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JOURNEY FROM THE FALL
Beautiful score for Vietnam drama
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Fire in the Lake, LLC.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
A very well-received American production about the effect of the Vietnam war on one particular Vietnamese family, Journey from the Fall is one of those films which could almost not fail but inspire a composer to write a fine score. The composer in this case is Christopher Wong, scoring his second film for director Ham Tran (after The Anniversary), and as Moviescore Media's album reveals, he certainly was inspired - very fine music dominates throughout.
The score opens with "Legend of Le Loi", presenting the exquisite main theme, from which the bulk of the score is drawn. Richly melodic and colourful, it is most expressive in the way it conveys sadness, beauty, hope and futility all at once. Even though it forms the basis of much of the score, it is rarely (if ever) simply repeated without variation - whether through subtle shifts in harmonic tone or completely different orchestration, Wong continually presents it in a fresh way which keeps the comparatively brief score always fresh and interesting.
"The Escape" shows how well the composer combines more traditional western scoring with the oriental palette, with the action dominated by ethnic percussion but accompanied by the relatively modest orchestral ensemble employed for the score. This is followed by a heartbreaking piece, "Drifting in the Rain", so full of forlorn longing - none but the most hard of heart is likely to remain unaffected by it. It really is a very fine score, full of passionate writing by Wong, clearly a composer to look out for.
The excellent album also includes the composer's bittersweet theme from The Anniversary - it's not a particularly impressive recording, but the quality of music is certainly there. Finally, there's around a quarter of an hour's music from First Morning - the light, airy main title with winds and piano is a real joy, though the rest of the suite is considerably more serious. It's a darker score than Journey from the Fall, but Wong handles it very well. This is an excellent album.