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Durango (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

Tracksounds Rating = 9/10

Composed by Mark McKenzie
Performed by City of Prague Philharmonic
Released by Intrada Records July 1999

Track Title Time Rating Hidden Gem
by Christopher Coleman

Mark McKenzie's score for this Hallmark Hall of Fame television film, is one of 1999's hidden gems.  McKenzie's work for Durango tips its hat to some of the best scores produced in the Nineties.  

The CD, released by Intrada Records, begins with a marvelous suite.  It is some of the most poignant music to come out in 1999.  We are talking "goosebump" material here.  This opening track gives you a good idea of what the rest of the CD is like- which should be the goal of every musical suite.  The first few notes of the main theme are very close to those for Horner's Glory and help to set the hook in the listeners ear.  Track 2 is nearly as good.  The Main Titles begin playfully but then the beautiful main theme works its way into the music via the majestically orchestrated and conducted string section.  The penny whistle employed is a bit reminiscent of The Karate Kid and adds an innocent edge to the score.  

There is an abundance of rather short tracks on this release-  thirteen of them under 3:00 minutes in length.  The Farewell Speech (Track 3),  continues the overall romantic tone of the score, while Track 4 and 5, She's a Beauty and Elope?, are short simple pieces reflecting the love theme.
Next, a couple  of the longer tracks, The Journey Begins and Making Progress, feature a much quicker tempo more traditional Irish instruments.  The track builds and builds in intensity and ultimately crescendos with the main theme, much like John Williams work for Far and Away. God Save the Republic is a bright and free track inserted nicely into the track order.  

There are a couple tracks with fairly ominous titles but are hardly suspenseful.  They, instead, continue in a romantic fashion. At the conclusion of Haunted Hill  the uilean pipes make their lead appearance but, sadly, although beautifully played, make an quick exit.  They do return in track 10, Dog Attack and track 13, Good Day to You.  In Dog Attack, The pipes give way to one of my portions of the score.  This section is very close to James Horner's Braveheart and Trevor Jones work for Last of the Mohicans.  Similar echoes can be heard in track 15, Fire!.  Once again, in track 11, the romantic main theme returns and since it is such a beautiful piece, it is welcome.  The only hint of suspense is ironically found on the last track, We're Getting Married.  Well, it starts off rather mysteriously and quickly transformed into the concluding notes of the score, which are once again, innocent ,romantic and  celebratory.

Fight for Privilege certainly found some inspiration from Far and Away and possibly the folk dance tune from Horner's Titanic

This score is a truly great work and will certainly catapult McKenzie into a brighter spot-light in the film world.  While, this score, since it was for a television film, won't be getting an Oscar, it certainly qualifies as some of the best film music of 1999.

 

1

Durango Suite

6:57

*****
2

Main Titles

4:43

****
3

Farewell Speech

1:24

****
4 She's a Beauty 0:54 ****
5

Elope?

1:35

***
6

The Journey Begins

5:57

****
7

God Save the Republic

1:17

***
8

Making Progress

2:08

****
9

Haunted Hill

2:01

****
10

Dog Attack

1:56

****
11

Mark & Annie's Love Theme

2:07

****
12 Fight for Privilege 2:59 ***
13

Good Day to You

2:19

****
14

Mission Accomplished

2:27

*****
15

Fire!

2:33

****
16

We're Getting Married

1:30

****
  Total PlayingTime 43:47    

Category

Score

 
Film Continuity n/a  
Originality 8  
CD Length 9  
Track Order 10  
Performance 10  
Final Score 9  
         

Other reviews:

One of the finest characteristics of Durango is the fact that it never falls into a rut. It flows from light, reflective moments seamlessly to fully orchestral announcements of theme. And most of all --and this is probably the best that can be said about a score-- McKenzie accomplishes enjoyable, stirring, and heart-pounding music without resorting to simple loudness. ****
Christian Clemmenson - Filmtracks


Composer Mark McKenzie

Durango (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie
With the themes weaving in and out of each other, the score seems to be filled with too many themes to count, all of which are terrific...This is definitely going down as one of this year's best. *****
Helen San - Cinemusic

CD available through

Durango (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

All artwork from Durango is exclusive property of Intrada Records (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.
Composer photo provided by Filmtracks.