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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Return to Eden
Music by Brian May
BSX Records BSXCD 8666 (US)
19 Tracks 42:58 mins

There was a time, back in the '80s, when the TV mini-series ruled, mainly in the States, where one fabulous production followed another, but Australia also had a go, and one of their most successful was the 3-part Return to Eden; so successful in fact that it spawned a weekly series.
Composer for both the original mini-series and the weekly show was the late Brian May (no, not the one from Queen). May first came to our attention with his scores for the original Mad Max movies, which of course launched Mel Gibson into the stratosphere, and went on to write serviceable scores for not only many an Australian production, but also a good many international ones too, before his untimely death in 1997 at just 63 years of age.
Varese Sarabande released an LP of his music from Return to Eden, but this 1000 unit limited edition is a welcome CD debutant, and features music from both the mini-series and subsequent weekly show.
Performed by the Melbourne Studio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the composer, it's a very listenable, if somewhat firmly rooted in the '80s, album, with a strong main theme, propulsive, yet rhapsodic, first heard in the opening "Main Titles." There's much drama to follow in "The Return to Eden" and the desperate "Fire & Fight," before the main theme returns in "Problem for Dan and Steff," though this too takes on dramatic variations as the cue intensifies. A huge horn fanfare opens "Lord of All," with dramatic rumblings from timpani and stabbing brass leading into more tense and disturbing dramatics. The main theme makes a more welcome, uptempo return in "Big Business," but this is just a brief respite before more disturbing drama in "Jill's Crack-Up," the mood continuing into "Tara's Love Theme," before rhapsodic piano and strings introduce this sunny new theme, which soars to a close.
"Harper's Mansion" opens mysteriously, with a repeating piano theme, taken up by harp, before the mood softens somewhat, though retaining a little tension until the end. "A Man Not a Boy" follows, and again displays a certain tension, which continues into "Confrontation," before timpani and brass combine to provide closing conflict. "Croc Attack" actually starts quite sunnily, before May introduces his own Jaws-like attack motif, leading to a desperate concluding struggle. The rhapsodic piano and strings return for "Steff Meets Jake," but then it's back to the suspense for "Corporate Espionage." "Greg Returns" opens sympathetically, but then builds dramatically on timpani to more intrigue, which continues in "Scheming Jilly."
"Angelo's Theme" initially appears quite righteous, but grows steadily darker as the track continues towards the penultimate cue, "Night Interludes," where the suspense builds to a big timpani-driven climax. The concluding "Closing Titles" initially continue on from its predecessor, before the main theme returns and undergoes several variations, picking up a rhythm section along the way.
Randall D. Larson's introductory notes on the film and its composer accompany the disc. Check out the samples and order your copy from


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