Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


MARTIN KISZKO The Battle of the Sexes OST (1999) Incidental Music to the BBC wild life documentary series on The Natural History of Sex 18 tracks. City of Prague PO/Harry Rabinowitz BBC MK1103 (distributed by Silva Screen) 60:57



Martin Kiszko has previously contributed highly effective music to the British TV series Alien Empire, The Realm of the Russian bear and Land of the Eagle. Here his music graces (and that is the word) the BBC Natural History Unit’s latest 6 part documentary which examines the sexual act in all its forms. Kiszko assisted Edward Williams in the score for David Attenborough’s Life on Earth series from 1980.

The title track is stormy and features a grand theme. A whooping clarinet cutting right through the texture at one point is a very memorable touch. There is a gutsy turbulence in the skirling horns and a hint of what you might call Hollywood ‘Red Indian’ music adding a dimension of threat. In ‘Another world’ (2) there are hints of John Barry but I do not want to take away from the fine inspiration which pervades deeply velvet, romantically tender harp and flute dialogue and gentlest touch of the strings. This also surfaces elsewhere notably in tracks 4 and the final track interspersed with birdsong. Forays And Foreplays (11) has a decidedly Stravinskian tinkling motif which return in track 17. A jazzy, sinuous and slightly sleazy clarinet slides in Gershwinnying fashion up and down the scales in ‘Jazzed-Up Males’. In ‘Reluctant Hunters’ a solemn cello soliloquy takes centre stage. The cool, concentrated and immanent threat in of The Deep comes over strongly in track 10. Track 12 is notable for the insistent little rhythmic figure for higher woodwind. In track 17 Kiszko produces an excellent warlike ‘mongol horde’ type theme.

This is a classy, straightforward and richly impressionistic score which remains entertaining and even when separated from its images.

The notes are good. They include discographic information, compact information about the series by its executive producer, an ideally balanced note by the composer and a profile of the composer. I hope that before too long Martin Kiszko will become a name we associate with feature film scores as well as TV.



Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

Return to Index