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Editor's Choice

Best of the Month for June  

 

CROSS CREEK (1983)

21 Tracks (Playing Time = 56:28)

Music Composed by Leonard Rosenman

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Lionel Newman.

 

 

This CD has received a Sammy Award for Best Bronze Age Film Score of 2008.

Produced by Douglass Fake. Executive Producer: Roger Feigelson. Orchestrations: Ralph Ferraro. Digital Editing and Mastering: Douglass Fake. Analog to Digital Transfers: Joe Tarantino. Album Art Direction: Joe Sikoryak. CD Notes by Deniz Cordell.

INTRADA Special Collection Volume 66 (Limited to 1500 copies)

Rating: ****

This lovely soundtrack of the complete film score for CROSS CREEK is dedicated to the memory of composer Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008). That is a most fitting choice since this is probably Rosenman's most eloquent film score.

The film tells the story of novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, superbly played by Mary Steenburgen, and her move to an undevolped part of Florida during the early 1900s. Leonard Rosenman's score follows the moods and magnificent vistas of this film, sensitively directed by Martin Ritt. Also in the fine cast are Alfre Woodard and Rip Torn, both Oscar-nominated for their acting, Peter Coyote and Dana Hill as the young girl, who is the basis for the classic novel by Rawlings, The Yearling.

In his very insightful and well written CD notes, Deniz Cordell explains that CROSS CREEK has an
"impressionistic approach, similar to that of Delius or Debussy. In a bizarre way this impressionism proves to be expressionistic -- the music becomes Cross Creek -- it flows with the thoughts and emotional currents of the land and its denizens."

Indeed, the opening track (3:10) does have an impressionistic main theme, played by solo oboe. It will return again and again thoughout the film score and flows gently by like the water and never outstays its welcome. This memorable piece of musical Americana is one of Rosenman's loveliest creations. It is one of those themes that stays with you in a most pleasant way. Also introduced in the second half of the opening track the muted brass introduce what Cordell calls the "Natural World Motif." It also perfectly complements the subtlety of the main theme.

Rosenman's film score was composed for two orchestras, a larger one for the more extended passages and a smaller ensemble for the more intimate passages. This gives the film score the ability to provide for any emotional situation in the film.

One of the ways that Rosenman matches the film's dialogue is on track 3 (Drive to Cross Creek, 2:25) when he uses one of his favorite devices, known as tone pyramids or a stacking up of notes, as Rawlings is first driven to see her new home Cross Creek, which becomes a much darker sound on bass clarinet when she sees the crumbling condition of the house.

There are also cues mixing the main theme with a more agitated theme, such as track 8 (Work Montage, 3:42). This begins slowly and quietly and then switches to a faster and louder section with trombones and bass and strings and woodwinds joining in along with some percussion. There are also two cues marked "Agitato" (original version, track 12; revised version, track 13), using primarily dissonant brass and strings, accented with vibraphone and harp. The second or revised version is more lighthearted in character. Actually the revised version was meant to replace the original one, yet neither version was used in the film.

This soundtrack CD presents the film score on tracks 1-17 (45:59).
There are also four bonus tracks (10:22), which provide alternate versions of these cues:
Main Title (track 18, 3:04), I Be Geechee (track 19, 1:13), Work Montage (track 20, 3:27),
Orange Crop Montage (end credits version, 2:30).

This CROSS CREEK soundtrack is well worth adding to your collection.

It is one of Leonard Rosenman's finest film scores and
he fully deserved being Oscar-nominated for it -- others nominated that year were
Jerry Goldsmith (UNDER FIRE) and John Williams (RETURN OF THE JEDI).
Rosenman had previously received back-to-back Oscars for his adaptations of
BARRY LYNDON (1975) and BOUND FOR GLORY (1976).

With CROSS CREEK, the INTRADA team have once again provided film music fans
with a superior quality production.

I am pleased to name it as Best of the Month.

Now, my suggestion would be simple...

Buy this wonderful CROSS CREEK CD before
it goes down the river and gets sold out.

 

--RogerL. Hall, 27 June 2008

 

Also highly recommended is the film available here...

Cross Creek

CROSS CREEK DVD

 

 


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