January 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / January /

The Man from Elysian Fields  
Music composed by Anthony Marinelli
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records (VSD-6418)  
Running Time: 36:50
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

man from elysian fields

Anthony Marinelli’s has contributed an eclectic score for this drama about a failed novelist (Andy Garcia) who, to make ends meet for his family, joins an escort agency (the Elysian Fields of the title) run by the Mick Jagger character, and in so doing becomes involved with the beautiful wife (Olivia Williams) of an elderly successful novelist (James Coburn).

The nostalgic mood music, Italian-style, of the opening track, ‘Like Your Defects’, is scored for piano and strings. Track two goes straight to ‘End Credits’ and has lazy Latin rhythms with bongos, guitars, a throaty flute and a humming female vocalist who appears in numerous other tracks as the drama unfolds. ‘Make it Nathaniel’ has the main theme - a lovely lush romantic waltz for strings with guitar – the sort of old fashioned melody associated with Hollywood Silver Age romances. ‘Alcott’s Integrity’, for oboe and strings, adds a nostalgic glow with a dramatic interruption on bass strings. ‘Into the Car’ has the piano in a remote key with dissonance and the odd slurred lower string ostinato to suggest unwelcome disturbance. ‘Face to Face’ is yearning strings while ‘Going Home Alone’ and ‘When do We/Betrayed’ spins the dreaming and yearning further with lyrical trumpet and the vocalist again - but it ends sourly, a stinging guitar chord slipping discordantly on the wire. ‘Luther Rejected’ is as romantically melancholic as its title suggests with wailing trumpet, piano and strings. ‘Shattered Marriage’ and 'I’m Doing It for You’ sink further into gloomy regret and self-pity with drooping strings and guitar. ‘Byron’s First Date’ begins in trepidation with quivering strings before a more confident note is established. ‘Book of the Month’ - those quivering strings and guitar dissonance signal not too hopeful anticipation? ‘Byron Destroys’ brings darker material and the pace momentarily quickens; the mood becomes almost horrific.

The score changes markedly in mood and coloration. ‘Make it to Nathaniel, Intro’ spells isolation with the music in remote keys, there is dissonance and destabilisation on guitars and strings. ‘Byron Sees Dena’ has a subdued, almost oriental prayer-like effect quivering in the background. ‘I Gotta Go’ has the vocal, trumpet blues and the romantic theme on piano but blurred as though perceived through a veil. Eastern music pervades ‘In Bed’ suggestive of music of the desert with vocal wailing and bass thuds. ‘Inner Sanctum’ extends the exotic influence with little bells and sitar so that the influence is moves into a more Indian style. These exoticisms are becoming clichéd and used incongruously more often than not.

‘Alcott Dead’ is menacing and disturbing, then tragic; a mood of regret is then established with a melancholy piano solo. Yet another style emerges with the ‘Main Title’ placed at the end of the album with mixed guitars placed across the sound stage in counterpoint and country style.

A nice old-fashioned lush romantic theme is the main attraction in this slow-tempo, workmanlike score that embraces a variety of styles.

Ian Lace

*** 3

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