Seven gems from Radio 3’s ‘Sound of Cinema’ season

It’s over. The ‘Sound of Cinema‘ season finshed last week. Most of the music has expired but there’s a ton of stuff that’s still available:

1. These really gripping Sound of Cinema downloads from Neil Brand (learn things, like just how badly Visconti carved up Mahler’s Adagietto for Death in Venice).

2. This glorious film of a concert from the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers (includes the spooky choral music from 2001).

3. This feature about Charlie Chaplin as composer from Matthew Sweet (did you know Chaplin was a music publisher before he got into the movies?).

4. This jazz improv response to a 1905 silent film called ‘A Trip to the Stars’ from Jazz on 3 (twitchy, kooky, really engrossing).

5. This set of four conversations with film directors and composers from Tom Service (Baz Luhrmann and Craig Armstrong about as different as you can get from Ken Loach and George Fenton).

6. These lovely photos of film music greats (Neil came into the office and searched the archive himself).

7. The man himself, John Williams, talking to Donald Macleod for his Composer of the Week (which you can also download here).

Doctors. Don’t talk to me about doctors

I’ve not been well. Two weeks laid low by a mystery virus. My doctor disagrees: I’m in perfect health, he says, refusing me medication. He’s pursuing some kind of Californian mind control strategy. I take him nasty symptoms and he denies they exist. The other day I told him I was feeling breathless. “Listen”, I said, wheezing. He countered with an oxygen saturation test – “100%” the little read-out blinked. “You’re in perfect health. You could join the fire brigade. In fact here’s their number. You’ll be up a ladder by tea time”. “No thanks” I said. “Coast Guard?”

The other day Russell was complaining about space film music and proposed Palestrina as an alternative to the usual orchestral stuff. I can see his point but I think I can hear something different, something muckier and a bit less heavenly out there in the void. So I made a Muxtape: my first go is a kind of fantasy space-noir movie soundtrack. Muxtape is really addictive fun and, incidentally, exactly the kind of thing the music biz should be embracing. Imagine millions of these things legally doing the rounds. Of course, what they’ll actually do is ignore it then complain about it and then probably shut it down (UPDATE April 2022 – you guessed it, that’s exactly what happened to Muxtape).