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Thursday, November 18, 2010


Composer Aaron Zigman's sixth collaboration with director Tyler Perry is on Lionsgate's For Colored Girls, which is based on Ntozake Shange's Tony and Obie award-winning choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf, and stars Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington.
Along with his underscore, Zigman composed "La Donna in Viola," an aria he composed "for one of the film's most pivotal and emotionally-charged scenes." Zigman says: "The idea of the aria was to capture the essence of Ntozake Shange's poetry and incorporate it into an Italian libretto."
The composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me a promotional disc of Zigman's score, which plays for just over 40 minutes. His haunting "Main Title" theme features the composer on piano and expressive violin playing by no less than Joshua Bell. It's a lovely piece, tinged with sadness, but with a bridge that holds the promise of happier things. The mood is continued into "Double Poem," where flute alternates with Zigman's piano. The troubled "It Makes Sense" and "Alice in Hospital" follow, and then comes the aria, with vocals by Karen Slack, Andrea Jones-Sojola and chorus. The aria's main theme is then taken up by smoky, trumpet-lead jazz combo in "Lady in Purple." We return to more downbeat territory with "Kelly's Pyramid" and the dramatic "Babies."
The main theme makes a welcome return for "Frank Frank," with the smoky trumpet alternating with more conventional woodwind solos. The trumpet is retained for the downbeat "NYLA Alley," but there's hope to be found later in "I Ask Myself" and "I Found Joy."
The penultimate track, "Yasmin's Poem" is a delicate affair, and is followed by the "End Title," for which Zigman's piano and Bell's violin return, before a sunny orchestral finish.
Zigman's score is a fine effort and is very deserving of a commercial recording, but at least the aria is featured on the soundtrack album, released by Atlantic Records, along with vocal performances from the likes of Estelle, Gladys Knight, Macy Gray, Nina Simone and Leona Lewis. Let's just hope that a score release is forthcoming from some enterprising label. This is certainly a score that deserves to be heard.
Incidentally, you can watch a video interview with the composer, in which he talks about his music for For Colored Girls, at


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