August 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

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

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Updated Review:

The Notebook  
Original Music by Aaron Zigman
plus source music*
  Available on New Line Records NLR 39031
Running Time: 66:59
Amazon UK   Amazon US


* Source Music:

  • 'I'll be seeing You' (Sammy Fain/Irving Kahl) sung by Billie Holiday
  • 'Alabamy Home' (Dave Ringle/Duke Ellington) performed by Duke Ellington
  • 'Always & Always' (Chet Forrest/Edward Ward/Bob Wright) performed by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra
  • 'A String of Pearls' (Jerry Gray) performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra
  • 'Diga Diga Doo' (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) performed by Rex Stewart and the Ellingtonians
  • 'One O'Clock Jump' (Count Basie) performed by Benny Goodman and his Orcherstra

A significant proportion of this album is given over to source music appropriate to the mid-20th century period and the Carolinas location of this romantic film. The popular, jazz and country classics are listed above and need no comment from me.

As a contemporary (well as a child) to the period of the story and a fan of the unashamedly over-sweet romantic film scores of those days, I wallowed in the excesses of Aaron Zigman's 'Overture' perorations. Zigman uses a large orchestra of almost 100 players, so you can imagine the big sweeping sound in those big perorations, music that grabs the heart and spirit. (It's repeated elsewhere at the climax of 'On the Lake' for instance). For me, it was like hearing Newman's music for Love is a Many Splendoured Thing or Steiner's for Since You Went Away for the first time all over again. A bitter-sweet nostalgic mood is sustained through Zigman's music and at several points he uses a baritone saxophone to heighten the period feel. Alas elsewhere there is too much reliance on the sort of melancholic piano and string meanderings that have become too much of a modern cliché.

Classic source music with an original score that is, at best, cast in the big romantic- sounding mould of such Golden Age composers as Steiner and Newman.

Ian Lace

*** (*) 31/2

Gary Dalkin adds:-

Very rarely do I find an album mixing score and songs works. Generally I prefer the two separated out into different sections on an album, or most likely given the often mediocre nature of songs used in films I prefer not to have them included at all. The Notebook is an exception in that the generally upbeat songs contrast with and compliment the more reflectively downbeat and nostalgic scoring. Here all the music is attractive, and together score and songs are very evocative of 1940's movie style romance. A delightful disc with some eloquent John Barry-esque romantic writing and songs which actually fit the movie and mood, rather than appear simply to fill the coffers and promote the latest talentless pop-rock-rap stars on the studio roster. Those who miss old fashioned movie romance could do a lot worse than take a look in this Notebook.

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