This is an intriguing album. It brings us another score in the annals of
those written and never used. The birth and incredible expansion of the CD
catalogue has brought us recordings of discarded scores by Schurmann (The
Gambler), Walton (Battle of Britain) and many others. Clearly a deal of pain
hides behind the liner notes from producer Michael Radford. The end result
was that much of Muldowney's score was not used and in its place there were
songs by Eurhythmics.
Muldowney is a leading name in the classical music field and may be unfamiliar
to followers of film music. He is a British composer born in Southampton
in 1952. He was music director for the National theatre and there composed
eighty scores. His film music credits include Betrayal (1982) and Ploughman's
Lunch (1983). For TV there are scores for six seasons of the Sharpe series
(excellent music), Emma (1997) and King Lear (1998). His concert music includes
concertos for violin and saxophone.
The present score was written in 1984. The overblown patriotism is extremely
well portrayed by Muldowney. The aria Oceania 'Tis For Thee and Hiking Song
(all words are reproduced in the booklet) is a hymn to the state's glory
and victory. Like much else including some grandiloquent marches it is done
with conviction but not so much that you lose the message that this music
represents an oppressive regime in bloated celebration. I thought a little
of Salammbo's aria (Bernard Herrmann - Citizen Kane) when hearing the Oceania
song. Haunting desolation stalks many of the pages of this score although
more human and 'man-sized' music is evident from the sections where Winston
Smith is in the 'underworld' inhabited by the proles. In summary then the
style is melodic and approachable with a political overlay and
if you warm to the occasionally Stalinistic bombast don't reproach
yourself too much. Ultimately the score suggest tired but strangely satisfying
resignation; not at all out of keeping with Winston's state of mind at the
end of the book. His world view has changed.
There are excellent notes (English only) spanning 12 pages. Plenty of stills,
posters, pre-production drawings and all presented on tastefully done matte
paper. Full technical information is given and it is good to see there the
name of John Harle (solo saxophone).