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Friday, April 13, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Deutsche Grammophon 00289 477 6552 (EU)
19 Tracks 54:35 mins

Alexandre Desplat's star continues to rise in Hollywood with his latest score for The Painted Veil, Somerset Maugham's 1920s-set story about an English couple on "a fateful journey of redemption" in China, winning him this year's Golden Globe.
His score for this picture is written in a somewhat minimalistic style, reminiscent of Philip Glass in some ways. Pianist ang Lang leads the Prague Symphony Orchestra, with contributions from Vincent Segal on electric cello giving the score a light Oriental touch, though the music in general doesn't reflect the location.
Many of early the tracks flow nicely along their way, supporting the film's striking images, but there are occasional breaks from this style, like the "River Waltz," heard first with piano and orchestra and then later on with piano only. "The Lovers" presents some nicely delicate romance, whilst "Death Convoy" is suitably doom-laden, ending sensitively. "Morning Tears" is a sad cello piece, with "Cholera" starting off as a desperate mover, before the cello rejoins and then full strings to provide a sad ending.
"Walter's Mission" is probably the most Oriental-sounding track, flowing along with support from flutes and percussion, becoming more purposeful, before delicate piano takes it to its conclusion.
I should imagine the film has a tragic ending, as, following the "Cholera" track, "The End of Love" begins with a grim processional, turns atonal and then ends with bittersweet harp and strings. "The Funeral" follows with its brief sad piano and strings, before "From Shanghai to London" sees a return to the flowing music heard in the opening title track.
Overall, it's an elegant score, and if you like the minimalist style, I daresay you'll find this an acceptable offering.


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