Music From The Edge/Corigliano

June 27, 2012

When I received my review copy of Music from the Edge I was totally confused as to where this material came from. There was no mention in the liner notes and there was a film made in 1997 called”The Edge” starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. There was also a Russian made film called “The Edge” made in 2010. A Google search results in pages of different scenarios! For all I knew this was commercial music for the shaving gel! The music was written for the 2009 film “The Edge of Darkness” that starred Mel Gibson and dealt violently with a father’s loss of a daughter from the mob, a hit. This score was rejected and replaced with one written by Howard Shore.

Like Aaron Copland, another outstanding American composer, John Corigliano has only dabbled in film, having composed four soundtracks since 1981. Copland for your information did six. While both composers were sparse in their output two Oscars were given out, one to each composer giving you a small idea of the vast talent of each composer. In fact between the 10 feature films there have been 8 nominations, something which says it all.

Corigliano approached this recording as a tone poem/suite of eleven movements totaling 38 minutes. This is truly a classical approach as it is performed by The London Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

His Daughter’s Death, the opening track begins in an innocent fashion with a solo clarinet providing the sad opening melody. A flute continues the melody with help from the strings. Wind chimes are the signal to something far more ominous as low disturbing strings are followed by a couple of dissonant brass motifs before the solitude of the opening of the track returns. There is an interesting foghorn type sound from the flutes which required practice on the part of the flute section. Reflections opens quietly enough with an oboe and then a return to the “daughter” theme, twice a hint of a carousel before there is a return to the main theme again. The track ends with a disturbing sequence of low growling brass and dissonant strings complemented by percussion. Her Home quietly returns to the “daughter” theme once again before it leads the ears to sentimental quiet times with a minimum of orchestral members. Pursuit is a strong example of well written underscore. The brass got no vacation on this track as they’re asked to perform difficult double tonguing techniques complemented by timpani. The strings offer a Herrmann type sound in the background. Her Friend’s Death is another exercise with dissonant brass, swirling strings and percussion. Hideout, the shortest of the tracks at two minutes, offers a flute without a melody. A reference again to the carousel melody which is continued by the strings highlights Family Shave which ends on a disturbing note. A Sober Story is certainly a quiet moment of sadness with strings being given the job of providing the mood and atmosphere. It ends with a reference to the “daughter” theme slowly building to a crescendo with a snare drum guiding the listener. The Escape begins with low disturbing strings which build to a loud dissonant passage from the horns which quickly disappear. The title Revenge again features the carousel theme with plenty of depressing underscore. This track made its point without having to go over the top with sound. Reunification, the longest of the tracks at six plus minutes hints at the “daughter” theme with the flutes before the ice is broken with the oboe, clarinet, and strings offering a romantic version of the theme. Brass and lush strings also play a strong part before Hila Plittman appropriately ends the track with touching words.

This is nicely recorded and one could make a strong case that this is a symphonic piece that stands on its own without the film. An excellent fourth addition to your Corigliano collection. Highly recommended. No limited edition sales apply on this recording.

Track listing


His Daughter’s Death (04:11)


Reflections (05:15)


Her Home (03:23)


Pursuit (03:46)


Her Friends Death (02:33)


Hideout (01:55)


Family Shave (02:31)


A Sober Story (03:01)


The Escape (02:03)


Revenge (03:00)


Reunification (06:34)

Total Duration: 00:38:12

Perseverance #055


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