November 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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The Green Bird
 DRGCD12989 [35:51]
  Amazon UK  Amazon USA

An interesting piece of timing begins what this reviewer wants to say about composer Goldenthal. The booklet for this Broadway show's album states its premiere was March of 1996. The film Batman Forever premiered in the US in June of 1995. Take away the song vocals from this disc, and you have a perfectly matched companion to the superhero flick's score. Whether written concurrently or sequentially, it speaks volumes for Goldenthal's breadth and feelings about self-reference.

At about the time of Batman Forever and Michael Collins, it seemed a truly exciting and never-ending source of cinematic innovation had been welcomed into the fold. There followed: Batman & Robin, Sphere, The Butcher Boy, In Dreams, and most recently Titus. Each of these contains a spark of the innovation, but it was suddenly extremely easy to identify a Goldenthal score. What happened wasn't just the development of a recognisable stylistic conformity, but rather regurgitation. This disc nails that opinion squarely, as well as makes a solid time marker for where and when it began.

Despite this seeming like an assassination of the composer's scruples, and a damnation of the listed scores, this reviewer still greatly enjoys listening to these works. Musically they challenge the ear and he's indisputably still the king of cue naming. This disc has performed the trick of a missing puzzle piece in some ways. A list of neighbouring pieces (as in tracks or moments that are practically identical to Batman Forever) seems a little redundant. If you have that soundtrack, you now know what to expect. If you don't, buy both and all will become apparent!

Paul Tonks


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