15 April 2011

Friday Double: (1) Planet Earth

When I remarked on the passing of composer John Barry several weeks ago, I noted that I haven't brought up my love film or video soundtracks here often enough.  Hopefully, this new Friday Double feature will fix that.  The idea is simply to cite two cuts that I like every Friday, both from the same movie, TV series or composer.  The BBC/Discovery documentary Planet Earth stars in our premiere edition.

George Fenton has earned five Academy Award nominations, including one for the score to 1983 Best Picture Gandhi, but most of his work has been for British television.  Planet Earth won him his second Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition (after the equally stunning Blue Planet). While he could give the next quarter-billion-dollar Hollywood epic a proper score, Fenton is probably a lot happier doing what he does now.  Good on him.

I'll probably post more examples of Fenton's incredible range in the future, but here's "Surfing Dolphins."  In the film segment, the dolphins aren't just surfing near a small beach; they're teaching their kids how to track down dinner.  The NFL fan in me has also noted that, poorly as they've played recently, this same music could easily accompany the numerous miscues from the Miami Dolphins' last few seasons.

I wouldn't have brought gridiron up had I not heard the Planet Earth theme backgrounding an NFL Network report last fall.  That struck me oddly, because the NFL strongly prefers to commission its own incidental music, via NFL Films.  Yet, here they were, using the work of George Fenton (an outsider!) to help document the decline and fall of wide receiver Randy Moss.

Well, the NFL was using outside music, and it was the theme to Planet Earth... but George Fenton didn't write it.  The theme is a 51-second cut from "The Time Has Come," whose actual authors are Tobias Marberger and Gabriel Shadid.

There it is: my first Friday Double.   Hope you like it.


Matty Boy said...

Nice choices.

Abu Scooter said...

Thanks. I'm still looking for the George Fenton bit I don't like.