Tracksounds Rating = 7/10
and Conducted by Patrick Doyle
by Christopher Coleman
the phenomenal score to the 1997 film, Great Expections and 1998
animated feature Quest for Camelot, composer
Patrick Doyle has been on the quiet side.
Certainly, one of the most beloved film score composers by film
score fans of all tastes, Patrick Doyle’s works are always eagerly
anticipated and rarely disappoint.
Est-Ouest (East-West) Patrick Doyle teams up once again with French
director Regis Wargnier (Indochine).
This time, the backdrop for the story is post-WWII Russia, the
Both Wargnier and Doyle join up to serve visual and musical dishes
of a variety strong emotion.
With the coaxing of expatriates to return to rebuild post-war
Russia, by the countries leader, Joseph Stalin, well-meaning and
unsuspecting Russians along with their families return only to be brutally
treated, imprisoned, or executed.
Such is the case with the stories main characters and this provides
plenty of opportunity for Patrick Doyle to weave his evocative musical
French film, Est-Ouest was released towards the end of 1999 and the
score was initially available only outside of the US.
Thankfully, Sony Classical has released the score here in the good
ol’ US of A or us Yankee-Doodle-Doyle fans.
– West features many of the Doyle signatures that fans have come to know
scintillating strings, heartfelt melodies, and powerful vocals.
As the film would dictate, the modern edge found in Great
Expectations is nowhere to be found and in its place traditional
Russian choruses have been constructed.
Quite obviously, this makes for a much more serious listening
experience than Great Expectations, but still offers its fair share
of delightful cues.
Evoking an interestingly familiar feel as Basil Poledouris’ score to Les Miserables, with its French-European flavor and militaristic hints, Est-Ouest begins with its Opening Titles. Immediately, following the Eastern-European choruses begin with Farewell of a Slav. In addition to track 2, Smuglianka (track 7), Nightingales (track 19), and The Land (track 25) all feature some wonderful choral pieces. The best of these is, by far, The Land, a hymn that is hauntingly and powerfully performed by baritone Anatoly Fokanov and comes approaches to the passion of Doyle’s Henry V chorus; however, it never quite reaches the heights of English King’s theme.
wonderful addition to the performance of this score are piano talents
of Emanuel Ax.
Featured in four tracks on the Sony Classical CD are the crisp
chords of the pianist.
His bright performances truly stand out in each track they are
East-West, there is at least one commonality to one of the best scores of
1997, indeed, one of the best of the 1990’s, Great Expectations.
There is one mournful recurring theme, first introduced in track 4,
Forgive Me, that is a close cousin of Benefactor,
among other tracks, from
the 1997 score. This theme reappears at the film’s most crucial moments
and finds its apex in the final track, The
Anatoly Fokanov bellows out the Russian lyrics to the well-established
collaboration between Doyle and Wargnier seems to work.
While comparing this film to Casablanca, as some critics
have, may be a bit too much, the film and score both have a great deal to
The majority of the music released by Sony Classical ranges from
average to enthralling; however, the music mentioned above along with the
performance of Emmanuel Ax are the highlights of the disc. This certainly
is a must CD for Patrick Doyle appreciators.
|2||Farewell of a Slav||2:11||***|
|3||Arrival in Kiev||1:51||***|
|9||You're Doing if For Us||3:16||****|
|11||Alexei and Olga||2:12||****|
|15||I'll Never Forget You||3:26||***|
|18||The Black Sea||1:53||***|
|21||You Must Stay Alive||2:43||**|
|Total Playing Time||53:25|
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