Varese Sarabande (302 066 143 2)
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by Maurice Jarre
|1.||Arrival in Africa||8:44|
|2.||Ondiek - Ayub Ogada||4:03|
|3.||A Different Rhythm||10:55|
|4.||Kel Kweyo - Geoffrey Oryema||4:08|
|6.||Death and Misery||11:16|
|Total Album Time:||59:46|
|by Dan Goldwasser
June 16, 2000
Maurice Jarre returns to the style he created for Lawrence of Arabia in I Dreamed of Africa. While not quite up to par with his classic scores (such as Lawrence and Dr. Zhivago), Jarre's work on I Dreamed of Africa still has a classically epic feeling to it, with an African bend.
From the beginning of "Arrival in Africa", the listener can get an immediate sense of how the score is going to flow. With a relatively strong theme, and the way he builds up to it, you can tell that the score to the film is rather powerful. Unfortunately, once the primary themes have been introduced, there is little beyond them. As such, we get to hear them over and over, with various shifts in orchestration or moments of drama or tension.
With "The Storm", Jarre at least gives us some more music that doesn't fully use the main themes. While bits of it actually reminded me of the action music in Top Secret, I felt that the music was still quite appropriate, and it didn't stray too far from the original themes and feeling of the rest of the score. "Death and Misery" once again brings us to the (now) familiar themes, but at an awkward moment the tribal percussion comes in fully, and overtakes the orchestra - it was certainly intended, but the resulting mix seems like a bad cross-fade. A bit of choir appears in this track, and it helps underscore the misery and dramatic elements of the film - especially heightened by the female soloist.
Three songs are included on the album, two of which are from Ayuh Ogada. They all add more African seasoning to the album, and it helps (along with the percussive rhythms in the score) to separate African and Arabia. Additionally, the fact that these three songs are interspersed throughout the album, instead of being shoved at the end or the beginning, helps to even out the playing field, and provides a rather pleasant listening flow to the score.
With a running time of about 60 minutes, this is a pretty solid album that is definitely a good listen. In the end, I Dreamed of Africa is a sibling to Lawrence of Arabia, and while both scores have definite similarities, they are different enough to warrant buying both if you enjoyed one of them, and certainly you should do so if you are a fan of Jarre's work. But if I had to pick one, I would go with the classic - Lawrence of Arabia.
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