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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Omen

The Omen
Music by Marco Beltrami
Varese Sarabande VSD 6736 (EU)
20 Tracks 54:06 mins

I've read mixed reviews of this reworking of the beloved classic horror film from the '70s (if beloved can ever really be the right term for a horror film). Frankly, although it looks a pretty faithful interpretation from clips I have seen, I find it hard to believe it can match up to the original, despite all today's advances in filmmaking.
At least, from the evidence of this album, the filmmakers made the right choice in Marco Beltrami for the score. Obviously, Marco already has a pretty fair pedigree in the genre, but in addition he is also a student of the original's great composer, Jerry Goldsmith, whose only Oscar came for his score to this film. But, whilst there are hints of Goldsmith's original score, they are just that, Beltrami coming up with his own still valid approach to the score - an approach that does utilise choir, but often very subtly, as opposed to his mentor's choir-driven approach.
Beltrami's music does indeed push all the right buttons. It is appropriately dark and threatening, but also has its necessary share of menacing action cues, often rhythmically driven in homage to Goldsmith. There are however tender moments, but the lullaby-like theme he introduces in "The Adoption," is surprisingly less like Goldsmith than it is like something John Barry might have composed.
To please fans of the original score, the final album track "Omen 76/06 is an arrangement, by Beltrami and Bill Boston, of some of Goldsmith's material, including his famous "Ave Satani," but they disappointingly choose to end the track in very modern electronic way.
A pretty fair effort then by Beltrami, one that Goldsmith will probably smile down upon, but he can be safe in the knowledge that his score for the original will remain a well-loved favourite of all of us who treasure excellent and groundbreaking film music.


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