It is unusual for Film Music on the Web to receive CDs of Australian music
to review so this album is most welcome. It comprises music written for one
American film Tender Mercies and for Australian Broadcasting Corporation
dramas and mini-series.
George Dreyfus's music for A Descant for Gossips is an enchanting
score: tender, sometimes sprightly but always sensitive for the tragic story
of an innocent 13-year-old girl caught up in the forbidden romance of a favourite
teacher. Another lovely score this time set in the wide-open spaces of Texas,
was for the Oscar winning Tender Mercies (for Robert Duvall). This album
contains Dreyfus's colourful evocative music for the Texas landscapes that was
omitted from the finished print. As the notes suggest you can now play it with
the video or DVD release to judge its affect.
The Main Theme for Outbreak of Love has a waltz theme that is constantly
interrupted with quirky woodwind figures, solo fiddle material and quasi-military
fanfare figures. This richness of scoring is apparent in the very Australian-inflected
Waterfront score: quirky, capricious, rowdy and brassy. The story line
has conflict between bosses and unions and the music straddles many styles German
passacaglia, American vaudeville, sour union lament, Italian songs and a non-too-romantic
theme for the film's heroine (Greta Scacchi). Power Without Glory 'The
Death of John West' a powerful political manipulator, has the intensity and
poignancy of the sort of scores one associates with Max Steiner and Franz Waxman.
The Aussie's view of Dicken's Great Expectations was somewhat unorthodox
for it chose to concentrate on the escape and life of the convict Magwitch in
Australia and how he came to make the young Pip, growing up in England, his
ward. Dreyfus dresses the folk tune, 'I gave my love an apple' in variations
that are sombre, plaintive, pastoral and in waltz time. 'Bold Jack Donohue'
swaggers slowly, then with increasing tempi passes through cantering to galloping
rhythms as snare drums repeat the theme adding colour and excitement. 'Spring
Song' is a pleasant pastoral evocation before the peaceful surface is ruffled
with sinister figures and chase/fugitive-like figures. 'Bridget's Theme' is
another well-rounded character study, comic yet poignant and vulnerable. 'Good
fortune' has a ring of Hollywood's musical idea of nineteenth-century comfort
and well-being. More interesting is the cheerful, cheeky outdoor brass band
music for 'Villains'.
The album closes with a lively mini concerto featuring the popular flautist,
James Galway in music from Rush based on an Australian folk ballad, 'The
Old Pamer Song'.
An interesting selection of melodious music. There is however a quirkiness
that might not travel well outside Australia and the recorded sound is often