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Inventing the Abbotts
  • Composed by Michael Kamen
  • Unforscene Music / 1997 / 44m

A romantic coming-of-age drama set in the 1950s, Inventing the Abbotts was an early film for its now-famous cast, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connely, Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup.  It got reasonable reviews but did little business at the box office and, a decade and a half later, is largely forgotten.  The score came from the great Michael Kamen, seemingly making a real effort to avoid action films at that point of his career having made his name on them earlier on.  The album opens with “On Springfield Mountain”, a beautiful new arrangement of the folk song (one of the earliest American folk songs) with largely new lyrics and an arrangement by Kamen which features all the trademark panache he brought to so many film songs over the years; Tara MacLean’s vocal performance is beautiful.

The score itself is a somewhat unusual mix of traditional dramatic scoring and what is essentially instrumental rock and roll, not quite sounding of the period the film is set but it’s catchy and enjoyable and, in the case of “Lacey and Eleanor”, very pretty.  That sound actually dominates the early part of the album before what might be termed “the proper score” begins in the seventh track, “Picnic”, a beautiful piano-led piece of sad drama incorporating hints of the “On Springfield Mountain” melody, which becomes essentially the score’s main theme.  It is developed further in the superb “The Barn”, a passionate piece of romance.  There’s a hint of Bernard Herrmann or Elmer Bernstein about the strings-only “Boathouse”, a choppy and dramatic piece, and that continues in “Reinventing the Abbotts”.  This is a beautiful, very little-known score, not a Kamen classic by any means but I imagine most of the composer’s fans would really like it.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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  1. MacmIllan Flakes (Reply) on Sunday 3 March, 2013 at 09:36

    I remember this movie.

    And when I say movie I mean the scene where Jennifer Connely gets her norks out.

    As for the music, I saw this flick before I started noticing film music, so I’m afraid it’s just the heaving titten for me.