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Sound of Cinema


Matthew Sweet's weekly look at music for the screen


United Kingdom




Matthew Sweet's weekly look at music for the screen





Ridley Scott's new biopic of Napoeleon is on release now. Matthew Sweet looks at cinema's obsession with the French Emperor in films that have generated extraordinary music.


Sound of Cinema: Napoleon

Ridley Scott's new biopic is the inspiration for a musical look at Napoleon in films.


Laura Karpman

Laura Karpman is best known for her work composing the soundtracks for The Marvels, and the Disney+ series Ms Marvel and What If… She joins Matthew Sweet from her studio in LA overlooking the Pacific and talks about studying under Milton Babbitt and Nadia Boulanger, scoring for documentaries, attending the Last Night of the Proms and the influence of Benjamin Britten on her score for The Marvels.



This weekend sees the relaunch of Hammer Studios and the release of a new telling of the Dr Jekyllstory, starring Eddie Izzard. Matthew looks back on Hammer’s contribution to cinema and to some of the often inventive and even experimental composers who have created music for the studios since its inception in 1934. Hammer Horror - the vibrantly colourful and distinctive engagements with terror that starred the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Films that brought us recurring tales of The Mummy, Dracula and Frankenstein; and music from the likes of James Bernard. But there was so much more to Hammer. The programme includes cues from Doreen Carwithen for Robin Hood, Tristan Carey’s early electronic experiments for Quatermass, Franz Reizenstein’s parody score for The Mummy, Harry Robinson’s musical evocation of Carmilla, and Mario Nascimbene’s pioneering work for One Million Years BC. Plus, of course, classic Hammer moments from James Bernard. And Matthew also talks to composer Blair Mowatt about his score for the new Dr Jekyll film.


First Dates

What was your experience of a first date at the cinema? Presumably you arrived together - but did you leave separately? Matthew Sweet listens to listeners' experiences of their movie first-dates and - rather appropriately - plays great, thrilling and tragic music from the films.


George Fenton

Matthew Sweet's guest this week is the composer George Fenton. His breakthrough came with Richard Attenborough's biopic Gandhi, since then he's scored over 100 films including Cry Freedom, Shadowlands, The Madness of King George, Groundhog Day and The Wind that Shakes The Barley. He speaks to Matthew about his rich and varied career as well as his assocations with directors such as Richard Attenborough, Stephen Frears, Nora Ephron - and Ken Loach, whose latest film, The Old Oak, is released his week.


Family Films

Of all the genre titles the 'family film' is perhaps the trickiest to define. Its intention, clearly, is to entertain and appeal to the whole family - togetherness. But what are the specific ingredients that make it so? Nevertheless, cinema goers seem to have a good sense of what an advertised family film might have to offer. Matthew Sweet looks back at this category of film, which seemed to spring into existence in America around the 1930s, and he foregrounds the music of some of the best and most defining examples. The programme includes music from Home Alone, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Gulliver's Travels, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ET - The Extra Terrestrial, Kiki's Delivery Service, Paddington 2 and the Classical Score of the Week - the Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell score for Shrek.



From the Life of Pi to The Jungle Book; His Dark Materials to Wolverine, Matthew Sweet features film music shaped by the fantastical idea of humans as animals. We'll hear of spirit animals, cursed princes, what happens when your parents are turned into pigs (Spirited Away) or your mum becomes a bear (Brave). And we adopt the mantle of The Batman to root out the animal powers of superheroes. The programme also features music from the new release 'Blue Beetle' composed by Bobby Krlic.


Think Pink

Following the release of Greta Gerwig's Barbie, Matthew Sweet considers cinema's fascination with the colour pink. Many films adopt a colour code to establish the mood and tone of the movie. The colour pink in particular has associations with love, innocence, femininity, charm and fun. In this edition of Sound of Cinema, Matthew focuses on music for films which exploit these ideas of pinkness - for films such as Grease, Batman Returns, Steel Magnolias, Legally Blonde, The Devil Wears Prada, Paddington... and Harry Potter.


Destroyer of Worlds

With the appearance of the eagerly anticipated new Christopher Nolan biopic about Oppenheimer, Matthew Sweet turns his attention to film scores bent on destruction, including Ludwig Goransson's score for the new film. The programme includes music from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, When Worlds Collide, Melancholia, Wandering Earth, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Rogue One - A Star Wars Story, Star Wars - A New Hope. The Classic Score of the Week is Star Trek II - The Wrath Of Khan.


Stunt Films

With the release of the new Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film - Dead Reckoning Part 1 - Matthew Sweet focuses on stunt scenes in movies. Carefully planned and choreographed stunts have been a part of cinematic entertainment since the start. Matthew offers a selection of music to match the moment. Matthew is joined by Hollywood stunt co-ordinator Simon Crane (World War Z, Men in Black, Quantum of Solace, The World Is Not Enough, Mr & Mrs Smith, Troy, Lara Croft, Saving Private Ryan, Titanic) who talks about the art of stunt acting, some of his favourite stunts and about the role of music in stunt scenes. The programme features music from The Dark Knight Rises, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Ben Hur, Golden Eye, Quantum Of Solace, Lara Croft - Tomb Raider, and Mission: Impossible.


The Elements

The film Elemental is released this week with a score by Thomas Newman. Matthew looks at how the elements, earth, air, fire and water have been portrayed in movie soundtracks.


The world of director Wes Anderson

With the appearance this week of Wes Anderson's latest film, Asteroid City, Matthew Sweet looks back at one of Hollywood's most distinctive auteur director's films through the music written to serve them. Titles such as the award-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel, The French Dispatch, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr Fox.


Films that made an impression

For the 400th episode of Sound of Cinema, Matthew Sweet hears from listeners about the films that changed their lives, including West Side Story, On the Waterfront, Maurice and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


Chevalier and cinema's ear on the past

Jordan Peele films 'Get Out,' 'Us,' and 'Nope' composer Michael Abels discusses his latest project ‘Chevalier’, the story of the real life Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the illegitimate son of an enslaved African and a French plantation owner, who rises to heights in French society as a composer and master swordsman. Meanwhile Matthew explores music from Master and Commander, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jane Austen's Emma and asks, how do film composers create a soundtrack to the past?


David Lynch

In a rare interview, the iconic film director David Lynch talks to Matthew Sweet about one of the most celebrated collaborations in cinema history: between Lynch and the film composer Angelo Badalamenti who died at the end of last year.


Hallyu - The South Korean Wave

There has been an explosion in the global popularity of contemporary South Korean culture, often referred to by the Chinese word Hallyu - meaning Korean Wave. - which is also being reflected in a current exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Matthew Sweet foregrounds music from highly praised films such as Parasite, Snowpiercer, The Handmaiden and Oldboy and also takes a look at the huge interest in Korean TV music for the streaming services, including cues from Jung Jae-il for Squid Game.


The Crowded Planet

Music for film reflecting cinema's engagement with the idea of an over populated planet prompted by the release this week of Chie Hayakawa's Japanese feature, 'Plan 75', with a score by Jeremie Archache and Christophe Musset. The programme also includes music from 'Inferno' by Hans Zimmer, 'Passengers' by Thomas Newman, 'Idiocracy' by Theodore Shapiro, Miklos Rozsa's 'The World, The Flesh and The Devil', Fred Myrow's 'Soylent Green' as well as cues from 'Cloud Atlas', 'Elysium', 'What Happened To Monday' and Craig Armstromg's 'In Time'. Also in the line up is Alan Silvestri's 'Avengers - Infinity War'. The Classic Score of the Week is Jerry Goldsmith's masterly music for 'Logan's Run' from 1976.



With the screen adaptation of Rachel Joyce's novel 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' out this week, scored by folk musician Sam Lee, Matthew Sweet looks at cinema's engagement with the folk tradition.


The Earth

Matthew Sweet marks Earth Day with a look at screen music composed to celebrate the natural world. He is joined by composer Sarah Class, who has written many scores foregrounding environmental issues and for natural history documentaries, and is one of the chosen composers commissioned to write a new piece for the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla. Sarah talks about her approach to writing for wildlife films. As well as music by Sarah the programme features scores from Hans Zimmer, George Fenton, Frank Churchill, Alex Wurman, Harry Gregson-Williams and Éric Serra.