Composer Eric Neveux has been responsible for numerous wonderful film scores over the last few years. His score for IL ETAIT DE FORET still haunts me, in a nice way of course. He also wrote some outstanding music for the movies HIDEAWAYS, RICHARD THE STORK, ZOMBILLENIUM, CEZANNE ET MOI, as well as composing for TV on series such as BORGIA seasons 1,2 and 3, UN VILLAGE FRANCAIS, DIGNITY and FLIGHT OF THE STORKS. To say that Maestro Neveux is talented and innovative is certainly a vast understatement. One of his scores that has been released recently is LES AVENTURES DE SPIROU ET FANTASIO. Right from the word go this is a score that delights and entertains, it is a soundtrack that I feel is written in a retro style and evokes the themes and sounds of the 1960’s and 1970’s when films had themes that the watching audience could pick up on and maybe even leave the cinema humming or whistling them. The work for me evokes the quirkiness of composers such as Michel Magne and Francois De Roubaix whilst at the same time evoking the jazz sounds as displayed by composers such as Lalo Schifrin when he worked on series such as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and Jerry Goldsmith when he worked on the FLINT films. It also contains some very original orchestration along the way and the composer makes effective use of both symphonic and synthetic mediums. I love the way he utilises organ and husky sounding woods, which are underlined and supported by percussive elements, the composer marvellously creates a sense of tension, apprehension and incorporates a style and sound that remains rhythmic and upbeat throughout.
I am a sucker for big bold upbeat themes that fuse big band sounds with that of driving symphonic performances and we have enough of these in this score to keep everyone happy. Maybe I should not compare the music of this talented composer with that of others, but I am just attempting to relay to you what sort of sound he has managed to achieve here. Every cue is a delight, each track is entertaining, and every note is a joy. Just when you think it cannot get any better, it suddenly does, it is one of those scores that just keeps delighting the listener. It is light, it is melodic and highly thematic, which for me is a perfect film score, because it manages all of this and works well with the movie too. This is a work I cannot recommend enough, it is grand and robust, lilting and beautiful as well as being powerful and superbly enriching. All I can say is more please, and maybe Eric Neveux for the next Bond movie, now theres a thought. If you thought Brian Tyler’s end theme music for IRON MAN was cool, then boy are you in for treat with this score.
Cezanne et moi, is a movie that is a little disjointed in my opinion and although it looks stunning because of the way in which the outside scenes are photographed there is just something missing from it to make it attention grabbing and absorbing, maybe it is me but I would have preferred to watch the movie with no dialogue and just have the sound effects and musical score playing whilst I viewed it as the dialogue just seemed to get in the way, not sure if that makes any sense but hey this is just a personal opinion. The movie begins with an imaginary meeting between two of France’s most notable 19th Century cultural figures the painter Cezanne and the writer Emile Zola, director/writer Daniele Thompson’s period drama stars Guillaume Canet and Guillaume Gallienne as the artist and writer respectively in the leading roles. Set between the year 1888, when the near 50-year-old Cezanne challenges Zola about his novel L’Oeuvre whose main character seemed to be based upon Cezanne or so he thinks. The story is told via several flashbacks which inform us of how the pair first became friends at school in Aix en Provence and went on to be like minded about art and shared the same liking of women. Daniele Thompson’s script keeps things moving along quite briskly whilst focusing upon the differences between the two characters. Zola, for example being born into poverty and longing to become a writer and after doing so eventually joins the rich and the upper class ranks which he used to ridicule in his younger days and Cezanne, who was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth who eventually ends up rejecting that society to concentrate on his painting, which was sadly ignored by that same collective of people until his life was nearly over. I think as well as the cinematography which I have said is astounding and breath taking, the musical score stands out and serves the movie more than adequately. The music is by Eric Neveux and the composer has created a soundtrack that is not only highly melodic and beautifully emotive but he has fashioned one that has to it a life away from the images on screen, it is one of those rare moments in film music where the music can be listened to and enjoyed as an entity of its own, its persona and strong thematic content shining through in every piece, this is an elegant and passionately poignant score a delicate and haunting work which relies upon a romantic and emotional style that seems to invade one’s mind and linger. The composer utilises strings and several solo performances throughout to create a lilting and attractive work that I must say I have returned to on many occasions after the initial listen.
The light and fragile use of piano brings a sense of the romantic to the surface of this score and this element underlined by subdued and melancholy sounding strings, smooth and passive woods and guitar at certain points within the score bring out a sound and a style that is heartrending and affecting. The composer has given us lucky film music collectors a score that is at times impressionistic, richly melodic, deeply emotive and wonderfully symphonic. I don’t like to highlight certain cues within scores as being stand out or more attractive than others, and with this soundtrack I don’t think I can actually do that. Why I hear you say, well because each cue is simply beautiful and is a gratifying and rewarding listen. To say that you must add this to your collection is an understatement. So please just go buy it, no questions…
Available on Quartet records (Spain)
Cézanne et Moi – Ouverture (02:33)
Souvenirs d’enfance (01:30)
Paris sous la pluie (01:16)
Émile & Gabrielle (02:39)
La lettre d’Émile (04:03)
Ballade des deux amis (02:07)
La souffrance de Paul (04:54)
La fin d’une amitié (01:31)
Paul s’en va (06:26)
Cézanne et Moi – Générique de fin (01:39)
To say that Eric Neveux is new to the world of film music is not entirely true. He actually began to take an interest in writing music for film some 15 years ago and has worked on a number of features and been involved with numerous projects which have been connected to film and television. The release of his music for the movie HIDEAWAYS is another example of Swedish based label Movie Score Media ardent commitment to releasing good scores by composers who are not exactly well known to collectors of movie soundtracks. This is a stunning score that is filled with wonderful thematic properties, interesting orchestration and haunting tone poems. It also contains its fair share of dramatic and darker moments but that is the job of music in film, to be varied and also to be dark and light thus matching the images and storyline and creating the correct mood and atmosphere that is required. It is a score that not only serves its subject matter well but has the ability to be an entertaining entity away from the images it was intended to enhance. Track one, ‘The Depth of the Forest (Theme from the Hideaways)’ is a particularly delightful composition – haunting and mesmerizing are two words I would use to describe it. The cue begins with solo piano which picks out a simple, pensive and cautious sounding theme. This is joined by subdued strings which underline the piano solo and also a chime effect that is played in unison with the piano. Woods are added to embellish and support, and the string section take on the piece with piano, then acting as punctuation for them. The strings melt away and the cue reverts to solo piano which relays an atmosphere of calm and solitude or loneliness to the listener. Strings again join the piano and play a more romantic version of the theme; again this is short lived and the cue reaches its conclusion as it began with solo piano. The composer’s light and emotive touch is stunning and beautiful; he interweaves beautiful motifs and utilizes solo instrumentation such as, affecting cello, plaintive flute, delicate almost fragile harp and piano to great effect, producing poignant, sensitive and heartrending compositions that are pleasing and lingering. He demonstrates his gift for melody throughout the work and this talent is displayed more prominently in track four ‘Another Baby’, track six Stronger Than Illness’, track ten ‘Abandoned Souls’, track eleven ‘Mae and James’, track thirteen ‘Waking up with the Birds’, and track sixteen ‘Two Lovers’, all of which are intimate and attractive and awash with melodic and passionate content.
The score also has less melodic interludes where the composer brings into play electric guitar and quirky sounding percussion as in track five, ‘A Boy Like No Other’ and sombre sounding strings combined with percussion on the cue ‘A Shadow in the Woods’ which is full of drama and suspense. So all in all HIDEAWAYS is an extremely good score and one that should be in every discerning film music lover’s collection. Highly Recommended.