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Sunday, February 18, 2007

CD REVIEW - Miss Potter

Miss Potter
Music by Nigel Westlake with additional music by Rachel Portman
Dramatico DRAMCD0024 (EU)
15 Tracks 42:33 mins

So far as I can see this is a biopic of the famous childrens' author/illustrator, with fantasy elements (her drawings come alive) and stars Rene Zellweger, once more putting on her best English accent, together with Ewan McGregor as her love interest.
The majority of the score is by Australian composer Nigel Westlake, with three additional tracks from the pen of English composer Rachel Portman. Just why this is I have been unable to ascertain and, whilst both composers' music combine pretty well, there are obvious stylistic differences.
Obviously Westlake's music spans much of the film and it is mostly suitably light and magical, particularly early on, with a quite charming and catchy main theme, which is always welcome when introduced within the score, finally being turned into a song at the end of the disc, with Mike Batt and Richard Maltby Jr providing the lyrics. Unfortunately however, the choice of Katie Melua to perform it is a wrong one as the song obviously doesn't suit her, and she struggles with it from start to finish. I would love to hear it performed by somebody more suited to it.
I am not familiar with the intricacies of the film's plot, but would imagine Miss Potter has a failed romance, descending into gloom as a result. Westlake and Portman's music reflect this in the desolate "Return to London" and the initial sadness and then anxiety of "Beatrix Locks Herself Away." However sunlight peeps through in "Recovery" and then the hopeful "I'm Painting Again."
Apart from "Beatrix Locks Herself Away," Portman's other two cues are quite similar in construction, opening tentatively before bursting forth and flowing to a conclusion, in her own inimitable style.
A very pleasant listening experience overall then, but I'd like to know why it was necessary to employ two composers, when either seem perfectly capable of writing this score.


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