Mark McKenzie

Gordon Johnson

Minnesota Public Radio “New Classical Tracks” features the music of MAX AND ME and talks with Composer Mark McKenzie

Thank you to Minnesota Public Radio / New Classical Tracks for featuring the music of Max and Me. The McKenzie interview can be heard by clicking on the URL below.

https://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2018/10/02/mark-mackenzie-and-the-bittersweet-story-of-max-and-me

NEW CLASSICAL TRACKS. Host Julie Amacher and composer Mark McKenzie discuss the film, violinist Joshua Bell, conductor Gordon Johnson, Choral masters Terry Edwards, Ben Parry, and the famed boys choir Libera.Ā  Also discussed are timeless composers Mark worked with like John Barry, Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith and a truly inspirational public school teacher / choral master who this work is dedicated to: Robert Salvatore Ruberto 1932-2016.Ā  (See full tribute here.)

“A triumphant ravishing masterworkā€¦finest film music yet for 2018” American MusicĀ Preservation
“Transcendentā€¦an incredible tour de force.” Ave Maria Radio
“Staggeringly beautifulā€¦score of the yearā€ Movie Music UK
“Boundless expression of joyā€¦score of the yearā€ Movie-wave.net
“Tender, heartfelt, soaring, gorgeousā€¦score of the year” Score Zone
“profoundā€¦inspiring and haunting…stunningly beautiful.” Movie Music International
“You’re going to have goosebumpsā€¦one of the best scores of the year.ā€ Cinematic Sound
“An ode to symphonic beautyā€¦do not miss this celebration of life and love” Soundtrack Dreams
Brought to tearsā€¦the more I hear it the more I believe it is a truly theophanic work.” The Click Track

MAX 420

MAX AND ME (Total time 57:15)

  1. I Am (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 1:13
  2. Two Crowns Vision 1:22
  3. Head in the Clouds Over You 2:16
  4. You Could be Anything 2:44
  5. In the Trenches 2:29
  6. If You Are So Intelligent Why Donā€™t You Believe? 5:22
  7. Ask and it Will Be Given to You 1:25
  8. When Iā€™m Saying Me I Mean You Ā  :51
  9. Dare To Dream Bigger Ā 1:51
  10. A Motherā€™s Prayer (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 3:10
  11. Dapper Duds Ā  1:50
  12. Sunset Hug 1:49
  13. Iā€™m Sorry 3:02
  14. Nazi Brutality 3:17
  15. Prayer For Peace 3:40
  16. Auschwitz Cries Ā 2:56
  17. Only Love is Creative 2:37
  18. I Love You (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 4:00
  19. Triumph Over Fear Ā  3:20
  20. He Was Always With Me 1:50
  21. I Believe in You 4:12
  22. Heavenā€™s Welcome 2:28
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REPEATEDLY CALLED SCORE OF THE YEAR!

“A triumphant ravishing masterworkā€¦finest film music yet for 2018” American MusicĀ Preservation

“Staggeringly beautifulā€¦score of the yearā€Ā  Movie Music UK

“Boundless expression of joyā€¦score of the yearā€ Movie-wave.net

“Tender, heartfelt, soaring, gorgeousā€¦score of the year”Ā Score Zone Score Zone

“You’re going to have goosebumpsā€¦one of the best scores of the year.ā€ Cinematic Sound

“profoundā€¦inspiring and haunting…stunningly beautiful.” Movie Music International

“An ode to symphonic beautyā€¦do not miss this celebration of life and love” Soundtrack Dreams

“I was brought to tearsā€¦the more I hear it the more I believe it is a truly theophanic work.” Ā The Click Track

Max and Me is a staggeringly beautiful score, filled to the brim with orchestral glory, soaring melodies, emotional themes, choral wonderment, and sublime instrumental solos…it has firmly anchored itself in place as the leadingĀ contender for 2018ā€™s Score of the Yearā€¦I genuinely canā€™t remember the last time I was so moved by a piece of new film music as I was by Max and Me…Anyone who loves film music in the way I love film music, who yearns for thematic grandeur, who craves emotional power, and who celebrates live orchestras and choirs, should seek out this astonishing score immediately, and then thank whatever deity or higher power is appropriate for the fact that Mark McKenzie is still being given the opportunity to write music like this.” Jonathan Broxton Movie Music UKĀ Ā 

MAX AND ME is a triumphant, ravishingĀ masterwork – a glorious,Ā infinitely exquisite tribute to theĀ overpowering faith and inherent goodness alive within the human soulā€¦the finest film music yet for 2018.Ā Ā McKenzieā€™s startlingly beautiful music reaches layers, depths and textures of ethereal redemption and spiritual ascension stunningly realized and performed.Ā Ā Joshua Bellā€™s superb virtuoso violin, along with the sublime vocal performance by The London Boys Choir, elevates the force and majesty of McKenzieā€™s remarkable score to unimagined heights of tearful grandeur.”Steve Vertlieb American MusicĀ Preservation.”

Tender, heart-felt, soaring…McKenzieā€™s music here certainly qualifies as amidst ā€˜the bestā€™ among his peers….Max and Me is score of the year material, gorgeous, soaring, and emotionally moving to the highest degree…What are you waiting for? Buy with confidence.Ā Anthony Aguilar Score ZoneĀ Ā 

I feel I have been welcomed in a fairy tale world, both because of the atmosphere and of how incredibly, not of this earth beautiful the music of Mark McKenzie is…The essence of unconditional love, the essence of sacrifice dominates this sweeping composition which is not of this earthā€¦.Max and Me is an ode to symphonic beauty, to music that transcends boundaries of all kinds…do not miss this celebration of life and love” Soundtrack Dreams.Ā 

“outrageously beautiful, uplifting, inspiring music dripping with passion and emotion…Finally, when you think the highest pinnacle has surely been reached, you find out youā€™re wrong and up comes ā€œHeavenā€™s Welcomeā€ which is a triumphant, completely boundless expression of joy….I say with total confidence that this is my favorite film score of 2018.” James Southall Movie-wave.netĀ 

“MAX AND ME is one of those scores that one listens to and before you know where you are, you have Goosebumps and hairs on the arms and back of the neck standing up.”Ā  John Mansell Movie Music International

Joshua Abby RoadL-R Concert violinist Joshua Bell with Composer Mark McKenzie holding Joshua's Stradivarius during playbacks on the Inspiring animated film MAX AND ME - Version 6I LOVE YOUIMG_2349IMG_2386IMG_2184 - Version 3IMG_2406_2Clara Sanabras and Mark McKenzie at Abby Raod Studios - Version 2Sunset HugI AM Max and Me Mixing Engineer Armin Steiner at 21st Century FoxIMG_2278P1020121

KolbeRubertoMAX 420

MAX AND ME

  1. I Am (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 1:13
  2. Two Crowns Vision 1:22
  3. Head in the Clouds Over You 2:16
  4. You Could be Anything 2:44
  5. In the Trenches 2:29
  6. If You Are So Intelligent Why Donā€™t You Believe? 5:22
  7. Ask and it Will Be Given to You 1:25
  8. When Iā€™m Saying Me I Mean You Ā  :51
  9. Dare To Dream Bigger Ā 1:51
  10. A Motherā€™s Prayer (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 3:10
  11. Dapper Duds Ā  1:50
  12. Sunset Hug 1:49
  13. Iā€™m Sorry 3:02
  14. Nazi Brutality 3:17
  15. Prayer For Peace 3:40
  16. Auschwitz Cries Ā 2:56
  17. Only Love is Creative 2:37
  18. I Love You (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 4:00
  19. Triumph Over Fear Ā  3:20
  20. He Was Always With Me 1:50
  21. I Believe in You 4:12
  22. Heavenā€™s Welcome 2:28

Violin Soloist: Joshua Bell
Soundtrack Available on Sony Masterworks
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London
Recording Engineer: Peter Cobbin
Mixed at 21st Century Fox Newman Scoring Stage
Mixing Engineer: Armin Steiner
Conductor: Gordon Johnson
Choir:Ā  London Voices
Chorus Masters: Terry Edwards and Ben Parry
Solo Vocalist:Ā  Clara Sanabras
Boys Choir: Libera
Libera Choir Director: Robert Prizeman
Orchestra Leader: Thomas Bowes
Piano: Dave Arch
Boy Soloist: Issac London
Wooden Recorders: Helen Keen
Guitar: John Parricelli
Orchestra Contractor: Isobel Griffiths
Assistant Orchestra Contractor: Susie Gillis
Supervising Music & Scoring Editor: Marc S Perlman MPSE
Additional Music Editing:Ā  David Lai
Music Preparation: Gregg Nestor
Assistant Recording Engineer: John Barrett
Assistant Mixing Engineer: Christine Russell

In addition to Robert Ruberto and those listed above the composer would like to thank producers Pablo Barroso and Claudia Nemer, Sony Classical’s Mark Cavell, writer Bruce Morris, Animators Paty Garcia-Pena, Gregorio Nunez, legal help Gary Fine and Angela Shirley, the Sony team Lynn Lendway, Stacie Negas, Jennifer Liebeskind, and Beth Miller, Stephen Ritzenthaler, Jerry Goldsmith, David Baker, Nancy Rice Baker, Morten Lauridsen, Michael Cunningham, Ivar Lunde, Sue, Megan and Mollie McKenzie.

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Dedication to choral master Robert Ruberto

“Max and Me” is dedicated to the memory of Choral master Robert Salvatore Ruberto 1932-2016.

The Power of a Teacher and Music by Mark McKenzie

There is a story behind each of us that probably includes at least one teacher. For me it was a choir teacher named Robert Salvatore Ruberto (1932-2016). He patiently filled my head with music, dreams, poetry, wisdom, laughter, encouragement and discipline. In addition to the thousands he conducted in his choirs over the years, he personally mentored and counseled hundreds of us through every conceivable crisis. While he was alive, he wasnā€™t interested in honors saying: ā€œIā€™ve been honored enough, the joy is in the journey and in my students.ā€ Though I have thanked him on 17 movie soundtracks, a new Sony Masterworks soundtrack called Max and Me, recorded at Abbey Road Studios with 135 of London’s finest symphonic and choral musicians along with concert violinist Joshua Bell, is solely dedicated to this public school teacher’s memory.

In high school, I spent every free minute practicing piano and organ in Robert’s tiny office. How he endured bad Elton John, Beethoven, and my early noodling compositions day after day is a mystery. After playing a piano-organ solo in front of a large audience in my small hometown, I pushed Robert’s upright piano back in order to perform an encore. As I pushed, the tall piano got snagged on a crack in the old High School wooden stage and began to tip backwards in slow motion. I frantically grabbed trying to hold the 700lb piano up but to no effect. It slammed flat on its back with the loudest crash Iā€™ve ever heard. The audience stunned, I stood paralyzed thinking ā€œIā€™ve just destroyed Robert’s only piano in front of my entire community and he will be livid.” I desperately wanted to be beamed out like Captain Kirk. Shielding my eyes from the glaring spotlight, I searched for Robert. When I finally found him, what I found were deeply loving eyes and a smile. He stood up and asked for strong men in the audience to lift the piano back up. He said loudly ā€œItā€™s fineā€¦go ahead and play.” That was his lifelong message to each of his students; donā€™t ever let anything stop youā€¦fearlessly use your gift and do what you are called to do. Donā€™t stop. Don’t ever give upā€¦ever.

Robertā€™s dream was to be an Italian Opera star. Instead he came to a small Minnesota town, Lake City, raised a fine family and turned the community upside down introducing rebellious young people involved in alcohol and drugs to pursue meaning through the language of great music and great love. He used Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, The Beatles and Leonard Bernsteinā€™s difficult masterpiece The Mass.

We now know that music encourages strong left and right hemisphere crossover which is the magic in high functioning brains. With Robert that magic was exceptionally pronounced because he added love, acceptance and hope to young people struggling with romance, deceased parents, depression, drugs, and school. He said, ā€œI chose to teach music in high school because the young minds there are still pliable.ā€ His students over the years became doctors, teachers, nurses, lawyers, professors, scientists, pastors, Wall Street analysts, philosophers, business leaders, musicians, and politicians.

Several weeks before he unexpectedly passed, I sent him my Sony Masterworks soundtrack Max and Me. Not one to give unmerited praise, I braced myself. He approved. Relieved, I timidly told him I was dedicating it to him. He responded, ā€œWhat does that mean?ā€ Well maybe not much reallyā€¦only that his spirit and artistry live in this music, and that I desire to honor this generous teacher because he made all the difference. Like many, Robert was there early when there was not much to believe in.

ā€œI have no mentor, I’m my own manā€ said a famous composer recently. I’m not sure that is possible because every life influences every life around them; especially teachers. Our public school teachers and private school teachers are on the front lines helping bring out the best in future generations. They are the ones helping the next generation in their most formative years become all they possibly can be. Maybe there is an email, letter, phone call, post, tweet or text that you might send this teacher appreciation week?

MAX 420Ruberto and Ritzenthaler - Version 3Robert Ruberto : Megan McKenzieRubertoMark Bob Ruberto_2

MAX AND ME

  1. I Am (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 1:13
  2. Two Crowns Vision 1:22
  3. Head in the Clouds Over You 2:16
  4. You Could be Anything 2:44
  5. In the Trenches 2:29
  6. If You Are So Intelligent Why Donā€™t You Believe? 5:22
  7. Ask and it Will Be Given to You 1:25
  8. When Iā€™m Saying Me I Mean You Ā  :51
  9. Dare To Dream Bigger Ā 1:51
  10. A Motherā€™s Prayer (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 3:10
  11. Dapper Duds Ā  1:50
  12. Sunset Hug 1:49
  13. Iā€™m Sorry 3:02
  14. Nazi Brutality 3:17
  15. Prayer For Peace 3:40
  16. Auschwitz Cries Ā 2:56
  17. Only Love is Creative 2:37
  18. I Love You (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 4:00
  19. Triumph Over Fear Ā  3:20
  20. He Was Always With Me 1:50
  21. I Believe in You 4:12
  22. Heavenā€™s Welcome 2:28
View Ā»

MAX AND ME: A message of hope, love, and beauty on Sony Masterworks repeatedly called “Score of the Year”

[liner_player id=”125,119,110,132,115,129,139″]

Sony Masterwork’s “Max and Me,” a message of hope, love, and beauty is now available at most music outlets including:

Ā iTunes

Amazon,

YouTube

Spotify, and others

“A triumphant ravishing masterworkā€¦finest film music yet for 2018” Film Music Review
“Transcendentā€¦an incredible tour de force.” Ave Maria Radio
“Staggeringly beautifulā€¦score of the yearā€ Movie Music UK
“Boundless expression of joyā€¦score of the yearā€ Movie-wave.net
“Tender, heartfelt, soaring, gorgeousā€¦score of the year” Score Zone
“profoundā€¦inspiring and haunting…stunningly beautiful.” Movie Music International
“You’re going to have goosebumpsā€¦one of the best scores of the year.ā€ Cinematic Sound
“An ode to symphonic beautyā€¦do not miss this celebration of life and love” Soundtrack Dreams
Brought to tearsā€¦the more I hear it the more I believe it is a truly theophanic work.” The Click Track

One hundred thirty-five of Londonā€™s finest musicians gathered at Abbey Road Studios to record MAX AND ME including one of the most expressive solo artists of our generation, concert violinist Joshua Bell, large symphony orchestra, choral master Terry Edwards’ and Ben Parry’s London Singers, The famed Libera Boys choir directed by Robert Prizeman and includes gypsy vocalist Clara Sanabras, boy soprano Issac London, Guitarist John Parricelli, pianist Dave Arch, and Helen Koen on tenor recorder.

Polish priest Maximillian Kolbe, tortured at Auschwitz asked those around him to not be overcome with hatred but to love for ā€œOnly love is creative.ā€ His compassion lead him to sacrificially die in Auschwitz’s starvation bunker to help a man with children survive. The film makers, musicians and I hope this message of hope, love, and beauty amidst great darkness will be enjoyed by many and spread widely. A portion of each sale goes to the Shoa Foundation, Word Vision and Catholic Relief Services. Max and Me is dedicated to the memory of choral master and mentor Robert Salvatore Ruberto 1932-2016.Ā  (See full tribute here.

Collectors have written to ask if there will be a CD release on Max and Me as there was on Dos Corazones’ The Greatest Miracle.Ā  Sony Classical has only planned Max and Me for a digital release so the answer is no. Still we are grateful to Sony Masterworks for the release of this work at all streaming and digital download outlets around the world.Ā  The credits and pictures that would normally be inside a CD are listed below.

Joshua Abby RoadL-R Concert violinist Joshua Bell with Composer Mark McKenzie holding Joshua's Stradivarius during playbacks on the Inspiring animated film MAX AND ME - Version 6I LOVE YOUIMG_2349IMG_2386IMG_2184 - Version 3IMG_2406_2Clara Sanabras and Mark McKenzie at Abby Raod Studios - Version 2Sunset HugI AM Max and Me Mixing Engineer Armin Steiner at 21st Century FoxIMG_2278P1020121

KolbeRubertoMAX 420

MAX AND ME (Total time 57:15)

  1. I Am (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 1:13
  2. Two Crowns Vision 1:22
  3. Head in the Clouds Over You 2:16
  4. You Could be Anything 2:44
  5. In the Trenches 2:29
  6. If You Are So Intelligent Why Donā€™t You Believe? 5:22
  7. Ask and it Will Be Given to You 1:25
  8. When Iā€™m Saying Me I Mean You Ā  :51
  9. Dare To Dream Bigger Ā 1:51
  10. A Motherā€™s Prayer (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 3:10
  11. Dapper Duds Ā  1:50
  12. Sunset Hug 1:49
  13. Iā€™m Sorry 3:02
  14. Nazi Brutality 3:17
  15. Prayer For Peace 3:40
  16. Auschwitz Cries Ā 2:56
  17. Only Love is Creative 2:37
  18. I Love You (w/ Joshua Bell on violin) 4:00
  19. Triumph Over Fear Ā  3:20
  20. He Was Always With Me 1:50
  21. I Believe in You 4:12
  22. Heavenā€™s Welcome 2:28

Violin Soloist: Joshua Bell
Soundtrack Available on Sony Masterworks
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London
Recording Engineer: Peter Cobbin
Mixed at 21st Century Fox Newman Scoring Stage
Mixing Engineer: Armin Steiner
Conductor: Gordon Johnson
Choir:Ā  London Voices
Chorus Masters: Terry Edwards and Ben Parry
Solo Vocalist:Ā  Clara Sanabras
Boys Choir: Libera
Libera Choir Director: Robert Prizeman
Orchestra Leader: Thomas Bowes
Piano: Dave Arch
Boy Soloist: Issac London
Wooden Recorders: Helen Keen
Guitar: John Parricelli
Orchestra Contractor: Isobel Griffiths
Assistant Orchestra Contractor: Susie Gillis
Supervising Music & Scoring Editor: Marc S Perlman MPSE
Additional Music Editing:Ā  David Lai
Music Preparation: Gregg Nestor
Mastering Engineer: Patricia Sullivan
Assistant Recording Engineer: John Barrett
Assistant Mixing Engineer: Christine Russell

In addition to Robert Ruberto and those listed above the composer would like to thank producers Pablo Barroso and Claudia Nemer, Sony Classical’s Mark Cavell, writer Bruce Morris, Animators Paty Garcia-Pena, Gregorio Nunez, legal help Gary Fine and Angela Shirley, the Sony team Lynn Lendway, Stacie Negas, Jennifer Liebeskind, and Beth Miller, Stephen Ritzenthaler, Jerry Goldsmith, David Baker, Nancy Rice Baker, Morten Lauridsen, Michael Cunningham, Ivar Lunde, Sue, Megan and Mollie McKenzie.

 

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