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  • homme_chienComposed by Philippe Rpmbi
  • Zig-Zag Territories ZZT090105 / 2009 / 44:49

In Un Homme et Son Chien (A Man and his Dog), an elderly Parisian man and (you’ve guessed it!) his dog are forced to wander the streets after he’s thrown out of his home by his lover.  The film marks the comeback of the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo after a long break from acting.  Providing the score is Philippe Rombi, who is quickly becoming one of the most popular composers outside Hollywood.The reason for his popularity is not hard to spot – he generally writes lush, beautiful, sweeping, romantic music.  Whether he seeks out films which allow him to do that, or whether they seek him out, I’m not sure – but he does seem to tackle them with surprising regularity.  This one is no exception – incredibly lush music throughout.  It’s not subtle, nor would you want it to be.  The score is built largely from a single theme, and what a theme it is – a dash of melancholy, but generally just unabashed passion.  Hard to imagine too many people would fail to fall in love with it.

It might test your love, though, by the time you’ve heard it for the fifteenth time without variation.  Many an appealing theme has suffered the same fate in the past – and you can have too much of a good thing.  When Rombi isn’t just wheeling it out again, he’s generally presenting his secondary theme – almost as gorgeous, heard almost as many times, again with little variation.  And given the nature of the music – some might call it heavy-handed – I struggle to make it through the (not that long) CD as a result.  I think the comparisons between Rombi and the great Georges Delerue are inevitable, but Delerue had an incredible lightness of touch and an ability to write much more fluid melody which meant – even though some of his own albums could be accused of just repeating themes over and over again – it doesn’t bother me as much as here.  It feels terribly churlish being too critical of this – its beauty is stunning – and so I’ll leave on a high note instead.  A couple of downloaded tracks might serve you just as well as the full album, but despite focusing on negatives for much of this paragraph, it is hard to listen to this and not get swept away.  *** 1/2

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  1. Jon (Reply) on Wednesday 7 October, 2009 at 02:10

    I absolutely adored this score. One of my faves of 2009.

  2. christopher (Reply) on Friday 9 October, 2009 at 15:37

    This is my favorite score of the year so far. I didn’t notice the repetitiveness. I’ll have to go listen again. You’re reviews are all great, James.