Tristan & Isolde/Anne Dudley

May 16, 2006

20th Century Fox used the tagline before "Romeo and Juliet there was Tristan and Isolde" as the teaser for this tragic, epic 5th century historical love story which takes place in Britain and Ireland. Starring James Franco and Sophia Myles it was directed by Kevin Reynolds a veteran of such epic films as Waterworld, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and The Count of Monte Crisco. Produced by another veteran of the hollywood wars Ridley Scott, a project he had been working on since the 70's and Tom "Top Gun" Scott it seemed to have all the ingredients for a blockbuster success. It was heavily marketed in the previews towards the younger generation complete with pop music. So misleading was the music this reviewer decided almost immediately to pass on both the film and the score. As it turned out the film got mixed reviews from the critics, a "kiss of death" mid January release, both of which resulted in a poor showing at the box office. 4 months later I was asked by my editor if I would be interested in doing a review. Thank heavens my brain had completely forgotten my earlier experience with the film because all my thoughts focused on the Richard Wagner classic opera. Well, wrong again on the opera theory and for a change there is no pop music included on the soundtrack at all. Preview music can be so misleading and in this case the music was completely different. While it wasn't opera it was a delicious dark score accented with celtic style music for certain key tracks. Young Tristan sets the entire mood for the vast majority of the score. A simple elegy, the sorrow of the track is certainly felt. A Different Land is a Celtic style work featuring the Cor Anglais work of Victoria Walpole someone that Anne Dudley recently used in a commissioned work titled Divertissement performed on the BBC radio. Her tone on the horn is superb as she produces rich resonant tones in the lower register and the nasal quality in the upper ranges which the english horn is so famous for. However this particular track as wonderful as it is could have been inserted into Road To Perdition for one of its quieter moments and you would have completely fooled me! Thomas Newman for better or worse has developed a sound and style that is certainly duplicated. Wedding Cortege and Back From The Dead are other examples of the Newman sound on this recording. Leaving Forever, while only a scant 1:50 is an excellent example of how to write an adagio. In its own way it is as poignant as the Barber Adagio For Strings. It would be nice to hear at sometime a further development of the piece in a chamber orchestra work, something which Anne seems to be doing lately. The Drawbridge Is Lowered is probably the closest track to anything in the famous Wagner Opera and only because of the fanfare of the horns in the beginning. Anne makes excellent use of the Celtic harp, fiddle, and flutes when called for in the score. But these upbeat moments are the exception and this work for the vast majority of the 53 minutes is quite dark and somber. Melodic in several sections but no one melody that you can recall the following day. The simple melody from Young Tristan is repeated in the final track None Can Die but it is still a harder to pick up on. Fanciers of classical music could liken the score to the last few minutes of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. Allegro vivace is not included in this piece even in the action track Ambush in the Forest. Very little needs to be said about the recording process. The engineering, mixing, and playing are superb. While no credit to the orchestra is given, my general suspicion is the recording was done in with members of the London Symphony Orchestra, as it was recorded in London at Angel Studios. Just a closing word of caution. This is most assurdly a score that requires a certain frame of mind as it is quite dark and somber, something mentioned previously. But given certain quieter times this score does have a lot to offer the listener albeit the many references in style at least to Thomas Newman. RecommendedTrack listing 1. Young Tristan (03:03) 2. The Irish Raid (03:01) 3. The Queen's Funeral (01:59) 4. A Different Land (01:21) 5. A King's Lament (01:48) 6. Isolde's Dream (02:49) 7. Two Loves Be One (01:07) 8. Ambush in the Forest (02:16) 9. A King's Service (02:31) 10. Love So Alike (01:35) 11. Dangerous Game (02:12) 12. Warriors Begin (01:27) 13. Wedding Cortege (02:08) 14. Leaving Forever (01:50) 15. Back From the Dead (02:54) 16. My Face in Thine Eye (02:10) 17. The Tournament (02:21) 18. Betrayal (01:36) 19. I Dream of You (01:46) 20. Living Without Love (02:46) 21. The Drawbridge is Lowered (01:54) 22. Secrets in the Woods (03:16) 23. Tristan's Final Stand (01:52) 24. None Can Die (03:22)

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One Response to “Tristan & Isolde/Anne Dudley”

  1. olieksjandier Says:

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