Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

CD REVIEW - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Petulia

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Petulia
Music by John Barry
Film Score Monthly Vol.8 No.20 (U.S.)
28 Tracks 79:48 mins

A pairing of John Barry scores from 1972 and 1968 respectively, premiering here on CD, and a very welcome release this is too.
Over the years Barry and oft-time collaborator lyricist Don Black have had mixed fortunes with musicals. Despite this 1972 production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland having an all-star cast of British acting and comic talent of the time, it sadly didn't catch on at the box office, but is a stable of British TV, being on again only recently.
The songs are actually quite entertaining, made more so, for the more mature British listener in particular, by the presence of the likes of Peter Sellers, Michael Crawford, Spike Milligan and Dudley Moore, although it is the three songs, Curiouser and Curiouser, I've Never Been This Far Before and The Me I Never Knew, peformed by the then young actress playing Alice, Fiona Fullerton, that are the most memorable, and all three are even better when presented as instrumental versions. The least successful songs are those based upon Lewis Carroll's own lyrics, but fortunately there are only a couple of these, and for the most part this is a highly entertaining and likeable album, with some classic Barry of the period on display.
Paired with this musical score is the score for the 1968 comedy Petulia, though from the music you would hardly know it to be a comedic film. The main theme, which is presented in a variety of arrangements is a melancholy affair indeed when played straight, despite the undulating winds that support it. It does however have the capacity to swing, as in one version with walking bass and fine trumpet solo, and to be slinky when performed slower with saxophone lead. Some dramatic score is included in the selections, mostly pretty bleak in feel, but the most effective music is that which the composer created as source music, like the dynamic Beat Girlish Highway 101; the cocktail lounge number Motel; the Mexican-flavoured Border Gate at Tijuana; and the laid-back Sax-lead Eat Topless.
As always, a colourful and informative booklet accompanies the CD, with a cue-by-cue guide to the scores. A worthwhile resurrection indeed for two neglected John Barry recordings.


Post a Comment

<< Home