March 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

Hummie MANN Year of the Comet OST    VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-5365 [35:19]

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It was with some surprise I noted director Peter Yates' comment that this is Mann's first studio feature score. For some reason the Mel Brooks connection makes the name seem to extend further than 1992. Of course, the second aspect of my surprise is the more important - in that it's a professional and enchanting work through and through.

What serves to enchant is the choice of instrumentation to portray Penelope Anne Miller in Scotland. There're no bagpipes mercifully (- would have been inappropriate to the gentle tale), but instead a subtle use of pipe and drum. "Maggie Goes To Scotland" is a quiet opening that suddenly turns locale setting with pipes and sprightly rhythms. The continued use of the ensemble occasionally strays the listener from its Scottish association into a temporary mediaeval setting. "Driving Through Scotland" is like some courtroom dance.

When the score turns to dramatic counterpoint, the stylistic choices are again pleasantly surprising. Any cue named "Helicopter Chase" ought by now to conjure cacophonous connotations, but there's no thumping beat or guitars here. Instead a conversation for pipes over a complicated string and tambourine melange. Later, the finale as "Philippe Flips Out" is an inverted and insane waltz.

Charming to the last, this is a 'debut' I kick myself for having missed.


Paul Tonks


Paul Tonks

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