If you have not yet discovered the music of Portuguese born composer Nuno Malo, then you should rectify this straight away. This release from the ever productive Movie Score Media contains the highly talented composers music from AMALIA, this is a passionate and heartrending work that is for me the soundtrack release of the year 2010. Lets be honest, film music is in many ways in a little bit of a downward spiral, many scores being just mediocre and even more being less than that, but then along comes a score such as AMALIA, and all at once ones faith is restored in the future of music for film. Music for the cinema has always been a passion for me, ever since I heard the haunting theme for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA I was hooked, and this is the effect that this score has had upon me, it is passionate, emotive, refined and lovingly crafted. The lush and luxurious sounding work, is playful, at times sweeping in other parts and also mischievous, melodic and above all of these hauntingly exquisite. In fact I sat down so many times to listen to it with the intention of writing this review, but each time I found myself carried off to somewhere else by its warmth, its elegance, grace and its sheer beauty. Nuno Malo, has a very bright future in music for film, his gift for melody is I think astounding and in many instances dazzling, plus his scores radiate an aura or atmosphere that is infectious. He purveys through his music a feel good factor that warms the heart and eases the psyche. His music is at times simple but so effective thus making an instant impact upon the listener. Track number 1, LAMENT FADO DOS MEUS ERROS, commences with sorrowful sounding woodwinds, that are accompanied by understated strings, the strings then come to the fore taking on the rich thematic property of the cue, continuing to develop the theme further increasing it in its volume and lushness, the wind instrumentation returns to give punctuation and support as the piece continues to swell and widen building into an emotive and almost patriotic sounding piece that is tinged with sadness but at the same time brimming with fervour and magnificence. Track number 2, THE OPENING/CLOSE TO DEATH, is too a haunting and touching composition, it relies mainly upon the subdued use of strings at its commencement, but these strings distend and rise gaining support from the utilisation synth voices, the string section continues to carry the thematic core of the piece lifting the lush tone poem to emotional and tingling heights creating an almost celestial feel to the cue.

Track number 3, BOLA DE BERLIN (YOUNG AMALIA), is a delightfully simple but effective piece that has a playful sound in the first instance, the composer utilising underlying gentle strings which accompany and embellish the use of a carefree chime effect that picks out the key musical element or hook, this soon segues into a composition that has much quality and luxurious ness, piano and strings feature most prominently and combine and intertwine to create a simply stunning composition. Track number 4, AMALIA AND SANTO, is a gentle almost coy sounding piece, strings again are the main purveyors of the music, and gently convey the shyness and almost cautious atmosphere of the cue. The composer has created a score here, that is not only able to support the movie more than adequately, but he has also managed to compose music that is beautiful and appealing away from the picture and stands on its own two feet as music in its own right having a life away from the images for which is was originally intended to enhance. The remainder of the score, is also stunning, it contains many gorgeous musical passages, a handful of darker moments which are dramatically infused by the use of brass and subtle placing of percussive elements that are fused together by imaginative use of the string section. Then there are some impeccable guitar performances that reminded me very much of the style of the Spanish classical composer Rodrigo in parts. Nuno Malo, also utilises cello within the score that is highly affecting and leaves a lasting effect upon the listener. There are few words that I would use to sum up this score, meticulous, mesmerizing, graceful and superb are among them. This is highly recommended.


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