bestscores2013Welcome to CINEAMTIC SOUND RADIO’s Best Scores of 2013 Countdown.  

It’s been another stellar year for film music. 2013 picked up right where 2012 left off. Every month there was another great new score to discover whether from a giant Hollywood blockbuster, a small independent film, a foreign language television show or a video game.  There was truly something for everyone.

My top 10 list was finalized a few days ago but then a last minute entry gladly messed all of that up.  Due to that last minute entry (which is the number 8 score of the year) I will be presenting eleven scores on the countdown (like we did last year) with the top spot being claimed by not one… but two scores.  I just couldn’t pick a true favourite so both of them will get the top prize this year.  

Enjoy the countdown!


#1 (TIE) | REMEMBER ME (Olivier Deriviere)

remembermeCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 concludes with one of the scores tied for the number one spot – Olivier Deriviere’s brilliant score to the video game, REMEMBER ME

Deriviere provided this thrilling video game with a groundbreaking score written for live symphony orchestra, voices, synthesizers and post production digital manipulation. It’s a score that takes you on a journey the like you’ve never really been on before. The score was performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and was recorded by John Kurlander.



#1 (TIE) | ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW (Abel Korzeniowski)
Sugar Free Media

escape_tomorrowCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with Abel Korzeniowski’s magnificent 22 minute score to ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW.

This score was hands down the best film score of 2013.  It’s a score that had zero restraints. It’s an in your face, aggressive, old school fashioned score that was written to be noticed; a score that was required to tell you everything musically as to what was happening in this surreal film. Korzeniowski did this with flying colours! This is easily Korzeniowski’s best score to date.



#2 | EVIL DEAD (Roque Baños)
La La Land Records

evildeadCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with Roque Baños’ horror masterpiece from EVIL DEAD in at number 2.

Fede Alvarez’s remake the the 1981 cult classic, EVIL DEAD, was was a shocking, gory, and terrifying ride, which featured a ground-breaking horror score by one of Spain’s best film composers, Roque Baños. This full on orchestral and choral assault was complemented by a truly unique musical colour – an raid siren, which is one the most chilling devices ever used in a horror score.



#3 | GRAND PIANO (Victor Reyes)

grand_pianoCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #3 composed by Victor Reyes for the Elijah Wood / John Cusack thriller, GRAND PIANO.

Spain is home to some of the most talented film, TV and video games composers in the world and Victor Reyes has cemented his place among the elite Spanish composers working today with this extraordinary score where he not only supplied the film’s dramatic score but wrote a complete symphonic concert work for the film as well.



#4 | A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (Marco Beltrami)
Sony Music Entertainment


Cinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #4 A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.

In 2008 composer Marco Beltrami was brought to replaced the late Michael Kamen on the fourth DIE HARD film, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. Kamen passed away in 2003. With the success of that film and score Beltrami returned to score the fifth film and created one of the most explosive scores you will ever hear, all while at the same time keeping Kamen’s memory alive by utilizing his themes in this dynamite score!



#5 | SUMMER IN FEBRUARY (Benjamin Wallfisch)
Deutsche Grammophon

summerfebruaryCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #5 SUMMER IN FEBRUARY directed by Christopher Menaul based on Jonathan Smith’s 1995 novel.

Performed by pianist Yuja Wang and the Chamber Orchestra of London, Benjamin Wallfisch’s score is mature, lush, deeply dramatic and multi-thematic making it one of the most impressive scores of his young career.




#6 | JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (John Ottman)
Watertower Music

jackslayerCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #6 from Brian Singer’s fantasy adventure film, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

This epic and thematic score was composed by Singer’s frequent collaborator, John Ottman, who also served as editor and associate producer on the film.  This is one of Ottman’s great achievements written for large symphony orchestra and chorus and was brilliantly recorded by the extremely talented Casey Stone.



#7 | STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Michael Giacchino)
Varese Sarabande Records

intodarknessCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #7 from J.J Abrams’ box office smash STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.

Michael Giacchino returned to compose the score for this second outing of the rebooted Star Trek franchise having scored STAR TREK in 2009. Giacchino’s score brings back his already established themes from the first film as well as supplying new themes and motifs including one of 2013’s most memorable themes for bad guy, John Harrison.



#8 | STALINGRAD (Angelo Badalamenti)
MovieScore Media / Kronos Records

stalingradCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #8 from Russia’s most successful film of all time, STALINGRAD.

Veteran composer Angelo Badalamenti provided the sweeping and thematic dramatic score for the film, which was recorded with an 80-piece orchestra in Moscow.

The score album will released via MovieScore Media/Kronos Records on January 28th.



#9 | ROMEO & JULIET (Abel Korzeniowski)
Relativity Music

romeojulietCinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 continues with score #9 from Carlo Carlei’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, ROMEO & JULIET.

James Horner had written an original score for the film but that was ultimately rejected at the last minute. Abel Korzeniowski was then brought and only had a few short weeks to put pen to paper and then recorded his score in time for its October 2013 release. The result is one of Korzeniowski’s greatest achievements.



#10 | IRON MAN 3 (Brian Tyler)
Hollywood Records

ironman3Cinematic Sound Radio’s countdown of the best scores of 2013 begins with Brian Tyler’s incredibly entertaining and action packed score to IRON MAN 3.  Tyler’s brand new Iron Man 3 theme was a track that I played over and over and over again when I first heard it and was easily one of my most played tracks of the year.

Tyler had a prolific year scoring eight films, television shows and video games.  IRON MAN 3 is his finest work of the year and one of the very best scores of his career.




About the Author

Erik is the host and producer of the soundtrack radio show ’Cinematic Sound.’ The show is heard exclusively on-line and on-demand after spending its first ten years on terrestrial radio at C101.5 FM in Hamilton, Ontario. Erik has a broadcast journalism diploma from Mohawk College and has spent his professional career in the video production industry working as a producer, camera operator and editor.

34 Responses to THE BEST SCORES OF 2013

  1. I agree except this one made #5 of on my list!

  2. Ron Hardcastle says:

    Well, I LIKED Brian Tyler’s music for “I.M.3,” and am sure that it worked perfectly in the theater with the film, but, as a purely listening experience, it just didn’t captivate me nor make me want to hear it again. But that’s probably generational, since I grew up in the 1950s and 60s. Have to be honest with you: I was thinking that if I listened to that music again it would DEFINITELY have to be with your very entertaining commentary, which is such a pleasure to hear.

  3. Ron Hardcastle says:

    As for #9, “Romeo And Juliet” by Abel Korzeniowski, I’m glad to see that you included it. I already bought the CD from Britain at the beginning of the year and began by liking it and am a tad away from loving it, although I get closer each time I play it, preferably with my big Klipsch speakers rather than headphones. Was pleased to see that you like this composer. I was introduced to him by his beautiful score for Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” and sometimes put on the Blu-ray just to hear the music, which works just perfectly with it. You might be amused that I’ve put together an iPod playlist I call “KORZENIOWSKI UMEBAYASHI SKUBISZEWISKI,” which, in the case of A.K. has “A Single Man,” “W.E.” (my second favorite Korzeniowski score), “Romeo And Juliet,” “Battle For Terra,” “Copernicus’ Star, “Escape From Tomorrow,” and “Pu-239,” as well as Shigeru Umebayashi’s contributions to “A Single Man” and Cezary Skubiszewiski’s for “Death Defying Acts” — which makes for a very interesting playlist, although, at nearly 5 hours, probably too long!

  4. Scott says:

    I like Into Darkness even more than the previous score, especially the Harrison theme. (too bad the movie was just medicore, I agree they should NOT have tried to do their own version of Khan, including some of the exact same scenes just flipped).

  5. Dane Walker says:

    That Romeo and Juliet Score is amazing. It’s one of those scores that reminds me live string players win everytime, and inspires me to push for that on budgets.

  6. Scott Bordelon says:

    Any idea where to get the “Grand Piano” score? Can’t seem to find it online. What a great score, makes me want to see the movie now

  7. Matt says:

    I agree with all these choices. GRAND PIANO was a really great listen as I wasn’t familiar with this film yet. I like Tyler’s IRON MAN 3 score, but my favorite Tyler score of the year has to be NOW YOU SEE ME. Since Tyler was gracious enough to provide the complete score online, I have not been able to stop listening to it. A great mix of 70’s caper and modern action scoring. STALINGRAD is also a great score and by far my favorite Badalamenti work to date. Curious to see what number 2 and 1 will be.

  8. Dane Walker says:

    Okay. So, Grand Piano, has sealed it. I’m quitting the business…no wait I’m moving to Spain. Seriously, that score was fantastic. I want to know his time constraints.

  9. Ben says:

    So many great scores last year. It’s amazing how early the co-number one picks were released–I remember you (Erik) raving about Escape from Tomorrow within what seemed like weeks of New Years, and Remember Me released about the same time.

    Great show, as usual. I can’t wait for the follow-up with the cues of the year.

  10. Gabriel Moore says:

    Great list! I would have liked to have seen Lorne Balfe’s Beyond Two Souls score somewhere on here though. Totally agree with the Remember Me score for #1 by the way 🙂

  11. L S says:

    Have you listened to Tim’s Vermeer soundtrack by Conrad Pope? One of my favorite scores of 2013. The theme is beautiful. Reminds me of Alexandre Desplat and Philippe Rombi.

    • Erik Woods says:

      I have heard Tim’s Vermeer and it missed the top 10 by THIS much. I’ll be playing excerpts from that score on my Rest of 2013 show coming this week!

      • L S says:

        Fantastic. 🙂 Your program is awesome by the way, I am glad I came across it! Keep it up please and thanks!

  12. Gerardo Hernández Puga says:

    Both scores by Abel Korzeniowski are absolutely gorgeous, thank you so much because if not by this, perhaps I wouldn’t heard of it
    Thanks Eric

  13. Cory says:

    RE: Remember Me — Bear McCreary has collaborated with Captain Ahab on a few tracks like this, with a seamless blend of synth and digital manipulation that becomes a part of the orchestral music. Motorcycle Robot Chase on his Sarah Connor Chronicles track is a great example.

    • Erik Woods says:

      Motorcycle Robot Chase is a good example but not exactly what Deriviere was doing with HIS score. Unlike McCreary, Deriviere scored the parts for full symphony orchestra with the intention of altering the orchestral material in post. It seems like McCreary’s material was all done digitally with synths and samples, which was still incredibly effective.

      Here’s an excerpt from an interview Deriviere gave to Game Zone which goes into further detail about the process.

      “Without being too technical the music is written in a way that the manipulation of the orchestra adds a new layer of music so I had to anticipate this extra material. What’s funny is when we went to record the orchestra, I didn’t tell them I would manipulate the recording; I didn’t want to distract them from their natural performance by letting them know it would be manipulated. Some parts were quite strange like a huge trumpet dynamic while the rest of the orchestra was almost quiet. The trumpet player raised his hand and asked if his part was wrong because truly it sounded wrong (without knowing the context). They must have thought I was crazy when I told him it was fantastic!”

      Anyway, thanks for tuning in and thanks for your comment!

  14. David Pfohl says:

    Hello Erik!First time contributor here (or anywhere for that matter).
    Is it just me, or do the ascending brass sections of ‘Remember Me’ sound like Don Davis’ work for the ‘Matrix’ trilogy?
    To introduce myself, I used to listen to your show on radio Saturday afternoon after work, am now retired, living in Ancaster & proud owner of a burgeoning collection of soundtrack music up to (& sometimes slightly beyond) my financial limits. Am slowly going through your shows, you’ve got to be disappointed that no one has commented on your excellent Gerhardt tribute.
    Thank you so much for doing what you do.

    • Erik Woods says:

      Hi David – Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      First of all, it’s great to hear from someone locally, especially a fan of the show while it was on terrestrial radio.

      Yes, REMEMBER ME, is clearly influenced by Don Davis’ brilliant Matrix scores. But I like that Deriviere took that inspiration and creating some thing that was clearly his own.

      It is too bad that the Gerhardt series doesn’t garner the attention that it deserves but I’m hoping to completely re-record the programs and present tracks from the newly remastered albums that came out a few years ago.

      Again, thanks for tuning in, thanks for staying a loyal fan and I hope to read more comment sfrom you in the near future. And please don’t hesitate to contact me via my email as well.

      Take care!

  15. Boubis says:

    Great job, i’ll want to see your 2014 list with the best original music scores !

    My top 10 list for the best original music scores of 2013:


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