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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Swimmer

The Swimmer
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Film Score Monthly Vol.9 No.5 (U.S.)
11 Tracks 35:57 mins

Marvin Hamlisch's score for this troubled 1968 production, starring Burt Lancaster in one of his most challenging roles, has to be one of the finest debut scores ever. I'd like to think that this was due to Hamlisch's ability as a composer; after all he did go on to write the splendid Sophie's Choice and the best non-John Barry Bond film score before David Arnold became attached to the series. He did however have very capable assistance in the form of Leo Shuken and jack Hayes, who were veteran collaborators of the likes of Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein; and I think it is fair to say that there is something of a Bernstein feel to parts of the score. The melodies however are Hamlisch's and include the melancholy main theme "Send for Me in Summer" and the secondary "limbo theme," both of which make their presence felt throughout the album's cues. Other themes are introduced, sometimes initially as source music, but later transformed into dramatic underscore.
It's rare when every cue on an album has something to offer, but this is definitely the case here. Highlights for me include the dynamic "Hurdles;" the source cue "Lovely Hair," with its fantastic trumpet bridge; and especially the final two cues, the first of which is six minutes of the most dramatic and powerful scoring you will ever hear, before the reprise of the main theme brings a soaring conclusion to a great score.
The album, though one of FSM's briefest, is in fact expanded from the original LP release, and is accompanied by the usual splendidly detailed booklet, with notes on the film and score, as well as the invaluable cue-by-cue guide. A must-have for any serious film music collector!


Post a Comment

<< Home