Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Mark MANCINA Return to Paradise OST VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD5964 [43:24]  


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This film centres on a holiday in the Far east by three young men.One of the three is arrested and is sentenced to death. The other two are responsible for this happening. The only way they can secure his release is by confessing and themselves facing gaol.

Mancina has learnt a few things from John Barry in being able to spin long singing lines here closely related to Copland and Dvorák. Track 2 offers gamelan pitter-patter of percussion and bells. The next track returns to the heart-ease of the opening band. The music is strong on minimalist string themes, gamelan noises, breathy panpipes and chorus. The music bubbles, hums and resonates in subdued auburn and autumnal shades. Sometimes its sliding chordal patterns reminded me of the oriental twists and turns of Alan Hovhaness - a composer who represents a major influence on the minimalists and hosts of film music composers. Another blood-brother to Mancina is Michael Nyman. The score for The Piano is an obvious reference point. Track 11 has a wonderful cor anglais solo sinking into a shimmering magical sea of sound. Track 14's twists and turns had me thinking once or twice of Vaughan Williams and it ends in an evocation which reminded me of those Red Indian tribal music 'songs' which entered the charts on the back of the World Music revival a couple of years ago. Track 15 has a thuddingly hard rock beat. The final track [20] emerges from the freezing wastes of Sibelius's Symphony No. 4. The music is undeniably attractive and is remarkably consistent in mood. There perhaps is its challenge because overall as an isolated listening experience it is too unvaried to be entirely satisfying.

Robert Barnett

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