After hearing the samples of this score on the Movie score Media web page, I just knew that it was a work to be reckoned with, and also a score that would cause more than just a little bit of a ripple amongst soundtrack collectors world wide. This is like a breath of intoxicating fresh air in 21st Century film scoring, and the composer James Peterson should be congratulated on re kindling the flame of hope within the film music arena, at a time when most new works for film fail to inspire or even raise an eyebrow let alone a comment. The brief but hard hitting opening cue, OUT OF THE DARKNESS is in itself enough to merit buying this compact disc, it has in its first 40 seconds or so many references or gentle nods of admiration to the work of composers now sadly not with us, these include, Rozsa, Waxman, Herrmann, Newman etc, it evokes for me the atmosphere the sound the dramatic and hard hitting thematic quality of the golden age of film music and also has a sound to it that is almost avante garde in an Alex North kind of way. Petersons almost harsh brass embellishments becoming fanfares of sorts that introduce a driving and authoritative opening piece that any of the greats would have been proud of. Personally I am of the opinion that the composer has not copied any particular style or sound here, or at least he has not set out to. It was something that just happened as the scoring process progressed and the end result is a well crafted and potent score, that does lean slightly towards the composing style of Miklos Rozsa, which I am sure you will agree is no bad thing. RED CANVAS is a fast paced score at times which is profound on the use of brass and strings, these at times combine and also at other moments play against each other to create a score of epic proportions. This is a soundtrack that I am sure will go down in film music history as being groundbreaking and also a landmark work for its creator James Peterson. Given the films subject matter Peterson has scored the images on screen intelligently and thoughtfully, and by doing this has also fashioned a work that is an invigorating, stimulating and pleasing listen away from the film it was intended for. There are a number of stand out cues within the score, in fact probably too many to evaluate individually, I will say however track 9, GREASE MONKEY BRAWL is an exceedingly dramatic listen and the BALLET FOR BRAWLERS(track 18) is magnificent. This is a full on no holds excluded bare knuckle slog it out musical clash. The strings taking on the brass and vice versa with some fancy footwork from the woods. This is a gratifying and enriching listen, that has for me in any case restored my faith in the future of film music, because in the hands of the likes of James Peterson, film music does in fact have a future.
Also on the compact disc are 8 bonus tracks which come in the form of THE MOVING IMAGES SUITE these range from a short introductory fanfare, to cues entitled THE SORCERER, AMERICANA A QUIRKY MACHINE and TRANSYLVANIA 1955, these are pieces of music written by the composer and shaped and arranged into a suite, which are a real added bonus and delight for the listener, these also give us an idea of how versatile the composer can be, I look forward to hearing much more from James Peterson. Recommended