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"Another romantic treat from Fenton"

Review by Thomas Glorieux:

George Fenton is a master of melody. These last years people have been coming back to Anna and the King, a score I needed time with. But after hearing the score for several times and checking out the movie, it is indeed one of the best scores of '99. Strange because people have been saying the same of Dangerous Beauty in the year '98. So it was time to check out the guts and glory of this score yet strange but true, I again needed some time. Multiple listens were acquired to feel the true beauty and above all romantic lushness of Fenton's work here. I'm not talking about enjoying it because that isn't really difficult given the rather beautiful material presented here. But really enjoying it is a taste of knowing the themes, singing along with them and loving them by heart, something that can only happen when you hear the themes two to 3 times per duo listens, at minimum. And as ever, the themes are lush when speaking of composer George Fenton. There is at least one that demands the interest of your attention. Yet since this is a 67 minute listen, you should at least have variation on the proceedings. And even if I am not one hundred percent satisfied, the sudden playfulness, lighthearted side or emotional dark fanfare is more then welcome.

The score starts with a nice Spanish mandolin performing what seems to be a period theme, making sure you are directly transported to the right era and time. Anyway, 'Venice Proud and Pretty' is a nice opener. The next already contains the more waltz like flavor that will appear more then often during the score. And the next is even the best or as said main theme of the score, 'The First Kiss (Veronica's Theme)' is a beautiful string theme that would later receive its expanded form in track 14 but more its momentum in the last track, which I will come back at later. However it is the lovely mid part of the score that brings the diversity so needly required with long albums. It starts with 'First Poetry Duel' and ends somewhat around 'Second Poetry Duel'. The waltzes, playability and lightheartedness is most impressive coming of Fenton, and gives the score a very serious comical feel but also a joy from track to track that is lovely to start with. Especially notice the rather fun themes just during 'Who's Next?' and the second part of 'First Poetry Duel' which are just great in every sense. Yet how playful it all is during these tracks, it becomes darker the moment we reach track 15. Just before it you have a wonderful string version of the love theme or Veronica's theme in 'Veronica and Marco' which gives already a sign of the splendour to come at the end. 'News of War' is a darker yet still lovely orchestral piece and the mandolin during it will directly pinpoint your attention towards Cocoon, because frankly it happens with me each time. Yet it becomes tragically emotional, starting with 'The King of France', a fanfare in the begin but more serious heavy music suggests dark times for Veronica.

The sudden outburst of glorious thematic material in 'Marco Goes to War' (especially notice how well the violin and later strings transports you back to Anna and the King) is tempting but the dark side shows itself too good in 'The Plague / Veronica's Arrest', even with its great main theme version near the end of the track. That theme receives more air time now, on solo violin (return to Anna and the King) during 'Imprisonment Part 2', it is a great performance along with the emotional brass fanfare during 'Imprisonment Part 1'. Yet the sole climatic version is for the last track 'The Verdict / End Titles', here the grandeur and splendour of this sole theme becomes too grand for words and it is one of those outbursts of main themes that simply thunders of force. Overall Dangerous Beauty is a great listen, classical in its sound to transport you to the era and time of the movie. It are of course other things that make the score of Fenton great. Near the end the more orchestral fanfares of theme that give it spectrum and scope, the waltzes and playful attitude during the begin and the romantic flavor whether on mandolin, flute, violin or through the orchestra. It all helps to settle the pride of Dangerous Beauty. Pride is perhaps the perfect word since the pride of Fenton towards these projects is astounding and simply several listens make it perhaps a long listen, but one with long moments of excellence coming your way. Along with Anna and the King (the score I prefer more), Dangerous Beauty is Fenton material with Fenton class to prove its strong romantic roots.


Tracks Single Disc

1. Venice Proud And Pretty (2.30)

2. Marco's Homecoming (2.19)

3. The First Kiss (Veronica's Theme) (1.56)    Excellent Track

4. I Cannot Marry You (1.57)

5. Mother's Advice (1.40)

6. Job Training / The Library (3.16)

7. Warming To The Idea (2.14)    Excellent Track

8. First Poetry Duel (3.16)

9. Ramberti (1.40)

10. Who's Next? (1.22)

11. Veronica's Ascent (1.30)

12. Marco Will Marry (1.45)

13. Second Poetry Duel (4.43)

14. Veronica And Marco (2.32)    Excellent Track

15. News Of War (2.31)

16. The Lodge (2.00)

17. The King Of France (4.13)

18. Marco Goes To War (2.46)    Excellent Track

19. The Plague / Veronica's Arrest (7.48)

20. Imprisonment Part 1 (1.26)

21. Imprisonment Part 2 (1.28)

22. Veronica Confesses (2.12)

23. I Stand Alone For Venice And This Women (3.13)

24. The Verdict / End Titles (5.36)    Excellent Track

Total Length: 67.12


The use of artwork or photos is posted for non profitable reasons

=== Link to Composer Site: George Fenton ===

Original Soundtrack by George Fenton

Produced by by George Fenton

Orchestrations by Geoffrey Alexander

Recorded at Abbey Road & CTS Studios; London

Also See:

Anna and the King

In Love and War