September 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Lights of Liberty  
  The Original Musical Score and Songs of the Revolution Performed by the Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra
  TRIKE MUSIC TM-9901   [35:44]

Lights of Liberty


This is something we wouldn't normally feature here in the film music review world. Composed and conducted by John Debney, it lies on the periphery of our subject however, especially as he's approached much of the material as a film score. Lights of Liberty is the city of Philadelphia's interactive museum exhibit chronicling the American Revolution. Perhaps inevitably, some of the original music's style recalls James Horner's Glory, but it's only a passing familiarity. There are too many distractions from staple American patriotic tunes ("Yankee Doodle") to be bogged down by soundtrack comparisons. Debney has done a fine job of weaving this in between his own bombast and pomp (e.g. "Turmoil in the Colonies" and "On the Brink".

The Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Lights of Liberty Choir seem to have had enormous fun on the project, putting immense feeling into their performances. They must be absolutely delighted by this album release, since the actual intended use of the music was to be piped through tinny headphones and lost under narration. It's great to be listening to something of Debney's outside the film world too, showing him to be a versatile writer beyond the confines of filmic timings. Hopefully this review will make a few more listeners aware of the album's existence, since it doesn't seem to be widely available.

Paul Tonks


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