Details of published CD, DVD, Video and LP recordings of the works of Howard Blake.
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A full list of all of Howard's works which have been recorded (though not necessarily published or made available for sale) can be found here.
S.O.S. Titanic (CD)
1st March 2013
23rd September 1979
Archive recording of the film score, National Philharmonic Orchestra, music composed and conducted by Howard Blake
[Film & TV Scores
by Charlie Brigden
in Lost in the Multiplex
The Titanic. Probably only one other ship has inspired more music (the starship Enterprise, obviously), with the tragic tale of her voyage now a timeless legend. But while James Cameron's Titanic is the most famous, and A Night To Remember considered the best, there was another not half as well-remembered, one which used music to creatively tell the story of the doomed vessel and its passengers. Prepare to climb aboard S.O.S. Titanic. S.O.S. Titanic was a 1979 television movie with an impressive cast, including David Warner, Ian Holm, and Helen Mirren, and equally impressive production values. It's unfortunately been cast into shadow by other adaptations, a choice example being that this premiere release of Howard Blake's score is the first I've ever heard of the film. But if the album is reflective of the film, it's certainly worth tracking down. Now what we have on the album is an interesting mix of score and diegetic source music. Research tells me the film is known for its intriguing treatment of the disaster and the notion of class, with the story being told amidst the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passenges. This is where the source music comes in, as the narrative movements between the trio are reflected by music, apparently "historically-correct". This gives ample opportunity for a diverse range of music, from the waltz from opera Eugene Onegin, a rendition of 'Rule Britannia', and traditional Irish music. You can see how the film would have benefitted from this method of storytelling, with the music being a shorthand for the characters and settings without needing to establish further. It also presents some fine arrangements of traditional material. The score itself is a fine work. It sets out its stall from the main title, a foreboding mix of thick brass and a solemn horn line which could easily be from one of the John Williams' classics such as The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno. The brass is quite prominent throughout the score, possibly representing the great ship itself. It certainly adds to the atmosphere, with a great deal of tension coming from that section. Of course this eventually gives way to a more emotional colour, such as the brief tragic motif in 'Abandon Ship', or the funereal sound of 'Desolation' (which reprises the line from the main title). Some of the music gets genuinely harrowing, such as the desperation of 'Survivors' or the power of 'The Hit', and while it's absolutely affecting, it never feels forced or cheap. S.O.S. Titanic is a fascinating album, presenting a unique musical interpretation of a tragic disaster. The way it moves through different genres is very creative, and the score is impressively impactful and reverential. Highly recommended. Copyright © 2013 Lost in The Multiplex. All Rights Reserved.