Originally released on LP by Dot records back in 1968, I have always thought that this was a particularly interesting work by Greek composer Hadjidakis. The movie, which starred Karl Malden and Terence Stamp, was made very much in the style of The Magnificent Seven and also contained traces of the Spaghetti western genre. Hadjidakis is probably best known for his scores to Never On A Sunday and Topkapi which both enjoyed success at the cinema during the 1960s. He also composed a rousing score for 300 Spartans.(still the best version of this Historical tale).


Blue contains a particularly haunting central theme which is first heard in the opening cue, ‘The River’, and is reprised throughout the work in cues such as ‘Nocturne’, ‘Scherzo’ and ‘Blue And Joanne Near The River’. As well as the lighter interludes, the score also contains an equal amount of action and dramatic moments, as in the infectious and nerve jangling ‘The Mexicans In The Village’ and the driving and intense sounding ‘Preparation Of The Villagers’. Hadjidakis utilises the guitar solos of Laurindo Almeida to great effect and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra play their hearts out. I also think that the composers use of cimbalom on some of the cues is particularly effective. In fact the orchestration or instrumentation on the score is highly original throughout  and the composer realizes great dramatic and romantic heights by combining instruments that are not ordinarily used on the scores for westerns.


The CD is packaged lavishly with extensive notes on the film, the composer and the score. It also has letters and quotes from the composer that he wrote whilst staying in The United States working on the score. There is also a full filmography for Hadjidakis and a number of stills from the movie and photographs taken at the recording sessions, with Hadjidakis conducting the orchestra. This release has only been issued in Greece on compact disc  but is also available on I tunes as a download, it is a score that is certainly worth adding to the collection, and if the actual disc is elusive then please do not be put of by it being a download, either way you have to seek out this score and savour its unusual but effective and stunning musical content. It is worth seeking out.



The movie got rave reviews and garnered a handful of BAFTA awards  including best actress and best original score by Chris Gunning.(well done Chris). The soundtrack Compact disc obviously contains a number of Edith Piaf vocals and also a handful of songs by other performers, the disc is actually set out in what is referred to as chapters, number one is dedicated to the Piaf vocals. Three is other performers and sandwiched in the middle is a really scrummy bit called the original score, Gunnings music is really the nice tasty filling sandwiched between the two vocal parts, not that I am saying the vocals are also not good because they are, obviously classics one and all. Gunnings score is delicate, poignant, magical and tear jerking, his use of piano and strings is stunning each complimenting and enhancing each other throughout. Its about time that Gunning was once again recognised for his musical skills and his ability to create touching and haunting melodies. He has certainly come a long way since POIROT and THE HANDS OF THE RIPPER, but even in those early works we could clearly hear the composers gift for a good tune. I think my favourite Gunning score has to be WILD AFRICA which was a TV series for the BBC about two years back. But LA VIE EN ROSE certainly equals that score and has all the assets and attributes of a well constructed, perfectly orchestrated and flawlessly performed soundtrack. There are 9 cues on the compact disc from Gunnings score, and I have no doubt that these tracks will be returned to many times by listeners because of their sheer emotive content, the final cue of the score section in particular DERNIERE NUIT shines out as being THE cue from the work, again Gunnings use of piano and strings is exemplary and spellbinding. This is a soundtrack that will I know become a firm favourite amongst collectors and also one that will maybe surprise and delight when first listened to. Recommended.