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SONIC DEATH MONKEY Soundtrack Reviews - The Good Shepherd

by Natasha Theobald

This soundtrack is filled with instrumentals which evoke such an emotional response from me, I have found it very difficult to sit and write a single word about it. If you have seen the movie, or even just read a review of it, the mention of such high emotion may seem odd. While the movie is about restrained people behaving as expected in elite company, though, the underlying emotions must find voice in the music, because some of it just tears me apart. Maybe it is that my response to this soundtrack is so intimate in a way, so personal and specific to what it makes me think and feel, that I’m having trouble pushing a few small words out of that experience to give you some idea of it.

I like to have a good amount of time with any soundtrack I am to review, as it gives me time to just listen, just let the experience of the sounds inhabit my day to day life until it feels in some way familiar. Until I feel familiar about a soundtrack, I feel very uncomfortable writing anything even close to a review of it. (I feel uncomfortable with that anyway, but more time and more familiarity with the soundtrack as a whole gets me where I need to be to do it.) Usually, to keep from hearing the first few songs every single time and never getting through to the end, I start at different places in the CD. With this CD, I was a little self-indulgent, however. I so loved the first couple of Edward songs by composer Marcelo Zarvos that I was willing to listen to “The Whiffenpoof Song” over and over again, those boys and their baa baa baa’s – my favorite part of that one, just so I could revisit this introduction to Edward each time. I so looked forward to it.

The first song is named simply for Edward and establishes a piano line, quick and unwavering, joined by strings, first low then high, with melody, closely rounded with the pulse of a bass drum. These elements re-appear over the course of the music, but this first time has the most fast-paced tension and maybe the passion of youth. I simply love it. The second song which splits the first and third Edwards is named for “Bay of Pigs.” It offers an interesting contrast, with drama created through drum beats and a storyline, rather than a character, being revealed. The balance of the three songs, their centers of gravity and objective of being, goes from high to low to high.

Stepping away from the strict score pieces for a moment, there are some songs here you could dance to in the era of the film. Familiar tunes range from “Blue Skies” to “Embraceable You.” So, it’s the kind of dancing you can do in uncomfortable clothes at classy affairs, but dance you may, nonetheless. Other included ditties are “No Rain A Fallin’,” “So In Love,” “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” the choral “Ofrenda De Amor” performed by the St. Louis African American Chorus, and, of course, a little Gilbert and Sullivan from HMS Pinafore. Some of these are modern, but you will note the inclusion of Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and Rogers and Hammerstein.

My favorite of the modern dance pieces is one of the many contributed by the pen of Bruce Fowler and performed by Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks Orchestra, “Tribeca Bounce.” Bounce it does, and swing and uplift. It has a quick pace and great parts for the piano and clarinet. It is a beacon of hope and wit and charm dropped in the midst of the darker and more dramatic tones that fit the largest part of this particular story.

Another standout is “The Violin,” a short piece inspired by Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto.” It is distinct among the rest of the music and a beautiful piece. “Silouans Song” by Arvo Part is another standout in this collection touched with greatness, marked by such a great build of emotion and power.

There is more to be said here, but I would mostly be gushing, which likely serves neither of us terribly well. I will say that I love this movie, and I love and respect this soundtrack for honoring the movie and being a connection to it in one way and a stand alone piece of art in itself. This is not a CD that I will review well and then put away for some future time to listen to it again. This one stays out, at close access. This one stays with me. Take from that what you will.

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originally posted: 03/09/07 20:19:22
last updated: 03/09/07 20:25:09
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