Cinema Symphony/Pearce

January 23, 2009

As a reviewer of classical and film music, it isn’t often that I’m given the opportunity to receive both types in one package, so when the CD arrived unannounced in a container with other material I immediately put it on for a listen and was surprised at the maturity and completeness of the work of a relative newcomer. The cinema had the ingredients of a Williams space piece, a Goldsmith score, but also influences of Dukas and his “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” as well as the orchestrating styles of Ravel and Debussy. All this from a man who is a little over 30. In addition to the 50 minute 4 movement symphony we are also given an Elegy For Violin And Orchestra and Celtic Warrior: Prelude For Orchestra. Having pretty much gone under my radar, Andrew, in addition to accomplishing these classical orchestral works has also composed two film scores 30 Miles and Dark Corners as well as doing arranging and orchestrating for Guy Farley. Look at this work as a breakout piece for Andrew and expect a lot more from him in the future.

Symphony No. 1 “Cinema Symphony” was written for a full symphony over a period of 6 years and in the beginning stages Andrew was really unsure what it would develop into other than “I just knew that someday, I would somehow bring it to life with a world class orchestra.” The dream came true in August of 2007 as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier recorded it. Andrew wrote the work in the traditional 4-movement template but he certainly departed from form when it came to tempo and style within a particular movement. For example, the third movement with a title of “Quasi Film Score” repeats the melody of the second movement, to atonal dissonant type chords, and back to a soothing tonal section. However, like Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony, he reprises his rich opening brass fanfare theme from the opening movement in his final movement, “the signature” of the work. This is a work that will please the listener of Golden Age material, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and others but I would encourage the listener who leans toward classical material to give a listen to sound clips before deciding. The reason this reviewer feels that way is because it is more Hollywood sounding.
Elegy For Violin & Orchestra is a tranquil reflective piece written for solo violin (Miriam Kramer soloist) and chamber orchestra. The violin echoes strains of love lost and a gypsy type flavor in this 9+ minute lament, a very nice companion to the symphony. Miriam has a wonderful tone and conveys the feelings of the piece nicely.

Celtic Warrior: Prelude For Orchestra gives you visions of the knights in the battlefield. It is filled with brass passages and one could easily see this as material for a Hollywood epic. Originally written for TV news, it was orchestrated into the powerful force we hear on this CD. If you like your music with a lot of brass this is one to definitely explore.

Overall, this is an excellent effort and one to be applauded for combining the sound of Hollywood with the world of classical material. Soundtrack listeners young and old should take notice of this work. Classical listeners should at the very least explore the clips, which can be found at http://www.andrew-pearce.com. It can be purchased at http://www.screenarchives.com or downloaded at http://www.moviescoremedia.com

CD# is MMS-08023 (Movie Score Media)
Produced by Mikael Carlsson
Recorded and Mixed by Phil Rowlands
Performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier
Track Listing:
Symphony No. 1 “Cinema Symphony”
1…Pastorale-Fanfare-Scherzo (9:50)
2…Lento misterioso-Dreams (10:56)
3…(Quasi film score) Allegro-Cantabile-Presto (10:17)
4…Allegro con fuoco-Lento sustenuto (21:01)
5…Elegy For Violin and Orchestra* (9:39)
6…Celtic Warrior: Prelude for Orchestra (9:39)
Total Time is 71:22

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