Editorial: Also Received
All the Rivers Run (Bruce Rowland - BSX Records BSXCD 886; 42:29)
This is a pleasant, easy-going, ambling score for an
Australian TV series. Its opening track is full of folksy charm, its rhythms
cantering, and timp ostinati
reach back to those Big Country timp rolls of Jerome Morross. ‘The Love Theme of Deli and Brenton’ continues this mood of cosy
nostalgia while the opening of the River Theme is in its orchestration and mood
is typically Australian outback before saccharine nostalgia takes over.
‘Adagio in A minor’ is more introspective, dreaming over what might have
been? The rest of the album follows in much the same pattern with some
washboard whimsy for ‘Meet Cyrus’ and ‘Paddy Goes Overboard’, some romantic
waltzes, some nice humorous jazzy material in ‘Creeping around’ and ‘The
Automobile’ Harmonica and guitars are strongly featured in a few tracks. Some
pounding-hoof-turbulence enters with ‘The Horse Goes Bananas’. But generally
the ear quickly tires of the constant repeats of the main theme, its variations
rather thin. Nothing very original. An
album that will appeal mostly to avid fans of the TV series.
Duma (John Debney/ George Acogny – Varese Sarabande VSD 6701; 40:56)
For Duma, an inspiring tale
of friendship between a boy and a cheetah, acclaimed composer John Debney (The Passion of the Christ) teamed up with
the relatively unknown composer/arranger George Acogny.
The result is a tender, lullaby-like score with lots of fun ostinatos and a
good use of ethnic African percussion instruments. The ensemble is divided into
three sections, with rhythm/percussion as its ground element, a chamber-sized
string orchestra, and a small group of vocalists. It is a highly simplistic
effort that has some fine moments, especially through
‘Cute Kitten Montage’ and the wonderful climax that is ‘Leaving Rip’.
Mark Rayen Candasamy
Film Music by John Barry (John Barry - Silva Screen SILCD2002; 53.19)
This is one of two premiere titles in Silva Screen’s new Film
Music Masterworks series. Which is to say single discs as
functional as their titles, presented in minimal white packaging presumably
designed to stand out in the supermarket. The same tracks have been
endlessly recycled by Silva Screen before, most if not all having appeared on
previous Silva anthologies. There’s nothing wrong with the recordings, but
these discs are not aimed at film music buffs, rather at casual shoppers who
don’t already have these tracks and might buy them on a whim if they are conveniently
placed and cheap enough. A more or less random selection of famous John Barry
themes, across 14 tracks the music spans Zulu (1964) to Dances With Wolves (1990). Its perfectly serviceable, but
nothing to get excited about.
Film Music by Ennio Morricone (Ennio Morricone - Silva Screen SILCD2003; 53.19)
The second of two premiere titles in Silva Screen’s Film
Music Masterworks series is the more redundant of the two. If it seemed there’s
already a lot of John Barry compilations out there for this album’s sister
release to compete with, then this CD has even more of an uphill climb, for if
there’s one type of album the market is glutted with, it’s Morricone
compilations! The track listing draws from the most recognizable work Morricone has done, starting with the Leone films (seven of
the fourteen tracks), with the most recent titles being The Mission (1986)
and The Untouchables (1987). All are culled from the two-disc Once
Upon a Time…: The Essential Ennio Morricone
Film Music Collection (SILCD 1165 – reviewed here by Gary Dalkin), a collection of average performances by the City of Prague Philharmonic that
at least had the benefit of some interesting inclusions.
With so much emphasis on the spaghetti western material
here, the discrepancy of execution to the original is more in evidence than
ever – ‘Man with a Harmonica’ is appalling, a ominous album opener. The more
romantic ‘Deborah’s Theme’ and ‘Jill’s Theme’ are better executed. But Morricone’s music has been compiled many times, both the
original performances with all their zany genius, and re-recordings supervised
by the Maestro, and it hardly seems like there’s a place for this album save in
the supermarket. Yo Yo Ma’s
collaborative album with Morricone on Sony Classical
or Silva’s own release mentioned above would seem to be a much better place to
start, even if the prices are a bit higher. Not for the serious collector.
Music Inspired by Da Vinci (Jan Kisjes – Sony BMG 82876822362; 45.48)
This is this issue’s bandwagon jumper. Decca might have Hans
Zimmer’s soundtrack to the film of The Da Vinci
Code, but Sony are feeling ‘inspired’. This isn’t film music, and the album
arrived unsolicited. The music is by Jan Kisjes and
it sounds like a blend of a contemporary pop stage musical, Enigma’s
electronically processed chanting monks and Clannad’s
electro-Celtic ambience. It’s a world removed from the Gothic tension one might
expect. More insipid than inspired.
Tsotsi(Zola, Mark Kilian/Paul Hepker, various – Milan M2-36166; 68.24)
This is the original soundtrack album to the recent Oscar winner
for Best Foreign Language film about poverty and crime in contemporary South Africa.
The album blends contemporary African music with a short score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker. The songs
are mostly by Zola, and are done in style of rap called Kwaito
– beat-driven, energetic, with occasionally explicit language. Songs by Unathi, Pitch Black and others aren’t always in this style,
but certainly don’t clash with it. The score selections are spread over five
short tracks (six if you count the instrumental by Vusi
Mahlasela), and feature female vocalist (Vusi Mahlasela), viola,
percussion, and small choir. The material is simple and emotional, though
certainly restrained. Unless you’re particularly attracted to kwaito, this disc is not recommended – rather Alberto
Iglesias’s The Constant Gardener is worth checking out.