February 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

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

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Sylvia  
Music composed by Gabriel Yared
  Available On Varèse Sarabande VSD-6526
Running Time: 46.52
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sylvia

See also:
The English Patient
The Talented Mr Ripley

Gabriel Yared (The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley etc) delivers another affecting, melancholic and romantic score for a film which charts the tragic love story of American poet Sylvia Plath and her philandering husband, the poet laureate Ted Hughes.

'Opening' sets the mood of tragedy. It broods with cold remote piano chords that speak of that painful numbness which comes when love begins to sour. Later, in a remarkable track 'Seeds of Doubt' Yared eloquently expresses that tightening sensation as doubts multiply and scream at the hapless victim, wiry bass string figures spiralling round and round, ever tightening and violins buzzing like angry bees; it's a remarkable crescendo in torment.

Ultimate despair is reached towards the close of 'A Beautiful Dream' a dream turned to ashes. Lest one may imagine that this score is all gloom and doom, I would hasten to add that there are passages of warmth and tenderness when love flowers: 'Making Love' has a fresh pastoral appeal as though the lovers were lying side by side gazing up at birds flying across an azure sky. 'The Beach' is a nice evocation of a calm glittering sea, wavelets gently lapping the sea shore; yet the tenderness of the music has an edge of irresolution that does not bode well. In fact much of the romance in the music is expressed through a valse triste and there is much that is reminiscent of Ravel. This is one of those scores that develops well, such that some of the most affecting music is heard as late as the plaintive and poignant 'Don't Ever Leave Me'.

Not one of Yared's best, but still highly commendable.

Ian Lace

**** 4

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