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East West (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle

Tracksounds Rating = 7/10

East West (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doyle

Composed and Conducted by Patrick Doyle
Performed by the Bulgarian Symphony and Mixed Choir, Emanuel Ax, Anatoly Fokanov
Released by Sony Classical 2000

Track Title Time Rating Doyle Returns
by Christopher Coleman

Since 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.

For 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 Stalin-era.  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 tapestries.

The 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.

East – West features many of the Doyle signatures that fans have come to know and love:  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. 

Another 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 featured in. 

In 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 Land, as  Anatoly Fokanov bellows out the Russian lyrics to the well-established theme.  

The 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 offer audiences.  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.

1 Opening Titles 2:04 ***
2 Farewell of a Slav 2:11 ***
3 Arrival in Kiev 1:51 ***
4 Forgive Me 1:22 ****
5 Babouchka 2:08 ***
6 Jeopardy 2:00 ***
7 Smuglianka 2:39 **
8 The Church 1:07 ***
9 You're Doing if For Us 3:16 ****
10 Betrayal 0:42 ***
11 Alexei and Olga 2:12 ****
12 The River 1:50 ****
13 The Race 1:26 ****
14 Madame Bovary 2:52 ***
15 I'll Never Forget You 3:26 ***
16 The Plan 1:52 ***
17 The Cliffs 0:50 ***
18 The Black Sea 1:53 ***
19 Nightingales 3:25 ***
20 La Mer 1:29 ***
21 You Must Stay Alive 2:43 **
22 Farewell Tango 1:21 **
23 The Escape 3:20 **
24 Freedom 1:29 ****
25 The Land 3:57 *****
  Total Playing Time 53:25    

Category

Score

 
 Originality 7  

Music Selection

8  

Themes/ Composition

7  

CD Length

8  

Track Order

7  

Performance

7  

Final Score

7  
         
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Composer
Patrick Doyle

East West (Soundtrack) by Patrick Doy

Purchase this CD at

Durango (Soundtrack) by Mark McKenzie

All artwork from East - West is exclusive property of Sony Classical Records (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.

 

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