Latest reviews of new albums:
The Night Manager
  • Composed by Victor Reyes
  • Silva Screen / 2016 / 53m

An excellent BBC adaptation of the John Le Carré novel, The Night Manager stars Tom Hiddleston as a man who gets entangled with Hugh Laurie’s sinister arms dealer as he seeks revenge.  The typically deep and complex material from the novelist (surely the best there’s every been at what he does) gets a superb, sumptuous adaptation which makes gripping viewing.  The music comes courtesy of Victor Reyes, who made a splash with his wonderful (and unique) score for Grand Piano in 2013.  The Night Manager is, I guess inevitably, a more routine effort, but it does have some real highlights, chief amongst them the fantastic main title which is dynamic, slick and stylish – and sadly very short.  I wish Reyes had managed to record an extended version for the album, beyond the 50 seconds the show’s opening title sequence afforded him.  Pleasingly, the Barryeque melody is reprised several times over the course of the score, in various different ways.

The story flits between various exotic locations and the score follows suit, with various ethnic colours and flavours certainly adding to its appeal.  Those reprises of the main theme are sometimes for strings, sometimes guitar, accordion, piano, even cimbalom – and there are action and romance segments with Middle Eastern winds and an array of percussion.  It’s easy to imagine it in a Bond film, really (just listen to the sweeping strings of “A Proper Villa”).  It’s all done very well, even if it’s not the most original – Reyes certainly charts a well-trodden path and fortunately for the most part he does keep it interesting.  There is an extended sequence of more low-key suspense and drama in the middle portion of the album which brings the whole thing down a notch or two, but this is a very decent modern thriller score that generally moves along at a fair pace and it’s never long until there’s something very entertaining round the corner.  Certainly worth hearing.

Rating: *** | |

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