My week with Marilyn: Music from the Motion Picture (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“My week with Marilyn: Music from the Motion Picture” features a delightful soundtrack with songs wonderfully composed by Conrade Pope, beautifully sung by Michelle Williams and beautiful piano playing by Lang Lang. 

TITLE: My week with Marilyn: Music from the Motion Picture

LABEL: Sony Classical


RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2011

1. Marilyn’s theme – Conrad Pope
2. ‘When love goes wrong, Nothin’ Goes Right’ & ‘Heat Wave’ – Michelle Williams
3. Colin Runs off to the the Circus – Conrad Pope
4. Colin Joins the Circus/Mr Jacobs – Conrad Pope
5. Driving through Pinewood – Lang Lang
6. Paparazzi – Conrad Pope
7. Colin and Vivian – Conrad Pope
8. Memories Are Made Of This – Dean Martin
9. Rushes – Conrad Pope
10. Lucy – Conrad Pope
11. Uno, Dos, Tres – La Tropicana Orchestra
12. Arthur and Marilyn – Conrad Pope
13. Marilyn Alone – Conrad Pope
14. Arthur’s Notebook – Conrad Pope
15. Vivian Screens Marilyn – Conrad Pope
16. The Getaway – Conrad Pope
17. You Stepped Out Of A Dream – Nat King Cole
18. Eton Schoolyard Conrad Pope
19. Autumn Leaves – Nat King Cole
20. Overdose – Conrad Pope
21. Colin’s Heartbreak – Conrad Pope
22. Colin and Marilyn – Conrad Pope
23. It’s a Wrap, I found a Dream – Michelle Williams
24. Such Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of – Conrad Pope
25. Remembering Marilyn – Conrad Pope
26. That Old Black Magic – Michelle Williams

One highly anticipated film to come out this winter is the British drama “My Week with Marilyn”, an adaptation of Colin Clark’s two books “The prince, the showgirl and me: the Colin Clark Diaries” (1995) and “My week with Marilyn” (2000).

Colin Clark worked as an assistant director on Laurence Olivier’s film “The Prince and the Showgirl” (1957), which starred Olivier and actress Marilyn Monroe.  Clark would write about his experience working on the film via a diary featured in the book.  During the time, Marilyn Monroe was recently married to playwright Arthur Miller.  But while everything was quite detailed in that book, one week is missing.

That one week was then written in Clark’s “My week with Marilyn” in which Colin Clark alleges to have had a relationship with the actress.

In the film adaptation, the film is directed by Simon Curtis (“Five Days”, “David Copperfield”) with a screenplay by Adrian Hodges (“David Copperfield”, “Primeval”, “The Lost World”) and would star actress Michelle Williams (“Dawson’s Creek”, “Brokeback Mountain”, “Shutter Island”) as Marilyn Monroe and Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Shepherd”, “Powder Blue”) as Colin Clark.

The music for the film is composed and conducted by Conrad Pope (“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace), “Marilyn’s Theme” by Alexandre Desplat (“The King’s Speech”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”) and would feature piano soloist Lang Lang and also music featuring the vocals of Michelle Williams.

To imagine the context of what Colin Clark is writing about, it’s important to note that Clark’s diary showed how much he disliked Monroe, how critical he was about her Hollywood look, her work ethic and then of course, the nine days missing from his first book.  A week that he alleges to have had an intimate relationship with an already ailing Marilyn Monroe in Sept. 1957, Monroe would die in an accidental overdoes in 1962.

While debate will always continue if whether or not Colin Clark’s memoir is indeed factual (Clark passed away in 2002), so far many people who have viewed the film has received positive reviews from critics.

As for the soundtrack, after repeated listening of the tracks, my opinion of the music is positive as I felt this is one classy, smooth and entertaining album.

First, Michelle Williams who did a fantastic job as playing Marilyn Monroe, also does a remarkable job performing the tracks such as “When Love Goest Wrong, Nothing Goe’s Right” and “Heat Wave”, another surprising track is Williams rendition of “It’s a Wrap” and “I Found a Dream”.  A beautiful song featuring Williams vocals and Lang Lang’s piano playing.  And a surprise for me was to see William’s cover of “That Old Black Magic”.  After listening to the Louis Prima and Keely Smith version for so many decades, it was interesting to hear a sultrier version by Williams.

Other vocal tracks on this album include Dean Martin’s “Memories are Made of This” and Nat Cole King Trio’s “You Stepped Out of a Dream” and “Autumn Leaves”.   And the instrumental “Uno, Dos, Tres” by Tropicana.  These songs help build upon the believability of the film taking place in the late ’50s.

But it’s Conrad Pope’s compositions that are easy listening.  From its upbeat, adventurous track of “Colin Runs Off to the Circus”, the big band jazzy “Collin Joins the Circus/Mr. Jacobs” and “Eton Schoolyard” to the adventurous string-dominated “Colin and Vivian” to the gentle “Vivian Screens Marilyn”, and of course the more sadder tracks with “Overdose” and “Colin and Marilyn”.  So, there are a good number of tracks that showcase a variety of emotions from Colin Clark’s earlier years, to when he first meets Marilyn, becomes closer to Marilyn and later to reminisce of Marilyn.

Alexandre Desplat has one track which he composed which is “Marilyn’s Theme” featuring beautiful piano playing by Lang Lang.  Lang Lang would be featured in five more tracks which include the beautifully scored “Paparazzi”, the sadder “Marilyn Alone”, working with Michelle Williams for “It’s a Wrap, I found a Dream” and for the closing track instrumental track “Remembering Marilyn”.

Overall, “My week with Marilyn: Music from the Motion Picture” is a soundtrack that provides great balance in songs showcasing the sultry Marilyn Monroe (via Michelle Williams who does a great job with her vocals), the Dean Martin and Nat King Cole tracks were also welcomed additions, and the inclusion of Desplat and Lang Lang were great additions.  But for the most part, Conrad Pope did a wonderful job composing and scoring this film.

“My week with Marilyn: Music from the Motion Picture” features a delightful soundtrack with songs wonderfully composed by Conrade Pope, beautifully sung by Michelle Williams and beautiful piano playing by Lang Lang.

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A Dangerous Method: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

November 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“A Dangerous Method: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” features beautiful, emotional music composed by Howard Shore (composer of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) and the performance by Lang Lang for Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” is just the icing on the cake for this delightful soundtrack.  Recommended!

TITLE: A Dangerous Method: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

LABEL: Sony Classical/Howe Records

DURATION: 1:04:57

RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2011

  1. Burghölzli
  2. Miss Spielrein
  3. Galvanometer
  4. Carriage
  5. He’s Very Persuasive
  6. Sabina
  7. Otto Gross
  8. A Boat with Red Sails
  9. Siegfried
  10. Freedom
  11. End of the Affair
  12. Letters
  13. Confession
  14. Risk My Authority
  15. Vienna
  16. Only One god
  17. Something Unforgiveable
  18. Reflection
  19. Siegfried Idyll

From filmmaker David Cronenberg  (“The Fly”, “Eastern Promises”, “A History of Violence”) comes his latest film “A Dangerous Method” based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr and a screenplay by Christopher Hampton, who wrote the original 2002 play “The Talking Cure” which was based on the book.

The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel.

“A Dangerous Method” takes place during World War I and features the turbulent relationship between psychiatrist Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen), as the two professionals had a theoretical divergence.  The film would also feature Sabina Spielrein (played by Keira Knightley), one of the first female psychoanalysts and a woman that was  admitted to the Burgholzli mental hospital where Carl Gustav Jung worked and he was also her medical dissertation advisor.  The two had sexual relationship which was a breach of professional ethics.

So to create music based on these relationships, composing the music for the film is award-winning Howard Shore (best known for composing all three “Lord of the Rings” films, the upcoming “The Hobbit” films and “The Aviator”).

While Shore is known for creating music for epic films, the music for “A Dangerous Method” continues to show that Shore still has the magic touch when it comes to creating music even when the film focuses on three individuals.

The track “Miss Spielrein” has a slow building ferocity to showcase the introduction of Sabina.  Forceful as the string orchestra compliments this score to full effect. And there are other beautiful tracks such as “Galvanometer”, “Sabina”, “Freedom” which the soundtrack tends to either focus more strings or more piano.

For the first 15 tracks, most of the songs are only 2 minutes long (or less).  It’s not until you reach track 16, where you get music that lasts longer than two minutes.  So, listening to the soundtrack, for Howard Shore’s music,  I found myself not listening to one song but listening to his compositions as a whole.

Shore’s final three tracks are his longest on the soundtrack.  “Only One God” has the sense of a composition that wants to be powerful but its power slowly descends, “Something Unforgivable” is a beautiful song which begins with piano and then is joined by the strings and becomes whimsical and sad which leads to another track that is just as sad, “Reflection” which is more of an emotional track that is reinforced by its low and high chord progressions.

And while Howard Shore’s music is a big part of the film, for this soundtrack, his songs are quite short.  The longest track on this album is Richard Wagner’s “Sigfried Idyll” performed by Lang Lang and arranged by Howard Shore.

As Howard Shore is well-known for his compositions for “Lord of the Rings”, Lang Lang, a Chinese concert pianist is amazingly popular for his music, performing with nearly ever major orchestra in the world and selling out venues, I would not be surprised if most people were attracted to this soundtrack because of Lang Lang’s performance of “Sigfried Idyll”.

“Sigfried Idyll” is a symphonic poem for chamber orchestra which was made public in 1876 which lasts about 20 minutes but for Lang Lang’s performance it is about 32 minutes long.  It’s a track that showcases Lang Lang’s technical marvel as a musician.  I found his version to be delightful.  Outstanding!

As for the CD insert, we get a few stills from the film and production credits.

Overall, the music of Howard Shore fits the film’s structure very well.  But as mentioned, these compositions are 1-2 minutes long and rather than listening to one song, to experience the album, you listen to it straight-through.  The addition of the 32-minute performance by Lang Lang is like icing on the cake.

“A Dangerous Method: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”…A wonderful soundtrack featuring two talented men.  Recommended!