Jim Parker is one of my favorite film composers. I first heard his music on the British series Foyle's War and subsequently on the delightful Midsomer Murders series. His music is melodic and charming, two attributes that are in short supply these days in music written for film and television. The Midsomer theme, which uses a small chamber group and a theremin, lets the viewer know that though there will be many murders in these bucolic hamlets, it's all very tongue and cheek. His many variations of the theme are what make this exceptional film music and keep it fresh after 13 years of the series!

There is not too much information about Jim Parker on the web, but there is a wikipedia page here:

Jim Parker

 

Ernest

Comments

November 01, 2012 @08:18 pm
Craig William Dayton
Dear Ernest and Lewis... It appears that we all appreciate the music of Jim Parker. The only reason I am trying to find him is to simply say how much I appreciate his music. Being in the US, I am slowly growing more and more appreciative of British composers. Of course, I have always admired the music of John Barry, but I have in more recent years grown to appreciate the works of those lesser known in the US, such as Nigel Hess and now Jim Parker and others. I am learning of these wonderful composers via Netflix. Ernest you describe Mr. Parker's music as melodic and charming. And, you are correct. You are also mention that these attributes are in short supply in today's film and TV music. I totally agree. So much film music today seems so heavy handed. I suppose that this little post will be my only way a saying "thank you" to Jim Parker. If you ever see him, Ernest, will you please convey my appreciation. By the way, I also want to say thank you for your beautiful music. It is clear that you put your heart into it. Best regards always, Craig
September 19, 2012 @09:13 pm
Lewis Lipnick
Hello Mr. Troost, Greetings from the contrabassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. I know of your work as a film composer, and find it diverse and very, very colorful in orchestration and settings that truly compliment what is on the screen. I was surfing the web, trying to find a way to contact Jim Parker, when I saw your blog mentioning that you are also a fan of his music. Although I have certainly heard some of his work in various British productions, what really caught my ear were his scores to the MIdsomer Murder series, and his innovative use of the theremin, which I play (I own an original 1927 RCA theremin and a few solid state Moog models which I carry around to gigs). There are very few composers alive who have the chops to write for the theremin, but Parker uses the instrument much like Rózsa did in Spellbound...doubling the upper strings, and very effectively in solo passages. I don't know who is playing theremin in his scoring sessions, but would certainly like to find out...a real artist to be sure. I was fortunate to perform the world's first contrabassoon concerto in 1979 with the National Symphony Orchestra with Mstislav Rostropovich (my boss at that time) conducting. It was composed by Gunther Schuller, and created quite a bit of news since it went far beyond anything previously composed for the 'contra. Then, in 2004, I commissioned the Finnish Composer, Kalevi Aho (who, btw, has just finished a theremin concerto for my German friend, Carolina Eyck, which is going to be premiered in Lapland next month) to compose an even more challenging concerto for contrabassoon, which I premiered and recorded live for the BIS label with the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway in 2006 with Andrew Litton conducting. Performances throughout Finland immediately followed, except not in Helsinki. But last February, I was invited to perform the Aho concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic in their amazing new Music Centre, but this time it was on a totally revised "from the ground up" new version of the contrabassoon...the contraforte. If you google my name "Lewis Lipnick contrabassoon", you will be able to see and hear this revolutionary new instrument that finally fixes all the nasty sounds of the contrabassoon, goes down to a low "A" and produces a much warmer and resonant quality that everyone who had heard this thing has gone nuts about. There is also a You-Tube video produced by the Helsinki Philharmonic in which I demonstrate the contraforte, and discuss the totally new and radical design which was necessary to produce an instrument that musically blows any regular contrabassoon out of the water. But back to Jim Parker. Do you know how I can contact him to find out who plays theremin for his scores? I would also like to ask him if he might be interested in a commission for a new work for solo contraforte and chamber orchestra (including a theremin). If you wish, I would be most pleased to send you a complimentary copy of the CD of the Aho concerto I recorded live in Bergen back in 2006. This was performed on a highly modified contrabassoon that had the extended high range necessary...but it sounds even better on the contraforte. This piece (like all others from Aho) is damn near impossible to play, has many solo passages for alto sax and heckelphone (!), and takes the solo contra an octave above the normal range, all the way up to the sounding high C2 that is played by the solo bassoon in the beginning of Stravinsky's "Le Sacre". With any luck, Aho and I will find an opportunity for me to re-record his concerto on the contraforte. With very best wishes for your continued success!! Lew Lipnick