I am ripping my copy of Batman: The Animated Series to my iPod. In the process, I decided to make a genre for "Batman" distinct from the "Comic Book" category I already had, and I noticed a weird but definite similarity between Shirley Walker's Batman theme and Hans Zimmer's "Dark Knight" theme that was introduced in the training sequence of Batman Begins and becomes some of the materia primoris (such as it is) for The Dark Knight. But wait... there's more! A motif from the episode "On Leather Wings" is very much like another one of the secondary motives from the two Christopher Nolan Batman films.
Do I think either of these similarities are intentional? Absolutely not. I don't know if Hans Zimmer or James Newton Howard would even have heard these scores, and I know that they wouldn't have had them in mind given the completely different approach of the new franchise. It's just a complete coincidence that I find amusing because I'm weird like that.
As far as this release is concerned... I really hope La La Land Records is planning on putting out more volumes of this music, not because I'm not satisfied with this collection, but because this package is so well put together and filled with such excellent music — each individual episode score often has a breadth of themes and motives woven together into something so cohesive it makes most current theatrical film scores look positively amateurish by comparison — it makes me eager to hear more. Walker's Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was a score that I really enjoy, and it is absolutely awesome to be getting so much more in that vein.
In addition to the exhaustive liner notes and tributes to Walker, I love the bonus track "Music of the Bat 101" which has Walker at a piano discussing her Batman theme. What makes this so interesting is not only how she breaks down the theme into its components and how they fit together, but how she deals with it, including what accompaniments work well and how it blends into Danny Elfman's theme. The combination of this 'nuts and bolts' discussion with her demonstrations through the piano really illustrates how, in addition to its dramatic import, it is a functioning theme she has to work with.
I am now wondering if it wouldn't behoove me to revise my Gotham Avenger album to remove Mask of the Phantasm that I might make a separate disc devoted to the animated series which could include it. Of course, that would be dependent upon La La Land releasing another volume or two or three or four (I'm game), but it is something to think about.
This has been one hell of a weekend. Shooting Friday, partying Saturday and distracting jailnurse's daughters while he prepared food for Christmas Sunday, each hitting me progressively harder. I can barely keep my eyes open... and I can't get myself to sleep. I regret nothing, though because while it was indeed busy, it was also full and extremely rewarding. Life is good sometimes.