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CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN: SOUNDTRACK

Remarkable just how entertaining one hour of unaccompanied mandolin plucking can be. Kidding. About the content, not the quality that is. Whilst the eponymous instrument does indeed have its moments centre stage, and whilst it is indeed a lovely sound, this is also a lush score of orchestral string arrangements and thematic depth.

As with most films containing allusion to music or instrument in their titles (The Red Violin for example) attention is focused on the score; and it becomes integral to cinematic success. Here, once again working with director John Madden—with whom he teamed on Shakespeare In Love—composer Stephen Warbeck delivers a score that doesn’t disappoint.

It is a soundtrack with a wealth of tonal colours and a rollercoaster of emotions. From the opening cue Pelagia’s Song, with mandolin providing gentle undercurrent for sweeping strings, to the beautiful piece that is simply titled The Mandolin, it is hard to be anything but enraptured.

Innovation is not the strong suit here; it is finesse that reigns supreme. There is a vast dynamic over the course of the soundtrack, with the sweet, rich string arrangements contrasting with solo instrument cues—a beautiful one titled The Guitar being a worthy compliment to The Mandolin—and on two tracks the peerless tenor voice of Russell Watson. With melodies mostly in his upper register, Watson’s tender vibrato beautifully seals his controlled and mellifluous ascending phrases in both Senza Di Te and Ricardo Ancor, a reprise of Pelagia’s Song.

For further variety the tracks titled the La Scala Songs are cues from the film of Italian soldiers performing Verdi’s La Donna Mobile and Lilli Marlene. The latter must surely be one of the most extraordinary songs of history, being adopted by combatants on each and every side of the trenches.

Sad, joyous, epic, tragic, romantic; this soundtrack is hardly restrained, but it is also far too classy to ever dip into tawdry sentimentality. Rather, it aims for all the big emotions and hits them square on. Exquisite.
Brad Green

Published September 27, 2001

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TITLE: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

ID: 467 678-2

Decca

COMPOSER/PRODUCER: Stephen Warbeck

FEATURED PERFORMER: Russel Watson

TRACKS: 23

AUDIO CLIPS
1) Track 1 (Pelagia’s Song) 0:49

2) Track 10 (The Mandolin) 0:22

3) Track 22 (Ricardo Ancor) 0:11






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