Now, there is an official compilation album released - The Hammer Film Music Collection - Volume One. With 25 themes from the Hammer library, this CD is a great way of remembering the Hammer films beyond their late-night television broadcasts. James Bernard, whose large orchestral bombastic style becomes instantly recognizable as you listen through the CD, composed a majority of the themes. Other composers such as Harry Robinson, Lauri Johnson, Tristram Cary, and Mario Nascimbene (among others) wrote some of the other themes.
All of the tracks contain some unique qualities to them. Of particular note is the great cheesy title song from Moon Zero Two, the overly romantic theme from Lust For A Vampire, and the primitive percussion influenced Creatures the World Forgot. While listening to these scores, I realized how much romanticism and tragedy was featured in these films. Every vampire film on this album has a main theme which is both sad and romantic - after all, the bulk of vampire stories involve a tragic love that can never come to be.
The quality of the CD is pretty good, considering most of these scores are over 30 years old. Some recordings are in mono, and contain very little distorting which could be attributed to older recordings (given the technological limitations of the time). Other recordings, such as Creatures the World Forgot, are in stereo, and sound really good. I have always been a sucker for choral work (and will readily admit to it), so my favorite track on the album has to be When Dinosaurs Rules The Earth, by Mario Nascimbene. The first (and only) time Nascimbene came to my attention was with One Million Years B.C. - and I was glad I could hear some of his other work.
The CD is a British import, and in the UK and Europe is being distributed by ABM in London. The official US distributor is through Scarlett Street. The price on the CD runs $27.95 (plus $2 shipping), so it might require some thought before rushing out and buying this one. But considering that many of these scores have never been released, this album is certainly destined to be a collector's item of sorts. If you aren't sure about it, or have never watched the Hammer films, I would suggest holding off for now - but do be sure to watch those films! You might reconsider your decision after that, at which point the CD will be waiting for you!
Scarlett Street can be reached by mail at:
Scarlet Street, Inc.
P O Box 604
Glen Rock NJ 07452
Or on the web at: http://www.scarlettstreet.com/
A second volume of Hammer Music is expected to be released later this year.
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