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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CD REVIEW - LES NOTES DE LECRAN - The best of French film music VOL.3


LES NOTES DE LECRAN - The best of French film music VOL.3
Music by Vladimir Cosma
Cinefonia Records CFSAMP003 (France)
32 Tracks 66:66 mins

Releases in this series are certainly value for money, not just for the quality of the music featured, but for the length of each disc. Here we have another hour plus of fine music from two scores by Vladimir Cosma.
First up is 1989's Les Grandes Familles, for which the composer came up with yet another wonderful theme, first heard as the title track in a lovely, rhapsodic arrangement. This is followed by his secondary theme, first heard in "La valse de l'adieu" as a grand orchestral waltz. The remainder of the score is largely made up of variations on these two great themes, with the highlights being the tender, romantic arrangement of the main theme in "La vie est a nous;" another tender reading of the same theme, which becomes more dramatic as it progresses in "La palais des ambitieux;" a somewhat solemn variation on the waltz theme in "Vers le destin;" and a sunny concluding arrangement of the main theme in "Le gout du pouvoir." Along the way, there are the usual sprinkling of source cues, including a couple more waltzes for a small ensemble, a gypsy fiddle tune, a period dance and a polka. Another very nice orchestral score indeed.
The second score on the disc is a complete departure. 1978's Sam & Sally is a largely electronic score, very much of its time, but with another extremely catchy main theme, which is put through plenty of variations, starting with the urgent arrangement over the titles, going through a laid-back arrangement in "Tendre Sam;" a swinging, brassy variation in "Le lit baladeur," and a quirky sax-lead waltz variation in "Lily Java." "Le Moulin desert" is another quirky little mover for guitars and Jews harp, as is the very '70s synth-lead mover "Exkalibur." By complete contrast is the sultry sax-lead dance number "Slow love," and the flowing guitar tune "Rencontre en Sicile," that closes the album.
I really hope that this series continues and that it can maintain the high standards achieved by the first three volumes. I don't see what it shouldn't, in view of the wonderful melodic riches provided by the likes of Delerue and Cosma, to name just two, over the years. In the meantime, if you enjoy melodic film music, you can't go wrong with these three volumes, available from the label's website at http://www.cinefonia.com/. What are you waiting for?

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