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Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal by Joel McNeely

Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal (Soundtrack) by Joel McNeely

Composed and Conducted by Joel McNeely
Orchestrated by Don Nemitz, David Slonaker, Brian Langsbard, and Joel McNeely
Performed by Bobbi Page and Yvonne Williams 
(vocal soloists)
Executive Producer: Luc Van de Ven
Album Produced by Ford A. Thaxton
Released b
y Prometheus Records  2000


Q-Review

With the likes of Jesus:  The Epic Mini-series, The 10th Kingdom, and Arabian Knights, the year 2000 and now Sally Hemmings, 2000 has seen an unusually high number of quality scores composed for television events.   

Once touted as a possible successor to John Williams, composer Joel McNeely continues to establish himself on his own composing merits.  Joel McNeely has gone far beyond John Williams impersonations.  No better evidence for this is Sally Hemmings:  An American Scandal.   For this television mini-series about the controversial relationship American patriarch, Thomas Jefferson and black slave, Sally Hemmings, McNeely delivers a score that is easily the quality of many A-run feature films.

 


The Bottom Line

Joel McNeely's score is sometimes subtle, sometimes sweeping in feel.  He blends this with well-crafted, classical, period music.  McNeely founds the score on a strong, Americana main theme first heard in I was Born Sally Hemmings (1).  The theme communicates a strong sense of patriotism and is in line with themes by David Newman or Marc Shaiman.  McNeely chooses to reflect the African-slave elements with simple vocal female vocal solos.

The Belgium based Prometheus Records provides over 73 minutes of music from this television film including several classical pieces.  Most of the middle tracks tend to become a bit too subdued to command the listener's full attention. The CD does conclude nicely (and in "Olympic" fashion) with McNeely's End Credits.  In the end, Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal is an unassuming score that further helps establish McNeely as a serious film music composer.

 Category

Score

Rating: 7/10

 Originality

7/10

 Composition 7/10

 CD Length

8/10

Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal (Soundtrack) by Joel McNeely

 

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