Max and Helen / The Oasis

Christopher Young

" BSX goes for quite young Young scores "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the limited release

2 Dramatic scores from the early period of Christopher Young. A time he wasn't known yet as the go to composer for horror. The first of 2 scores is the dramatic tale of Max and Helen, a movie apparently 105 people rated at IMDB. Young's selection here is heartfelt and sober, reminding me at times of one James Horner (the soft piano work and tinkling sounds in "Heart Lost" are genuine Horner). The solo vocal is lovely too, giving a sense of drama and longing to cues such as "In Memory" and "Stories Must be Told", while a bit of Jewish playfulness turns up in the lively "Zioczow Square". The odd little one is "Zalesie", going dark with even tiny screams and brief atonality. The signature Young strings and the occasional references to the other themes in counterpoint signal the foreboding feeling on screen. The conclusive "Forgiveness of Sins" delivers a beautiful heartfelt version of the main theme by solo vocal.

Even fewer people ever seemed to have watched The Oasis (60 people), but it will not have been because of the effective music. Because despite being a rather uneasy affair, Young's sense for effectiveness was already very much alive and well in The Oasis. It opens nonetheless with a sense of adventure and relief ("The Oasis"), but that soon changes after "Devil's Food", which delivers instead percussive uneasiness and sadly a lot of atonal minutes. It's highly effective and will provide its purpose in the film, but you don't want to spend the longest minutes of a score on this. The sinister "Funeral Mountain", the atonal uneasiness of "Garlock" and the Project X / The Karate Kid like ethnicity in "The Water Webb" give a bit of diversity during the remainder of the score. Only to end with the tribal uneasiness of "Rituals", giving a sense this movie might not have a happy ending after all.

It's always interesting to check out various unknown Christopher Young scores. But I doubt a lot of people will warm up to The Oasis. Then the more calmer and sincere Max and Helen will have to get the job done instead. For the die hard Christopher Young fans.

Track Listing

Max and Helen
1. In Memory (1.43)
2. Chopin Piano Etude #3 In E (Excerpt) (1.34)
3. Stories Must be Told (3.30)
4. Heart Lost (4.24)
5. Zioczow Square (1.37)
6. Zalesie (4.44)
7. Must Continue (2.57)
8. Forgiveness of Sins (2.28)

The Oasis
9. The Oasis (1.40)
10. Maché Mirage (2.18)
11. Devil's Food (8.54)
12. The Heaven Tree (1.58)
13. Funeral Mountain (2.10)
14. Garlock (4.00)
15. The Water Web (2.27)
16. Rituals (2.24)

Total Length: 48.48
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 3 votes - average 4.33/5)

Released by

BSX Records BSXCD 8847 (limited release 2009)

Conducted by

Paul Francis Witt

Orchestrations by

Jeff Atmajian