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Monday, February 05, 2007

CD REVIEW - Black Book

Black Book
Music by Anne Dudley
Milan 399051-2 (EU)
23 Tracks 55:50 mins

After the not entirely deserved savaging director Paul Verhoeven got for his last American picture Showgirls, it has taken him a while to lick his wounds and return to the fray. He has however always been an interesting and entertaining filmaker and I for one am glad to see him return to form with this World War II drama, filmed and released in his native Holland.
Of course his regular American composer collaborators, Jerry Goldsmith and Basil Poledouris are sadly no longer with us, so he would have had to choose a new composer, regardless of whether his film was American or European in origin. He chose British composer Anne Dudley.
The album starts off with four songs, very much of the period, one in English, the other three in German, and all performed by Carice Van Houten. Only then does Dudley's orchestral score kick in, commencing with "Rachel's Theme," which has a somewhat lonely feel, with an underlying tragedy to it. Following the main character through her dangerous adventures, working undercover for the Dutch Resistance, the theme crops up, sometimes quite dramatically on strings, throughout the subsequent score. Unfortunately, the theme is never really developed to its fullest and therefore doesn't linger long in the brain. Indeed, this is one of those functional, yet I am sure effective, scores that doesn't draw attention to itself and therefore fails to hold the interest on disc. Yes, it has some menacing and dramatic moments, but these are seldom sustained for very long. I haven't yet seen the film, and feel this is one of those scores that will only be fully appreciated having done so.


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