Latest reviews of new albums:
  • walk_spring_rainComposed by Elmer Bernstein
  • Varese Sarabande CD Club VCL-0909-1100 / 2009 / 34:01

In the twilight of his career, Elmer Bernstein scored a film with deliberately old-fashioned sensibilities, in a deliberately old-fashioned style – Far From Heaven.  It turns out that he’d already done just that, as early as 1970, in A Walk in the Spring Rain.I haven’t seen the film, but it seems to be a rally against prevailing trends in Hollywood at the time (more sex, more violence, more bad language, etc).  Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn star as a couple finding romance with each other relatively late in life.  Bergman was tempted back to Hollywood after many years away, so drawn was she to the film’s attempt to recreate what people loved about cinema in her own glory days.

Bernstein’s music is delightful.  It casts warm hues from the moment it starts, with a lovely main title song written by Bernstein with Don Black and sung by Michael Dees.  The score has hints of various Bernstein classics, with typically strong writing for a relatively small orchestra, focusing on strings and winds.  He was always such a strong composer for more chamber-sized orchestras, able to extract such wonderful colours.  There are a couple of beautiful themes here, some sumptuous Coplandesque summery bluster, some tender music in more dramatic moments.  It’s a short score (just over half an hour) and a few cues are of the source music variety and don’t fit in with the score, but it’s a little gem from Bernstein, highly recommended. ****

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