Press Release from Quartet:
Quartet Records, in collaboration with Aribage Limited and the Michael Kamen estate, is proud to present the premiere release of the early Michael Kamen (BRAZIL, LETHAL WEAPON, DIE HARD, LICENCE TO KILL) score for 1982 British thriller VENOM.
Directed by Piers Haggard and based on the novel by Alan Scholfield, starring Sterling Hayden, Klaus Kinski, Sarah Miles, Nicol Williamson, Susan George and Oliver Reed, VENOM tells the story of a group of international terrorists who attempt to kidnap a wealthy couple’s child. Their plan comes unstuck when a deadly Black Mamba escapes with the terrorists and several hostages trapped in the boy’s London home. A tense evening is had by all as the snake creeps around the house, picking off the characters one by one.
The young Michael Kamen composed a tremendous score, one of his best and an obvious precursor to some of his future successes. In VENOM, one can hear everything from a variation of his future and celebrated theme for THE DEAD ZONE to echoes of what would later be the CONCERTO FOR SAXOPHONE AND ORCHESTRA (as well as parts he later used in ROBIN HOOD and DIE HARD 2). Kamen wisely avoided mimicry, instead imprinting the film with his distinctive voice. Using low woodwinds, low strings and muted brass, he masterfully crafted an atmospheric and personality-rich soundtrack. VENOM is a pivotal score in the composer’s filmography, not only suitably serves the film, but also foreshadows Kamen’s rapid ascent to the ranks of Hollywood’s A-list composers in the years ahead.
Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the composer (who also orchestrated the score in its entirety), this release utilizes three reels of two-track Abbey Road mixes by Eric Tomlison and provided by the Michael Kamen estate. Upon reviewing these masters, it became apparent that editorial adjustments had been made to Kamen’s original compositions for the film. Notably, the “End Titles” music, intended as an unsettling coda, was repurposed within the body of the film. In presenting this release, we restore Michael Kamen’s music to its intended sequencing, allowing the composer to present his story arc. Bonus tracks, including “snake” motifs and drones, conclude the listening program.
This album has been meticulously produced, restored and mastered by Chris Malone. The package includes a 20-page booklet with in-depth liner notes by film music writer Jeff Bond.