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Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure
  • Composed by Miguel d’Oliveira
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 20m

Since 2008 British actress Joanna Lumley has made a number of Palinesque travelogues for ITV, the latest of which is Trans-Siberian Adventure in which she travels by train from Hong Kong to Moscow.  A warm and engaging presenter, she is perfectly suited to this kind of show and this is one of her best so far.  Within the show, some tracked music is mixed in with the original score, composed by Miguel d’Oliveira, whose work is the sole focus of this short album from MovieScore Media.  The composer didn’t focus much on the people and places Lumley visited but rather her reaction to them and as such his score is warm, playful and very much “western”, performed by a skilfully-arranged small ensemble (most instruments in fact played by the composer himself) with a delightfully light feel throughout, breezy and infectious.

There is a bit of hustle and bustle to the opening theme, “Once in a Lifetime”, the romantic feel of great rail travel gradually giving way to a wistful, almost ethereal passage.  “Breathtaking Scenery” is a lovely little vignette, a kaleidoscopic dance, playful and beautiful.  An epic sweep passes through the first part of “And So It Begins”, with an exciting and adventurous spirit; then “Trees in Winter” glistens with a dazzling gleam, a purity of sound that is a joy to hear.  “Idiosyncrasies” has some mesmerising writing for winds; “Window Seat” has the slightest Russian hint to it, and I love the Thomas Newman-like motif developed through it.  It’s back to the feeling of locomotion in “Moving Scenery”, then “As Far as the Eye Can See” is as romantic and expansive as its title suggests, before the album concludes with the bouncy “Rediscovery”.  Trans-Siberian Adventure is a charming, uniformly lovely score whose only drawback is that there isn’t more of it.

Rating: **** | |

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