×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

As Varèse Sarabande Label Turns 40, Composers Celebrate a Harmonious Partner

“It’s one of the true pioneering enterprises in our business,” says composer Alan Silvestri about the preeminent film music label, Varèse Sarabande, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Silvestri won a 2001 Grammy for instrumental composition for his theme for “Cast Away,” a movie that has very little music and was an unlikely candidate for a soundtrack album … until Varèse producer Robert Townson proposed a Silvestri greatest-hits CD that would lead off with “Cast Away.” “Talk about the adventurousness and passion of Bob Townson and Varèse,” Silvestri adds. “There was no other way anyone was ever going to hear that music outside of the movie.”

Silvestri is just one of many composers who praise the label that has long promoted their work. Lee Holdridge met Varèse principals Chris Kuchler and Tom Null in 1978, and “was impressed by their dream, although I could not understand how they would be able to make it as a viable commercial company,” he says. “Much to my surprise and delight, they soon released some of my early soundtracks and concert works.”

Holdridge later met “a shy young Robert Townson,” who now oversees the soundtrack releases. “The unifying factor of the company and of all these individuals was their in-depth knowledge of, and passion for, the music they released,” he says. “This became the fire from which this major artistic and very unique label grew.”

Scottish composer Patrick Doyle recalls that it was Henry Mancini who suggested he call Townson about a release for Doyle’s “Dead Again” score in 1991. That was the first of many Varèse albums of Doyle scores, as well as his symphonic piece “Impressions of America.” “Since then, he’s become an incredible champion, not only of my work but other people’s work,” says Doyle.

Brian Tyler (“Fast Five,” “Power Rangers”), who has about 25 albums on the Varèse label, notes that “as a lifelong fan of film music, Varèse Sarabande has enriched my music collection for decades. They changed the game and continue to push forward. As a film score fan, I am thankful for Varèse, and as a composer I count myself lucky enough to have many of my soundtracks released by them.”

Notes “House of Cards” composer Jeff Beal: “As composers, the afterlife and branding of our work around the world has become increasingly celebrated, and Varèse has been an essential part of that equation.” Now preparing his 12th album for the label, Beal says, “Bob Townson’s passion and commitment for media music spills over into many areas, including concerts around the world, which in turn help celebrate and preserve our music.”

More Music

  • 50 Cent Power

    NYPD Officer Under Investigation for Allegedly Telling Police to Shoot 50 Cent 'on Sight'

    A New York City precinct commander is under investigation for allegedly telling officers to shoot rapper 50 Cent on sight, a police rep confirmed to Variety on Sunday. “The matter is under internal review,” an NYPD rep said, declining to answer further questions. Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez is accused of telling officers during a June 7 roll [...]

  • Phoebe Bridgers Slams Ryan Adams’ ‘Network’

    Phoebe Bridgers Slams Ryan Adams’ ‘Network’ of Enablers

    Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, one of multiple women who accused Ryan Adams of sexual misconduct last week in a New York Times article, issued a statement late Saturday slamming the “network” of people who enabled Adams’ behavior. “It’s been a weird week and I wanted to say a couple things,” she wrote on Instagram. “Thank you [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves, winner of the awards

    Kacey Musgraves to Present at the Oscars

    Hot off her album of the year award at last weekend’s Grammys, Kacey Musgraves has been tapped to present at the Oscars on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. She joins previously announced presenters Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Panic at the Disco Concert Review

    Concert Review: Panic! at the Disco Brings Theatrical Flair to Forum

    At one particularly crowd-pleasing point during Panic! at the Disco’s show Friday at the Forum, Brendon Urie played the group’s cover of one of the “Greatest Showman” songs, from the recent tribute album devoted to that film, and it’s not hard to see why he would gravitate to the musical. Urie’s so much of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content