" Epic dramatic score "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
Antony and Cleopatra is a 1972 film adaptation of the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. It was directed by Charlton Heston but received poor reviews and therefore a limited release in the USA. Luckily for us, Cheston knew whom to hire for the music. Just 7 years after his entrance in the movie business, veteran composer John Scott was asked to recreate, duplicate or expand the golden age sound of composers such as Miklos Rozsa, Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Aaron Copland, Franz Waxman, ... You name it, he was charged with a task. To bring forth the golden age music Charlton Heston grew up with in Ben-Hur, El Cid and The 10 Commandments. Strangely enough, Scott succeeded to bring forth an amazing epic reply.
Opening in true Golden Age style, "Overture" indulges us with an amazing opening piece. The main theme gets ample time to grow towards its biggest performance, and once you hear it colliding with a full chorus at the end, you'll be hearing old school filmmusic in the likes you rarely hear today. One can compare it with a Miklos Rozsa piece of one of his many many epic scores, it reaches that momentum.
The theme itself, a wonderful thematic marvel of romance and epic grandeur gets plenty of freedom during the score. In "Main Titles" it receives another concert like performance, in "Undying Love" its soft delicate sounds show us the love Antony has for Cleopatra, in "Whither Hast Thou Led Me Egypt" flute and sitar heighten the dramatic effect and in "Epilogue: Eternal Rest" we are given a send off like we rarely hear them today.
Another frequent returning melody is the eerie and dreamy music Scott uses in the wonderful "Give Me to Drink Madragora", "Cleopatra Deserted" (wonderful through the guitar and a soft trumpet performance) and "The Barge She Sat In" (which delivers the largest send off of this theme with choir). It contemplates the main theme well and is frequently heard alongside each other (occasionally even for a brief moment like "Battle of Actium).
Of course Scott is never far away with some Golden Age music too. The fanfare in "Pomey", the dramatic suspense music with trumpets and strings in "Battle of Actium" or the fanfares in "He Goes Forth Gallantly", the score is never far away from its roots. And the atonal dramatic finish in "Death of Enobarbus", the beautiful moment of the main theme (depicting the death) in "Death of Antony" and the salute of the stirring main theme in "Epilogue: Eternal Rest" are emotional firecrackers as well.
In short Antony and Cleopatra is music coming from an era long lost but not forgotten. John Scott just continued the trend to support the historic epics with an equally epic score. Just listen to the first 2 tracks to understand what kind of an impact Scott creates. His 2 themes are scattered throughout the score and appear in about any form, tone or place. Simply put Antony and Cleopatra is a Golden Age score that matches the epic blockbuster scores of its era, and you would think it was written for it specifically. Discover the suite on the Warriors of the Silver Screen compilation to get a sample for what to expect. Get the whole deal if you fancy powerful dramatic golden age music enriched with a couple of stirring dramatic highlights.
1. Overture (9.17) Excellent track
2. Main Titles (3.36) Excellent track
3. Undying Love (3.38)
4. Give Me to Drink Madragora (2.02) Excellent track
5. Pompey (1.58)
6. Cleopatra Deserted (1.38)
7. Rome and Octavia (1.47)
8. The Barge She Sat In (4.19) Excellent track
9. Battle of Actium (6.16)
10. Part 2. Antony's Army Deserts (1.44)
11. Whither Hast Thou Led Me Egypt (2.26)
12. Death of Enobarbus (2.05)
13. One Last Night of Love (3.02)
14. He Goes Forth Gallantly (3.52)
15. Sometimes We See A Cloud That's Dragonish (2.42)
16. Death of Antony (3.57) Excellent track
17. Pretty Worm of Nilus (1.50)
18. Epilogue: Eternal Rest (2.10) Excellent track
Total Length: 58.19