March 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Charlotte Gray  
  SONY SK89829   [49:34]

Charlotte Gray

Oscar winner Stephen Warbeck gives us a romantic suspense score set against the backdrop of France at the height of World War II.

The title track opens with bleak, meandering strings before a rather cliched (given the subject matter) accordion appears. When a central theme does emerge it could hardly be called memorable and sadly this is very representative of the score as a whole with a straight-forward mixture of would-be heartfelt string and piano pieces (‘The Loft’ etc. etc.) offset by a number of bland suspense cues (‘The Threat’, ‘The Decision’).

If the term ‘run-of-the-mill’ is a little harsh, it’s certainly the phrase that springs to mind when listening to this soundtrack and although the music is not by any means poor, it certainly lacks vitality and just fills its time and space with the expected beats and conventions. In fact, it’s quite old-school in style, a good example being the final track ‘My Name is Charlotte Gray’ and this will no doubt win it some admirers who are fond of the more melodramatic sensibilities of the past. Unfortunately, for myself I remain somewhat indifferent. The score strives for poignancy but never really achieves any real feeling or substance and stands as merely a workmanlike exercise without anything to distinguish it from any other serviceable score in this genre.

Mark Hockley


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