Alfonso Santisteban/Cinema Tivoli.

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Every so often a gem of a release comes along out of the blue by a composer that one is not familiar with. The surprising thing in this case is that the composer is not a new one, he has been involved in film music since the late 1960s and was very active during the 1970s and 1980s worked in Italy and also in Spain, so how did I miss the genius of Alfonso Santisteban ? This is a great compilation, and shows off the wonderful music that this composer has created for the cinema and his gift for melody and talent in creating tuneful,dramatic and infectious musical themes, his style is very much akin to that of Stelvio Cipriani and also he writes some pretty impress jazz cues as well. The overall sound of the album reminded me very much of the French composers Magne, Legrand and also Lai. In fact I think if one was to listen to this recording without knowing who it was, one would probably say it was Michel Magne, its that type of sound, pop/orchestral  which is slightly upbeat and very catchy.
It has that air about it that just says this is a WINNER.  Ok, not knowing much about this composer I sort of guess by the booklet and also the posters of films he has scored re-produced within it he has worked on some Italian movies, but predominantly was scoring motion pictures in Spain. The compilation is quite varied in its musical content as in style etc and towards the halfway mark does seem to lean towards the jazz influenced material that the composer has been connected with.  Now normally jazz is something of a turn off for me personally, but this is really smooth and polished jazz which is performed flawlessly and with much enthusiasm. The CD also contains a fair amount of what can be categorized as lounge or easy listening, but this is no way a derogatory remark as the cues that have been selected flow well together and make for some impressive and infectious toe tapping head nodding moments. This is a collection that I would recommend to everyone, and especially if you favour the Italian or French school of film music, by this I mean lots of strings, racing percussion,smouldering sambas, lively sounding brass, sensual and soaring female wordless vocals, harpsichord, choir and also hard hitting themes, because this compilation has got all of these and a lot more.
Sound quality is very good for most part but there is or at least I did detect some background noise on some tracks, track number three in particular but I  have been reliably informed that these are taken from recordings that are from the composers own private archive and a few from vinyl  (you know those black round 12 inch things), but even then the production is in no way lacking, in fact I think that Quartet have done a magnificent job restoring these cues, considering age/condition etc, this is certainly another one for the collection… and a wonderful addition to Quartet’s growing and glowing catalogue. Check it out, a s a p.

LA NOUVELLE GUERRE DES BOUTONS

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I first discovered Philippe Rombi a few years ago when I heard his score for SWIMMING POOL. I was attracted to his music for its melodic and infectious nature and likeness to the music of composers such as Georges Delerue and Michel Legrand. He has the ability to work on any type of film and compose a score which is enriching and supportive to it. His style is melodic and, by turns, grandiose, intimate or effectively emotive. Since hearing SWIMMING POOL and discovering other scores such as LOVE ME IF YOU DARE, the luxurious and haunting ANGEL and the marvelously delicate and poignant music for RICKY, my initial feeling about the composer has not altered but has been confirmed with each and every assignment. My respect for his music and distinctive style has grown and I look forward to every new release of his music.

 

 

 

LA NOUVELLE GUERRE DES BOUTONS is a superb score. Rombi has created a soundtrack that literally ticks all the boxes. It is intimate, highly emotional, romantic but also boisterous, comedic and exciting. The disc begins with the “Main Title” or “Generique Debut” where the composer commences with solo horn to which is added subtle and delicate use of woods and strings, creating a delightful and slightly melancholy piece which becomes the core of Rhombi’s soundtrack. I love the way in which the Maestro combines woods with strings and punctuates both elements with delicate and pensive piano which is itself lightly augmented by pizzicato commas and full stops. This opening for the score has a wistful and playful air about it, conjuring up summer days and rolling countryside. In many ways it evokes memories of some of James Horner’s work such as COCOON and the lighter more romantic moments from THE ROCKETEER. It’s a wholesome and carefree sound that garners much appreciation from the listener.

Philippe Rombi has risen to the challenge on this particular assignment – more so than on others he has been involved with – it is an exuberant score containing tinges of pathos and some of the most elegant and emotive tone poems I have heard in a while. I was particularly impressed and drawn to track 6 “Paul et Simone” which is a short but affecting composition; a fragile piece relying on subtle and light nuances performed on piano and woods, underlined and held together by strings and made further tantalizing by delicate placing of barely heard chimes. Track 7 “Les Longeverne Contre-Attaquent/Le Premier Bouton” is one of the more lengthy cues on the disc and begins with a fanfare which develops into a full-blown proud theme performed by strings and brass. The beginning soon fades away and the composition settles into some wonderfully clever writing and orchestration with the emphasis on utilization of pizzicato which is masterfully employed to create an atmosphere of humour and mischief with just a touch of apprehension. The cue ends with a crescendo where the composer combines the strings and brass with a children’s choir, bringing the cue to a triumphant conclusion. Overall this is a wonderful score to have in one’s collection and is a gem of a soundtrack from a composer who will return again and again to entertain us with more delights and enthral us with his mesmerizing music. Packaged marvellously by MUSIC BOX RECORDS with many stills, eye-arresting cover art and informative notes. Highly recommended.