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Thursday, November 24, 2005


The Fly/The Fly II
Music by Howard Shore/Music by Christopher Young
Varese Sarabande VSD-6688 (EU)
Disc 1 - 23 Tracks 37:42 mins. Disc 2 - 12 Tracks 47:41 mins.

Coupled together are the scores, originally released separately by Varese Sarabande for the 1986 reimagining of the 1958 horror, The Fly, and its subsequent 1989 sequel.
Howard Shore's music for The Fly is big and operatic, especially so in the early tracks on the album and at its powerful conclusion, utilising canons (repetitive fugue-like musical figures) to good effect. There is very little sunshine to be found in this story of a scientific expeiment gone tragically wrong. The score seems much more ambitious in scope than much of Shore's music written for previous collaborations with director David Cronenberg, and also many of his scores that followed, for that matter, and perhaps it was therefore this score more than any other that got him the epic assignment that was to be the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
By contrast, Christopher Young's sequel score is typical of much of his early film work, paying close homage to the late Bernard Herrmann who, along with Jerry Goldsmith, haunted much of his music at the time. His main thematic material here is infused with rising brass and crashing cymbals, straight out of the Harryhausen fantasy films, and ethereal string writing ala Vertigo or Fahrenheit 451. He does however find his own voice in the lengthy Musca Domestica Metastasis, Accelerated Brundle Disease and Bartok Barbaro, all eerie and dissonant. In fact the score is a good companion to Young's two Hellraiser entries.
Accompanying the set is an eight-page booklet, with Jerry McCulley's essay on the films, featuring comments by Cronenberg, Shore and Young.

An Unfinished Life
Music by Deborah Lurie
Varese Sarabande VSD-6683
23 Tracks 35:42 mins.

For this modern western starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, Deborah Lurie, a new name to me, has come up with a very nice slice of Americana, with plenty of fiddle and guitar work on display, as well as sensitive piano. Most of the tracks are quite brief, which can be a little frustrating but, listening to the album as a whole, the music flows quite nicely. I certainly look forward to hearing more from this composer.

Music by Stephen Warbeck
Varese Sarabande VSD-6678
11 Tracks 41:59 mins.

Stephen Warbeck's score for this Anthony Hopkins/Gwyneth paltrow starrer is a surprise, in that I have never heard the composer take a minimalist approach before, but his guitars, strings and marimbas-driven music is very effective in a Philip Glass kind of way. Some sensitive piano, and melancholy string-work fills in the gaps, but one is always keeping an ear cocked for the return of the composer's flowing minimalism.


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