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Thursday, April 12, 2007

CD REVIEW - La Vie En Rose

La Vie En Rose
Music by Christopher Gunning + Songs by Edith Piaf
EMI 0946 3867822 9 (EU)
27 Tracks 72:42 mins

The publicity said that Olivier Dahan's biopic of legendary French songstress Edith Piaf was due to receive its UK premiere on March 29th, but it seemed to pass with little or no publicity, so I can only assume it went ahead as planned.
The film's generous soundtrack album was due for release on March 26th, and is a three-part collection of music from the film. The first 11 tracks feature classic performances by Piaf, and the last 7 selections feature other vocals and instrumentals used in the film. In between we have three versions of "Mon Legionnaire" by Raymond Assoand Marguerite Monnot, arranged and conducted by the film's score composer Christopher Gunning, whose original compositions form the remaining tracks, and clock in at just under 20 minutes. Not having seen the film of course, I cannot say just how much actual original scoring is present in the film, but Gunning always comes up with quality music and it's a shame there isn't more here to appreciate. Anyway, I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies in this day and age where song selections often dominate soundtrack releases, with one or two score tracks included, if we're lucky.
First Gunning cue is "L'Eveil, a dreamy little harp-driven waltz for mixed vocal group, with accordion playout."Lisieux" follows, a sad little piano piece with desolate strings. The suspenseful, then sad "Apparition" follows; then "L'ABC" which sounds lonely to start, but warms up to provide a rhapsodic ending. "L'Idylle" starts off light and breezy, but then transforms into a piano-lead lounge number to finish. The final score cue, "Derniere Night," is a lengthy piece, a variation on the theme introduced in "Lisieux," which becomes quite impassioned and tragic.
A nice, if suitably melancholy, score by Gunning then, with the Piaf classics undeniably powerful.


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