August 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /Aug01/


Lee HOLDRIDGE
The Mists of Avalon  
  Original Television Soundtrack
  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6266   [73:32]

Mists of Avalon

Two songs open and close this album. The first is "The Mysticís Dream" written and performed by Loreena McKennin. At the end is "I Will Remember You Still" performed by Aeone and co-written with Holdridge. Aeone is the featured vocalist throughout the album, where her calming wordless voice is used as a colourful addition to the orchestral palette. The effect is very much Enya meets Gladiator (i.e. Lisa Gerrard), which Iím sure was either the brief or the composerís intent.

The subtlety she brings is the scoreís foremost tone. Combined with Celtic and ethnic flutes, esraj and Scottish pipes, itís a quite beautiful approach. The contrasting tone is achieved with extremely prominent percussive moments. All manner of drums are thwacked in a closely-miked set-up and tear out of the quietude of many of the generously long cues (e.g. "The Cave Ceremony"). To be honest, itís the more intriguing element of the score. Holdridge has made the most of whatís now becoming a familiar Hollywoodisation of the Celtic sound. Whenever the action strikes up, so does this album.

At the centre of the score is an adagio motif (a shade reminiscent of Elliot Goldenthalís from Alien≥). Itís usually backed by Aeone of course. For this Arthurian re-telling, it all seems extremely obvious in concept. I stress again however that Holdridge really has made this his own. As an adventure score with emotional subtext, itís actually a whole lot more involving than it ought to be for modern television.

Paul Tonks

***(*)

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