CD REVIEW - AN EDUCATION
Music by Paul Englishby & various artists
DECCA 270 8224 (EU)
20 Tracks 54:42 mins
The Nick Hornby-scripted An Education won both the Audience Choice and Cinematography awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and upon its release in the UK is already gaining much critical acclaim here as well. The film, sets in 1960s England, stars relative newcomer Carey Mulligan as as 17-year-old girl, in love with all things French, whose romance with an older man (Peter Sarsgaard) opens her eyes to a whole world outside the path to education she was taking.
The soundtrack includes much music of the time, both homegrown and international in flavour, this album reflecting the diversity with the inclusion of original numbers by the likes of Floyd Cramer, Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Brenda Lee and Percy Faith, as well as French-language songs by Juliette Greco. There's even a place for the beloved Percy Faith recording of Max Steiner's "Theme from A Summer Place." Alongside these, there are also covers and originals by Beth Rowley, Melody Gardot, Duffy and Madeleine Peyroux.
As for the film's orchestral score, this is provided by Paul Englishby, who is given just five tracks on the album, totalling a little under 11 minutes. His first contribution is the delicate, clarinet-lead romance of "David and Jenny," followed by "Waltz in the Street," which is pretty self-explanatory, if a little more subdued than one might expect. The sunny opening to the title track quickly gives way to tender, subdued piano, before blossoming forth again and moving excitedly to a close. This is followed by "The Letters," which, after another subdued piano opening, proceeds in very downbeat fashion. Englishby's final track, "Jenny's Theme," for solo piano, speaks of innocence, beauty and optimism. All in all, these few brief offerings, while more than welcome, just leave one wanting more, and wondering again why many record labels can't see that score fans don't want songs and those wanting the songs seldom want score, so that, in the end, this kind of release pleases no one.
The accompanying booklet includes notes on the music by Hornby and the film's director Lone Scherfig, together with music credits and plenty of stills.