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Synchrotones’ Favourites of 2021 (Part 1)

January 8, 2022

As we leave 2021 behind and the inevitable ‘best of’ lists are being compiled, let’s first have a super quick glance back at the last twelve months.

In Part 1 I’ll have a quick look back; and in Part 2 I will reveal my top favourite scores, with write ups and pictures!

The last year saw several interesting re-releases, expanded or first-time releases of older scores. As a fan of James Horner, I was of course delighted to see Honey I Shrunk The Kids, The Rocketeer, The Name of the Rose, and especially an expanded Glory and a re-mastered Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Jerry Goldsmith-fans got Lionheart, Love Field, The ‘Burbs, the unused score for The Public Eye and a couple of Goldsmith at 20 compilations. And just in the last few weeks an expanded Legend.

From John Williams we saw A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Always and The Eiger Sanction. Whilst there was a new Steven Spielberg-movie, Williams didn’t score it, because it already had plenty of music by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.

It was a great year for female film composers, with Nainita Desai tackling various projects; and Amie Doherty (Spirit Untamed), Laura Karpman (What If..), Anne-Kathrin Dern (The Clause Family 2), Stephanie Economou (Jupiter’s Legacy), Nami Melumad (Star Trek Prodigy) and others delivering outstanding scores for high-profile projects.

There were long awaited releases of Ghostbusters II (Randy Edelman), an expanded X-Men (Michael Kamen), Hocus Pocus (John Debney), The Matrix Complete (Don Davis); and expanded versions of Hard Rain (Christopher Young), Dante’s Peak (John Frizzell & James Newton-Howard) and The Crow (Graeme Revell). A third collection of Mark Snow material came out, as well as a second collection of Lee Holdridge scores.

There were some great one-word titles, such as Paycheck (John Powell), Babe (Nigel Westlake), Her (Owen Pallett of Arcade Fire), Bumblebee (Dario Marianelli) and Stripes (Elmer Bernstein).

There were also Hans Zimmer’s Sketches for Wonder Woman 84, Disney’s Legacy edition of The Hunchback of the Notre Dame (Alan Menken), All American (Blake Neely); and even Deep Star Six (Henry Manfredini) saw the light of day once more.

Marco Beltrami saw his name on a few releases (if he looked at them, of course) such as the deluxe edition of Knowing, along with Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Fear Street, Chaos Walking, The Way I See It and A Quiet Place II. Most of those titles were co-composed with Marcus Trumpp, Brandon Roberts and Buck Sanders in some configuration or another; and he also continued his collaboration with Ceiri Torjussen.

Scott Glasgow enjoyed (or so I hope) a prolific year with Attack of the Unknown, Cosmic Sin and Manipulated all hot on the heels of last year’s Breach.

Nicholas Britell delivered a strange score for Cruella, which I didn’t much care for, but he made for it with Don’t Look Up. Daniel Hart delivered two critically acclaimed scores, The Last Letter from Your Lover and The Green Knight. Lorne Balfe kept himself busy. Aside from seemingly building a new studio, he found time to work on The Forgiven, Silent Night, Black Widow, The Tomorrow War, the animated Rumble and The Wheel of Time; and there may have been more!

Over at Remote Control headquarters Hans Zimmer delivered two of the highest anticipated scores of the year: Dune and No Time To Die. There were also Army of Thieves, The Boss Baby: Family Business (both with Steve Mazzaro) and The Unforgivable (with David Flemming). Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg released two huge scores, one being Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the other Godzilla vs Kong. There was also Army of the Dead.

British composer Steven Price didn’t exactly sit still either as he penned scores for Sweet Girl, Last Night in Soho and the compelling documentary The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet.

Whilst on the subject of documentaries, Ilan Eshkeri took care of A Perfect Planet, whilst Jon Opstad handled Surviving 9/11 and Paul Saunderson contributed Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11; those last two remembering the attacks that took place 20 years ago on, most notably, the World Trade Centre in New York.

There were a handful of surprises too. Philip Klein’s Wish Dragon, Simon Franglen’s The Curse of Turandot, Gordy Haab’s My Country My Parents, Amie Doherty’s Spirit Untamed and Jermaine Stegall’s Coming 2 America were all hugely entertaining, if not downright magnificent.

Ghostbusters got revived, this time with a playful, homage-filled score by Rob Simonsen; The King’s Man returned with Matthew Margeson and Dominic Lewis; whilst The Matrix got resurrected with new music from Tom Tykwer and Johnny Klimek. Lorne Balfe remixed Silent Night; John Carpenter revisited Halloween (yup, again). And when you say Candyman five times in a row, you’ll wish you stuck with the 1992 original.

But a few highlights weren’t soundtrack releases… they were books. Here in England, Chris Siddall published the full orchestral scores for Aliens (James Horner), The Iron Giant (Michael Kamen) and Independence Day (David Arnold)… with Conan the Barbarian (Basil Poledouris) in the works to be released next year. Elsewhere, Neumation Music published The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bernard Herrmann) and Krull (James Horner); whilst Omni Music Published treated us to even more James Horner goodness in the form of Glory and Sneakers, as wells as Star Trek The Motion Picture (Jerry Goldsmith) and How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell), with its sequel coming in 2022.

And there is so much more! Stay tuned for Synchrotones’ Massive Write-Up of the Year 2021. It’s coming soon-ish.

Article by Pete Simons (c) 2022 Synchrotones

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