FSM presents the Miklós Rózsa Treasury (1949-1968), a 15CD set celebrating one of the giants of film music. In this single package FSM makes available virtually every surviving, as-yet-unreleased note from the composer’s fertile and productive association with M-G-M.
Carter Burwell's score for Joel & Ethan Coen's cinematic version of Charles Portis' novel True Grit (they consciously decided to ignore the original Oscar-winning film because they considered it a bore) is rooted in the world view of its main character, the outrageously self-righteous Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld). Burwell used classic Protestant hymns as inspirations; in some cases bits from the classic hymns themselves – “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand” (by Franklin L. Eiland), “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (by Charles Converse), “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” (by Elisha A. Hoffman & Anthony J. Showalter), “Talk About Suffering” (Traditional), and “The Glory-Land Way” (by J.S. Torbett) – for his cues. These pieces in particular, from the opening theme, "The Wicked Flee," "A Methodist and a Son of a Bitch," and "I Will Carry You," all begin simply, lyrically, almost reverentially before giving way to grander pieces of music that reflect the land and history.
The soundtrack to Christina Aguilera's silver screen debut Burlesque shines the spotlight on Xtina, who is in full-bore diva mode – a return to the splashy swing of Back to Basics after the robotic R&B of Bionic. Of course, many of her collaborators from Bionic remain on Burlesque: Tricky Stewart is responsible for the glitzy dance, and Sia Furler co-writes the ballads, their contributions slotted between two Cher songs designed to push the narrative forward, two Etta James covers, a slice of heavy camp in the mincing "But I’m a Good Girl", and a Nicole Scherzinger co-written interpolation of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" that provides a bewildering conclusion to this soundtrack. Some of this stuff is quite good, particularly when Christina swings her hips to Etta's lead, bringing to mind the zest of "Ain’t No Other Man".
When veteran film composer Mychael Danna entered 2006, he probably thought his tradition-drenched, Renaissance-inspired score to this film about the opening chapter of "the greatest story ever told" would be heard by more people than the quirkier one he wrote for Little Miss Sunshine. But Sunshine was a Best Picture Oscar nominee and this one proved to be just a reasonably popular Jesus story. Recorded in Los Angeles, The Nativity Story score artfully blends native Middle Eastern instruments like Persian and Turkish ney flutes with more traditional pre-Baroque European ones like the viola de gamba, vielle, harp, and recorders. Danna's dual intent seemed to be to ground the story in its geographical roots while also underscoring the power the story had over the Western world in subsequent centuries.