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Lovely, sweet-natured romantic music from Zimmer
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
* * * 1/2
Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Columbia Pictures Industries; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
The latest romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers, The Holiday features all the ingredients you expect (except Hugh Grant, perhaps) from this kind of charming romcom - plus one you might not! One of the main characters is a film composer, no less, played by Jack Black. The film got the kind of warm reception you expect from this type of thing when it has a good cast (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law) and probably warmed a lot of young ladies' hearts in the run up to Christmas.
Providing the music was Hans Zimmer, making it a welcome change of pace compared with his other more serious music of 2006 (for both pirates and codebreakers) - Zimmer's warmhearted, light music is the type of thing he does exceptionally well. Scored mostly for orchestra, with jazzy elements added on (including Herb Alpert playing trumpet), it's a charming and delightful film score, closer in spirit to his scores for James L. Brooks than anything else.
The album opens with "Maestro", a beautiful little tribute to Ennio Morricone (mentioned by Black's character in the film) which interpolates the maestro's theme from Once Upon a Time in America to wonderful effect (that score has previously been named by Zimmer as his all-time favourite). That theme is used a few times down the line, too - most notably in the moving "Kiss Goodbye", which is unashamedly manipulative but right up there where music for this type of film is concerned. A gorgeous secondary theme emerges in "Zero", echoing (bizarrely) Bill Conti's airy Thomas Crown Affair music, but living within its own world and proving to be highly engaging. A more tender, emotional theme is then developed in "If I Wanted to Call You", featuring a lovely, lilting guitar solo by regular Zimmer collaborator Heitor Pereira.
The jazzier side of the score is explored in "For Nancy" (presumably named for the director - something Morricone himself often does in his scores!) whose Mancini / Bacharach-style, loungey feel is delightfully wispy. There's even an uplifting, rousing finale, "Cry", which for all its cliches is still mightily fine! The Holiday is, of course, somewhat unsubstantial (every score ever written for a romantic comedy is, let's face it) - but that doesn't stop it being a hugely enjoyable album, Zimmer's most charming in several years.