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2015 Emmy music cheat sheet: a quick-hit glance at the nominees' work by Variety's resident score scholar.

MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A SERIES "Chef's Table" (Netflix) Duncan Thum

> First nom

> "Francis Mallmann" episode

> Guitars, strings, piano create elegant ambiance for Argentine chef

"House of Cards" (Netflix) Jeff Beal

> Three wins, 11 other noms

> Chapter 32

> Russian colors, somber mood for Underwoods in Moscow

"Outlander" (Starz) Bear McCreary (1)

> One win

> "Sassenach" episode

> Bagpipes, penny whistle, other Scottish flavors for 18th-century adventure

"The Paradise" (Amazon) Maurizio Malagnini

> First nom

> Episode 8, finale

> Charm, cheeky wit infuses score for Zola tale of 19th-century London.

"Penny Dreadful" (Showtime) Abel Korzeniowski

> First two noms (this, plus theme)

> "Closer Than Sisters" episode

> Eerie, grim, darkly romantic music for Vanessa-Mina backstory

"Tyrant" (FX)

Jeff Danna, Mychael Danna

> One nom for Jeff; one win, one nom for Mychael

> Pilot

> Middle Eastern instruments lend authenticity to culture-clash family saga


"American Horror Story: Freak Show" (FX) Mac Quayle

> First nom

> "Orphans" episode

> Cello, piano, harmonium for tragic tale of mistreated carny folk

"Away and Back" (Hallmark Channel) William Ross

> Three wins, four other noms

> Warm orchestral accompaniment for family film

"Bessie" (HBO) Rachel Portman (2)

> Two noms

> Subtle dramatic underscore complements period songs.

"The Missing" (Starz) Dominik Scherrer

> First nom

> "Eden," first episode

> Class harmonica, guitars, eerie sounds propel missing-child thriller.

"Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy" (Disney Channel) Kevin Kliesch

> First nom

> Soaring, magical moments in extended version of kidvid show

"24: Live Another Day" (Fox) Sean Callery

> Three wins, 10 other noms

> "11 a.m. -12 p.m." episode

> Alternately intense and emotional music for Jack Bauer's return


"Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas" (NBC) Matthew Sklar, Christopher Guardino

> First noms

> Broadway-style musical with Jim Parsons, Ed Asner

"The Kennedy Center Honors" (CBS) Rob Berman, Rob Mathes

> One win, four noms (Berman); one win, seven noms (Mathes)

> R&B, ballet, rock all featured in this year's edition

"The Oscars" (ABC) Stephen Oremus (3)

> First nom

> Large orchestra and choir create classy sound for Oscar night.

"Peter Pan Live!" (NBC) David Chase

> One prior nom

> Adapts, updates, conducts original 1950s score for live performance.

"Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life" (CBS) Greg Phillinganes

> First nom

> All-star Grammy salute to singer-songwriter

> Longtime Wonder keyboardist leads band including Beyonce, Gaga, Pharrell.

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (PBS) Alan Gilbert

> First nom

> "Live From Lincoln Center" concert perf

> Conducts N.Y. Philharmonic with Bryn Terfel, Emma Thompson.


"The Comedians" (FX) Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez (4)

> First nom (Kristen), one previous nom (Robert)

> Song "Kiss an Old Man"

> "Frozen" songwriters pen rude ditty.

"Glee" (Fox) Darren Criss

> First nom

> Song "This Time"

> Rachel (Lea Michele) says goodbye with sentimental ballad.

"How Murray Saved Christmas" (NBC) Walter Murphy, Mike Reiss

> One win, three noms (Murphy); three wins, four noms (Reiss)

> Song "You Gotta Believe"

> Gospel-flavored tune in support of Santa.

"Inside Amy Schumer" (Comedy Central) Kyle Dunnigan, Jim Roach

> First noms

> Song "Girl You Don't Need Makeup"

> Boy-band sendup about female beauty

"The Oscars" (ABC) Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez

> First nom (Kristen), one previous nom (Robert)

> Song "Moving Pictures"

> Neil Patrick Harris, Anna Kendrick, Jack Black sing big opening number.

"Sons of Anarchy" (FX) Bob Thiele, Kurt Sutter, Jake Smith

> Two prior noms (Thiele, Sutter), first nom (Smith)

> Song "Come Join the Murder"

> Dark, disturbing seven-minute ballad


"Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas" (NBC) Matthew Sklar, Christopher Guardino

> First noms

> Broadway-style musical


"The Dovekeepers" (CBS) Jeff Beal

> Three wins, 11 other noms

> Soprano, duduk, Middle Eastern percussion in Hebraic-flavored opening

"Marco Polo" (Netflix) Daniele Luppi

> One nom

> East-meets-West approach features Chinese instruments, orchestra.

"Penny Dreadful" (Showtime) Abel Korzeniowski (5)

> First noms (this plus episode score)

> Furious strings, elegiac mood for gothic horror title sequence

"Texas Rising" (History) John Debney, Bruce Broughton

> Three wins, two noms (Debney); nine wins, 10 noms (Broughton)

> Rousing Americana theme combines folk flavors with military march.

"Transparent" (Amazon) Dustin O'Halloran

> First nom

> Charming, delicate piano waltz.

"Tyrant" (FX) Jeff Danna, Mychael Danna

> One nom (Jeff); one win, one nom (Mychael)

> Authentic Arabic instruments plus orchestra set ominous, unsettling mood.
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Author:Burlingame, Jon
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 24, 2015
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