Sunday, 18 October 2015

"Mother And Child" Original Soundtrack Music by ED SHEARMUR (2010 Varese Sarabande CD) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...A Waltz For Karen..."

Sometimes you stumble on a Soundtrack that works on every level - moving, heartfelt and joyous - the music swells and sweeps you away. You may even find yourself crying for no reason. The melodies remind you of something beautiful that you've forgotten - something elusive - but you can't quite put your finger on what that is.

Thomas Newman achieves this on occasion with his gorgeous soundtrack music - stuff like "The Shawshank Redemption", "Road To Perdition" and "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (see my review for the CD). John Barry too of course and Ennio Morricone - both on a stack of beautiful soundtracks. And now I think we can add Britain's Edward Shearmur to that expanding list of greats - a Londoner whose sessioned with Page and Plant and scored several respected soundtracks to date.

The "Mother And Child" movie is wonderful storytelling - a beautifully intricate and human tale. It's an unravelling mother/daughter/families story told through several interlocking couples and featuring a huge cast of great actors shining in a screenplay written and directed by Columbia Cinematographer and Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia.

Garcia did "Lola" in 1989 and the excellent "Passengers" in 2008 (again with David Morse - see my review for the Blu Ray) and the decidedly off-the-cuff Glenn Close dressed-as-a-man movie "Albert Nobbs" in 2011 (set in turn of the century Dublin). Garcia also penned episodes for prestigious TV shows like "The Sopranos", "Six Feet Under" and had huge involvement in the magnificent Gabriel Byrne shrink-and-patients TV Series "In Treatment" for three Seasons (Byrne won a deserved Emmy).

The Original Soundtrack CD to "Mother And Child" appears to be only available in the USA on Varese Sarabande 302067 021 2 (Barcode 030206702125) and plays to 40:31 minutes (16 tracks). The inlay is a gatefold slip of paper that shows a collage of the principal actors - Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, S. Epatha Merkerson, Cherry Jones, Elpidia Carrillo, David Morse and Shareeka Epps. It was Executive Produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who brought us the stunning "Birdman" in 2014 (see my review for the Blu Ray).

There's barely any info on how it was recorded let alone what instruments Shearmur plays - but the music is beautiful - and at times intensely moving. Different variants of a gorgeous Piano refrain – gut-string acoustic guitars - big chunky synth drones – mostly mellow and easy on the ear and heart. The lovely opening song "Little One" is written and sung by Lucy Schwartz (the only one with lyrics) - the rest are instrumentals by Shearmur that rearrange a reoccurring beautiful theme but played on differing instruments. There's a final track on here called "Karen's Letter" - and sublime is the only word to apply to it.

A musical gem - seek it out if you can...

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