November 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

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

index page/ monthly listings / November /

Music composed by Graham Fitkin
  Graham Fitkin and Ruth Wall (keyboards)
  Available on Black Box BBM1086
Running Time: 62:39
Crotchet   Amazon UK

kaplan fitkin

This disc must be one of the most enigmatic ever issued. Its conceit is that it is based on the non-existent character George Kaplan from Hitchcock’s North Northwest. In the film, Kaplan was a character invented by U.S, security forces in their attempt to trap a foreign spy ring. Unfortunately the Cary Grant character blundered into their plot and the spies immediately, and mistakenly, identified him as Kaplan.

Any reference to the Bernard Herrmann score, heavily influenced by a fandango style, for North by Northwest is purely coincidental and too subtle for this reviewer to fathom. The non-existent notes only add further to the enigma. The track listings are: K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, K6 and K7.

K1 opens with bell chimes and bell harmonics that suggest to me Vertigo more - remember those climactic scenes in the bell tower? Synth sounds abound mixed in with conventional instrumentation timbres (strings, piano, harpsichord (K5) etc). Heavy dramatic punctuations might be interpreted as gun shots and desperate plot corners. Jazz and minimalism are major styles throughout, and the frantic pace of many tracks might remind one of the equally frenetic pacing of the screenplay while the odd calm moment could be suggestive of the romance between Grant and the rather forward yet mysterious Eve Marie Saint character. Melody in K5 is subjugated to a pressing bass crescendo that suddenly turns into a Latin chant below a yearning high string top line. Concrete, industrial type noises open K6 – the most disappointing track – we’ve heard it all before in countless modern thrillers. Thankfully K7 concludes in serene resolution, spies thwarted and romance ascended and the music dances joyfully in celebration.

The best way to listen to this disc I guess is just to ignore the title and its implications and enjoy the extraordinary imaginative sound tapestries.

Ian Lace

***(*) 31/2

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