August 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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EDITOR’s RECOMMENDATION $month 2002

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Alex WURMAN
Thirteen…Conversations About One Thing  
  Recorder and flutes: Fred Seldon; Harps: Marsha Dickstein and Joanne Turovsky; Piano: Ralph Grierson and Alex Wurman. Orchestrations: Alex Wurman and Tom Calderaro
  PROMOTIONAL   [20:08]

This album is aimed at professionals in the film music industry. Although it might be more widely available later, in the first instance copies can be obtained from:-
Costa Communications
8265 Sunset Blvd. Ste. 101
Los Angeles, CA 90046

13 Conversations

They say good things come in small doses. At just over twenty minutes duration this is certainly true about the small dose and the music is not at all bad either. The press release that accompanied this very off-beat but refreshing and welcome recording, states that "The film weaves five contemporary stories together into a single tale that examines the dramatic impact people have on one another…the film crisscrosses in time and and doubles back on itself….[it] offers an unusual glimpse into each character's past, present and future in ways that are playful and poignant. The ideas it explores – the meaning of true happiness, the notion of Karma, the eternal power of hope –strike with particular relevance in our increasingly frenetic, disjointed world.". The film stars Matthew McConaughey; John Turturo; Amy Irving and Alan Arkin. Alex Wurman is an arranger and composer with both classical training and a background of jazz and electronic music He has worked with Hans Zimmer on such films as A League of Their Own, The Lion King and, with Trevor Rabin, Armageddon. He has now launched out on his own.

Wurman's chosen instrumental ensemble of two harps, recorder or flutes, piano with various percussion instruments, like the glass harmonica, and some discrete electronics affords some novel harmonies and unusual colourings. There are ten tracks; all of which captivate the ear. I have lost track of the number of times I have listened to them already. He ever-so-subtly quotes one or two well–known themes, or, mostly, fragments of themes - and one has to concentrate hard to identify them because they are so fleeting. There is a bit of one of the West Side Story songs and a fragment of Young at Heart, for instance, and a lot of that five-note figure that John Williams developed for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There are blues and waltzes, music that is playful ('Cleaning House') or brooding ('The Devil Doesn't Have Horns and a Tail'); and other music that is icy remote detached like 'The Next Phase'. Influences are wide and varied but notably Gershwin and the French Impressionists.

A most agreeable promotional disc. Producers should take note of Mr Wurman's talent.

Ian Lace

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