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The Cider House Rules (Soundtrack) by Rachel Portman

Tracksounds Rating = 7/10

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Composed by Rachel Portman
Conducted by David Snell; Pianist - John Lenehan
Released by Sony Classical Records 1999

Track Title Time Rating The Cider House Rules
by Christopher Coleman

One of the most heartfelt stories has come to the big screen  and has warranted the talents of queen of the heartfelt score, Rachel Portman.   The score to The Cider House Rules is summed up in its main theme.  The main theme is simple, warm, and, of course, as most Portman scores are, very pretty.  In much the same way as Jerry Goldsmith’s Rudy theme, Rachel Portman creates a humble yet very positive aural-environment.  What This score doesn't do is become quite as forceful as Rudy.  It makes its point with piano-laden subtleties.  This theme works its way into the majority of tracks on this Sony Classical release, mostly performed on the piano, but occasionally on  various woodwind instruments.  At times Portman hits the Thomas Newman chord of an almost passionate foreboding (Meet Joe Black).  There  is just enough edge on this music to let you know that its a good story, but all is not well. 

The piano is, in fact,  the dominant instrument in this score, sporting Portman’s tender melodies.  Filing in line right behind that piano are those wonderful swelling strings that demonstrate the orchestration talents of both Portman and Jeff Atmajian.  They really do get their money’s worth out of the main theme.

Occasionally scores like The Cider House Rules or A Thousand Acres and the like can  suffer due to their lack of variety, but if you are feeling on the melancholy-side then these same scores are perfect.  Introspective, peaceful scores that have enough depth to hold one’s attention are rare , but The Cider House Rules certainly qualifies.

Being a typical guy, I can take a lot of flack for liking music of a softer nature.  Testosterone laden, adrenaline-filled scores (The Rock, The 13th Warrior) seem to be the appropriate music for a  football-lovin-dude, like myself; however, I find myself equally immersed by lighter, less aggressive,  music that taps, with equal depth, emotions on the other side of the spectrum.  Scores like To Gillian on her 37th Birthday, Rudy, The Stars Fell on Henrietta or A Thousand Acres, were composed to reflect a different part of the human experience and consequently reach a different part of our psyche.  The Cider House Rules can easily be counted among such scores.

This Sony Classical release maintains their reputation for high quality recording and easy to listen to track ordering.  The close of 1999 and the beginning of 2000 has found Sony Classical releasing a handful of high quality soundtracks among them:  Bicentennial Man, Angela’s Ashes and yet another deserving score is The Cider House Rules.  It delivers just what one would expect from Rachel Portman and for such a film as The Cider House Rules.

1 Main Titles 2:10 ****
2 Homer's Lessons 3:43 ***
3 Young Girl's Burial 0:42 ***
4 Homer Asks Wally for a Ride 1:27 ***
5 Homer Leaves Orphanage 4:37 ****
6 The Ocean 0:59 ****
7 The Cider House 4:13 ***
8 Wally Goes Off to War 1:48 ***
9 Lobster Dinner 0:51 ***
10 Burying Fuzzy 1:35 ***
11 Homer and Candy on the Rock 2:21 ****
12 Rose Rose is Pregnant 1:16 ***
13 Abortion 1:50 ****
14 Pickers Leave 1:16 ****
15 Dr. Larch Dies 1:37 ****
16 Homer Returns to the Orphanage 3:42 ****
17 Good-Night, You Kings of New England 1:06 ***
18 End Credits 4:36 ****
  Total Playing Time 40:33    




Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score


Other reviews:

With a rather romantic sound and dominated by a lovely, bitter sweet theme, appearing in many different shapes and forms in almost every cue, this score is a beautiful and relaxing listening experience, at times intimate, with solo performances by piano and woodwinds - such as in the wonderful, but sad, "Burying Fuzzy" - and other times lush, with solid, thick strings, but still with a fair amount of woodwinds and piano, like in the vibrant "Main Titles". Even if the orchestra incorporates brass instruments, these have been given a very toned down role, often placed in the background used only for harmonic reasons and effects.

Andreas Lindahl - Score!

Composer Rachel Portman
Rachel Portman

The Cider House Rules (Soundtrack) by Rachel Portman

A hidden treasure of 1999, The Cider House Rules is Rachel Portman at her best. In between her works on childrens' films and heavy dramas, Portman produces the best scores for dramatic comedies and romances. After the widespread panic released among many Portman fans after the experimental minimalist score for Beloved, people wondered if she had lost her bouncy, orchestral touch from such works as Only You and Addicted to Love. With great joy, I'm delighted to say that The Cider House Rules ranks among the two mentioned above as a third installment in her trilogy of phenomenal large-scale scores in this genre of film.

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

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All artwork from The Cider House Rules is exclusive property of Sony Classical Records (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.


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