Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Music by Craig Armstrong & A R Rahman
Universal Classics & Jazz 1745187 (EU)
20 Tracks 48:40 mins

Recently released in U.K. cinemas is the third in what may possibly be a trilogy of films from director Shekhar Kapur on the life of Queen Elizabeth I. His original film concentrated on the young Elizabeth and starred a then pretty well unknown Cate Blanchett. Now Blanchett reprises the role, taking us through Elizabeth's struggles with King Philip of Spain. Should the third film get made, again probably after a few years gap to allow for more maturing on Miss Blanchett's part, it will tell of the final years of her reign.
The music score for the first film, provided by Aussie David Hirschfelder, really didn't do that much for me and was perhaps too discrete and played second fiddle to source pieces, whereas this film boasts a score by Scot Craig Armstrong, in collaboration with Bollywood composer A R Rahman. Armstrong's familiar and often quite simple and straightforward style of scoring is here enhanced by Rahman's ethnic sensibilities, which results in a full-blown orchestral/choral score, with featured parts for violin, cello, woodwind and guitar, but also with much ethnic percussion and instruments such as duduk and dilruba, as well as a handful of vocal soloists. As an album it all makes for a pretty sataisfying listening experience, but I'm not really sure why a score for a film of this nature and subject should at times sound quite so ethnic.
Highlights include the exciting "War/Realisation" and "Battle;" a nice and very typical Armstrong love theme, presumably underlining Elizabeth's attraction to Clive Owen's Raleigh; the choral triumph of "Storm;" and the glorious, soaring "Closing."
The accompanying booklet includes notes from the director and both composers, as well as colour stills from the film.


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