CD + MP3: Amalia (2008)

March 21, 2011 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: MovieScore Media (Sweden) / Released: November 30, 2010

Tracks & Album Length: 23 tracks / (47:54)

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Special Notes: Available as a downloadable album and CD.

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Composer: Nuno Malo

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Review:

Carlos Coelho da Silva’s feature film biography of Portuguese singer / actress Amalia Rodrigues was supported by a rich symphonic score by Nuno Malo (Julgamento), and while the film’s melodrama may on occasion have been at odds with the immense emotional scope of Malo’s music, on its own, Malo’s soundtrack is a must-have release for its unbridled emotionalism.

Malo’s writing is overtly classical, with a large emphasis on slow chord progressions with strings, and variations in density which convey a gentleness (such as the pensive, somewhat wistful “Amalia and Santo”) or terrible mournfulness.

Balancing the album’s moods are darker cues with slight electronic elements (used more for extra colour and ambiance), and slightly contemporary melodic lines, as in the keyboard solo in “Bola De Berlin (Young Amalia).” A delicate acoustic guitar is the centerpiece of “Amalia at Her Parent’s Home,” and guitar and whistling propel the Bossa Nova styled “Cesar’s Theme.”

Malo’s score had the difficult chore of enhancing the film’s legendary subject as well as discretely weaving through musical passages, and its most effective moments are the intimate cues which unfurl like gentle musical breezes, easing the listener into what eventually becomes a state of uncertainty and swelling sadness. Rare moments of tension are coloured with brass and shimmering metallic imagery, as in the two-part “Death in a Taxi” and The Bridge and X-Ray.”

MovieScore Media’s album is beautifully engineered, assuring the detailed orchestrations and rich performances are clear and precise. Most of the cues vary in length, but the tight editing maintains a fluid narrative, culminating in a gorgeous lament for cello, plus a separate source cue, “Vou dar de bebar a dor,” performed by Amalia.

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© 2011 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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