Another handsome production from Rykodisc who seem to have their run of film
scores through their valued association with MGM/United Artists. I am sure
there are yet more riches to come. Rykodisc also do everything so well. Design,
music and information are almost all you could ask for.
Carrie is an impressive shocker of a film. I did not see it at the cinema.
I saw it on a portable black and white TV and yet can remember even now the
shock and frisson of the climax in the closing dream scene. Sissy Spacek
and Piper Laurie radiated quirky devotion, innocence abused, religious mania
and gloating horror. The film by the ever-gory Brian de Palma deserved all
the praise it received and receives.
Pino Donaggio’s score is dominated by the strings. It is by no means as striking
when it is out of its visual context. The Carrie theme softly throbs with
an undulating innocence and much of the score shares this inward quality.
If you are looking for parallels then thinks of Barber’s Adagio, Richard
Clayderman and Gabriel Fauré. Track four continues the innocence theme
but injects shudders of deeper strings and harp alongside the ever-so folksy
lines of the first song from Track 2. Track 7 spins a sumptuous Semprini
or James Last type reflective string theme interrupted by darker interjections.
The strings are borne along by harp and solo piano. The music on track 9
judders forward with little cross-currents and texture-rips paralleling the
moment of transition from teen romantic dream (all self-absorbed) to the
bucket of pigs’ blood dumped all over the tragic and then vengeful Carrie.
Track 11 has the music for School in Flames but it is all very quiet - electronic
noises over deep string chords. Track 15 sounds a little like Sibelius’ Rakastava
leavened with a light dusting of Bernard Herrmann until the electronic effects
appear. Track 16 gives us the main theme again sounding as if it is about
to launch into ‘Close to You’.
There are two songs which are slight little creations but which worked well
in the film but register feebly when separated from the visuals. Notes are
of the usual high standard. Whoever chose Jeff Bond again chose well. He
writes in detail and informatively, addressing both plot and music. Splendid
stills, locations shots and posters. The latter is the French language version
‘Carrie au bal du diable’! Again I would have liked to have known something
about the orchestra which recorded the music, date and location of recording
sessions and name of conductor.
Short value in terms of playing length. The music is pleasant but I feel
ambivalent about it. Sometimes it leaves me with the impression of being
very flimsy and ever so commercial. Then again I listen to the main theme
on the final track and I think to myself that this is definitely worth knowing.
The theme would certainly go well in an anthology. This is a safer recommendation
for horror film fans and especially for those who love the film Carrie and
perhaps those who are fans of Piper Laurie (much underestimated in my view)
and Sissy Spacek.