As Debbie Wiseman notes in her introduction to her latest album, the title
comes from the phrase often uttered by directors during spotting sessions when
they decide where they think they might want some music. Here on this newly
recorded anthology are a dozen "something here's", plus a 17 minute original
work, The Ugly Duckling, expanding upon themes from the new film My
Life As A Fairytale: Hans Christian Anderson.
Music from this film actually comprises a five minute suite
as the second cue on Something Here. This is richly orchestrated, highly
melodic fairytale music, as eloquent and charming as anything Wiseman has previously
written. It calls to mind the scoring on the composer's
Stories of Oscar Wilde,
and not only does the current album begin with Wiseman's opening music - a witty
Western pastiche - from the film Wilde - but it ends with the aforementioned
setting of The Ugly Duckling, very much continuing in the vein of The
Nightingale and the Rose and The Selfish Giant from her Stories
album. Of course this sort of thing must be traced back to Prokofiev's Peter
and the Wolf, but Wiseman makes the form all her own with some deliciously well
crafted writing sure to delight the young at heart. Nigel Havers makes an excellent
narrator, being just as accomplished as Stephen Fry and Vanessa Redgrave on
the previous disc.
Much of the music here is very recent. The suite from Before
You Go (2002) begins as a perfectly honed pastiche of an up-tempo passage from
a Mozart piano concerto, then develops a more modern lyric theme for loss and
mourning. Most appropriately sequenced to follow is a grave and dark hued suite
from Tom and Viv (1994), while a suite from Judge John Deed (2001) combines
a march with a clarinet-led love theme. For those who are familiar with the
original version of the composer's theme from the superb BBC drama
the new version here may initially come as a shock. Gone is the keening
wordless vocal, gone is the stark percussion, in comes the much more lush sound
of the Royal Philharmonic strings, the melody taken alternately by solo violin
and woodwind. The result is a more gentle reinterpretation of one of Wiseman's
finest inspirations. It is still highly moving, if a little less distinctive,
and certainly less spine-tingling.
My Uncle Silias (2002) offers a suite featuring a lovely waltz and more lovely
woodwind writing again in similar vein to the composer's recent fairytale pieces.
Simon: An English Legionnaire (2002) follows the true story of an Englishman
in the French Foreign Legion in Algeria in 1962, the music here reflecting more
of the aristocratic sensibility of Simon himself than the North African setting.
While the film music proper part of the disc ends with a more serious suite
from Wilde than the playful introductory music, there is also a finely crafted
seven minute suite from Haunted (1995), a selection from the most recent version
of Tom's Midnight Garden (1999), and a powerful condensation of the dramatic
score for last years' ITV updating of Othello.
A well rounded and balanced anthology, the only problem is that it leaves one
wanting to hear more of the individual scores. Perhaps if enough people buy
this album there will be a volume two. Meanwhile this is a wonderful disc, recorded
with fine sound, from one of our finest composers. The RPO play as if born to
Gary S. Dalkin