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Angela's Ashes [Music From The Motion Picture]

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Barnes & Noble - Andrew Velez
Composer John Williams STAR WARS, SCHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN continues to amaze with music that is fresh and concert hall worthy. He's responded to Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of a harsh growing-up in Ireland with an inspired score. The soundtrack opens with "Theme from Angela's Ashes," a piece in which the lonely delicacy of the meditative piano is contrasted with the sweeping sound of a full orchestra. It immediately conveys the deep feeling of the story, and yet -- and here's Williams's wizardry at work -- the music has majesty without ever becoming ponderous. Narrating directly from the film, acclaimed screen actor Andrew Bennet ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Velez
Composer John Williams STAR WARS, SCHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN continues to amaze with music that is fresh and concert hall worthy. He's responded to Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of a harsh growing-up in Ireland with an inspired score. The soundtrack opens with "Theme from Angela's Ashes," a piece in which the lonely delicacy of the meditative piano is contrasted with the sweeping sound of a full orchestra. It immediately conveys the deep feeling of the story, and yet -- and here's Williams's wizardry at work -- the music has majesty without ever becoming ponderous. Narrating directly from the film, acclaimed screen actor Andrew Bennet introduces key tracks. His bittersweet, unsentimental, and moving words, laced with acerbic humor, are at one with the music that follows. Williams weaves Irish and Celtic influences into a lush, dramatic score that honors the dark and poignant beauty of the story.
All Music Guide - Evan Cater
The phenomenal success of Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt's best-selling memoir of growing up in Ireland in the '30s, was indicative of a growing enthusiasm in America for all things Irish. McCourt's book was preceded by the hit musicals Riverdance and Lord of the Dance and an explosion of interest in traditional Irish music. In scoring Alan Parker's film adaptation of Angela's Ashes, John Williams could easily have taken advantage of the trend by populating the music with fiddles and uilleann pipes. Certainly, Williams had more reason to do so than James Horner did when he used Celtic music to make his score for Titanic, a movie with no major Irish characters, the best-selling instrumental soundtrack of all time. But Williams made the surprising decision to eschew any semblance of Irish influence, perhaps reasoning that the Irish fascination with American culture was every bit as prevalent during McCourt's boyhood as was the American fascination with Irish culture in the late '90s. Consequently, the only vocal tracks on the soundtrack album are not Irish folk songs but American pop tunes "The Dipsy Doodle" and "Pennies From Heaven". Williams' score is a rich and sonorous piano and string composition that lends a sense of scope and sweep to a film that is otherwise drab and constricted, lacking the charm of McCourt's prose. In fact, the soundtrack contains the two best parts of the movie: the score and narrator Andrew Bennett's readings from the book. That Angela's Ashes earned Williams his 38th Oscar nomination is hardly noteworthy, since he is so venerated by the Academy that they would undoubtedly have nominated him for playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on a touchtone phone. But this time the recognition was deserved. Angela's Ashes ranks among the best work from this universally acknowledged dean of film composition.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/7/1999
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998900943
  • Catalog Number: 89009

Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Williams [composer] Primary Artist, Conductor
Billie Holiday Vocals, Track Performer
John Ellis Solo Instrumental, Oboe
Stephen Erdody Solo Instrumental, Cello
Endre Granat Concert Master
Randy Kerber Solo Instrumental, Piano
John Williams Conductor
Nat Gonella & His Georgians Ensemble, Track Performer
John Ellis Solo Instrumental, Oboe
Jo Ann Turovsky Solo Instrumental, Harp
Andrew Bennett Narrator
Technical Credits
John Williams [composer] Producer
John Williams Producer
Simon Rhodes Engineering
Scott Rudin Executive Producer
Patricia Sullivan Fourstar Mastering
Alan Parker Liner Notes, Executive Producer
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