From Soundtrack Collector’s Notebook to Soundtrack Magazine

2002 Soundtrack #82The 1970s was a good decade for fanzines i.e. non-professional magazines covering a specialised interest. Despite fanzines usually having a small subscriber base, this limited readership helped gave the readers a sense of fellowship, much a like a cult society, encouraging extremely loyal and enthusiastic readers. Many of these fanzines concentrated on science fiction, a genre which was largely ignored by mainstream publishers. Receiving even less attention by mainstream publishers was film music. In the mid ‘70s few publications had regular film music reviews (exceptions were Films and Filming and Films in Review) but in 1975 Luc Van de Ven, based in Belgium, became something of a pioneer with the publication of Soundtrack Collector’s Notebook (SCN), a digest sized quarterly publication devoted solely to film music.

Over the years, the magazine went through many changes. After just 21 issues Luc changed the name of the magazine to Soundtrack and, after issue 27, the magazine was re-launched in March 1982 as issue number 1. Inevitably this makes for confusion, especially when constructing a historical overview! The digest size continued until December 1984 when the magazine went large format. The final major change was in June 1998 when the magazine developed a more professional appearance with full colour covers.

Although the readership was mainly through a subscriber base, Luc also set up a team to represent and sell the magazine internationally. Luc was the ideal Editor for those who contributed articles to the magazine. He would encourage and cajole his team of contributors for material and display his iron fist if material was late for deadlines. Luc devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort into the magazine and his enthusiasm was infectious. Contributors were happy to give of their time simply for their own love of film music and in the hope that their efforts would encourage a similar interest in others.

The roster of composers interviewed by Soundtrack is a list of the all-time great and include John Barry, Roy Budd, Aaron Copland, Pino Donnagio, Elmer Bernstein, Miklos Rozsa, John Williams, John Addison, Les Baxter, Alex North, Jerry Goldsmith, Mario Nascimbene, George Delerue, Henry Mancini, Bronislau Kaper, Maurice Jarre, John Scott, Laurence Rosenthall, Basil Poledouris, Lalo Schifrin, David Raksin, Danny Elfman, Ron Goodwin, James Horner, Ennio Morricone, John Green and very many others…

Alongside these composer interviews were interviews with album producers and other people involved in the soundtrack recording process, including George Korngold, Christopher Palmer, Tony Thomas, James Fitzpatrick, Douglass Fake and Eric Tomlinson.

Then there were the early contributors such as Allan Bryce, Randall D Larson, Jim Doherty, David Kraft, Richard Kraft, John Caps, William F Krasnoborski, Didier C Deutsch, Roger Feigelson, David Hirsch, Ford A Thaxton and Jack Smith, many of whom went on to establish careers in journalism or the film music business..

Sadly, there was little benefit involved in continuing publication of a paper publication in a world where material is instantly available free of charge over the internet and after 27 years Luc published the last issue in December 2002 with issue number 84, deciding thereafter to concentrate on his Prometheus soundtrack label.

The lasting legacy of Soundtrack magazine is that it was tremendously influential in making film music a subject for serious analysis and comment. It also imparted and encouraged an enthusiasm for film music which inspired its readers. It is sorely missed.

Doug Raynes, 25 October 2007