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Lifting the Veil
Review by Christopher Coleman

Composed, Conducted and Orchestrated by Mark Wolfram
Performances by Trio Puhallus, Peter Willison & The Sinfonia of London, 
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Released by Wrightwood Records- July 2000

Piercing the Celluloid Veil


Originality 7
Music Selection 8
Composition 8
CD Length 6
Track Order 8
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10

Every so often, I am privileged enough to receive a CD from a composer I'm not very well acquainted with.  Such introductions can be nightmarish at times and at other times there are  occasions when I'm pleasantly surprised by the wondrous music contained on the disc.  In the past, I have stumbled across the likes of the composer David Kneupper and his inspiring work for Apollo/ Saturn V and Michael Giacchino's work for Medal of Honor.  These score remains among of my favorites and most listened to.  More recently I received a CD from composer Mark Wolfram and he has gotten my full attention with this recently released compilation: Piercing the Celluloid Veil: An Orchestral Odyssey.

As most composer compilations should, Piercing the Celluloid Veil dishes out a wide variety of musical styles that the composer has in his quiver.  No matter what sort of film music one might lean toward: suspense, romance, horror,  or drama, Mark Wolfram has something to be heard on this CD.

The first half of the CD offers the best music of the CD and warrants the majority of attention.  Beginning with an attention grabbing action piece, Dogged Pursuit, Wolfram shoots his action-arrow and does so as Jerry Goldmsith Goldsmith has over the years: bold brass and pounding percussions.  Next, Big Sky (2) brings back memories of the solitary heroism of Kneupper's Apollo/ Saturn V score:  wonder and heroism classily combined.  With track 3 being titled, Wistful Disappointment, its not hard to guess what the overall tone of the track might be.  What is not likely to be guessed is the amount of emotional beauty Wolfram squeezes out the modest orchestra.  If one is a fan of the tender Princess Mononoke theme, this track will score big points despite its brevity.  Along these lines is track 6, Farewell.  A bit longer than track 3, one still can't but hear that Joe Hisaishi styled string work mixed with a subtle melancholy of oboe and flute.  Wonderous Journey (4) also is a dead giveaway, yet again, I was no less shocked than with the previous track.  Here, Wolfram gives another short glimpse of some engagingly pretty music.  It is uplifting and bright along the lines of the John Williams of the seventies.  Once again, the only knock being its one minute and fifty-one second duration.  

From this point forward the music turns a bit darker and edgier, with a couple of exceptions.  Ethical Dilemma (5) again, aptly titled, provides most of the formulaic ingredients one might anticipate for a formulaic, Hollywood, suspense sequence.  The second half of the CD is slightly less rousing, but has a number of noteworthy tracks.  Credo (9) is a notable choral piece.  It is performed cleanly and is not untypical of the sort of thematic stuff used in some of today's most popular video games.  At one time this might be a demeaning statement, but with the quality of video game music on a steady rise, this is certainly not this case anymore.  Credo gives the listener a quick glimpse into Wolfram's ability to devise the dramatic.  The final track, Corridors (15) closes out the CD rather unceremoniously with a rather dark and foreboding feel.   Still, composer Wolfram, is able to milk out quite a bit of emotion from this synthesized piece- enough to give trailer extraordinaire John Beal a decent run for his money. 

Composer Mark Wolfram brings twenty years of composition, arranging and orchestrating to his work on this CD.  He has composed original scores for General Hospital, Another World, Riptide, The Smurfs and Jonny Quest.  This sampler CD features informative liner notes and is a high quality recording and hopefully leads the way for future projects from Wolfram.


 Track Listing and Ratings

 Track  Title  Time


1 Dogged Pursuit 1:42  ****
2 Big Sky Sound Clip 1:54  ****
3 Wistful Disappointment Sound Clip 1:37  ****
4 Wondrous Journey 1:51  ****
5 Ethical Dilemma 4:19  ***
6 Farewell 2:56  ***
7 Serpentine 1:55  ***
8 Unseen Terror 2:33  **
9 Credo 1:52  ****
10 The Test of Time 2:23  **
11 The Slasher 0:50  **
12 A Pensive Moment 0:47  ***
13 Innocent Facade 0:28  ***
14 Piercing the Celluloid Veil 6:53  ***
15 Chase 0:53  ***
16 Brass Trio - Mvt. 1: Fanfare 1:59  ***
17 Brass Trio - Mvt. 2: Elegy 1:58  ***
18 Brass Trio - Mvt. 3: Dance 2:06  ***
19 Corridors (A Concerto for Orchestra) 11:33  **

Total Running Time


   Sound Clip Real Audio Clip

Referenced Reviews:  
Apollo/Saturn V | Medal of Honor


Quick Quotes


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Sound clips

Track 2 - Big Sky

Track 3 - Wistful Disappointment


Mark Wolfram


Piercing the Celluloid Veil  





All artwork from Piercing the Celluloid Veil is exclusive property of Wrightwood Records (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.
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