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Rory’s Way
  • Composed by Frank Ilfman
  • MovieScore Media / 46m

Based on José Luis Sampedro’s classic Spanish novel The Etruscan Smile, Rory’s Way sees an old man (Brian Cox) reluctantly move from the Scottish highlands to San Francisco to stay with his son while he seeks medical treatment only to see his twilight years transform him after he becomes a grandfather. The music comes from Frank Ilfman and he takes his inspiration from Rory’s Scottish background to provide a lovely, lilting Celtic-tinged score which is evocative and completely charming. The score’s sweeping opening encapsulates this perfectly – the strings swell over a backdrop of various local textures – and then we go to “Rory’s Theme”, tinged with a great sadness but underneath it all really very beautiful. Its B-section late on, when it moves from a chamber piece to something bigger, has a great emotional weight behind it, then reduced down to a solo piano which is delicate and touching.

That theme is rarely too far away but Ilfman’s music doesn’t become stale – he finds a nice balance between tender emotion (not always warm) and lighthearted playfulness. A superficial comparison (which is one of my specialisms) would be with Christopher Young’s The Shipping News – the combination of the orchestra with the Celtic flavours – though Ilfman’s work is more character-based whereas Young’s was probably more location-based. I don’t want to overplay the influence of the ethnic tinge here, either – it really is just a tinge for the most part. The majority of the album is just good old-fashioned film music doing what it’s supposed to do, telling a story and getting to the heart of the drama (and the suite “The Etruscan Smile” which ends the album encapsulates that perfectly) – it’s a very attractive album, consistently pleasant, rich and rewarding and thoroughly recommended.

Rating: **** | |

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  1. Rory (Reply) on Thursday 20 June, 2019 at 10:47

    Going my way? Hee hee hee…

    • James Southall (Reply) on Thursday 20 June, 2019 at 14:03

      So good you said it twice!

      • Rory (Reply) on Saturday 22 June, 2019 at 08:11

        Oops! Sorry about that. Feel free to disregard one (or even both, for that matter).

  2. Rory (Reply) on Thursday 20 June, 2019 at 10:47

    Going my way? Hee hee hee…