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29/04/2009

De Wolfe Music Celebrates Centenary

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Celebrating their centenary this year, De Wolfe Music Publishers have the longest running independent film and television music library resource in the world.
Its catalogue is a thing of legend, a vast collection of instantly recognisable and iconic tracks that have helped shape popular culture. If you've ever seen The Simpson's Movie, Death Wish, Brokeback Mountain, Dawn of The Dead, American Gangster, Eastenders, Kavanagh QC, The Royle Family, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Great British Journeys, Spitting Image or Top Gear, then you've heard some of De Wolfe's music.
It has provided the hook for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns in history and in recent years has been sampled by the likes of Mark Ronson and Lily Allen, Peshay, Ja Rule, Gorillaz, Unkle and Beyonce.
Countless radio programmes have used De Wolfe for signature tunes, background music, talk show themes, dramatic moments, chart show countdowns and commercials. From the BBC to Jay Z, De Wolfe Music is an integral part of everyday listening.
With a vast catalogue of over 70,000 tracks, including a million selling number one, an Ivor Novello Award-winner and countless television theme tunes and movie soundtracks, De Wolfe Music continues to produce some of the finest music on offer today with many of the best composers and musicians in the world, one hundred years on from its humble beginnings in Edwardian England...
Meyer de Wolfe, the company's founder, came to London to work as a musical director, composer, musician, arranger and conductor with the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres just after the turn of the 20th century and established De Wolfe Music in 1909, which was responsible for selecting the accompaniment to movies at a time when soundtracks were simply printed as sheet music and played live by musicians sitting inside the late-Edwardian Cinemas or 'Kinematograph' theatres as they were known then.
In 1927, following the advent of sound in movies, De Wolfe Music began recording with the 'sound-on-disc' technique and 'sound-on-film' onto 35mm 'nitrate' film and much of the stored music was copied onto 1/4" tape after its invention during the Second World War. This guaranteed the longevity of the recordings and ensured that they could be re-used later in other productions. Indeed, as technologies have changed, many of the early compositions have come on quite a journey, transferring to vinyl from 1962, CD from 1985 and currently existing digitally on hard drives and as downloadable files on the internet.
During the 1930s, De Wolfe also created soundtracks for newsreels that were shown in cinemas in between the feature films and B-movies of the day, and in the late 1940s, the company took steps to expand into North America, where a partnership with two film editors from Paramount Pictures named Corelli and Jacobs laid the foundations for a new venture in the States.
The 1950's saw De Wolfe provide the music for the UK's first ever television commercial, a minute-long advertisement for Gibbs Toothpaste in September 1955, and since then, hundreds of memorable advertising commercials and campaigns have been broadcast featuring either De Wolfe library tracks or specially composed pieces. These vary from the famous British Airways 'World's Favourite Airline' and Audio Quattro ads of the Eighties to recent commercials for Head & Shoulders, Lucozade, Adidas, Chrysler and the Britannia Building Society.
With the 1960s came vinyl and the library began distributing 10" records in 1962 and soon after produced the now legendary and collectable 12" records, complete with their trademark experimental cover designs by Rolph Webster and award-winning Canadian artist Nick Bantock. This era also saw the company providing the scores for the original black and white Tintin series and being awarded an Ivor Novello Award for the theme to TV series The Power Game starring Patrick Wymark. Music was also provided for classic episodes of Dr. Who, while in the '70s De Wolfe scored The Sweeney, Monty Python's Flying Circus and the much loved barmy cartoon theme tunes for Roobarb & Custard and Henry's Cat.
The company began developing its own Angel Studios complex in Islington in 1979. Recording began in 1982 with The Cure, and since then artists that have recorded there include Ian Brown, Goldfrapp, Kaiser Chiefs, Funeral For A Friend, Elbow and The Feeling. Most famously, and fittingly, it was also where Robbie Williams recorded his worldwide smash hit Angels.
Now in its centenary year, De Wolfe is the world's largest independent production music library, with offices and agents based in forty countries from the USA to Russia and as far flung as South Africa, Australia and Japan. The company is represented in seven countries by EMI and boasts an ever-expanding roster of composers. The company's music is as popular as ever. Recent credits include blockbuster movies Grindhouse, Sicko and The Prestige, and TV shows Argumental and No Heroics, as well as classic TV programmes like Minder, Eurotrash, Coronation Street, Inspector Morse, Poirot and Grumpy Old Men.
An international market leader with the service values of a family independent, the present day company is exactly how Meyer de Wolfe would have wanted it.
Search the catalogue at: www.searchdewolfe.com.
(KMcA/BMcC)
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