Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt


While I respect Philip Glass' work, I tend to find his film scores rather cold and uninvolving for myself. While this may work for the film - I liked his score for Candyman and his work on Secret Window for exactly that reason, for example - it means that on the whole, I'll be less likely to respond to his dramatic film scores as opposed to his work on documentaries, of which I tend to find a better fit to his talents.

This is not because of his use of minimalism as his primary idiom; I enjoy the scores of Michael Nyman very much, and one could say that Bernard Herrmann was a pioneer of the form with such moments as the "Radar" cue in The Day the Earth Stood Still. This is a similar situation to how I view Leonard Rosenman; I understand his work, I laud his use of a more modern symphonic vocabulary, but I don't particularly like it... it doesn't make me feel. This has nothing to do with the tonality of the music itself, as Alex North's scores are just as modern and challenging, and often even more harmonically complex than Rosenman's, but I tend to connect with North's work, finding that within all of his work's intellectual demands that the score nevertheless manages to present is a sense of warmth.

However, as I mentioned in my comments about The Illusionist, Glass' contribution to that film had the opposite effect that his music usually does in a dramatic film; rather than distancing me, it drew me in further, adding an important human dimension to the story and characters. It was worked brilliantly to my taste, and so I was quite interested in hearing the album.

When the music is brought to the forefront, it shows much more in common with Glass' usual work, though not to any disadvantage. His creates a lush presence with the orchestra, and the tonal cels he builds the passages out of are very emotive. Interestingly, the score comes across as more atmospheric on record than on film.
Tags: alex north, film music
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