March 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

Jan A.P. KACZMAREK The Third Miracle OST    MILAN 73138-35899 [50:08]

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An emotional investment by itself is not enough to make a score effective. Kaczmarek's "The Third Miracle" is a transparently manipulative practice of drama and technique, that would be sufficient were it not for the presentation of grand ideas seemingly for the sole purpose of assaulting them as the audience listens on.

The composer neutralizes enchanting tracks such as the solo piano in 'Frank & Roxanne' with dreary mistakes like his ridiculous manner of combining nightclub double bass and the monophonic singing of the Warsaw Female Choir in 'Domine Jesu.' Unless beatniks raided the church winery, this has no use here. What are immensely artistic and penetrating classical melodies and orchestrations are really so solid that they need only one listen, but reiterating each of them nearly verbatim every few tracks sucks the genuineness away. The music identifies many emotions, but offers scanty musical support for why those emotions are important to the story it attempts (and fails) to shape. Rather than putting itself on 'repeat' it could have done something not expressed in the first 14 minutes. The juxtaposition of greatness with mediocrity, including the dull plainchant 'Before Your Eyes' composed by Kaczmarek and Elzbieta Bieluszko, does nothing but become increasingly irksome toward the end.

Compositional/dramatic unity is an essential part of film music. In order for a score to function for the film, as opposed to merely with it or possibly against it, not to mention functioning as an independent recording like this, the music must be the best it can be. If the underscore fails to uniformly work on its own toward maintaining audience interest in the film, then it is expendable. "The Third Miracle" clouds the differentiation. It is cliché to say 'he weaves a tapestry,' but Kaczmarek does, and he initially patterns it well. But I hope I am not cliché when I say this tapestry has frayed edges, holes, and seriously deserves to be put in mothballs for awhile.


Jeffrey Wheeler


Jeffrey Wheeler

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