Howlin wolf records maybe a relatively new label, but in a very short period of time have filled their catalogue with some pretty impressive film scores. Many of these have been of the Horror or Fantasy variety but also there have been other types of movie soundtracks represented within the catalogue, one of the many things I like about Howlin Wolf is they bring to us the collectors, soundtracks that maybe a few years back would not have seen the light of day never even being considered for a release, because of the films budget or maybe because the film went straight to DVD or received a limited theatrical release. The label have also been instrumental in introducing to film music enthusiasts many new composers who have real talent, again many of these musicians would not have been an even break by other labels, so we have to firstly say thanks to Howlin Wolf for being courageous enough to release some of these scores. IN THE NAME OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, is actually a children’s adventure/fantasy. Filmed in Hungary and directed by Zsolt Bernath, the movie in effect pays Homage too many of the Hungarian children’s movies that have been produced over the years, many of which were unfairly sidestepped by distributors and critics outside of Hungary simply because they were films specifically made for children. Thinking about it this is rather a blinkered attitude by the said distributors and critics, because after all isn't cinema just another form of story telling and at times the story lines of movies are designed to take us away from the stresses and tribulations of the rat race and the realities of adult life and maybe also attempt to appeal to the inner child which I am sure will agree does still exist in all of us. In essence I suppose what I am saying is, deep down we are all big kids, that love a good yarn and delight in the spooky, the fantastic and the excitement that is conveyed by filmmakers.
The music for IN THE NAME OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, is the work of Hungarian born composer Robert Gulya
, Robert studied piano and composition at the Franz Liszt
music Academy and studied the technicalities and basics of film scoring at USC, where he was tutored and guided by Leonard Rosenman
, David Raksin
, Christopher Young
and Elmer Bernstein
, the influences from these iconic composers can be at times heard within Gulya’s compositions and IN THE NAME OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, in my humble opinion contains a score that is not only entertaining but effectively makes a gentle nod in the direction of the composers Gulya studied under. When listening to the score it certainly comes over as a full and rich symphonic work, but in the notes for the CD the composer mentions the fact that he utilized samples from a library, however the violin solos are the flawless work of Gergely Kuklis who is himself the lead or concert master from THE HUNGARIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, all I can say if this is a score made up completely of samples then they are pretty good samples. The CD opens with a brief but effective piece entitled GOLDI, strings and brass work together to create a powerful but almost mischievous sounding opening. Track two is the brilliant MAIN TITLE music, solo violin taking centre stage and being supported by children’s choir, pizzicato strings and again mischievous sounding woodwind, cheeky almost jaunty sounding harpsichord flourishes and haunting piano solo. Track number three, 120 DOORSTEPS, carries on where the main title ends and again is a mischievous sounding cue, it has a kind of comic atmosphere to it, with woodwind being playfully performed as musical punctuation to the strings at the off set, but the sound alters quite swiftly as the cue draws to its conclusion the mood being purveyed a lot less carefree than at the start of the composition. Track four, DISAPPEARED, is a tense piece which begins with slightly anxious sounding strings, these are bolstered by various percussive elements and further layers of strings, with subtle use of piano, which acts as a bridge between the percussion and the strings, the composer creating a tense but at the same time pleasant sounding composition. The remainder of Gulya’s score is invigorating, poignant, emotive and exciting, it is also an inventive sounding work, that is filled to overflowing with some wonderful thematic material, this is in my opinion a must have soundtrack, I know that if you love movie music you will not be disappointed with this score and it will be a compact disc that you will return to on numerous occasions. The disc is packaged well by HOWLI’N WOLF RECORDS with informative notes from the composer, the director and a brief synopsis of the movie with a short background of the composer as well. The booklet contains a number of stills from the movie and has an eye catching front cover. Highly Recommended.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light