About once a year a score is produced and released on CD that is so potent, so filled with wonderful experiences in emotion that writing a review for it is a breeze and a joy! GREAT EXPECTATIONS is that score for 1998. This is by far one of PATRICK DOYLE'S best scores. It is one of his most unique. For GREAT EXPECTATIONS Doyle employs a number of techniques and styles that are compelling, fitting for their respective scenes, as well as highly entertaining as stand-alone music. The score reflects the directors and producers vision for the film adaptation of the classic story. It is the classical experienced and seen through contemporary eyes. In the case of the score it is classical heard experienced through contemporary ears and enhanced by contemporary styles.
The opening track helps set this score a part from most every other score for 1998. Here Doyle utilizes a solo whistler and the voice talents of Tori Amos. Gently flowing behind them are softy playing by ever-swelling strings, chimes, and wind instruments. It helps to develop the setting of the youth and innocence of young Finn, the story's main character. This track could accompany the most lazy of puffy- cloud- filled- blue- sky days fit for laying in the grass and daydreaming. It is unassuming but poignant.
This score is filled with dramatic pieces that follow the typical Doyle-style found in HENRY V and THE LITTLE PRINCESS. At the same time there are a number of tracks that one would not easily imagine fitting on the same CD release. Somehow Doyle pulls it off and it makes for a great listen straight through the CD. From the previously mentioned dramatic/suspense pieces to the soft guitar, played classically by John Williams, Estella's Theme (4) to the contemporary-rhythmic pieces like Kissing in the Rain (8) to big band/jazz to the operatic I Saw No Shadow of Another Parting (7) to the spanish-guitared Besame Mucho (20) this score touches a gamut of textures and emotions as does its film.
The true genius of GREAT EXPECTATIONS is the synthesis of these varying styles into one collective experience that one truly never tires of having. Unfortunately, it's early release in 1998 all but insured it would be forgotten come award time, which is a true shame. The Titanic hoopla has swallowed up all concurrent releases. Given Patrick Doyle's recent health problems, it is all the more amazing the score he was able to write. There are a lot of healthy composers who can only dream of doing such magnificent work. Patrick Doyle is certainly deserving of, at least, a GG or Oscar nomination. If I were to put a CD together, I'd never dream of placing classical, jazz and contemporary dance material on the same CD and actually enjoy the listening experience. All credit to Doyle and the producers of this score release for attempting and pulling off the near-impossible.
A high recommendation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS would be an understatement. Of the few scores one might classify as the-only-one-you-have-on-a-deserted-island-type, this is surely one of them! Given its great variety yet strong unity, it makes for the perfect island companion...well, excluding certain companions of the female variety! Whatever one has to pay for this...it's worth it.