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The Sessions
  • Composed by Marco Beltrami
  • Lakeshore Records / 2012 / 24:22

Who says Hollywood has run out of original ideas?  Here’s the IMDB summary of The Sessions: “A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.”  Not a story that has been told many times.  The film is actually based on the autobiographical writings of Californian journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, and has attracted strong reviews, particularly for its performances by John Hawkes as O’Brien, Helen Hunt as the sex surrogate and William H. Macy as the priest.  The score was composer by Marco Beltrami, delighted at a chance to work against type on a serious drama (apparently he hates horror films!)

The composer shows his versatility with music which really isn’t like anything one would usually associate with him, but is still very impressive.  Performed by a small ensemble, it is richly melodic, sweet and attractive, full of charm throughout.  It is a very brief album (just 24 minutes) and even then is somewhat repetitive.  There are essentially two themes here – one happy, one sad – that each get numerous airings in different guises.  Piano, subtle synths and a small string section dominate proceedings, and the light sound produced is hugely listenable.  Very occasional diversions into more tense, less melodic territory mean that despite the repetition, the album doesn’t become tiresome (of course, its short length also helps in this regard).  Ultimately it is simply a very nice album, showcasing a seldom-heard side to a very fine film composer.  Recommended.  *** 1/2 |

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