Monday, November 18, 2013

Murder On the Orient Express..Original by Richard Rodney Bennett

Not only was this 1974 movie a brilliant adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's most famous novels, but the score by Richard Rodney Bennett also scored a nomination for Best Original Dramatic Score. A moving and stirring score, this one evokes all the emotions and drama of the unfolding story on screen. review
A Brilliant Score Beautifully Recorded...For MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, Richard Rodney Bennett could have arranged a 1930's pastiche score and left it at that. Instead, he created an entirely original score, by turns melodious and atonal, to enhance the classic murder mystery on screen. The Overture certainly does, to quote Bennett himself, "give one the sense of excitement and anticipation that one felt in the theatre, as a child, before the curtain went up," while the main theme of "The Orient Express" combines a joyous waltz with an ominous woodwind motif that tells of dark deeds to come. "The Reenactment" and "The Murder" consist of some of the eeriest music ever heard in a film (as frightening - if not more so - as much of Bernard Herrmann's score for PSYCHO). 

At other times, the score is impressionistically beautiful, as in the Puccini-esque "Stamboul Ferry." Bennett impressively handles both music under dialogue (in "The Orient Express," for example, or "Princess Dragomiroff") and leitmotifs (the nervous string motif associated with the villain of the piece, acted by Richard Widmark). In short, this is a brilliant score. But what truly raises the soundtrack to the highest level is the grandly scaled playing of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, led by Marcus Dods. The 1974 recording matches the orchestra in quality, with each instrument clearly audible. Thus, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is a remarkable original soundtrack recording in more ways than one.



Saturday, November 16, 2013 from the motion picture...composed by Elliot Goldenthal

When I first watched this movie I was not only taken aback with the story, screenplay and acting, but the soundtrack just blew me away! The music is so refreshing and diverse and gives one an insight into Mexican and Latin American music. It fits in perfectly with the movie and is a joy to listen to on its own. If you like world music then this will delight (if not, you can start liking right here). review
She was famous as both artist and model, infamous as political revolutionary and social libertine, and Frida Kahlo's controversial life couldn't help but seem the stuff of great musical theater. Her story is brought to the screen by director Julie Taymor, whose musical compatriot here is also her husband; Elliot Goldenthal, student of both Copland and Corigliani, shrewdly sublimates his modernism in service of the rich, evocative music and songs of Mexico and Central America. Utilizing performers that range from the contemporary (Lila Downs) to the folk-classic (Costa Rican legend Chavela Vargas; Brazilian star Caetano Veloso) and traditional (Los Cojolites, El Poder Del Norte, Trio Huasteca, Caimanes de Tanquin, and others), Goldenthal generously displays the true breadth of Mexican folk music, while seamlessly infusing it with the minimalist corners of his own underscore and some winning songwriting of his own. The result is one of 2002's most compelling soundtracks. The enhanced CD features include musical film excerpts, as well as a video conversation between Goldenthal and star Salma Hayek and text interviews with the composer and director Taymor. --Jerry McCulley