Michael Kamen and “Lethal Weapon”

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Michael Arnold Kamen (April 15, 1948 – November 18, 2003) was an American composer, especially of film scores, orchestral arranger, orchestral conductor, songwriter, and session musician.  Kamen was born on April 15, 1948, in New York City, NY, the second of four sons. His father, Saul Kamen, was a dentist, and his mother, Helen, was a teacher.  While attending The High School of Music & Art in New York City, Michael Kamen became friends with Martin Fulterman (later known as Mark Snow, who composed the theme music for The X-Files among other projects). While studying the oboe, he formed a rock-classical fusion band called New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, together with classmates Fulterman and Dorian Rudnytsky. The group performed in white tie (not tuxedos), as typically worn by classical musicians. In the middle of the concert, Fulterman and Kamen would play an oboe duet. The group backed up friend and classmate Janis Ian in a concert at Alice Tully Hall in late 1967.

After graduating from high school, Kamen attended The Juilliard School, in Manhattan, New York City.  Kamen’s early work concentrated on ballets, before extending to Hollywood with the score for The Next Man in 1976, and then to pop and rock arranging, collaborating with Pink Floyd on their album, The Wall.  Kamen became a highly sought-after arranger in the realms of pop and rock music. His contemporaries in this field included Academy Award winner Anne Dudley, Richard Niles, and Nick Ingman. His successes include his work with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and Roger Waters–he is one of the few people to have been invited to work with both former Pink Floyd members after their acrimonious split, as well as Queen (orchestration on Who Wants To Live Forever), Eric Clapton (on Edge of Darkness), Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith (live orchestral version of Dream On for MTV), Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Eurythmics, Queensrÿche, Rush, Metallica (on the song “Nothing Else Matters” and their live album, S&M), Def Leppard, Herbie Hancock, Tim Curry, The Cranberries, Bryan Adams, Jim Croce, Coldplay, Sting, and Kate Bush.

For Bush, Kamen delivered an orchestral backing for “Moments of Pleasure” from The Red Shoes album, substantially building upon a simple piano theme Bush had composed. In this instance, and many others, he conducted the orchestra personally for the recording.   In 1984, two years after moving to London, Kamen  similarly heightened the effect of a pop recording for the Eurythmics “Here Comes the Rain Again,” that score relying as much on his compositional skills as his arranging talents.  In television, Kamen composed music for two series of The Manageress produced by Glenn Wilhide at Zed Productions for Channel 4, but perhaps his best known work was on the 1985 BBC Television serial Edge of Darkness, on which he collaborated with Eric Clapton to write the score. The pair were awarded with a British Academy Television Award for Best Original Television Music for their work and performed the main movie theme with the National Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall of London in 1990 and 1991.

In 1990, Kamen joined many other guests for Roger Waters’ performance of The Wall in Berlin, and led the National Philharmonic Orchestra during the 24 Nights sessions with Eric Clapton the following year.  Lenny Kravitz recorded a cover of “Fields of Joy” on his 1991 CD Mama Said that Michael had co-written with Hal Fredricks.  Kamen had a successful partnership with Bryan Adams and R.J. Lange composing scores and songs. The ballad “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” for the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the number one song of that year worldwide. Other songs were “All For Love” for the movie “The Three Musketeers” in 1993, and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” the song from the film “Don Juan DeMarco,” in 1995.  In 1994, Kamen conducted an orchestration of The Who’s music for Roger Daltrey’s 50th birthday concert series entitled A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who which was subsequently released on CD and DVD.

Kamen’s involvement with Mr. Holland’s Opus, a film about a frustrated composer who finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher, led him to create The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation in 1996. The foundation supports music education through the donation of new and refurbished musical instruments to underserved school and community music programs and individual students in the United States. In 2005 the foundation created an emergency fund for schools and students affected by Hurricane Katrina.  Kamen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997.   On April 21–22, 1999, Kamen worked with the heavy metal band Metallica, along with The San Francisco Symphony, to record a two-day concert that was held at The Berkeley Community Theatre in Berkeley, California. The concert performance, titled S&M by Metallica, which is an acronym for “Symphony and Metallica”, referencing the corroboration of the two artists, was released on November 23, 1999 on CD, DVD, and VHS formats, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200, subsequently reaching multi-platinum status by 2001. Later that year, Kamen and Metallica won a Grammy Award For Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the S&M track titled “The Call Of Ktulu.”

In 2002, Kamen took part in the Concert for George as strings conductor. In 2001 and 2002, Kamen performed with David Gilmour at Gilmour’s semi-unplugged shows at the Royal Festival Hall, playing piano and cor anglais. The 2001 concert and highlights from 2002 were released on DVD as David Gilmour in Concert.   In 2002, Kamen, along with Julian Lloyd Webber, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and Sir James Galway launched the Music Education Consortium in the U.K. The consortium’s efforts led to the injection of £332 million for music education in the UK. He was also commissioned to write a piece for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  The trailer for the 2007 DreamWorks release Bee Movie, the 2008 Fox release Nim’s Island, the 2008 Disney/Pixar release WALL-E, and the 2014 Fox/DreamWorks release Mr. Peabody & Sherman featured Kamen’s “Central Services / The Office” from his score to Brazil (1985).  His last recorded work appeared on Bryan Adams’s album Room Service where he played the oboe and wrote the orchestration to “I Was Only Dreamin.'”  Kamen had also completed the charts for accompaniment to two songs on Kate Bush’s album Aerial, which was released in April 2005.  He died in London, England from a heart attack on November 18, 2003, at the age of 55.

Kamen wrote eleven ballets, a saxophone concerto and an electric guitar concerto (with Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei as a soloist). Additionally, he wrote a commissioned work, “Quintet,” for the Canadian Brass. He also provided scores for the films such as The Dead Zone, For Queen and Country, Polyester, Brazil, Someone To Watch Over Me, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Three Musketeers, Highlander, X-Men, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Licence to Kill, the Lethal Weapon series, the first three films of the Die Hard series, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Iron Giant, Splitting Heirs, Frequency, and many others. He also scored both the From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers series on HBO.   Kamen was nominated for two Academy Awards and won three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Ivor Novello Awards, an Annie Award and an Emmy.

The following works by Michael Kamen are contained in my collection:

Lethal Weapon (1987): Theme.

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (1991): Main Title.

An Only Child

Homeschool Voices From the Past

Taken from The Parent Educator and Family Report (November 1983)

Hewitt Research Foundation

by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Q. We have an only child. Doesn’t he need preschool or kindergarten in order to learn to get along with other children?

A. An only child of course needs care to avoid his becoming self-centered, but unselfishness and altruism can be taught better by wise parents than by little school children who themselves are still naturally selfish. First, we don’t suggest that you keep your child in a social straight jacket. Yet never be deceived by the modern myth that he needs socializing with a lot of other little children. Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University says that the more people there are around, the less opportunity there is for meaningful human contact. These are human beings, not rocks to be polished by hitting against each other in a revolving barrel.

Because the young child learns by observation and imitation, exposure to other little children at an early age — also yet socially immature — tends more toward negative than positive socialization. Rather than learning to be unselfish, sharing, taking turns, and being kind to others, University of North Carolina professor Dale Farran reports that studies of day care children show up to 15 times more aggression than children cared for at home. This does not mean just greater assertiveness or willingness to stand up for one’s rights, but a tendency toward verbal and physical attacks on others. They are also more easily frustrated, less cooperative, more distractible and more demanding of immediate gratification. The most important socializer for a young child is the parent who not only teaches but demonstrates the qualities he wants his child to develop.

Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Udo Jurgens and “Walk Away”

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Udo Jürgens, born Udo Jürgen Bockelmann (September 30, 1934 –December 21, 2014) was an Austrian-Swiss composer and singer of popular music whose career spanned over fifty years; he won the Eurovision Song Contest 1966 for Austria, composed close to 1,000 songs, and sold over 100 million records.  Jürgens was born on September 30, 1934, at Klagenfurt in the Federal State of Austria (now the Republic of Austria).  In 1950, he won a composer contest organized by Austria’s public broadcasting channel ORF with the song “Je t’aime.” In 1952 Udo Bolan, as he was called then, formed the Udo Bolan Quartet In Klagenfurt, Austria, appearing regularly at the Café Obelisk in Klagenfurt with Englishman Johnny Richards on drums, Klaus Behmel on guitar, and Bruno Geiger on Bass. The quartet played regularly at various dance and jazz venues and also broadcast on Radio Alpenland and the British Forces Radio network produced by Mike Fior.  Jurgens wrote the 1961 worldwide hit “Reach for the Stars”, sung by Shirley Bassey.

In 1964, Jurgens represented Austria for the first time at the Eurovision Song Contest 1964 with the song “Warum nur, warum?”, finishing sixth. The UK participant, Matt Monro, was impressed with the melody and covered the song (with English lyrics by his manager Don Black) as “Walk Away,” which reached number four in the UK Singles Chart and number 23 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Jürgens’ song “Sag ihr, ich lass sie grüßen” came fourth in 1965’s contest, and on his third try he won the Eurovision Song Contest 1966 in Luxembourg with “Merci, Chérie”, which became an English-language hit for Vince Hill, another cover by Monro, and one of Jürgens’ most recognized compositions. Jürgens’ version alone sold over one million copies, and he was awarded a gold disc by Deutsche Vogue in 1966.  In the following years, he wrote the songs, like “Griechischer Wein”, “Aber bitte mit Sahne”, “Mit 66 Jahren”, and — one of his biggest successes — “Buenos Días, Argentina”, which he performed together with the Germany national football team in 1978.

In 1977, Jurgens invited The Supremes to appear as guests on his televised and recorded gala concert. The Supremes (Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Susaye Green), who were on a brief farewell tour of Europe at the time, performed two of their own hits, “You Are The Heart of Me” and “You’re My Driving Whee,l” as well as a duet with Jürgens’ “Walk Away” in English.  In 1979, he released a disco album entitled Udo ’80. It produced a hit song “Ich weiß was ich will.”  This song was also released as a 12 inch disco single in an extended remix for discothèques. In 2007 he obtained Swiss citizenship.  On  December 2, 2007, the jukebox musical Ich war noch niemals in New York (I’ve never been to New York) opened in Hamburg’s Operettenhaus. It weaves songs by Jürgens into a familial storyline, similar to the treatment of ABBA songs in Mamma Mia!, the musical it succeeded at the venue.

On December 21, 2014, Jürgens died of acute heart failure in Münsterlingen, Switzerland, at the age of 80. With Austria’s success at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, the first since Jürgens’ success in 1966, Jürgens expressed his interest in performing in the interval of the next contest. With his death, the organisers of the 2015 contest in Vienna paid tribute to him with a tribute day on May 20 and a tribute act at the beginning of the Grand Final.  Jurgens is credited with broadening German-language pop music beyond the traditional postwar “Schlager” (hit song) in the 1950s by infusing it with a modern pop appeal and French chanson style. His compositions and arrangements attracted fans of all ages. Until his death, he continued to fill venues in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.  Since 2015, Udo Jürgens holds the worldwide-record as the artist with the longest presence in the charts ever – more than 57 years from his first entry 1958 till 2015.

My collection includes the following work by Udo Jurgens:

Walk Away (Warum nur, Warem; 1964).

Belfast School, Belfast, OH

belfast

Belfast School
State Route 73
Belfast, Ohio

Belfast is an unincorporated community in Highland County, in the U.S. state of Ohio. The seat of Jackson Township, it was founded in 1834, and named after Belfast, in Ireland. The post office was first established under the name Bell in 1845, but the name was changed to Belfast in 1910, and the post office closed in 1944.  The Belfast school, built in 1923, originally housed all twelve grades.  My grandmother taught there for many years, from around 1960 until her retirement in 1972.  After Jackson Township voted to join the Bright Local School District, the school was eventually closed. It now sits abandoned and is currently for sale.

Am I Qualified To Teach My Own?

Am I Qualified To Teach My Own?
by Gary Grammar in The Link, Volume 4 Issue 2

A number of years ago, July 2, 1998 in fact, a story out of Massachusetts was carried by the Associated Press describing the failure of 56% of the aspiring teachers of that state in the reading and writing portion of the teacher exam.

The then-governor referred to the failed test-takers as idiots and the state head of education suggested lowering the standards for prospective teachers. (Somewhat like intellectual limbo dancing: “How low can you go?”) The teachers’ unions considered all of this to be music to their ears, while much of the state legislature fumed along with the governor.

Most of the reason for the hubbub was that this exam was not particularly difficult. The “56 Percenters” missed spelling words a nine-year-old is expected to know, could not write in complete sentences and failed to correctly define a noun or verb. No matter how sympathetic one might want to be, this really is inexcusable! These college grads are supposed to become teachers, having completed the degree portion of the certification process; the remainder should be a cakewalk, intellectually.

Read More

http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/homeschool/articles/vol4iss2/grammar_v4i2.shtml

Scott Joplin and “The Entertainer”

ScottJoplin

Scott Joplin (c. 1867/68 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist, who achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and was dubbed the “King of Ragtime Writers.”  It is often claimed that Joplin was born in Texarkana, Texas, on November 24, 1868. Some have responded that the location is easily dispensed with because Texarkana was not established until 1873.  However, based on a letter discovered by musicologist John Tennison in 2015 in the December 19, 1856, edition of the Times-Picayune, it is clear that Texarkana was established as a place-name by no later than 1856. Consequently, it appears possible that Joplin, born twelve years later, could have been born in Texarkana. Despite evidence to support such a conclusion, it is now generally believed that Joplin was born in Linden, Texas, either in late 1867 or early 1868, into a musical family of railway laborers.  He was the second of six children (the others being Monroe, Robert, William, Myrtle, and Ossie) born to Giles Joplin, an ex-slave from North Carolina, and Florence Givens, a freeborn African-American woman from Kentucky.

In any event, the Joplins subsequently moved to Texarkana where Giles worked as a laborer for the railroad and Florence was a cleaner. Joplin’s father had played the violin for plantation parties in North Carolina, and his mother sang and played the banjo.   Joplin was given a rudimentary musical education by his family and from the age of seven, he was allowed to play the piano while his mother cleaned.  Young Joplin was serious and ambitious, studying music and playing the piano after school.  He received most of his music education from Julius Weiss, a German-born music professor who had immigrated to Texas in the late 1860s and was employed as music tutor to a prominent local business family.   Weiss tutored the 11-year-old Joplin until the boy was 16, during which time Weiss introduced him to folk and classical music, including opera. At the age of 16, Joplin performed in a vocal quartet with three other boys in and around Texarkana, also playing piano. In addition he taught guitar and mandolin.

In the late 1880s, having performed at various local events as a teenager, Joplin chose to give up work as a laborer with the railroad and left Texarkana to become a traveling musician.  Little is known about his movements at this time, although he is recorded in Texarkana in July, 1891, as a member of the Texarkana Minstrels in a performance that happened to be raising money for a monument to Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy.  He soon discovered, however, that there were few opportunities for black pianists.  Joplin played pre-ragtime ‘jig-piano’ in various areas throughout the mid-South, and some claim he was in Sedalia and St. Louis during this time.  In 1893 Joplin was in Chicago for the World’s Fair. While in Chicago, he formed his first band playing cornet and began arranging music for the group to perform.

In 1894 Joplin arrived in Sedalia, Missouri. At first, Joplin stayed with the family of Arthur Marshall, at the time a 13-year-old boy but later one of Joplin’s students and a rag-time composer in his own right. There is no record of Joplin having a permanent residence in the town until 1904, as Joplin was making a living as a touring musician.  There is little precise evidence known about Joplin’s activities at this time, although he performed as a solo musician at dances and at the major black clubs in Sedalia, the Black 400 club, and the Maple Leaf Club. He performed in the Queen City Cornet Band, and his own six-piece dance orchestra. A tour with his own singing group, the Texas Medley Quartet, gave him his first opportunity to publish his own compositions and it is known that he went to Syracuse, New York and Texas. Two businessmen from New York published Joplin’s first two works, the songs “Please Say You Will”, and “A Picture of her Face” in 1895.

Joplin’s visit to Temple, Texas enabled him to have three pieces published there in 1896, including the “Great Crush Collision March”, which commemorated a planned train crash on the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad on September 15 that he may have witnessed.  While in Sedalia he was teaching piano to students who included future ragtime composers Arthur Marshall, Brun Campbell, and Scott Hayden.  In turn, Joplin enrolled at the George R. Smith College, where he apparently studied advanced harmony and composition. The College records were destroyed in a fire in 1925.  In 1899, Joplin married Belle, the sister-in-law of collaborator Scott Hayden. Although there were hundreds of rags in print by the time the “Maple Leaf Rag” was published, Joplin was not far behind. His first published rag, “Original Rags”, had been completed in 1897, the same year as the first ragtime work in print, the “Mississippi Rag” by William Krell. The “Maple Leaf Rag” was likely to have been known in Sedalia before its publication in 1899.  The “Maple Leaf Rag” served as a model for the hundreds of rags to come from future composers, especially in the development of classic ragtime.  After the publication of the “Maple Leaf Rag”, Joplin was soon being described as “King of rag time writers” on the covers of his own works, such as “The Easy Winners” and “Elite Syncopations”.

After the Joplins moved to St. Louis in early 1900, they had a baby daughter who died only a few months after birth.  About this time, Joplin collaborated with Scott Hayden in the composition of four rags.  It was in St. Louis that Joplin produced some of his best-known works, including “The Entertainer,” “March Majestic,” and the short theatrical work “The Ragtime Dance.”  During this time, Joplin created an opera company of 30 people and produced his first opera A Guest of Honor for a national tour. It is believed that the score for A Guest of Honor was lost and perhaps destroyed because of non-payment of the company’s boarding house bill.  In 1907, Joplin moved to New York City, which he believed was the best place to find a producer for a new opera.  In 1911, unable to find a publisher, Joplin undertook the financial burden of publishing Treemonisha himself in piano-vocal format. In 1915, as a last-ditch effort to see it performed, he invited a small audience to hear it at a rehearsal hall in Harlem. Poorly staged and with only Joplin on piano accompaniment, it was a miserable failure to a public not ready for black musical forms—so different from the European grand opera of that time.

Joplin suffered a breakdown. He was bankrupt, discouraged, and worn out.   In 1914, Joplin self-published his “Magnetic Rag” as the Scott Joplin Music Company, which he had formed the previous December.  Also he plunged feverishly into the task of orchestrating his opera, day and night, with his friend Sam Patterson standing by to copy out the parts, page by page, as each page of the full score was completed.  By 1916, Joplin was suffering from tertiary syphilis and a resulting descent into insanity.  In January 1917, he was admitted to Manhattan State Hospital, a mental institution. He died there on April 1, 1917, of syphilitic dementia at the age of 49. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first, and most popular pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag,” became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag. Joplin’s death is widely considered to mark the end of ragtime as a mainstream music format, and in the next several years it evolved with other styles into stride, jazz, and eventually big band swing. His music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970s with the release of a million-selling album recorded by Joshua Rifkin. This was followed by the Academy Award–winning 1973 movie The Sting that featured several of his compositions including “The Entertainer.” The opera Treemonisha was finally produced in full to wide acclaim in 1972. In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

The following work by Scott Joplin is contained in my collection:

The Entertainer (1902).

Trevor Jones and “The Last of the Mohicans”

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Trevor Alfred Charles Jones (born March 23, 1949) is a South African orchestral film score composer who, although not especially well known outside the film world, has composed music for numerous films that has been critically acclaimed for both its depth and emotion.  At the age of six, Jones, who was born in South Africa on March 23, 1949, had already decided to become a film composer. In 1967 he attended the Royal Academy of Music in London with a scholarship and afterwards worked for five years for the BBC on reviews of radio and television music. In 1974 Jones attended the University of York from which he graduated with a master’s degree in Film and Media Music. At the National Film and Television School Jones studied for three years on general film-making and film and sound techniques. During this time he wrote the music for twenty-two student projects. In 1981 Jones wrote the score for the Academy Award-winning short movie The Dollar Bottom and for the short Black Angel.

Jones was soon after brought to the attention of John Boorman, who was in the midst of making his Arthurian epic, Excalibur (1981). Although mostly tracked with classical music by Richard Wagner and Carl Orff, Boorman also needed original dramatic cues (as well as period music) for certain scenes. Given Excalibur’s modest budget, a “name” composer was out of the question, so Boorman commissioned the up-and-coming young Jones.  Excalibur brought Jones to the attention of Jim Henson, who was making The Dark Crystal (1982), and looking for a composer who was young and eager to work in the experimental, free-wheeling way which Henson preferred. The resultant score is an expansive, multi-faceted work, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, augmented by inventive use of Fairlight and Synclavier synthesizers, as well as period instruments like crumhorn, recorder, and the unusual double-flageolet, which Jones came across by chance in a music store.

Jones followed Excalibur with scores for the horror films The Appointment (1981) and The Sender (1982), and the pirate adventure Nate and Hayes (1983). In 1985 Jones composed one of his best scores, for the acclaimed television production The Last Place on Earth.  Jones reunited with Henson for the 1986 fantasy musical Labyrinth. David Bowie wrote and performed the vocal tracks for this movie, including the hit “Underground”, while Jones provided the dramatic score.  Reflecting that his complex, symphonic score for The Dark Crystal garnered little notice, Jones began to re-think his entire approach to dramatic scoring. Around the mid-80s, Jones’ work became more electronic-based (much like fellow film composer Maurice Jarre), eschewing identifiable themes in favor of mood-enhancing synth chords and minimalist patterns. While he did write a somber, chamber orchestra score in 1988 for Dominick and Eugene (which featured classical guitarist John Williams), scores like Angel Heart (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988) and Sea of Love (1989) are more typical of Jones’ output during this period.

Jones’ return to large-orchestra scoring came with 1990s Arachnophobia, and he provided a light-hearted Georges Delerue-flavoured score for Blame it on the Bellboy in 1992.  Jones’ most popular success came later in 1992 with his score for The Last of the Mohicans, and his soaring, passionate music belies the difficulties which afflicted its creation. Director Michael Mann initially asked Jones to provide an electronic score for the film, but late in the game, it was decided an orchestral score would be more appropriate for this historic epic. Jones hurried to re-fashion the score for orchestra in the limited time left, while the constant re-cutting of the film meant music cues sometimes had to be rewritten several times to keep-up with the new timings. Finally, with the release date looming, composer Randy Edelman was called-in to score some minor scenes which Jones did not have time to do. Jones and Edelman received co-credit on the film (thus making this very popular and acclaimed score ineligible for Oscar consideration). Although all were displeased with the circumstances, Jones was not fired from the film despite reports to the contrary.

Jones became active in television in the 90s, with orchestral scores for several Hallmark productions, including Gulliver’s Travels, Merlin, and Cleopatra. He also provided a fun, jazzy, 30s-style score for Richard III (1995), which features a swing-band setting of Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. In 1997 Jones worked for the first time with acclaimed director Ridley Scott, providing an electronic/orchestral/rock-flavoured soundtrack for G.I. Jane (1997).

My collection includes the following work by Trevor Jones:

The Last of the Mohicans (1992): Main Title.