2002 Film Music CD Reviews
Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
The Affair of the Necklace
VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6318
How disappointing that the quality once associated with the
name Newman, has given way to the mediocrity now manifesting itself from the
current Newman generation. Thomas Newman, whose The Horse Whisperer score
showed such promise, now simply regurgitates his American Beauty arcane
minimalism in In the Bedroom, (see the review on this site this month)
and David Newman just comes up with so many of today’s film music clichés
in this score.
For The Affair of the Necklace we have a pale, lack-lustre
theme that tries hard to be poignant. This, ‘Jeanne’s Theme’ is treated with
variable success through the score, mostly retaining its rather wearisome coy
plaintiveness through variations both secular and liturgical. There are other
clichés too: the piano meanderings (often incongruously mixed with harpsichord
figures for ‘period atmosphere’), and a quaint whiff of the Gaelic (especially
with the use of what I perceived to be low Irish pipes at one or two points)
rather than Gallic. Then there are those overworked female vocal wailings, not
to mention a touch of the Lisa Gerrard’s in Gladiator mode; and how can
one explain those splashes of Arabian colour in pre-Revolutionary France?
The only saving grace is an occasional inspired bit of Baroque
pastiche like ‘On the Lake’ that just about makes this otherwise turgid album
anything like a listenable experience.