Patrick DOYLE, Wynton MARSALIS, and Edgar MEYER
Listen to the Storyteller - A Trio of Musical Tales from Around
- told by Kate Winslet, Wynton
Marsalis and Graham Greene
Joshua Bell (violin); Edgar Meyer (Bass solo); Jerry Douglas (Dobro solo)
Orchestra of St. Lukes conducted by Robert Sadin (The Fiddler and the Dancin'
Witch) and Steven Mercurio
SONY SK 60283 [59:41]
With Patrick Doyle's music for one of these tales narrated by Kate Winslet,
the movies connection is quite clear. These three enchanting tales are enhanced
by music that heightens atmosphere character and action. I listened with
my eleven-year-old step-granddaughter and I append her assessment as well
as my own, plus her ratings.
Patrick Doyle - The Face in the Lake (narrated by Kate Winslet)
This story has the most lyrical music reminding one of Doyle's score for
Much Ado About Nothing. The story is about the beautiful young
maiden, Olwen who brings Spring. But she is imprisoned in the ice castle
of Winter who is loth to loose his icy grip on the earth. How Winter's shy
brother Jardur, helps her to escape and how Winter pursues them throwing
great blizzards in their path, before they succeed in bringing warmth back
to the world, is the essence of the story. Kate Winslet is an appealing and
Raya Verrecchia comments: This was my favourite of the three
stories. The story had a pleasing plot. The storyteller was very good, the
way she told it really involved you in the story. The music went very well
with the story and what happened. At the beginning it was floaty and spring-like
and when Winter arrived the music became more dramatic and darker.
Wynton Marsalis - The Fiddler and the Dancin' Witch
Wynton Marsalis contributes a witty narration as well as more astringent
but characterful music for this tale of the disobedient boy whose craving
to play his father's violin, despite his parent's dire warnings, summons
its former owner, a foul witch who demands her instrument back. The story
tells how Simeon outwits her. Marsalis' music cleverly suggests the strictures
and exasperation of the father, the headstrong attitude of Simeon and the
spiteful wickedness of the witch. Joshua Bell has plenty of opportunity to
show off his dazzling virtuosity especially in the frenzied witch's dance.
The music is for violin and strings only and early on there is a vague
resemblance to Bernard Herrmann's music for Hitchcock's Psycho and
Vertigo to provide the necessary foreboding atmosphere.
Raya Verrechia comments: I liked this one the least, because
there were too many pauses in the story line and Marsalis did not tell the
story very well, he did not change the tone of his voice to suit the different
characters. The music was very dramatic - too dramatic for the story. I thought
the violinist was over enthusiastic and sounded rather vain.
Edgar Meyer - The Lesson of the Land (narrator: Graham Greene).
This is a story about three young American Indian lads who set off on a quest
to find their manhood.
Meyer's music is very evocative and atmospheric of the landscape and its
wildlife. The music is simple but effective and it has, in places, an almost
classical formality. Take for instance the use of canon in the passage
descriptive of the boys' climb up the mountainside. Characterisation is sharp:
the double bass is wittily used to depict the 'mighty bear' that teaches
Little Bear to fish and the darting fish in glittering waters is beautifully
caught by the clarinet.
Raya Verrecchia comments: The music was very descriptive and
very exciting. The story had a very good plot with an interesting twist and
it was well told - although it was more for older children about ten because
the words were rather hard. I enjoyed the music between the bits of
The Face in the Lake: Story **** Storyteller **** Music****
The Fiddler and the Dancin' Witch: Story ***(*) Storyteller ** Music **(*)
The Lesson of the Land: Story ****Storyteller **** Music ***(*)