July 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Don Quixote
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Richard Hartley has conceived a delightful score for John Mortimer's television series based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes starring John Lithgow as Quixote and Bob Hoskins as Sancho Panza. Hartley's music is sensitive to the complex character of the eccentric ageing knight. It is colourful and vibrant; atmospheric and evocative. It is just a pity that there is not a theme that really lingers in the memory. The material and treatment: colour, orchestrations, rhythms etc - all are familiar. The strongest impression is of the music of Rodrigo. Yet it is Hartley's immaculate taste and skill that weaves the widely varying material into a most satisfying whole and Varèse have been unusually generous in providing an album of 72 minutes allowing Hartley's creation space to breathe and follow the development of Cervantes story.

The album consists of nearly 40 cues mostly quite short, on average about 2 minutes but with two more substantial tracks: 'Down the Well', mysterious, subterranean agitated string swirlings that contrast with the heavenly serenity and wide cosmic vistas of 'Journey Beyond the Stars' with its mystical overtones overlaid with references to the noble and virtuous side of the Don's character. Other cues are concerned with the pastoral backgrounds to the story. Others have proud fanfares to accompany the jousts. Energetic dance rhythms and sultry love music underscore the more romantic moments and there are very evocative pieces for such episodes as 'Tilting at Windmills' in which the turning of the windmill sails are splendidly realised.

Although it could be said that there is a certain amount of sameness running through this album, it is nevertheless colourful and entertaining.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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