April 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

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

index page/ monthly listings / April /


Serpico  
Music composed by Mikis Theodorakis
  Available on FM Records FM 1486 (UPN 5-201364-714861)
Running time: 32.41
Available from: http://www.fmrecords.net; email :info@fmrecords.net

serpico

See also: Captain Correli's Mandolin

Now here's a very pleasant surprise; a newly digitally remastered version of this all-time classic soundtrack by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. This great new and repackaged digipack version of the original soundtrack comes straight from the home country of Theodorakis (Greece) and FM Records. This cd is actually the fourth in a series of six new releases from FM Records, the other five being Iphigenia, Electra, State of Siege, Phaedra, Z (this last of which is also reviewed this month on FMOTW) all original soundtracks composed by Theodorakis.

One realizes immediately that the record label put a lot of effort and time into this release. It contains full credits and information (in Greek and English) about the modern classic Serpico, a film which deals with corruption in the New York police (directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Al Pacino, based on the book by Peter Maas and released in 1973). It also contains some very special and unique photographs from the movie, the movie's production and one nice photo of the composer. Also featured are some notes from Theodorakis about how he became involved with the project and through that one learns some really interesting details.

'Theme from Serpico' introduces the lovely main melody which goes through several variations in the course of the score, being at different times arranged for wind instruments, mandolin, violins, guitar and full symphony orchestra. 'Honest Cop' is an upbeat and vivid jazz piece performed by guitar, saxophone, trumpet (and muted trumpet), a rather active bass guitar and drums that create the sound and atmosphere a good and experienced jazz band might produce.

The tracks that follow continue in the same easy listening musical style. In 'Shoe Shop' we get a nice rendition of the main theme by the flute, trumpet and piano. 'On the Streets' it's a faster, more upbeat and little strange variation of the main theme, with excellent bass guitar and drums work. The mood changes abruptly in 'Flashback', with lovely and sad melodies from the guitar, violin and wind instruments. In about 01.30 the music becomes intense and dark, the mood relaxing for a fabulous performance of the main theme by the mandolin towards the end of the cue.

'Laurie's Fable' is another version of the main theme, scored for mandolin, guitar and wind instruments. 'Disillusion' is a dark, sad and slow piece followed by the real highlight of this album, 'End of Title' which starts in quite melancholic mood with the piano, violin and guitar and ends with a flawless and uplifting performance of the main theme by the mandolin and the full orchestra. Standout tracks are the main and closing titles, 'On the Streets' and 'Flashback', and some of them (especially those with the mandolin and guitar) remind us of the Captain Corelli's Mandolin original score by Stephen Warbeck released much later, in 2001.

In Conclusion, this soundtrack consists of a strong and memorable main theme (and a secondary one, clearly heard in track.1 between the first and second performance of the main theme), some darker and sad moments but mostly pleasant easy listening and relaxing music that successfully combines jazz and a more classical style into a coherent whole that keeps the listener interested and satisfied. An excellent new package and fine sound quality.

Demetris Christodoulides

**** 4

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