2011 had no shortage, but a major abdundance of Limited Editions that really made a huge impact not only on soundtrack fans, but a major change by one label was definitely for the greater good in my opinion. Alot of great things came out this year and alot of good things did too…of course, there was a fair share of controversay as well, but that’s to be expected. After all, it is soundtrack’s we’re talking which is almost like collecting classical music in which one performance maybe the best and another could be Godaweful.
There was plenty to savor, and plenty for our wallets to have a heartattack. As long as the music was great, that’s all that really mattered. Choosing this list was harder than the first list and narrowing it down was ten times harder considering the amount of material that did come out. So without further ado….
My choice as no.1 Limited Edition soundtrack of 2011 is…. well, it’s a tie!!! And I’ll explain in a bit, but the no.1 choice is James Horner’s 48 Hours. Of all, the soundtracks that were released, this one was the most enjoyable all the way through because one of my all time favorites and the fact that it still is a terrific action score to this day is a reason why I chose it.
Well, I did say this was a tie…so the other half of this no.1 of the year choice is easily Elmer Bernstein’s Slipstream. A release that generated some controversary to no fault of Perseverance Records but was still was a source of legality which have probably been rectified by this point. What got lost in all that hoopla was the fact that it was a long lost masterpiece by the late composer which had been gestating for over 20 years and proudly made its debut with a rather bombastic and exhilarting score.
and the rest of the best….
Capernicous Star by Abel Korzenowski. This brilliant, overlooked score for a European documentary is a wonderful work that really surpassed my expectations and is one that collectors really raved about throughout the year and LaLaLand sound be really be given alot of great credit for this release.
The Great Santini by Elmer Bernstein. Another Bernstein score makes this list and for the adaptation of Pat Conroy’s novel which featured a lush and memorable score during a time that Bernstein was beginning to turn into the go to comedy movie composer. This mini-masterpiece was a great and deserving release by Film Score Monthly.
1941 by John Williams. Easily one of the more enjoyable long albums of the year. This terrific comedy score by Williams had everything from a rousing march (which is just as great as the Raiders March from the Indiana Jones movies), romance, bombastic material and a little jazz thrown in for good measure for Steven Spielberg’s now revered and glorious 1979 misfire that is now joyfully remembered.
Die Hard by Michael Kamen. After being released as limited edition by Varese Sarabande, this was one of the more sought after albums on ebay and with good reason. It’s a fun score by a composer who is sorely missed for a film that is still without question one of the best action films of all time. LaLaLand’s updated release is a triumph because not only does it sound better, but also sounds bigger, greater and more bombastic than it’s prior release which was done very well, but not to the extent this one did.
Testament by James Horner. This early 1983 score is a small triumph for Horner who was on a major hot streak with the blockbuster successes of both Star Trek 2 and 48 Hours and with Brainstorm, Krull, Gorky Park and others that followed this same year. This intimate and dramatic score for the film about a family going through the horrors of a Nuclear attack in a small town, was pensive and quiet and its brief running time, made the music much more impactful than an over the top dramatic score would’ve.
First Knight by Jerry Goldsmith. This was Goldsmith’s first traditional orchestrial score in ten years as he’d been experimenting with the use of synthesizers rather heavily in his scores from 1985 on. For this retelling of Camelot and the story of King Arthur, Goldsmith provided not only a romantic score, but also a terrific and fierce music that was rousing and exciting. Since it’s release, Goldsmith’s music from this film had been used in the Olympics and other sporting events. The album that LaLaLand released gives you all the rousing action that was missing from the more romantic and nobel release of the score when the film came out.
Cliffhanger by Trevor Jones. I will say this about Sylvester Stallone’s movies, they always feature great music and always get the best composers available to do them. The case in point for this film was Jones, who wrote an hard driving, suspense driven action score that is pure testestrone in all facets of it. The original release had nothing on Intrada’s masterful album which included over 50 minutes of great action material that was sorely missing from it’s 1993 album.
Midway by John Williams. This Williams score is not exactly one that you would expect to clammor for but it’s one that was worthy of it being released. While all the elements had to be channeled from different sources, Williams’ score is free to live again as it should’ve been heard outside of the film some 35 years later. Featuring a nice main theme and a march that would predate his more popular ones in 1941 and the Indiana Jones films. Mike Matessino did a wonderful job in restoring this seemingly lost masterpiece.
Battlestar Galactica Vol.1 and Vol.2 by Stu Phillips. With its grand main theme and rather soap operaish storylines, the original BG was a grand production on an epic scale and aided marvellously by the work of Phillips who captured all of the great action and drama of the series. Intrada’s first two volumes of his original scores are both special works that hold up today and easily top almost everything that’s being done for both film and television and easily withstood the test of time.
The Medal of Honor Game Scores Collection by Michael Giacchino, Christopher Lennertz and Ramin Djawadi. This epic game score box by LaLaLand Records for the hit EA series of games was an event onto itself and really deserved even more attention because of the mastery of the music that was on hand. This box set is a game fan’s dream and not to mention that it featured some rousing and action packed material by the three composers who easily did their best work for this series of games.
The Golden Child by Michel Colombier and John Barry. Eddie Murphy’s film was a hit when it was released in 1986, but it was a troubled project in post production that all but cut over 30 minutes and had virtually had to reject Barry’s James Bond style score in favor of Colombier’s hip and flavorable score. This box set again courtesy of LaLaLand, was a revelation because of Barry’s score as well as the release of Colombier’s effort which both were great works on their own. It’s an interesting study and contrast of both composers’s work on the film.
Other honorable mentions…..
- Masada by Jerry Goldsmith and Morton Stevens
- Young Guns 2 by Alan Silvestri
- Mulholland Falls by Dave Grusin
- Explorers by Jerry Goldsmith
- Thelma and Louise by Hans Zimmer
- Scrooged by Danny Elfman
- Stay Tuned by Bruce Broughton
- Unforgettable by Christopher Young
- Wolfen by James Horner
- Battle Beyond The Stars by James Horner
- Killing Me Softly by Patrick Doyle
- Trading Places by Elmer Bernstein
- The Core by Christopher Young
- Commando by James Horner
- The Thing (re-recording) by Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter with Alan Howarth
- Devil by Fernando Velazquez
- Forever Young by Jerry Goldsmith
- Broken Arrow by Hans Zimmer
- Midnight Movie by Penka Kouneva
- Scream: The Deluxe Edition by Marco Beltrami
- Link by Jerry Goldsmith
- Old Boy by Cho Young-Wuk
- Death Warrant by Gary Chang
- Breakdown by Basil Poledouris
- Funeral Home by Jerry Fielding
Box sets were a major hit and you don’t have to look any further to Varese’s massive Bernard Herrmann at 20th Century-Fox box as the major winner in this category and with good reason because it’s pratically the greatest box they’ve put together since Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century-Fox but on a much grander scale. The box selling out is a testament of how many die hard Herrmann fans there are and how Golden Age music is still very much appreciated.
The X-Files Volume 1 box set shouldn’t be overshadowed or overlooked. Another set for die hards of the series, but Mark Snow’s music was really effective and it got better as it went along. The massive box set is just the start as Volume 2 will soon be showing up.
Other notables: Star Trek the Next Generations Vol.1 by Don Davis, John Debney, et.al., Puppet Master Collection by Richard Band, Peter Bernstein, John Massari.
Best change has to go to Intrada for changing their limited edition policy after the over night sell out of Jerry Goldsmith’s Explorers to which they repressed and now their limited editions only as they’re in demand and the first casualty of this was Alan Silvestri’s rousing Western score for Young Guns 2 which deserve to stay in print longer than it should’ve. This also changes how limited editions could now be perceived or not perceived. If this format does workout, the other labels might constitute something similar to this which might benefit everyone in the end.
– Danny Gonzalez
Film Music Examiner YC