Cast Away by Alan Silvestri at Amazon.com

 

 

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Cast Away (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

Less is More
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Cast Away (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

Cast Away
8/10

Cast Away (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

 

Category

Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 9
Composition 8
CD Length 8
Track Order 9
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10

 

 

Real Audio Clips

 

Track 10 - Cast Away: End Credits

 

 

 


Composer 
Alan Silvestri

 

Quick Quotes

"There is no original music for the first 90-minutes of the film, and so when we finally do hear some music, it had to be just right.  Silvestri nailed it on the head.  The first time we hear this devastatingly emotional theme is at, well, a devistatngly emotional point in the film.  (I won't ruin it here for those who haven't seen the movie.)  The music does exactly what film music is supposed to do - take a heightened emotion and push it over the edge. " ****

Dan Goldwasser - Soundtracknet Reviews Cast Away

 

 

Composed and Conducted Alan Silvestri
Produced by Alan Silvestri, David Bifano
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Released by Varese Sarabande Records February 2001

The team of Robert Zemeckis and Alan Silvestri is certainly one of contemporary Hollywood's most prolific and successful director/composer pairings.  With modern classics such as the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, and Contact, the two have combined to mesmerize audiences through their unique visual and musical talents.

Birthed in the mind of it's eventual lead actor, Tom Hanks, Cast Away was over four years in the making.  The film follows the high-energy, highly motivated central character who is literally thrown from the rigors of the world of overnight delivery into the the rigors of basic survival.  Promising a cleverly crafted story, Hank's exemplary acting skills, and Zemeckis' distinctive and underappreciated direction style, one last main ingredient would be the musical element.  Alan Silvestri was brought on to the creative team and the film's non-use of music puts a spotlight on Silvestri's work when it finally does appear.

Due to the limited amount of music for Cast Away, not to mention, just an overall good idea to compile the collected works of Zemeckis and Silvestri onto one CD, Varese Sarabande produced and released, The films of Robert Zemeckis - The Music of Alan Silvestri featuring Cast Away.  Of course, it is Cast Away that gets top billing on the CD, since there would be no solo release of the film's score.  The album's producers chose to present Silvestri's music in a chronological order.  Starting with mid-Eighties releases of Romancing the Stone, The Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit to the most recent Cast Away, the album holds some of Silvestri's best work.  While most of these works are readily available on the original soundtracks or later compilation releases, the flow of this album is near perfect and makes for a satisfying listening experience as well as a nice sampler of Silvestri's work.

The first half of the disc presents a much lighter brand of music as they reflect their respective films.  Romancing the Stone features the clear eighties-pop sound.  Who Frame Roger Rabbit is a suite ranging from blues to big band to the dramatic/heroic style the fan's most quickly identify with Silvestri's compositions for Back to the Future series.  The selection from Death Becomes Her is a darkly comical romp; however, not long into the piece, things quickly become much more dramatic and sinister for the majority of its play time. 

Moving from track 7 through the balance of the CD, the mood becomes more serious.  With a possible exception of What Lies Beneath, Zemeckis turned to portraying characters who were easily to relate to but found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, hence the music takes on a much subtler tone, but is filled with more character.  While Alan Silvestri can dish out action music with the best of them, he shines brightest when communicating slices of the essence of humanity.  In 1994, Forrest Gump put Tom Hanks, Robert  Zemeckis and Alan Silvestri into the brightest of lights and none of them have looked back since.  Following up Forrest Gump, Silvestri returned with a similar score for Contact and, like the film and its star, has not gotten nearly its due.

With What Lies Beneath sandwiched in between to segments of shooting and production for Cast Away, both the film and score take a back seat to this other Zemeckis/Silvestri collaboration for 2000.  For Cast Away, Silvestri's music doesn't make an appearance until the final third of the film.  By design, the film eliminates the use of even the subtlest underscore and opts to allow the sound designers "score" the film.  As the audience enters the last segment of the film, Alan Silvestri's main and only theme makes an ironic entrance into the film as it accompanies the central character's exit from isolation.  Maybe even more effectively than Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, Zemeckis' "less is more" regarding the use of score in Cast Away is brilliant and for the remaining forty minutes or so of the film, Silvestri's theme is well used.    The simple piano theme accompanied by bittersweet strings not only augments the emotion of the film but tells a thousand additional details about the main character and his transformation. 

The end credits features one of the main non-musical-score elements, the gentle breaking of ocean waves.  The wave samples are interspersed with several measures of the main theme making for, what some might call, a new age experience.  Be that as it may, it works and it works well.  Without seeing the film, it is easy to not think much about this solitary theme, yet after viewing the movie, it takes on a completely different meaning and depth. Having to truly communicate the essence of the entire film in just a few moments of music cannot be an easy proposition, but Alan Silvestri manages just that.  Given these circumstances, both Zemeckis and Silvestri deserve a ton of credit for using a minimal amount of music in a most powerful and meaningful way. 

Equally deserving of recognition are the producers of the album.  One there surely is not enough score to warrant a full soundtrack release.  Two, there isn't even enough Elvis source music to serve as filler or third there is no unrelated, pop tune sung by the vocalist of the year to provide a major marketing campaign.  Despite those three things against them Varese found a way to release the score and at the same time provide a much deserved compilation for one of Hollywood's best director/composer pairings.

 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track Title Time

Rating

1 Romancing the Stone - End Credits 5:19  ***
2 Back to the Future - Theme 3:18  ****
3 Who Framed Roger Rabbit - Suite 4:58  ***
4 Back to the Future Part II - Suite 4:35  ****
5 Back to the Future Part III - End Credits 4:01  ***
6 Death Becomes Her 5:48  ****
7 Forrest Gump - Suite 8:52  ****
8 Contact - End Credits 7:58  *****
9 What Lies Beneath - End Credits 6:36  ***
10 Cast Away - End Credits 7:30  *****
 

Total Running Time

59:02  
 

 

Referenced Reviews
What Lies Beneath

 

 

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