James Newton Howard

" Restoration is long but lovely, classically inspired but James like too "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

The movie Restoration (starring Robert Downey Jr. and winning 2 Academy Awards) is a 1995 American historical drama film directed by Michael Hoffman. It goes about a 17th Century medical student who's exploited by a king. For re creating the 17th century as much as possible, director Hoffman chose to include a healthy portion of Henry Purcell's classical music in the film (most specifically Baroque inspired for which Purcell is mostly known). And secondly adding James Newton Howard's own take on 17th century classical music to it. Considering director and composer know one another well (they worked together on Promised Land and Some Girls), it wasn't hard to persuade Howard for the gig.

So if one would look behind the numerous selections of baroque music, you'll find a healthy portion of James Newton Howard in it as well. Specifically music that tries to re create as much as possible the classical music of Purcell. "Main Titles" is a dancing delight full of trumpet shrills, dancing strings and even harpsichord at the end (a variation on a theme by Purcell). This main theme returns equally lovely in "The Wedding", in the emotionally strong "Katharine's Death", with a choral performance in "Night Sweats" and underscoring an emotionally charged urgency in the other highlight "The Fire".

Of course JNH's distinct style is never far away. Just listen to the lovely strings at work in "A Night with Lulu" and the numerous versions of the Alive like emotional theme in "A Creature of the New Age", "The Land of Mar", "Katharine Sleeps", "The Right Knowledge" (having a strong moment at the end) and "Listening to Celia's Hart". Another strong moment comes in the soaring climax of "The Hospital", having the Alive like theme behind it as well, just enough to flourish it up a little more.

And if James wanders in Purcell's mind, you'll get a classical example as "The Cabinet of Curiosities".

Honestly, there were times I lost some kind of a connection in Restoration. Mostly because of the Classical pieces in begin and end, but sometimes also during James his score. However and this is definitely the selling point of the score, there's an undeniable beauty coming from the 2 themes of this score. They're often performed without much variation, but always romantically charged. Giving a distinct romantisism to the 17th Century that I'm sure fits the movie like a glove. Think away the brass laden action music of James' career and expect something different and I'm sure you'll find Restoration a treat once it begins to unravel its qualities after a while. On a personal note, it sure took a while for me.

Favorite Moment - Hospital (1.43 - 2.51)
The most soaring moments of the disc

Track Listing

1. If Love's a Sweet Potion * (1.31)
2. Main Titles (2.57)
3. Frost Dance in C ** (1.34)
4. A Night with Lulu (1.21)
5. Minuet in G *** (0.53)
6. Here the Deities Approve **** (2.28)
7. A Creature of the New Age (1.09)
8. Overture in D * (2.25)
9. The Wedding (1.39)
10. Hornpipe in D Minor * (1.26)
11. Arrival in Bidnold (1.08)
12. The Cabinet of Curiosities (2.54)
13. The Land of Mar (1.10)
14. The Lie (1.18)
15. A New Ground In E Minor + (0.53)
16. Merivel Woos Celia (2.26)
17. Katharine Sleeps (3.23)
18. Taking Bidnold Back (1.35)
19. Muzette 1 in A Minor ++ (2.56)
20. The Right Knowledge (2.06)
21. The Plague (2.09)
22. Katharine's Death (4.37)
23. Night Sweats (3.03) Excellent track
24. Hospital (2.54) Excellent track
25. Doctor Merivel (1.50)
26. Listening to Celia's Heart (1.39)
27. The Fire (3.18) Excellent track
28. Allegro from Sinfonia (Act II) ***** (1.19)
29. Your Child I Believe (1.12)
30. Newcastle (Traditional) (0.38)
31. 2nd Overture in D ** (1.28)

* From the Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell
** From King Arthur by Henry Purcell
*** From Abdelazer by Henry Purcell
**** From the Ode Welcome to all the Pleasures by Henry Purcell
***** From The Indian Queen by Henry Purcell
+ Harpsicord transcription by Henry Purcell
++ From 3e Livre Pièces de Viole by Marin Marias

Total Length: 61.35
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 8 votes - average 3.81/5)

Released by

Milan Records 7313835707-2 (regular release 1995)

Conducted by

Artie Kane

Orchestrations by

Geoff Alexander, Frank Bennett, Don Nemitz & Brad Dechter