Mark McKenzie

Film Score News

MAX 420

Something Special Is Coming…

Something special is coming on the Sony Classical International label. One hundred, thirty five musicians gathered in London to record the soundtrack to the upcoming beautiful film called MAX AND ME.  Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, featuring violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, large symphony orchestra, the London Singers, the London boys choir Libera and soloist Clara Sanabras, this Mark McKenzie work, over an hour in length, is dedicated to choral master and early mentor Robert Salvatore Ruberto 1932-2016. The exact release date hasn’t been set but it will it is being planned for the early months of 2018.

“The inspiring animated film which will be released later tells the story of an older man Gunther who tells the inspiring story of Polish priest Maximilian Kolbe to an artistic teenager. As a deeply compassionate man of faith, Kolbe confronted the Nazis until he was banished to Auschwitz.  In the midst of daily torture and death, Kolbe’s words and actions were filled with strength, faith, encouragement,deep peace and love. His compassion lead him to offer his own life in place of a family man condemned to the starvation bunker. Kolbe lived out his dedication and personal faith saying “Only love is creative.” He  was canonized a Saint in 1982. Music Tracks and pictures are below.

Joshua Abby RoadL-R Concert violinist Joshua Bell with Composer Mark McKenzie holding Joshua's Stradivarius during playbacks on the Inspiring animated film MAX AND ME - Version 6I LOVE YOUIMG_2349IMG_2386IMG_2184 - Version 3IMG_2406_2I AMSunset Hug Clara Sanabras and Mark McKenzie at Abby Raod Studios - Version 2

KolbeRuberto

MAX AND ME

  1. I Am (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 1:13
  2. Two Crowns Vision 1:22
  3. Head in the Clouds Over You 2:16
  4. You Could be Anything 2:44
  5. In the Trenches 2:29
  6. If You Are So Intelligent Why Don’t You Believe? 5:22
  7. Ask and it Will Be Given to You 1:25
  8. When I’m Saying Me I Mean You   :51
  9. Dare To Dream Bigger  1:51
  10. A Mother’s Prayer (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 3:10
  11. Dapper Duds   1:50
  12. Sunset Hug 1:49
  13. I’m Sorry 3:02
  14. Nazi Brutality 3:17
  15. Prayer For Peace 3:40
  16. Auschwitz Cries  2:56
  17. Only Love is Creative 2:37
  18. I Love You (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 4:00
  19. Triumph Over Fear and Death 3:20
  20. He Was Always With Me 1:50
  21. I Believe in You 4:12
  22. Heaven’s Welcome 2:28

Special thank you to Pablo Barroso, Claudia Nemer, Joshua Bell, Music editor Marc Perlman, Animators Paty Garcia-Pena, Gregorio Nunez, Conductor Gordon Johnson, Recording Engineer Peter Cobbin, Mixing Engineer Armin Steiner, Choral Masters Terry Edwards and Ben Parry, the Libera boys, choral master Robert Prizeman, Soloist Clara Sanabras, David Lai, Sue, Megan and Mollie McKenzie, Contractors Isobel Griffiths and Susie Gillis.

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Mark McKenzie & Paul McCartney working together at the famed Abbey Road Studios.

Sir Paul McCartney at Abbey Road

Mark McKenzie: Today brings memories of working with this inspiring man at Abbey Road exactly 4 years ago. During our conversation, he sang some impromptu jazz riffs he had audiences sing on his concert tour. That same voice that sang “Hey Jude” and “Yesterday” close up was surreal and moving. In the early 1960s he said he studied avant-guarde composers and recorded similar orchestral effects in that same room for Sgt. Pepper’s “A Day in the Life.” He shared the excitement he and his daughter had discovering in the vaults of the British Library a cabinet of Beatles manuscripts right next to original manuscripts of Wordsworth and Keats. The topic of Michael Jackson came up and he said he got a call one night: “Hi Paul, this is Michael.” Not knowing who it was, Paul paused and said: “Michael who??” Paul didn’t have any hint of self importance other than there was a videographer filming him constantly maybe in part to protect him from lawsuits. I asked if he’d mind a picture. He said “sure” and my two hugely talented composer friends Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori mocked “How do you rate?” Joking, I said, “Me and Paul are buds” and Paul put his arm around me and said: “Yeah, we’re mates!” I asked Paul how it felt to have such a legacy. He said during the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC he kept asking himself, “Is this really me they’re talking about?” Some mornings he gets up and says  to himself, “You did pretty good getting into that band called the Beatles!” Thank you Sir Paul for the music.

 

 

 

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Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire Soundtrack Interview

INTERVIEW WITH MARK MCKENZIE BY JOHN MANSELL AND MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL:

Movie Music International, John Mansell: I think I am right when I say DRAGON HEART THE BATTLE FOR THE HEART LIGHT contains a score that is maybe 80 percent electronic, was this something that you were asked to do when scoring the movie?

Composer Mark McKenzie: First thank you for your interest in my music John. The old adage, necessity is the mother of invention is often the case in film making. There was creativity at every level of making this film and my hat is off to Raffaella De Laurentiis, Patti Jackson, Patrik Syversen all the film makers for their inventiveness. I hopefully did my part as well.

JM: Do you approach a project differently when working with electronics?

MM: Preparation is essential. I always spend a great deal of time studying potential electronic sounds looking for sonics that seem expressive or that intrigue. Then there is the boring part of reading manuals to learn how to manipulate the sounds into something closer to what I’m actually looking for. In this film there are multiple childhood flashbacks which unfold gradually. These flashbacks are filled with melancholy, hurt, frustration, grief, anger and yet great love. To underscore them subtly, I wanted something that sounded very simple, pure, yet warm. I manipulated a crystal glass sample and then combined it with a soft sensuous boys choir and a rich analogue synth. To my ears it lifts the heart and soulful memories and plays easily under dialogue. Director Patrik Syversen and Producer Rafaella De Laurentiis encouraged me to aim for simplicity so I did exactly that. In a moment of inspiration I was unconsciously drawn to an old French baroque musical form called Chaconne which includes variations over harmonies and a repeating bass line. When I played it for director Patrik Syversen and the producers we all immediately were on the same page. I use this Chaconne repeatedly in the soundtrack. Track #19 “Truth and Love Bring Healing” is one example. It’s a very simple, meditative track that I find myself drawn to.

JM: You have scored three DRAGONHEART movies, each score has included the Randy Edelman theme from the original score, was this something that you decided to include?

MM: Randy’s theme is one of the great iconic movie themes. It is moving, uplifting, powerful and is part of the joy of watching the Dragonheart films. The director and producer and I all conferred on each film where the theme should and shouldn’t play. We use it sparingly for moments when hope and chivalry come alive through the great dragon. The Dragonheart theme, to my thinking, is a textbook example of the commercial value a strong melodic theme can give to a film franchise. It is integral to the Dragonheart films and certainly part of the reason we even have these sequels. Incidentally I first met this man I love and admire, composer Randy Edelman, orchestrating his TV pilot called The Adventures of Brisco County. One of the cues Randy composed and I orchestrated for that TV pilot, later became the Olympics theme we all know and love.

JM: DRAGONHEART: THE BATTLE FOR THE HEART FIRE, has a score that is certainly filled with emotion and has a romantic but melancholy sound to it. Is it more difficult to create this atmosphere using electronics as opposed to utilizing the conventional instruments of the orchestra?

MM: Maybe just different I think. Musical color, harmony, form, themes, rhythm and rubato, still apply to electronics but you have to recreate an orchestra of your own making and not rely on the orchestra and performances that you have studied for a lifetime. The glorious beauty of the orchestra is sorely missed but I do my best with the current technology to approximate it when needed. With electronics you never think about intonation issues and you have complete control of everything. In some ways it is easier to just perform the music yourself as you want it rather than trying to explain to others how it should go. There is much to love about electronics.

JM: How much time did you have to write the score and record it?

MM: I had 6 weeks to compose, record and produce and I used every minute of the day as wisely as I could because there were no assistants or recording engineers or music editors. There were however, two people who never get credit who were essential: Mark Nagata and Ryan Ouchida at Vision Daw. When the electronics and computers fail or crash, they are the smart people working like Sherlock Holmes to figure out why and get me back up and running.

JM: Did the director have a hands-on approach when it came to placing the music?

MM: Director Patrik Syversen was a pleasure and I found brilliant. He had a great sense musically and learned to trust his instincts. He was very exacting philosophically about what he was looking for and where he wanted music and how long it should last. Happily, he was completely open to my creativity on how to approach and accomplish the goals. We worked very closely. I’d play him each cue and we’d discuss it. He had lived with the film for a year and so he was often aware of details, character motivations, inner thoughts and feelings that were helpful to me as a composer.

JM: How much music did you write for the movie and is most of the score included within the recording and do you have an input into what tracks go onto the recording?

MM: I wrote over 60 minutes of music and was given complete artistic control over the soundtrack thanks to Jake Voulgarides and Nikki Walsh at Universal’s Back Lot Music. There are a few pieces the director and I would like to have included but I just ultimately felt insecure about them and opted to leave them off. One example; I was going to omit the first track but I have a tribute to JS Bach in that track and left it in, in part, just for that reason. Patrik wanted chimes in the opening of the movie so I thought…OK…I’ll use them and have them play 4 times…just enough to subtly quote Bach’s 4 note theme to the great c# minor triple fugue in the Well Tempered Clavier.  That is one of my favorite pieces of music.  As you know, I orchestrated Jerry Goldsmith’s final 6 films and helped him compose on a couple films and he would say: “If I compose 1 good minute of music in a year, I think I’m doing great.” I feel the same way. A close friend of mine said last week: “You are really hard on yourself”…she was right. Probably most artists are.

JM: The cello performances are stunning, they are so poignant and heartrending. When you write pieces such as this do you have a soloist in mind?

MM: Thank you. Yes, but in this case it is electronic. These days I’m more excited than ever about electronic music in part because of the growing quality in sampling. Right before I started Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire, I ran into Danny Elfman, who I orchestrated 17 films for, at an Academy Screening of his electronic film score to “The Girl on the Train.” He was excited about electronics and after hearing his thoughts, like often is the case for me with Danny, I was inspired. When I finished, a couple months later, I ran into him again. We compared notes and both still are very excited about the possibilities in electronics. To combine them with a huge orchestral score in Los Angeles or at Abby Road is a vision I have. By the way, Sony Classical plans on releasing my latest epic orchestral score MAX AND ME recorded at Abbey Road Studios with choir orchestra and concert violinist Joshua Bell. It is a work of great love and I’m hoping it will be released this year.

 

 

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Captivating, Festive, Warm, Emotive, Exciting, Powerful, Commanding, Fearsome: Two distinguished reviewers resonate with the new Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire soundtrack.

We’d like to thank the distinguished reviewers who resonated with the electronic music to Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire. Buysoundtrax’s Randall Larson: “Captivating array of intriguing textures…provides both exhilaration and sensitivity…a warm, festive, and exciting score.”  Movie Music International: John Mansell: “Highly emotive, this is a powerful score, a commanding and fearsome sounding work which I am confident will not disappoint any fan of film music…Highly recommended.”  While Mark loves recording orchestra and choir at Abbey Road, he’s falling in love with the potential and color potential in Electronics as well. Read the interview with Mark and John Mansell below to learn more. A special thank you to our Universal family: director Patrik Syversen, Producers Raffaella De Laurentiis, Hester Hargett-Aupetit, Patti Jackson, Share Stallings, writer Matthew Feitshans, Editors Charles Norris, Maria Friesen, Music executives Nikki Walsh, Jake Voulgarides, Mike Knobloch, Rachel Levy, and Angela Leus.  Check out this exciting family film with Patrick Stewart voicing Drago on Netflix.

Especially recommended Tracks: 5,6,7,8,14,15,16,19,20,21.

1           Bewitched Births      2:12
2           Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire Main Title  :59
3           Shared Love, Shared Heart   1:31
4           Show Off!    1:26
5           Hold Dear to Your Mother and Father  1:40
6           I Knew It, I’m King!   2:04
7           Love and  Friendship   1:30
8           Home On Fire   1:21
9           Vikings Arrive    :51
10         Field Battle Challenge   1:36
11         Unsettling Night  1:29
12         Why Did You Leave Me?  1:21
13         I Have Been Blind    :58
14         The Old Code, Honor in Every Word   1:47
15         It Might Be a Blessing   1:05
16         There’s No Pain Like Between Those We Love Most   2:17
17         Wheels are Turning  2:16
18         Subversive Dance   1:13
19         Truth and Love Bring Healing   2:57
20         Hurry Get the Heartfire   1:41
21         Ascension to the Heavens  7:34

INTERVIEW WITH MARK MCKENZIE BY JOHN MANSELL AND MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL:

Movie Music International, John Mansell: I think I am right when I say DRAGON HEART THE BATTLE FOR THE HEART LIGHT contains a score that is maybe 80 percent electronic, was this something that you were asked to do when scoring the movie?

Composer Mark McKenzie: First thank you for your interest in my music John. The old adage, necessity is the mother of invention is often the case in film making. There was creativity at every level of making this film and my hat is off to Raffaella De Laurentiis, Patti Jackson all the film makers for their inventiveness. I hopefully did my part as well.

JM: Do you approach a project differently when working with electronics?

MM: Preparation is essential. I always spend a great deal of time studying potential electronic sounds looking for sonics that seem expressive or that intrigue. Then there is the boring part of reading manuals to learn how to manipulate the sounds into something closer to what I’m actually looking for. In this film there are multiple childhood flashbacks which unfold gradually. These flashbacks are filled with melancholy, hurt, frustration, grief, anger and yet great love. To underscore them subtly, I wanted something that sounded very simple, pure, yet warm. I manipulated a crystal glass sample and then combined it with a soft sensuous boys choir and a rich analogue synth. To my ears it lifts the heart and soulful memories and plays easily under dialogue. Director Patrik Syversen and Producer Rafaella De Laurentiis encouraged me to aim for simplicity so I did exactly that. In a moment of inspiration I was unconsciously drawn to an old French baroque musical form called Chaconne which includes variations over harmonies and a repeating bass line. When I played it for director Patrik Syversen and the producers we all immediately were on the same page. I use this Chaconne repeatedly in the soundtrack. Track #19 “Truth and Love Bring Healing” is one example. It’s a very simple, meditative track that I find myself drawn to.

JM: You have scored three DRAGONHEART movies, each score has included the Randy Edelman theme from the original score, was this something that you decided to include?

MM: Randy’s theme is one of the great iconic movie themes. It is moving, uplifting, powerful and is part of the joy of watching the Dragonheart films. The director and producer and I all conferred on each film where the theme should and shouldn’t play. We use it sparingly for moments when hope and chivalry come alive through the great dragon. The Dragonheart theme, to my thinking, is a textbook example of the commercial value a strong melodic theme can give to a film franchise. It is integral to the Dragonheart films and certainly part of the reason we even have these sequels. Incidentally I first met this man I love and admire, composer Randy Edelman, orchestrating his TV pilot called The Adventures of Brisco County. One of the cues Randy composed and I orchestrated for that TV pilot, later became the Olympics theme we all know and love.

JM: DRAGONHEART: THE BATTLE FOR THE HEART FIRE, has a score that is certainly filled with emotion and has a romantic but melancholy sound to it. Is it more difficult to create this atmosphere using electronics as opposed to utilizing the conventional instruments of the orchestra?

MM: Maybe just different I think. Musical color, harmony, form, themes, rhythm and rubato, still apply to electronics but you have to recreate an orchestra of your own making and not rely on the orchestra and performances that you have studied for a lifetime. The glorious beauty of the orchestra is sorely missed but I do my best with the current technology to approximate it when needed. With electronics you never think about intonation issues and you have complete control of everything. In some ways it is easier to just perform the music yourself as you want it rather than trying to explain to others how it should go. There is much to love about electronics.

JM: How much time did you have to write the score and record it?

MM: I had 6 weeks to compose, record and produce and I used every minute of the day as wisely as I could because there were no assistants or recording engineers or music editors. There were however, two people who never get credit who were essential: Mark Nagata and Ryan Ouchida at Vision Daw. When the electronics and computers fail or crash, they are the smart people working like Sherlock Holmes to figure out why and get me back up and running.

JM: Did the director have a hands-on approach when it came to placing the music?

MM: Director Patrik Syversen was a pleasure and I found brilliant. He had a great sense musically and learned to trust his instincts. He was very exacting philosophically about what he was looking for and where he wanted music and how long it should last. Happily, he was completely open to my creativity on how to approach and accomplish the goals. We worked very closely. I’d play him each cue and we’d discuss it. He had lived with the film for a year and so he was often aware of details, character motivations, inner thoughts and feelings that were helpful to me as a composer.

JM: How much music did you write for the movie and is most of the score included within the recording and do you have an input into what tracks go onto the recording?

MM: I wrote over 60 minutes of music and was given complete artistic control over the soundtrack thanks to Jake Voulgarides and Nikki Walsh at Universal’s Back Lot Music. There are a few pieces the director and I would like to have included but I just ultimately felt insecure about them and opted to leave them off. One example; I was going to omit the first track but I have a tribute to JS Bach in that track and left it in, in part, just for that reason. Patrik wanted chimes in the opening of the movie so I thought…OK…I’ll use them and have them play 4 times…just enough to subtly quote Bach’s 4 note theme to the great c# minor triple fugue in the Well Tempered Clavier.  That is one of my favorite pieces of music.  As you know, I orchestrated Jerry Goldsmith’s final 6 films and helped him compose on a couple films and he would say: “If I compose 1 good minute of music in a year, I think I’m doing great.” I feel the same way. A close friend of mine said last week: “You are really hard on yourself”…she was right. Probably most artists are.

JM: The cello performances are stunning, they are so poignant and heartrending. When you write pieces such as this do you have a soloist in mind?

MM: Thank you. Yes, but in this case it is electronic. These days I’m more excited than ever about electronic music in part because of the growing quality in sampling. Right before I started Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire, I ran into Danny Elfman, who I orchestrated 17 films for, at an Academy Screening of his electronic film score to “The Girl on the Train.” He was excited about electronics and after hearing his thoughts, like often is the case for me with Danny, I was inspired. When I finished, a couple months later, I ran into him again. We compared notes and both still are very excited about the possibilities in electronics. To combine them with a huge orchestral score in Los Angeles or at Abby Road is a vision I have. By the way, Sony Classical plans on releasing my latest epic orchestral score MAX AND ME recorded at Abbey Road Studios with choir orchestra and concert violinist Joshua Bell. It is a work of great love and I’m hoping it will be released this year.

 

 

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Libera Hope

McKenzie Benedictus Deus on Libera’s new album HOPE

We’re very excited to share that a new extended “Benedictus Deus” has been released by the London Boy’s choir LIBERA on their new album HOPE. It is available at all music outlets around the world. Libera has also performed on two of Mark’s movie soundtracks: “The Greatest Miracle” and “Max and Me.” The album HOPE has been #1 on Japan’s Classical and Jazz charts now for 2 weeks and performing strongly around the world considered by many as one of Libera’s finest albums ever. Thank you for telling your friends and local classical radio stations.

Benedictus Deus.  Blessed be God.
Benedictum Nomen Sanctum eius.   Blessed be His Holy Name.
Benedictus Jesus Christus,   Blessed be Jesus Christ,
Verus Deus et verus homo, nomen sanctum eius  true God and true man, His Name is Holy
Benedictus Deus.   Blessed be God.
Benedictum Nomen Jesu.  Blessed be the name of Jesus
Benedictus Sanctus Spiritus, Benedictus Deus.  Blessed be the Holy Spirit, Blessed be the Holy Spirit.
Benedictum nomen Sanctum  Blessed be His Holy Name.
Benedictus Jesus Christus, Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Benedictum Cor eius sacratissimum Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Gloria, Gloria in excelsis Deo   Glory to God God in the Highest
Benedictus Deus, Gloria in excelsis Deo
Amen.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 7.46.04 AM

 

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15873288_1419264218084380_7625328456476833751_n

The Lion and the Mouse Children’s Introduction to the Symphony Orchestra

Maestro Robert Baldwin, Claudia Restrepo and the Salt Lake Symphony will perform Mark McKenzie’s children’s introduction to the symphony orchestra called THE LION AND THE MOUSE this coming Saturday. Based on Aseop’s fable, the introduction to the orchestra for children was originally commissioned for the 50th Anniversary of University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire School of Music. “The Lion and the Mouse” can be heard narrated by actress Megan McKenzie at age 10 here on youtube or in the video section of this site. Please contact the composer for score and parts rental.

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silver-bells

“Heartwarming score” (Hollywood Reporter review) Sold Out for 10 years is now on Pandora, itunes, amazon, spotify, etc…


The original soundtrack to Silver Bells has been sold out now for 10 years.  Thank you to the listeners, especially from Japan, insisting these “heartwarming” tracks with holiday sparkle be re-released. This is the first score I played all the piano solos. It uses a medium sized symphony orchestra recorded by the famed Armin Steiner.  I’m very happy to announce that Silver Bells is now available now on Pandora, itunes, amazon, spotify, Cd Baby etc. This music is the most gentle, reflective and love filled Christmas instrumental music I think I’ve ever composed. The touching Hallmark Hall of  Fame film with actress Anne Heche was based on the brilliant novel by Luanne Rice and was directed by Dick Lowry. You can listen to the entire Silver Bells soundtrack free on CD BABY  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markmckenzie9  While I’m at it…Thank you in advance for any positive reviews or “likes” on Pandora, Amazon, itunes etc…  Much appreciated and Happy Holidays!

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Star Trek Enterprise collection

50th Anniversary Star Trek 100 City Concert Tour

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, music from Mark McKenzie’s Star Trek Enterprise: Horizon episode will be performed live by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in a 100 city tour across the USA this spring along with music of Jerry Goldsmith and numerous other Star Trek composers. The Tour is entitled: Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” and will be conducted by Justin Freer.  Mark McKenzie orchestrated Star Trek 6: “The Undiscovered Country,” Star Trek 7 “Generations,” and Star Trek 9 “Nemisis” but only composed one episode of Star Trek Enterprise.  He is honored to have been part of the Star Trek Franchise and to have his music from that one episode chosen for performance.  The Horizon Episode in addition to the normal space battles had some very intimate moments and so the music reflects both the bombastic and the deeply tender humanity in the episode. A suite of Mark’s music from Star Trek Enterprise will play on the Star Trek News Page or the Star Trek Album page.  The composer of the iconic Star Trek Theme Alexander Courage retired as Jerry Goldsmith’s orchestrator and Mark McKenzie replaced him.  The music of Mark’s to be performed entitled UP YOUR ALLY is available on LA LA LAND Records CD “Star Trek Enterprise Collection” along with music from numerous other episodes and fine composers.

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