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Thursday, March 02, 2006

CD REVIEWS:- Hostel and Tristan & Isolde

Music by Nathan Barr
Varese Sarabande VSD-6710 (EU)
23 Tracks 43:11 mins

Having written a country-rock score for last year's Dukes of Hazzard remake, Nathan Barr shows his versatility here by writing a good old-fashioned, over-the-top horror score for Hostel.
Strangely the album starts off with a "Suite," which actually bears little resemblance to the rest of the score, starting with the composer's take on the Psycho main theme, which then gives way to something very similar to Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals. Thankfully, the rest of the score is more original, even if, as I say, old fashioned, in that it is a big orchestral score, very much unlike the majority of scores for modern-day horrors, which are often synths and samples efforts. There is much dark, eerie and threatening music, but also some impressively menacing action. In quieter moments, a dreamy theme appears with wordless female vocal. One of the best horror scores I've heard in a long time, especially if not taken too seriously.

Tristan & Isolde
Music by Anne Dudley
Varese Sarabande VSD-6713 (EU)
24 Tracks 53:00 mins

Ignorant I may be, but I know nothing of the Tristan & Isolde story. Judging from the score, it must be something of a tragic-romance, for Anne Dudley's music for the film seldom excites and is mostly low-key, and filled with mystery, sadness and bittersweet romantic music. There are a couple of bouncy movers, like "A Different Land," and some action here and there, particularly noteworthy in "Ambush in the Forest," but overall it is a score that just failed to hold my interest.
Ms Dudley herself takes the piano lead on the love theme, which receives its best workout in "Love So Alike," the track ending with a violin solo by Julian Leaper. The latter's solos crop up from time to time in the score, which is also flavoured with Celtic flutes and harp, and Irish fiddle.
Maybe I'll like the score more when I get to see the film but, on disc, it's a disappointment.


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