" Lovely romantic theme is the winner here "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
Director Stuart St. Paul presents The Scarlet Tunic, an adaptation of a Thomas Hardy short story. Set in nineteenth century rural England, it goes about a forbidden romance between a German hussar Matthaus Singer, and the only daughter of a West country solicitor, Frances Groves. Starring Emma Fielding and Simon Callow, it was a movie that didn't attract attention at all. The only thing that could have made it bearable was John Scott's accompanying score. Presented here in a 35 track presentation, it wasn't a question whether John Scott was going to be interested in the subject matter, but how much?
We all know that John Scott is an artist, a man who fills the projects with more than it often deserves. So no reason to think The Scarlet Tunic isn't going to deliver on that promise. As usual, the composer has a couple of themes standing by. One, the main theme is a playful old fashioned waltz that breaths life in the catchy "Main Titles / The Arrival of the King's Hussars", whilst undergoing a dark transformation in "Capture of Matthaus". This theme is barely heard during the 60 minute listening experience.
Another one is the most reoccurring theme of all, namely the love theme. And as one could / would / should expect, it's another quality theme one can melt away with. First it's heard lovely in "Frances meets Sergeant Matthaus Singer" and "Frances and Sergeant Singer", then it sounds quite foreboding in "New Expectations", re energizes the love in "Meeting in the Stable" and makes it irresistible in the enchanting "Day at the Coast". Furthermore it goes through several variations as well (notably the suspenseful "Frances Takes Flight" and the dark tinted "Execution of Matthaus").
And then we have the disturbing sound for Captain Fairfax, a man who stands in the way of the romance between Matthaus and Frances. Quite easy to spot his intentions when we feel the unnerving tones in "Captain Fairfax", "Threat of Execution" and "The First Execution" as most notable examples. Add to that a bit of everything. Accordion music in "At the Tavern", 5 minutes of continues drums and trumpet solos in the track that says it all "Trumpets and Drums of the Kings Hussars", some dramatic string music in "Mr. Gould's Secret Marriage" and a nice resolution with the soft "Christoff Returns" and the strong love theme performance in "Scarlet Tunic / End Credits".
Altogether, this makes The Scarlet Tunic a nice listening experience. A long one but nice nonetheless. The problem is that when comparing it with the scores I've heard of John Scott, it lacks that something extra. Theme wise there is no doubt about this score's potential, as the love theme is a winner in its own right, and the sprightly waltz is as catchy as you can imagine it. But underscore wise, it lacks a bit of magic. Making the experience in the end a bit long as well. Ah, they can't all be winners. And comparing it with today's scores, it's still goddamn terrific.
1. Prologue (0.28)
2. Main Titles / The Arrival of the King's Hussars (2.15)
3. Mr. Gould Proposes to Frances (1.05)
4. Captain Fairfax (0.36)
5. Frances meets Sergeant Matthaus Singer (2.05)
6. Frances and Sergeant Singer (2.15)
7. A Message for Captain Fairfax (0.47)
8. Fairfax Discipline (1.21)
9. The Red Shawl (0.22)
10. At the Tavern (1.44)
11. Francis and Matthaus Discuss Poetry (0.48)
12. Francis and Matthaus Continue Their Walk (0.30)
13. Threat of Execution (1.31)
14. New Expectations (2.49)
15. Talk of Desertion (0.59)
16. The First Execution (1.35)
17. Meeting in the Stable (1.51)
18. Trumpets and Drums of the Kings Hussars (5.45)
19. Sergeant Singer and Captain Fairfax Play Chess (3.18)
20. Mr. Gould's Letter (1.07)
21. Matthaus and Frances Declare Their Love (2.17)
22. The Day at the Coast (4.44) Excellent track
23. A Flogging (1.47)
24. Driven to Desertion (1.12)
25. Frances and Matthaus Seal Their Fate (2.00)
26. Bidding Goodbye (1.14)
27. Departure From Home (0.55)
28. Trying to Reach the Rendezvous (1.51)
29. Mr. Gould's Secret Marriage (3.09)
30. Frances Takes Flight (0.42)
31. Capture of Matthaus (1.43)
32. Frances Find the Scarlet Tunic (0.50)
33. Execution of Matthaus (1.35)
34. Christoff Returns (3.32)
35. Scarlet Tunic / End Credits (2.43) Excellent track
Total Length: 63.25