sees the Mermaid land on the sand, unconscious and transformed.
Siren theme blended with Sea Witch song vocal, clapping, joined by bass flourishes, a gong leads to a scream.
16 0:10 Prince Of The Southern Empire The Prince and the Mermaid (now human) emerge from the palace.
Regal bells texture.
18 2:06 The Kiss 0:00: On the beach, the Prince tells the Mermaid that they will have a great future together.  She kisses him and walks towards the sea and finds a dagger from her father.
Beach sounds/synth swells, strings/harpsichord rhythm, Mermaid theme fragments in strings/guitar/ambient textures leading to climax.
1:53: A ship is seen on the ocean, carrying the Mermaid with the Prince on an expedition.
Creaking sounds.
23 5:57 Sunken Dagger / The Little Mermaid (Song) 0:00: After the Prince gives up the Mermaid for the Princess, the Sea King and his people are seen on the rocks.
Accented and percussive variation of Sea theme.
0:52: The Mermaid is seen on the ship with her dagger among the sleeping crew.  Her father urges her to kill the Prince and Princess before it's too late.  She kisses the Prince instead. 
Mermaid theme fragment in strings, becoming poignant with subtle harpsichord/piano ornaments, swells, male choir/low organ/cymbal, poignant strings becoming sweetened with choir/synth/bass
3:20: The sun rises and the Mermaid is seen drowned in the ocean.
Joined by high winds/synth swells, Pendant theme organ drones.
4:01: The Prince looks for the Mermaid but only sees flowers on the ocean.  The flowers prevent the ship from being destroyed on the rocks.
Mermaid theme with vocal/winds/bass/synth/strings, joined by trumpet ornaments/percussion, sweet strings, Pendant theme organ drones.
24 0:21 The Pendant Final Pendant theme organ drones.
20 0:46 Bird In A Cage Unused: Sound effects/ambient textures. 
4 3:37 King Of The Ocean The mermaid sings a song to her father the Sea King.  Meanwhile the King uses his magic ring to observe a ship on the surface crash and sink.
Ambient textures, underwater popping, Mermaid theme in solo voice, joined by strings/synth, brass/percussion/bass, 2nd verse joined by trumpet ornaments, ending in solo voice/ambient sounds.
11 2:31 Aquatic Babička (Song) 0:00: Source music: the Sea King's musicians play.  The Mermaid talks about her magic pendant, which glows.
Announcement Theme 2 (Crown Prince of the Sunset Sea) in flutes/bass.
0:16:The Mermaid sings the song of the Sea Witch to her grandmother.
Ambient sounds, Sea Witch theme in strings/perc/harpsichord with vocal, wind sounds.


Links
Soundtrack at finderskeepersrecords.com
The Little Mermaid, ie Malá morská víla on YouTube (full film)
Zdenek Liska Wiki

Friday, July 15, 2016

Halloween (Carpenter, 1978)

New picture disc release of Halloween rerecording
     John Carpenter has written almost all of the music for his directed films, and the first "Halloween", his 3rd film, was no exception.  Originally released in an 11-track album consisting of partially alternate mixes (including the Main Title), it got an expanded release for the film's 20th anniversary, but with film dialogue and effects blended into the tracks.  In any case, the Halloween theme is one of Carpenter's most infectious, and comes from a bongo rhythm pattern that he had learned as a child from his father.  Though the film credits the "Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra", the entire score was performed by Carpenter on piano and synthesizer, with technical assistance from Dan Wyman.  Carpenter's first screening without music left the studio unimpressed (not scared), so his mission in scoring the film (inspired by Bernard Herrmann's Psycho and Ennio Morricone's work) was to make it actually scary.  The themes created for Halloween would reverberate in its future sequels as well.


     Carpenter does an amazing job of building varying layers of extreme atmosphere with 5 basic themes and not much else.  It was composed in 3 days and recorded in 2 weeks.  The film itself is obviously a low-budget affair (aren't all slashers?) and the simplistic music fits the tone and pacing very well.
  • Halloween theme: Piano rhythm over percussive electronic pulses in 5/4 (or 10/8), joined by variations of a 3-note rising piano/synth motif (with a shadowing 2-note falling line), with a secondary "bridge" section based on a rising 4-note figure.
  • Michael theme and fanfare: 3-note Michael fanfare in high synth, Michael theme in slow piano chord pulses under variations of 3-note rising-falling motif in piano, synth.
  • Laurie theme: Modulating 2-note piano ostinato with 4-note rising-falling motif and a slow 2-note falling figure in 2 synths.
  • Evil theme: slow, wide 4-note descending figure passed from piano to synths, often ending in high metallic hits.
  • Stalking theme: 3-accent piano theme, joined by keening pulses and dissonant synth layers.

Trk Dur Title Film Sequence/Themes
1 2:23 Halloween Theme Main Title, credits, zoom in to lit Halloween pumpkin (also retracked many places, especially whenever Michael stalks from afar).
Piano rhythm over percussive electronic pulses in 5/4, joined by variations of a 3-note rising piano/synth motif (with a shadowing 2-note falling line), then a repeated rising 4-note figure, then back to the 3-note motif in synth, a final 4-note figure statement (dissolves to a children's Halloween chant). 
2 3:13 Halloween 1963 (with film dialogue)
0:00: POV of a stalker outside a house observing young lovers, then entering the house and picking up a carving knife.
3-note Michael fanfare in high synth, Michael theme in slow piano chord pulses under variations of 3-note rising-falling motif in piano, synth.
1:00: The boy leaves, and the grandfather clock strikes.
Held synth texture, Michael fanfare.
2:00: Michael kills his sister Judith and then runs downstairs and outside.
Low drone accent, Michael theme with added synth layers.
3 4:08 The Evil Is Gone 0:00: Dr. Loomis and a nurse arrives at the hospital in a rainstorm (film dialogue).
2:16: Inmates are seen wandering around.  Michael commandeers Loomis' car and escapes.
5/4 Halloween theme on piano/high pulse with rising 3-note motif, various electronic stingers.
4 2:50 Halloween 1978 Laurie walks down the street of a suburb.  She heads towards the Myewr house to drop off a key.
Also: in class, Laurie, sees someone staring at her from across the street, and later, Laurie walks with her friends after encountering a mysterious car.
Laurie theme: Modulating 2-note piano ostinato with 4-note rising-falling motif and a slow 2-note falling figure in 2 synths, repeated twice in lower registers with added oscillating synth tones, ending in low synth drone.
5 0:40 The Boogie Man Is Coming After the school bell rings, kids taunt a boy (dialogue only).
6 1:42 The Shape One of the boys bumps into the escaped Michael (the Shape), who stalks the school grounds on foot and in Loomis' car.
Stinger leads to Halloween theme with developed held synth textures (filtered), ending in piano figure/pulses alone.
7 1:35 The Hedge Laurie sees someone duck behind a hedge.  Her friend Annie taunts her but there is no one there.
Michael theme in piano chord pulses/synth drone joined by 3-note rising-falling piano/falling synth line, descending and joined by lower textures, ending in higher register.
8 2:40 He Came Home 0:00: Loomis and a detective explore the cemetery (dialogue).
0:49: They finds that Judith's tombstone has been dug up and Loomis realizes Michael has returned home (dialogue).
Michael piano pulses with synth, descending.
1:14: Michael stalks Laurie in his car.
Stinger, Halloween theme in piano/synth with 3 and 4 note motifs, ending in electronic pulses. 
9 0:38 Trick Or Treat 0:00: "Trick or Treat!" (dialogue).
0:12: Michael sees Laurie arrive at Tommy's house, as Tommy's parents depart.
Michael theme in piano pulses/3-note piano/synth figure.
10 1:44 The Haunted House Loomis arrives at the old Myer house.  He and the detective discover a dead dog.
Evil theme: slow, wide 4-note descending figure passed from piano to synths, joined by oscillating synth line.
A man wouldn’t do that.
This isn't a man.
11 1:35 The Devil's Eyes In Judith's old room, something flies in through the window.  They discuss Loomis' history with Michael.  Loomis decides to wait for him to return (dialogue).
Evil theme in piano/synth, ending in high metallic hits.
12 1:27 The Boogie Man Is Outside Tommy interrupts Laurie's phone call with Annie to tell her that he sees the Boogeyman outside (dialogue).  She looks but sees nothing.  Meanwhile Michael approaches Annie's window.  He watches Annie change.
Michael theme in piano pulses/3-note figure, descending and joined by lower textures, held synth texture/piano pulses.
13 1:34 Damn You For Letting Him Go! 0:00: Loomis teases kids near the Loomis house.  He talks with the detective about Michael (dialogue).
14 0:33 Empty Street Lynda and a boy make out in Annie's living room as Michael watches from the other room.
Michael theme (falling piano pulses/3-note figure).
15 2:22 See Anything You Like? 0:00: Lynda and a boy get intimate in Annie's upstairs room (stinger, dialogue).
0:26: Later, the boy is killed by Michael in the kitchen.
Noisy synth chord stingers.
0:52: He then proceeds to the bedroom under a sheet (dialogue).
1:36: Lynda calls Laurie, but Michael begins strangling her (dialogue).
Stalking theme in low rhythmic piano accents/high electronic pulses.
16 2:52 Lock The Door (alternate) Laurie, concerned, tries calling her back but no one answers.
Evil theme on piano/synth, intercut with high metallic hits and modulating downwards, ending with added oscillating synth.
17 0:55 He's Here (unused) Loomis finds the car which Michael stole sitting in the neighborhood.
Halloween theme with piano/pulses only.
18 2:50 Lights Out Outside, Laurie notices that the lights are out in Annie's house.  She rings the doorbell but no one answers.  She enters the house.
Laurie theme in piano/synth, repeated lower with additional oscillating synth layers (reprise of Halloween 1978).
19 1:18 Cut It Out Laurie goes upstairs (dialogue, score).
Evil theme.
20 1:09 Tombstone Laurie sees Annie's body with Judith's tombstone next to it.  Michael's body swings into view, and Lynda's body turns up.  Michael stabs Laurie and she falls over the railing (with dialogue).
Michael fanfare stinger, held synth tones, noise synth chords, Michael theme with fanfare/stinger.
21 1:33 The Shape Stalks Laurie Michael comes down the stairs.  Laurie tries to escape but finds herself trapped.  She escapes and eventually makes her way back to Tommy's house and locks the door.
Stalking piano theme joined by high keening pulses/held synth, developed with added lower textures.
22 0:33 Turn Around The phone is dead and Laurie cowers.  Michael stabs at her but she stabs him back with a knitting needle.
Michael theme in piano/synth.
23 2:09 Unlock The Door Laurie grabs the knife and sees Michael collapsed.  She drops the knife.  Loomis walks the streets looking for Michael.  Laurie goes upstairs to check on the kids.  Michael appears behind her.
Laurie theme and variations, ending in added oscillating synth.
I killed him.
You can't kill the Boogeyman.
24 3:04 The Hanger The kids lock themselves in and Laurie looks for a hiding place, as Michael approaches.  Michael tries to break into the closet where Laurie is hiding.  Laurie uses a wire hanger to stab Michael.  She grabs the dropped knife and stabs him again.  Michael falls.
Stalking piano theme, joined by keening pulses and dissonant synth layers, building with added layers/drones.
25 0:25 Call The Police Laurie tells the kids to go outside (dialogue).
26 1:33 Last Assault Michael sits up as the kids get Loomis' attention.  Michael sneaks up on Laurie and then tries to strangle her.  Laurie tears off Michael's mask, just before Loomis shoots Michael.
Stalking theme in piano/keening pulses/synths.
27 0:32 Was It The Boogie Man? Loomis shoots a few more times and Michael falls out the window (dialogue, stinger).
28 3:33 End Credits: Halloween Theme - Reprise Loomis discovers Michael's fallen body has disappeared.  Images of several houses at night pass by in a collage.  End credits.
Halloween theme alt. mix with 3 and 4-note rising motifs.


Original 1983 Release
Trk Dur Title Film Sequence/Themes
1 2:55 Halloween Theme - Main Title Halloween theme alt. "beat" mix with added low downbeat pulse, extended with added synth swells/drones.
2 2:05 Laurie's Theme 0:00: (Halloween 1978 alt mix):
Laurie theme.
1:05: The Haunted House (part 1):
Evil theme.
3 1:42 Shape Escapes The Evil Is Gone: Inmates are seen wandering around.  Michael commandeers Loomis' car and escapes.
Halloween theme beat mix with added low downbeat pulse, stingers, 3-note motif.
4 5:35 Meyers' House 0:00: Lock the Door: Laurie, concerned, tries calling Lynda back but no one answers:
Evil theme/metallic hits.
2:55: Unlock the Door (edit):
Michael theme.
3:26: Halloween theme beat mix, noise synth stinger.
3:50: Cut it Out (edit):
Evil theme.
4:16: Noise stinger, Halloween theme beat mix with 3 and 4-note motifs.
5 3:11 Michael Kills Judith Halloween 1963 (alternate):
0:00: POV of a stalker outside a house observing young lovers, then entering the house and picking up a carving knife.
3-note Michael fanfare in high synth, Michael theme in slow piano chord pulses under variations of 3-note rising-falling motif in piano, synth.
1:00: The boy leaves, and the grandfather clock strikes.  Michael stabs his sister.
Held synth texture, synth stinger, Michael theme, held synths.
2:39: After killing Judith, Michael goes outside.
Stinger, Michael theme.
6 3:31 Loomis And Shape's Car Halloween Theme alt beat mix 2 (extended The Evil Is Gone?: Inmates are seen wandering around.  Michael commandeers Loomis' car and escapes).
7 3:33 "The Haunted House" 0:00: Lights Out: Outside, Laurie notices that the lights are out in Annie's house.  She rings the doorbell but no one answers.  She enters the house.
Laurie theme in piano/synth, low drone.
2:58: Turn Around: The phone is dead and Laurie cowers.  Michael stabs at her but she stabs him back with a knitting needle.
Michael theme in piano/synth.
8 1:35 The Shape Lurks The Shape Stalks Laurie: Michael comes down the stairs.  Laurie tries to escape but finds herself trapped.  She escapes and eventually makes her way back to Tommy's house and locks the door.
Stalking piano theme joined by high keening pulses/held synth, developed with added lower textures.
9 3:02 Laurie Knows 0:00: Unlock The Door: Laurie grabs the knife and sees Michael collapsed.  She drops the knife.  Loomis walks the streets looking for Michael.  Laurie goes upstairs to check on the kids.  Michael appears behind her.
Laurie theme and variations, ending in added oscillating synth.
2:08: Halloween Theme beat mix 
10 3:26 Better Check The Kids 0:00: The Boogie Man Is Outside: Laurie looks outside for the "boogieman" but sees nothing.  Meanwhile Michael approaches Annie's window.  He watches Annie change.
Michael theme in piano pulses/3-note figure, descending and joined by lower textures, held synth texture/piano pulses.
1:38: Cut It Out: Laurie goes upstairs looking for her friends.
Evil theme, descending.
11 3:09 The Shape Stalks The Hanger: The kids lock themselves in and Laurie looks for a hiding place, as Michael approaches.  Michael tries to break into the closet where Laurie is hiding.  Laurie uses a wire hanger to stab Michael.  She grabs the dropped knife and stabs him again.  Michael falls.
Stalking piano accents theme, joined by keening pulses and dissonant synth layers, building with added layers/drones.


Links
John Carpenter Site
John Carpenter Wiki Entry
New picture disc single release of Halloween (Carpenter rerecording)
20th Anniversary CD on Amazon