Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



Mark McKENZIE Durango   OST City of Prague Philharmonic  INTRADA MAF 7087 [46:56]




Durango is about a cattle drive, no not in the Wild West but across Ireland in the 1940s. Mark McKenzie’s charming ebullient score blends heroic and romantic surging western styles (very reminiscent of James Horner’s main theme for Legends of the Fall) with traditional Irish music.

The film has not, to the best of my knowledge, reached the UK yet so I know nothing of its plot. Looking at the CD booklet, however, one of the illustrations shows the outside of a store or pub/saloon looking just like a frontier town saloon and its called ‘Durango’ so maybe the cattle drive begins or ends there? Being set in 1940, presumably the film also includes some conflict of interests because of the war raging elsewhere. Those interests could be either German or British or both; remember Eire was independent of the conflict. (This threat manifests itself first in the cue, ‘The Journey Begins’ and more strongly in ‘Fire’ with its air of menace and relentless military drum beats.)

McKenzie’s score is mostly string-based giving it a warm pastoral and nostalgic glow.

He also uses traditional Irish instruments: bodhran drums, uilleann pipes, penny whistle, recorders and pan pipes. There are some nice touches - the unspoilt Irish countryside of the old jaunting car is evoked in the rhythms of the Main Title, and in ‘Elope’ the harp gently whispers the love theme that will surge out as ‘Mark and Annie’s Love Theme.’ ‘Haunted Hill’ blends nobility with some eerie string tones and harp chords to suggest some fairy magic. Many tracks include Irish folk material, jigs etc.

If you liked Mark Isham’s score for A River Runs Through It and Thomas Newman’s music for The Horse Whisperer, you will love this one even though it is rather derivative and repetitive


Ian Lace

An aside. So many of films we see about Ireland tend to show the Ireland that is no more, they give an impression of neglect, poverty and general backwardness. Nothing could be further from the truth of the Ireland of today. The Republic is booming; it is the fastest growing economy in Europe. Galway is the fastest growing city in Europe with investment pouring into new technology, medicine and education – more than 50% of the City’s population is aged below 30. In Dublin the demand for housing is so great that, recently, an eight-house development was completely sold within 8 hours of it appearing on the market – the houses sold for £1 million each! They had just 4 bedrooms!


Ian Lace

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