February 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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An American Rhapsody  
  MILAN 73138-35955-2   [55:19]

An American Rhapsody

Set during the cold war era of the 50s and 60s, An American Rhapsody tells the true story of a family of Hungarian immigrants escaping to the West and the daughter they inadvertently leave behind. As you might expect Cliff Eidelman imbues his work with a strong ‘European’ feel and his emotionally charged music goes a long way to painting a picture of cultural change and family loss and hardship.

The ‘Main Title (The Iron Fist)’ is an imposing symphonic work, dramatic and expressive and this cue tells you pretty much everything about what to expect in the ensuing fifty-five minutes or so. This central theme is further explored on various tracks including ‘A Heartfelt Goodbye’ and is heard to particularly good effect on ‘There Was an Iron Fist’. Much of the rest of the score is devoted to plaintive strings and piano pieces as with ‘A Loving Return’ and the moving ‘Journey Back Home’ and to be truthful there is little in the way of contrast, even if cues such as ‘The Old House’, effectively capturing a sense of memory and the past, as well as the subtle dramatics of ‘Suzanne Arrives in America’ are well above average. Also included are three songs; the traditional ‘Sino Moi’ is performed memorably by Marta Sebestyen, although two further ballads by Ando Drom are far less appealing.

A polished enough score that certainly delivers drama and angst, but if I am to be critical it’s one of those soundtracks that will unquestionably make a stronger impact in the film itself. Worthwhile, proficient, perhaps just a little dull at times, but a clear signal that Eidelman has talent and will go on to better things.

Mark Hockley


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