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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Music by Christopher Young
For Your Consideration: Best Original Score CD
14 Tracks 49:21 mins

Whilst best known for his horror/thriller scores, Christopher Young has shown himself to be more than capable of composing for any genre. Witness his work for director Jon Amiel, which encompasses the crime thriller Copycat, the spy spoof The Man Who Knew Too Little, the caper movie Entrapment, and the sci-fi blockbuster The Core. Amiel's latest is of another genre still, the story of Charles Darwin and his controversial book "The Origin of Species," written partly as a reaction to the loss of his precious daughter. Darwin is played by the excellent Paul Bettany, with his real life spouse, Jennifer Connelly as his on-screen God-fearing wife, whose own reaction to the tragedy and to her husband's book causes conflict in the marriage.
The film has already played in UK cinemas to mixed critical reaction, but is due to open in select theatres in Los Angeles and New York on January 22nd.
I am indebted to Christopher Young's publicists, Costa Communications, for allowing me to preview the composer's large orchestral score, prior to its release next month on the Lakeshore Records label. It is certainly one of his more melodious, emotional and intimate works, and its title track opens with a gorgeous, yet yearning violin solo, joined by the orchestra, which gets things off to a lovely start. "Princess in the Sky" follows, with piano leading the orchestra in a delicate and beautiful waltz theme. The theme continues in more melancholy mode for "Unity in Form," with solo clarinet, giving way to an off-kilter piano variation. "Cunning Gunning" takes the theme in a flowing, airy direction, but is followed initially by more melancholia in "Pleasure Perfect," but the track soon takes on a lighter, then increasingly purposeful tone. The purposeful feel continues in "To Emma," though, as it proceeds, the track again takes a more melancholy turn. Ascending and descending string clusters give "Partly Part" a really heartbreaking quality, before solo violin brings things to a more positive and peaceful conclusion. There's a feeling of urgency and expectancy to "The Treatment at Malvern," giving way to the grim "The Struggle for Survival," with its almost unbearable tension.
"The Giant Sloth of Punta Alta" offers welcome relief, with a new, enlightened melody for piano and orchestra. This is followed by the questing "Fuegan Children" which, half way through takes a surprising Celtic turn, before proceeding in almost comical fashion. After this lighthearted interlude, matters turn grim again with "You've Killed God, Sir," as Darwin's theories cause considerable controversy and disdain.
The penultimate track, "Knowing Everything I Know Now" offers much hopefulness and a genuine feeling of enlightenment, leading to the final and longest track on the album, "Humility and Love," where the orchestra positively soars, before reprising both the "Princess in the Sky" and "Creation" themes.
This has to be one of the most beautiful scores to hit the big screen in a good while and, assuming it will be properly represented, as here, on the forthcoming Lakeshore release, I can highly recommend it to those of you who delight in melodious film music. And I do hope Academy members will take time to listen to this promo, as it's certainly well deserving of a nomination.


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