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ALL THE RIVERS RUN
Melodic Australian miniseries music in new Limited Edition
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Crawford Productions International Pty., Ltd.; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall
A kind of "Australian western", All the Rivers Run was a 1983 miniseries based on the popular novel by Nancy Cato, and directed by George Miller (no, not that George Miller) and Pino Amenta, and set in the 1890s around the Murray River. It was scored by Bruce Rowland, hot off the success of Man from Snowy River, his first score and probably still his most popular. Circumstances of scoring were unusual: the production didn't have the money for a "proper" score, so instead the composer penned about three quarters of an hour of music based solely on the script, designed to be suitable to be placed throughout the series.
It's mostly very sweet music, penned for a small ensemble dominated by guitars, oboe, muted trumpet and strings - all heard in the opening title track, which presents the theme which dominates the score (while several tracks are labelled as being someone's theme, in truth the score verges on being monothematic) - and that theme is a lovely, bouncy bit of fun. It's incredibly schmaltzy, but it's still nice.
Much of the score follows a similar route - even when the main theme is departed from, such as in the lovely "Adagio in A Minor" - the music often retains a similar tone. There are, however, a few other little set-pieces - the brief comedy interlude of "Paddy Goes Overboard" and "Meet Cyrus" is inoffensive enough, and there's a little suspense which creeps into "Slope's Farm" and even some (slightly lightweight) action in "The Horse Goes Bananas" - both tracks make for a welcome change of pace.
This is a pleasntly-diverting score - don't expect anything full of much substance, but it's a jolly, tuneful effort which could offend nobody. It seems a very unusual score to release - Rowland isn't a composer likely to sell albums based on name alone, and I doubt many outside Australia have heard of the show - but those who like charming, tuneful efforts and aren't too concerned about overdosing on schmaltz could do far worse than give it a try. It's a 1000-copy limited edition from BSX Records.