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February 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / February /


Calling Card  
  PROMO   [49:32]

Breaking into a field that is already rife with immensely talented individuals vying for work is no easy task, but I have to say that on the strength of this promo CD, Austrian born composer Edwin Wendler has a shot. There is enough melodic invention and polished professionalism here to suggest he could very well forge a career for himself in the realm of film music. Of course it won’t happen overnight, but Mr. Wendler will understand that perfectly well and I see no reason why hard work and diligence shouldn’t pay off in this case.

Opening strongly with the Horneresque ‘The Faraway Land’, this is a rather touching, almost poetic piece and it’s actually a pity that everything that follows is not of the same high standard or I would now be hailing this composer as the next big thing! Even so, other cues worth a word or two of praise would be the amusing, although very brief ‘High Plains Tuber’, a tribute to the spaghetti westerns (even though the Clint Eastwood starring High Plains Drifter that inspired the title was actually an American production!) and ‘Chased by the Devil’, reminiscent of a 60s or 70s TV theme for something like Night Gallery. Best of all is ‘The Letter’, a delightfully melodic cue that displays a mature intelligence and would provide a very attractive foundation for a feature score.

Of course there is always a negative side (or at least we reviewers often seem to find one anyway!) and my concerns here would be with the composer’s tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve, straying perilously close to overt sentimentality that becomes almost gushing at times, particularly on synth tracks like ‘Young Love’ and ‘Angel’s Theme’.

Many pieces are relatively brief at under two minutes and this creates a fragmented feeling that I suppose is understandable given the nature of the CD, but all too often this does not allow potentially interesting pieces to be satisfactorily developed. And as might be expected with this kind of compilation of disparate themes, some tracks are far more appealing than others and I was certainly less enthusiastic about the more modern styled synth cues, preferring the more thoughtful, intelligent orchestrated pieces. Bearing this out, the very best is saved for last with the fourteen minute plus concert piece ‘Consolatio’, resplendent with choir and full orchestra and this really makes a strong impression indeed and showcases some fine, dynamic choral work.

Although Wendler has scored numerous shorts and the feature Five Feet Under, what he really needs now is for someone to hire him to work on a major motion picture so that he can prove that he can really deliver the goods at the highest level. Personally, I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t happen. And all I can say is good luck to him!

Mark Hockley


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