Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont/Barton

January 8, 2007


Joan Plowright (Mrs. Palfrey) and Rupert Friend (Ludo) star in the Dan Ireland directed film about an aging woman who is first assisted by a fledgling writer Ludo after falling and eventually befriends and forms a grandson/grandmother type of relationship and more with him. The Elizabeth Taylor (British novelist) story also stars veteran actors Robert Lang and Anna Massey in interesting character roles.

Stephen Barton, who has spent time working for Harry Gregson-Williams on arranging, writing additional cues, and performing on piano for such films as Narnia, Kingdom of Heaven, and most recently Deja Vu has been given the opportunity to compose and conduct an original score. Hopefully, this will just be the start of a long and illustrious career for Stephen who has certainly hit the center of the bullseye with this soft delicate score. On initial listening the score sounds like a very nice dental office visit material, something that will help put your mind at ease before the dreaded root canal. There is a difference, that being that this music is somewhat thematic and a lot deeper than much of the material you hear. Gee, what a novel concept! So often this reviewer gets rather discouraged with the landscape sounding material from so many of the composers these days. Your sitting in the theater watching a movie and you just know what the music for the scene is going to sound like! You could take one of say 20 different cues and just plug it in to the scene and you would have your music for action, comedy, romance, suspense. Not the case with this score by Barton. And don’t just give it a listen through the sample tracks. The first listen many times is not an indication of whether or not you will like the score. This score will grow on you as you listen to it more and more.

The opening title “In Charge Of Cheerfulness” sets the mood for this score with a theme not unlike something you might hear from Thomas Newman in his Meet Joe Black soundtrack. A little more on the subtle side without the quirky nature but a reference point on what this might sound like to your ear. “”Je Ne Sais Quoi…” is a upbeat bright track with a good bouncy melody. “At The Park/Ludo’s Mother” is quite romantic at first and then seems to pose a question? “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont” is another wonderful memorable tune uplifting, sprightly and something that will just put you in a good mood.”The Date With Mr. Osborne” is a tango tempo tune featuring solos by bassoon, clarinet, and violin. Simply charming. In fact each and every track has something unique and special to it. It’s kind of like a Henry Mancini LP that had 12 different distinct tracks to it. Yes, the basic sound is very similiar, but you know that it is a Barton release and the tracks are written as a tango, waltz, serious underscore, and action among the styles with different themes.

This is release #16 in the Movie Score Media and another wonderful introduction to yet a different composer. Just keep in mind that without the efforts of Mr. Carlsson and his company none of this would ever be available to us. We might see the film by some slim chance (most films haven’t come to San Diego) and then wonder about the music and if we could ever get it. Well, you can! Support him as much as you can! This release comes highly recommended. His new store (no more Apple) offers the superior 320k bit download which you can’t even compare to 128k bit.

Track Listing:

1. Mr. Palfrey at the Claremont (4:08)

2. The Hotel Room (0:59)

3. Mrs. Post (1:46)

4. Telephone! (1:08)

5. “Je Ne Sais Quoi…” (2:06)

6. At The Park/Ludo’s Mother (2:06)

7. The Date with Mr. Osborne (5:09)

8. In Charge mof Cheerfulness (1:13)

9. Mrs. Arbuthnot Faints (1:51)

10. Beaulieu Castle (3:07)

11. Autumn at the Claremont (2:31)

12. My Wordsworth… (2:42)

13. “I Had A Beautiful Dream” (2:18)


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