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                        Celebrating the Art of Cinema, ... and Cinema as Art


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December 2011 / January 2012

* (April - June 2012) PASSENGER 57 (1992), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992), THE FIRM (1993)
* (Dec. 2011 / Jan. 2012) TANGO & CASH (1989), THE GOLDEN CHILD (1986), BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA ('86)
* (Sept. / Oct. 2011)  DEATH WISH (1974), THELMA & LOUISE (1991), POLLOCK (2001)


Selected suites of film music for your listening pleasure. 

Enjoy while working or traveling. 

New suites added regularly. 



by CEJ

      While no one will deny the innovations of contemporary orchestra / synth virtuosos like Hans Zimmer and Harry-Gregson Williams, the film scoring industry (in fact the music industry in general) cannot deny that the groundwork for their brand of modern artistry was laid during the decade of the 1980s by not only the technical breakthroughs, but popular success of keyboard maestro  HAROLD FALTERMEYER.  Best known to the world for his signature score BEVERLY HILLS COP and it's chart topping "Axel F Theme", many aren't aware Faltermeyer's eclectic resume also ranges from a plethora of producing / arranging credits for pop artists as varied as Donna Summer, Pet Shop Boys, Janis Ian and Billy Idol, to an equally vast list as classical music recording engineer.

     Born in Munich, Germany in 1952 (the original spelling of his family name as "Faltermeier") young Harold began playing piano at age 6, then was discovered at age 11 to have had perfect pitch.  After studying at the Munich Music Academy his interest in both the classical and contemporary rock idioms lead to back to back gigs: first engineering recording sessions for the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon classical label, then going off to LA with composer Georgio Moroder to play keys on and arrange the score to Moroder's Oscar winning MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (1978).    The "double punch combo" of the electronically composed and performed EXPRESS both winning the Academy Award and becoming a popular club hit (it's "Chase" theme played in discos and on radio stations around the world) helped - along with Vangelis' equally popular CHARIOTS OF FIRE, to elevate electronic composition, recording and editing to the positiion of the musical art form of the 1980s.

          "Chase" (G. Moroder / arr. - G. Moroder & H. Faltermeyer - 8:30) 

      Faltermeyer would continue arranging for Moroder on FOXES-1979 and AMERICAN GIGOLO-1980, then score a few films and TV episodes in Germany, before going solo on his first American feature in 1984 - THIEF OF HEARTS, for emerging power producers Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson.   He'd remain part of the Simpson / Bruckheimer team on BEVERLY HILLS COP-1984, TOP GUN-1986 and BEVERLY HILLS COP II-1987, while in between scoring non Simpson / Bruckheimer actioners such as FLETCH-1985 starring Chevy Chase, and FATAL BEAUTY-1987 with Whoopi Goldberg (remember that cool tagline - "An Earthquake is about to hit LA.  It's called Detective Rita Rizzoli!").  1987 would also afford Faltermeyer the opportunity to add a song ("The Race Is On") to Andrew Lloyd Webber's constantly evolving stage extravaganza STARLIGHT EXPRESS, as well as the chance to compose what would emerge as one of his personal favorite scores - to director Paul Michael Glaser's sci fi / action adaptation of Stephen King's novella THE RUNNING MAN starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

     "With RUNNING MAN I was more or less on my own with my friend and music editor Bob Badami",  Faltermeyer says, "We thought a rather dark electronic synth work would be appropriate, and obviously it was".  THE RUNNING MAN allowed Faltermeyer to compose dramatically complex themes and motifs (many of them classically structured), then realize them entirely electronically with a rock / funk rhythm section at the center of it all.  It would emerge as his magnum opus and arguably his most critically acclaimed (as well as just plain damned enjoyable to listen to) filmic work.



     In 1989 Faltermeyer would work on the sequel FLETCH LIVES as well as the action / comedy TANGO & CASH starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.  The fast moving yarn about two mismatched LA cops set up by a drug lord (Jack Palance), and their subsequent attempts to a escape prison (where they're responsible for having incarcerated a large part of it's population) then clear their names, is very much a progenitor of the contemporary Zimmer-esque action score of today.  Using the at-the-time innovative Synclavier with it's Direct to Disk recording system, Faltermeyer was able to not only replicate numerous orchestra instruments (something he'd wanted to repeat since THE RUNNING MAN) but do so with a degree of digital crispness,  tonal depth, and editing agility (synching music precisely to the rapid-fire images on screen) previously incapable of being realized.  Listen to TANGO & CASH and you'll hear the groundwork style of what would later be advanced upon with scores such as Hans Zimmer's THE ROCK-1996 as well as Harry-Gregson Wiliams' ENEMY OF THE STATE-1998, MAN ON FIRE-2004 and THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123-2009.

     Wanting to raise his children outside of Hollywood, Faltermeyer returned to Germany after TANGO & CASH.  He'd  there also work on a number of smaller films and TV series, as well as write the stage musical "WAKE UP" in Vienna, where it would play nearly two years in that city's legendary Raimund Theater.   He confessed another reason he'd returned to Germany after T & C was because he'd become displeased by the spate of sub-par BEVERLY HILLS COP, TOP GUN-ish knock off scores badly utilizing the innovations he and others like Moroder and Vangelis had worked so hard to create.  

     "After BEVERLY HILLS COP, all of a sudden everybody tried to compose bouncy, minimalistic scores.  But then when things got out of hand and really bad copies of the BHC score came on the screen, this way of scoring more or less died and gave way to the more traditional orchestral scores".

     When his children grew to adulthood (as did the state of electronic scoring) Faltermeyer decided it was time to return to Hollywood to forge new ground as he'd done over twenty years prior.   Recent years have seen the two disc CD release of PORTRAIT OF HAROLD FALTERMEYER: HIS GREATEST HITS (2003) - already a high priced collectible on Amazon and eBay; along with his score to the 2010 Kevin Smith buddy-cop spoof COP OUT starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan ... the score generating more positive press than the film itself.  In 2006 specialty label LaLa Land Records' also produced and released a 3000 unit CD limited edition run of his energetic TANGO & CASH.   

                                                                                                                                                        CEJ - December 2011

TANGO & CASH (1989) - Harold Faltermeyer:

                      Chase / Cocaine - Main Title (2:48) 

                            Stake Out / Set Up / Switching Tapes (4:47) 

                                                                                         Prison Break Suite (9:43) 

Site Search Index:

- 1986 (Michel Colombier)

1 - The Chosen One (3:55)

2 - Blood In Oatmeal (1:47)

3 - Golden Love (3:47)

4 - Child In Truck / Chandler Follows Bird (2:09)


- 1986
(John Carpenter / Alan Howarth)

1 - Pork Chop Express - Main Title (3:59)

2 - Escape From Wing Kong (10:10)
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